How Gross Is It If You Don’t Shower After Sex?

Sexperts weigh in on the importance of the post-sex shower

More importantly, does your partner think you're gross if you just lie there in your post-coital filth?
: Debrocke/ClassicStock / Contributor

Sometimes after I have sex with someone, that person will take a shower. Sometimes that person will even ask if I also want to take a shower, and all I can think about is how much I absolutely do not want to do that at all. It’s not that I’m generally opposed to showering — I like to think of myself as someone who upholds a normal standard of basic hygiene — but for whatever reason, hopping in the shower is rarely high on my post-sex to-do list. I’m really more the type to lie around in a post-coital haze. It’s lazy, sure, but if the other person decides to take a post-sex shower, I’m then left wondering if my reluctance to join them is not just lazy, but also gross. Worse yet, do they think it’s gross? In fact, are they showering now because I’m gross and they need to scrub themselves of my uncleanliness? 

I could obviously save myself a lot of shame and anxiety by simply sucking it up and taking a shower after sex, but that would be too easy, and also, somehow, much too difficult. Instead, I decided to ask some experts — to the extent that there are “experts” on such matters — just how gross it is if you don’t shower after sex in an attempt to justify my own lax approach to post-sex hygiene. So, asking for a friend, just how gross is it if you don’t shower after sex?

The good news is: it’s probably “really not an issue” from a medical standpoint, according to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist in Westchester County, New York. However, she adds, like many aspects of sexual health, showering after sex is “more important for women” than men, particularly those who are prone to infections. “In those who suffer from recurrent or persistent UTIs or even certain vaginal infections, [like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis] rinsing off after sex may prove beneficial. While urgency is relative, the sooner the better,” says Dr. Dweck. 

But for, say, a man, whose anatomy leaves him generally less vulnerable to any such infections, it would seem whether or not he showers after sex is a matter of personal preference unlikely to produce any adverse medical side effects, leaving the choice largely up to his own discretion. 

“I personally love to shower after sex, especially if it’s sweaty or messy,” says Kenneth Play, International Educator and Sex Hacker, and creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Series, a video series for helping people become better in bed. However, while Play himself appreciates a good post-sex shower, he says he wouldn’t usually judge a partner for following a different post-sex hygiene routine. “As for my partner, it’s personal preference. As long as it’s not messy anal, I basically think everyone should do whatever they want.”

But speaking of messy anal, Play adds that the necessity of showering after sex does depend, to some extent, on the kind of sex acts involved. “From a health perspective, it’s definitely a good idea to take a shower after anal,” he tells InsideHook. “No matter how clean you try to be, it’s just a good idea to clean up afterwards. Poop has bacteria in it that you really don’t want to get into other holes, because it can lead to a yeast infection or BV.” That said, showering after anything involving only more innocuous substances, such as “pee, squirt or ejaculate,” is “more a matter of preference,” according to Play. 

For others, the need for a post-sex shower depends on the intensity of a sex session. “Showering after sex depends on how hard you go during sex,” says Sofiya Alexandra, co-founder and co-host of Private Parts Unknown, a podcast exploring love and sexuality around the world. “If you get sweaty and there’s cum or santorum flying everywhere, of course shower after sex. But if it’s a 10-minute quickie before the two of you pass out for the night or have to leave somewhere, and you barely rolled over much less broke a sweat, go with god!”

“Right now, my partner and I use the pull-out method, which means that every time we have sex, [it] ends with me getting splooged on, so you better believe I’m hopping in the shower to clean up afterwards,” adds fellow Private Parts Unknown co-host Courtney Kocak, who, as a woman prone to UTIs, also swears by the post-sex shower as a necessary means of preventing infection, splooge or no splooge. Her partner, on the other hand, “doesn’t usually shower after sex and he suffers no repercussions for it, which I take as a flagrant display of penis-haver privilege.”

For the most part, however, it seems those blessed with the privilege of forgoing the post-sex shower aren’t generally judged for exercising it, though Alexandra notes there are circumstances in which failing to rinse down would justifiably raise some eyebrows, such as, “if you’re covered in cum like spackle.”

Otherwise, it seems like the post-sex shower is more or less a matter of preference. Meanwhile, what this debate ignores is the arguably more pressing issue of the pre-sex shower, of which I am a much bigger supporter. 

“I think showering before sex is more important, to be honest. I don’t want no funky balls or coochie ruining my good time,” says Alexandra. 

“I love oral, licking, and rimming — or getting rimmed, at least — so coming into things fresh and clean is key,” echoes Kocak, adding that in Tokyo, it’s customary for both parties to shower before a happy ending massage. “That seems like such a hygienic way to kick off any sort of sex rendezvous, whether it’s paid or not. I think all of us should adopt the pre-sex shower practice.” 

“I feel like showering beforehand is important because of smells and whatnot,” says Play, who also adds one last ever-crucial piece of sexual wisdom: “For guys: wash your dick and asscrack.”

Ultimately, it would seem that if you, like me, do not wish to shower right after sex, it’s probably not killing you nor is it that gross. If you’d rather simply lie around in your post-coital filth, that’s between you and god.

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