The Important Masturbation Tip People Tend To Skip

Photographed by Lula Hyers.

No matter how blissfully tired they are, most people with vaginas know how important it is to pee after penetrative sex with a partner to prevent a urinary tract infection. But when you're just having solo sex, do you still have to follow this sexual health tip?

Well, it depends how you masturbate, but most likely, yes.

Technically, during solo or partnered sex, bacteria from your bowels can get pushed inside your urethra (by a penis, sex toy, finger, etc.), and then your urinary tract, which can cause a UTI, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Peeing right after sex helps to flush any bacteria away from the urethra, and can ultimately prevent a UTI. (And that's a pretty good reason to muster up the strength to get out of bed after a satisfying sex session, if you ask us.)

But interestingly, urinary tract infections tend to be associated with penetrative sex, according to Doreen Chung, MD, a specialist in female urology at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. And that makes sense, because the urethra is located on top of the vaginal opening. So, during non-penetrative sex, bacteria is less likely to come in contact with the urethra.

That means, if your self-pleasure routine involves penetration of any kind (with a finger, vibrator, dildo, or other object), then it's probably a good idea to urinate after. And if you're penetrating yourself anally, then it's extra important to wash your sex toy or other object afterwards, because bacteria found in your anus can easily transfer to other areas of your body, like your vagina. Now, if you're only engaging in non-penetrative stimulation during masturbation (like clitoral stimulation), then you're less likely to get a UTI, Dr. Chung told Refinery29. So, it might not be as important to urinate afterwards.

And while we're on the topic of masturbation, here's another fun health tip: Whether or not your self-pleasure routine involves penetration, if you use sex toys, you definitely should be sure to clean them before and after use. (If you're not sure how to do that, here are some helpful tips.) This not only helps your sex toys last longer, but more importantly, it helps prevent bacteria from building up and spreading — which could lead to infections.

So, while getting up to go to the bathroom and wash your vibrator might be the last thing you feel like doing after a solo session, just consider how annoying — and painful — it could be to have to deal with a UTI. Not feeling so sleepy anymore, huh?

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