7 sex hygiene habits you really shouldn't skip

Here's why you need to practice good sex hygiene [Photo: Getty]

When you’re in the moment, the last thing you want to think about is your cleanliness (we mean talk about passion killer), but actually being proactive about your sex hygiene is actually really important for your sexual health.

Sure prepping for sex isn’t exactly sexy, but developing healthy hygiene habits can actually play a vital role in keeping germs and infections at bay.

So if you’re planning to get hot and heavy any time soon, here are the before, during and after hygiene habits you definitely shouldn't skip...

Before sex

Wash your hands

While it might be impractical to expect people to reach for the soap when they're in the middle of a passionate moment, ensuring you keep good hand hygiene at all times can be a good start.

“Cleaning hands after you've been to the toilet or on public transport can prevent germs and bacteria being passed to the genitals,” explains Dr Kathryn Basford online doctor at Zava UK

Drink water

Upping your H20 might not seem the obvious pre-sex prep but it can help stave off the dreaded urinary tract infection (UTI).

“During sex bacteria can find its way to the urethra (which carries urine out of the body), potentially leading to painful UTIs,” says Dr Basford.

“It's a good idea to drink a glass of water before sex, so that afterwards you're ready to flush away the bacteria before it can grab hold.

“Women are particularly prone to UTIs because the urethra is shorter than in men, and the opening is very close to the vaginal entrance,” she adds.

READ MORE: Women are being warned not to put chocolate up their vagina

Washing your hands before sex might not be sexy but it could stop the dreaded UTI [Photo: Getty]

Clean your sex toys

Planning to use a sex toy? Best give it a clean first to help prevent infection. “Sex toys should be cleaned before and after each use to ensure they're dust and dirt free and hygienic,” advises Sammi Cole, sex toy expert at Lovehoney.

So how do you clean them? “You can buy terrific sex toy wipes which are great for cleaning and work just like baby wipes,” Cole continues. “They are wroth keeping by the bed for an easy clean-up.”

Sex toy cleaning fluid is also an inexpensive option and should be used with warm water (if the toy is waterproof and allows).

“It is worth noting that some sex toys should only be cleaned a certain way and that customers should always read the instructions carefully before use,” Cole adds.

Cole has provided some tips for keeping sex toys sparkling:-

DO remove any batteries and close the battery compartments tightly before cleaning

DO leave your sex toys to air dry thoroughly (laid on kitchen paper is ideal), or dry with a clean towel

DON'T put your sex toys away before they are totally dry

DON'T leave your sex toys on a radiator or next to a heat source to dry

During sex

Use protection

If you don't use any protection during sex you could be putting yourself at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.

“From chlamydia to HIV, condoms can protect you and your partner from picking up an STI,” Dr Basford says. “It's particularly important to use barrier contraception like condoms or dental dams when you're with a partner - even if they've assured you that they've been checked.”

Along with protecting you or your partner from STIs, condoms prevent unwanted pregnancy, and when used correctly are 98% effective.

READ MORE: Ask The Sexpert: Why am I not orgasming during sex?

After sex

Wash down below

Sure you might like to chill out straight afterwards, but once you've had sex it's important to clean your vagina, particularly if you're prone to yeast and urinary tract infections.

But don’t be thinking you need to use fancy, scented products or douche inside.

“Vaginas are self-cleaning so it's not necessary to clean inside or use any heavily scented products which might irritate the area, but rinsing with warm water is a good idea,” explains Dr Basford.

For men it's also a good idea to wash, particularly cleaning under the foreskin with warm water to avoid a build up of bacteria, which may lead to infection.

Peeing after sex is vital to help prevent UTIs [Photo: Getty]

Go to the toilet

As unromantic as it may sound, peeing after sex can help reduce the risk of UTIs because it flushes out any bacteria you may have picked up during the deed.

“If you do develop a UTI, you may notice symptoms such as a burning sensation when you wee, needing to wee more often or a pain low down in your stomach,” explains Dr Basford.

“Sometimes these symptoms clear up after a few days, but you might need treatment with antibiotics to stop the infection spreading to your kidneys.”

Get checked

If you've had unprotected sex and think you may have caught something it's important to get tested as soon as possible.

“But remember, some STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can take between 2-3 weeks to show up on a test and others like HIV and syphilis can take 2-3 months,” warns Dr Basford.

“If the test comes back negative you should check if you need to repeat it,” she adds.