Peeing after sex may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract, usually through your urethra, and travels to your bladder.
If you have a vagina, your urethra — the opening where urine is released — is close to your vaginal opening.
If you have a penis, your urethra releases both urine and semen — though not at the same time.
Peeing after sex can help to flush bacteria that were introduced during intercourse away from your urethra. Although it isn’t a foolproof way to prevent sex-related UTIs, it’s one fairly easy way to try.
Does this rule apply to everyone?
Peeing after sex isn’t a bad idea but some people may be more likely to benefit from the reduced UTI risk.
If you have a vagina and you’re prone to UTIs, you may benefit the most from peeing after sex. The path from your urethra to your bladder is short, so the bacteria don’t have to travel far to cause a UTI.
If you have a vagina but aren’t prone to UTIs, peeing after sex may not be as important — but it wouldn’t hurt.
Peeing after sex is the least beneficial for individuals who have a penis. That’s because the urethra is much longer, so the bacteria have to travel much farther to cause a UTI.
What if you don’t have penetrative sex?
Then you’re in the clear. You or your partner can touch anywhere else on the vulva without having to worry about increasing your risk for UTIs.
How soon should you pee?
Ideally, you should pee within 30 minutes of having sex to reap the UTI-prevention benefits. The sooner, the better.
Can this help prevent pregnancy?
Peeing won’t prevent pregnancy — even if you go seconds after ejaculate is released.
During vaginal intercourse, ejaculate is released into the vaginal canal. Urine is released from the urethra. These are two entirely separate openings. In other words, releasing pee from your urethra won’t flush anything out of your vagina.
And if semen has entered the vagina, there’s no going back. Sperm is already traveling upward to try and fertilize an egg.
What if you’re trying to get pregnant?
When you’re trying to get pregnant, some medical experts may suggest waiting a few minutes before getting up after sex. It’s thought that this helps ease the pathway of any last-minute swimmers towards the uterus.
However, most of the effective swimmers are already working, with or without you lying flat.
You won’t hurt your chances of conception if you go and pee immediately afterward. If you really want to give it a moment, consider waiting five minutes or so, then get up and pee.
But it does help prevent UTIs, right?
The short answer? We don’t know for sure, but it certainly can’t hurt.
There aren’t many studies investigating the potential relationship between intercourse, UTIs and urinating afterward as a prevention method.
There are so many other factors that play a role in UTI development — including how much water you drink and how much you pee normally — that it would be difficult for scientists to isolate the right variable.
What about STIs and other infections?
Peeing after sex may help flush out UTI-causing bacteria, but it won’t prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
You pee after sex to flush bacteria away from the urethra.
STI-related bacteria affects the body in a different way — your body can absorb this bacteria through tiny tears in your mucus membranes. Peeing won’t affect this absorption process.
The only way to reduce your risk for STIs is to use a condom every time you engage in sexual activity and get screened regularly.
What if you don’t need to pee?
If you don’t need to pee but know you should, you may find it helpful to:
Drink more water. The more you drink, the more your bladder stretches. The more it stretches, the more likely you are to feel the urge to pee. Drinking a half or whole glass right after sex may help get your bladder in gear.
Try audio or visual cues. Watching or listening to running water, for example, may help stimulate your bladder.
Sit on the toilet for a few extra minutes. Taking a few extra moments to yourself may encourage your bladder to relax and release its contents.
What happens if you don’t pee after sex?
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t or can’t pee after sex — it’s just an easy way to help prevent UTIs.
Holding your pee for too long at any time — after sex or otherwise — can increase your risk of a UTI.
If you regularly develop UTIs, make an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare provider. They may be able to prescribe antibiotics or other preventive medication.
The bottom line
Peeing after sex may help reduce your risk of UTIs. Pair this with proper hydration and regular bathroom breaks and your risk may go down even more.