Why You Should Always Pee After Sex

Young women are often told, "you should pee after sex." Specifically, they're told that they should pee after vaginal intercourse or other penetration. The purpose of this recommendation is to decrease the likelihood that they will develop a urinary tract infection. So does it work? The answer is probably, but not definitely, yes.

Sex and Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are unquestionably associated with sexual intercourse. The more sex someone has, the more likely they are to get a UTI. In fact, the link is so well known that sexually associated UTIs are sometimes referred to as "honeymoon cystitis." Cystitis is another word for inflammation of the bladder.

One of the major reasons that intercourse is thought to be associated with UTIs is that penetration can put pressure on the urethra. This can irritate the urethra or force bacteria up into the urethra and towards the bladder. In turn, this raises the likelihood of infection.

Most of the data on the association between sex and UTIs is for vaginal intercourse. That's because the urethra is right behind the vagina. However, there has been some research suggesting that anal intercourse is also associated with increased UTI risk.

Sexual Hygiene

Several studies have looked at sexual and hygienic factors to see if they might be associated with an increased risk of urinary tract infections. One such factor that's been examined is voiding, or peeing, within 15 minutes after intercourse. This is also known as postcoital voiding.

Most studies that have looked at peeing after sex have found that it seems to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. The theory is that peeing after sex can flush any bacteria out of the urethra and into the toilet.

The research isn't universally positive. There are some studies that didn't find any relationship between peeing after sex and UTI risk. However, it was never shown to be problematic. Peeing after sex was either neutral or helpful and sometimes very helpful. It never increased the risk of UTI.

Urinating after sex is a potentially helpful activity that doesn't have any clear downsides.

Should Men Pee After Sex?

It's less important for people with penises to pee after sex than it is for people with vaginas. This is because there are big differences between male and female genital anatomy.

It is relatively rare for men to get urinary tract infections. In general, the longer male urethra means it's less likely for bacteria to get up into the bladder and cause a problem.

In addition, the penile urethra, through which men urinate, is also the tube through which they ejaculate. Therefore, if the man ejaculates during intercourse, it empties itself out. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea for men to pee after sex. It's just probably less useful than it is for women.

A Word From Verywell

Urinary tract infections aren't fun. That's particularly true when you get a lot of them. If you have a history of recurrent urinary tract infections, it's probably worth trying to find out whether some relatively simple behavioral changes can reduce the frequency with which you get UTIs.

Even though the results aren't completely consistent, it's probably a good idea to pee after sex. It's also a good idea to stay hydrated. Drinking water after sex is another thing that has been shown to reduce your risk of a UTI.

Interestingly, it looks like peeing before sex might also help reduce the risk of a UTI. That's good news for people who think it's a bad idea to wait. And remember, if you drink enough water, you can pee both before and after sex. The trick is not to drink so much that you want to stop to pee during sex.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Al Demour S, Ababneh MA. Evaluation of Behavioral and Susceptibility Patterns in Premenopausal Women with Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: A Case Control Study. Urol Int. 2018;100(1):31-36. doi: 10.1159/000485568.
  • Amiri FN, Rooshan MH, Ahmady MH, Soliamani MJ. Hygiene practices and sexual activity associated with urinary tract infection in pregnant women. East Mediterr Health J. 2009 Jan-Feb;15(1):104-10. doi: 10.26719/2009.15.1.104
  • Beisel B, Hale W, Graves RS, Moreland J. Clinical inquiries. Does postcoital voiding prevent urinary tract infections in young women? J Fam Pract. 2002 Nov;51(11):977.
  • Foxman B, Chi JW. Health behavior and urinary tract infection in college-aged women. J Clin Epidemiol. 1990;43(4):329-37. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(90)90119-a
  • Hooton TM, Scholes D, Hughes JP, Winter C, Roberts PL, Stapleton AE, Stergachis A, Stamm WE. A prospective study of risk factors for symptomatic urinary tract infection in young women. N Engl J Med. 1996 Aug 15;335(7):468-74. doi: 10.1056/nejm199608153350703