Is sex off-limits when you get a Urinary Tract Infection? A UTI takes time to heal even with antibiotics to treat it – so how long after UTI can I have sex?
Getting a Urinary Tract Infection can be frustrating as your urethra can feel like it is on fire, it hurts when you pee, and you might have zero desire for sex with all that pain. Even if sex is the last thing on your mind as your UTI symptoms are still causing havoc down there, it is completely reasonable to wonder if it is safe to have sex during a UTI, and if so, how long after UTI can I have sex?
Can you have sex with a UTI?
Technically yes, you can still have sex with a Urinary Tract Infection. However, having sex when your UTI has not completely cleared up can be a rather painful experience. It’s less about worrying about safety and more about the discomfort you will feel.
When you are already feeling like your urethra is on fire with that burning sensation, adding friction from penetration and heavy thrusting might not sound that appealing.
During your treatment and while you are still healing from a UTI, you would also want to avoid introducing more bacteria to the area and increasing the risk of further inflammation and cause your UTI symptoms to be worse.
Avoid oral sex and fingering too
While you are still recovering from a UTI infection, you want to avoid receiving oral sex unless the other person uses a dental dam to prevent the spread of any bacteria from your vagina to their mouth. Fingering should also be avoided as it causes friction and can put pressure on the urinary organs. Tongues, toys, and fingers can accidentally rub against the urethra, irritating it more.
How long after UTI can I have sex?
Wondering “How long after UTI can I have sex?” A good rule of thumb is waiting until the UTI is completely cleared up – and that typically means you have been symptom-free for at least two weeks and your full course of antibiotics is completed – before you start having penetrative sex again.
Can a woman get a UTI from sex?
Yes you can get a UTI from sex, but it is not the act of sex itself that causes a UTI!
Due to our genital anatomy as a woman, our urethral area is located very close to our rectum – which complicates things during sex as it becomes easy for bacteria from your anal area to end up where you don’t want them to be.
When you have a lot of sex, especially with a new partner or with multiple partners, it increases the risk of getting a UTI. During sex, bacteria from your rectum may migrate to your urethra when there is lots of movement and friction around your genital area.
There is also a higher chance of getting a UTI infection when spermicide is used as your go-to form of birth control, or if the condom used contains spermicide. Spermicide may increase your risk of developing a UTI because of the likely effects of spermicide on your body’s good bacteria, which is needed to fight off the bad bacteria and avoid infection.
Good news though: there are things you can do to lower your risk of UTIs while still enjoying sex.
How soon after sex can you get a UTI?
It will take a few days after sex for the bacteria to start irritating the genital area.
How to prevent UTI after sex
Peeing after sex
Ever been told to pee after having sex? It’s not about emptying your bladder – but rather this advice of peeing after sex comes from flushing out the area naturally by peeing. Peeing after sex helps to minimize the likelihood of having bad bacteria entering your urethra, giving you a lower likelihood of developing UTIs than women who rarely pee after sex or only sometimes do this.
It is recommended to make peeing after sex a habit after every single sexual activity, as long as it involves your genital area, whether it’s through solo masturbation, with a sex toy, or through partner activity.
This is also why it is important to keep your sex toys clean and to wash your sex toys before and after every single use – even if you’re just using a sex toy by yourself.
Since the sooner you head to the bathroom to pee after sex, the better, aim to pee within the 15 to 30 minutes after sex time frame. Yes, it might feel weird and may feel unsexy (and possibly inconvenient), but peeing after sex is an important practice for your sexual health.
Drink lots of water
The more frequently you pee, the more you allow your body to eliminate bacteria before it causes an infection in your urinary tract.
Keep anal sex for the last act
Going from anal to vagina is a sure way to get a UTI infection. Make sure to change condoms after every anal sex to avoid cross contamination. This applies to using sex toys too!
Avoid vaginal douching and other “feminine products”
Stop washing or cleaning out the inside of your vagina with water or other fluids. Vaginal douching and many “feminine products” like sprays and powders mess with your vaginal flora, increasing your risk of UTI infection.
Take a daily probiotic
Daily probiotic that are specifically formulated for vaginal health and contains two strains of lactobacillus can help balance yeast and bacteria for healthy vaginal flora.
Can You Get an Infection From Fingering or Oral Sex?
Fingering or oral sex can cause irritation in the genital area due to friction and pressure. Remember to make sure hands are clean before any fingering, and to be mindful of cross contamination of anal to vagina fingering as the fingers that have explored the anal cavity has likely picked up some E. coli bacteria.
To prevent getting a UTI from fingering, you can dedicate one hand to anal play and the other hand to vagina play, or ensure thorough hand-washing from one hole to the other. You can also use latex gloves that can be used during anal play and removed for vagina play.
Other ways to have fun and be intimate while you heal without penetrative sex
Waiting for your UTI to be completely cleared up might feel like a long time to wait to have sex again, especially if your libido is begging you for sex! Thankfully there are many ways to have intimacy and fun – alone or with a partner – that does not require penetration.
Build intimacy through emotional closeness
Besides building intimacy through sexual activities, having a close emotional bond also builds intimacy between you and a partner. A great way to build up emotional closeness is through sharing about more about yourself that your partner doesn’t know yet – for example, your deepest fears or most embarrassing moments.
If you need ideas on questions to ask, we recommend the popular BestSelf Intimacy Deck ($25 on BestSelf) for 150 prompts to spark deeper and more meaningful conversations, or the BestSelf Relationship Deck (also $25 on BestSelf). This deck of prompts sparks 150 conversations about important relationship decisions and considerations.
Allow the tension to build up
Sex is often most enjoyable when there is a period of anticipation of what’s to come. Explore teasing each other with dirty talk, kisses on erroneous zones, or give each other a massage (check out this sexy mood-setting 3-in-1 massage candle with sensual massage oil and luxurious moisturizer) as you wait out the healing period.
We guarantee that when it is finally safe for you to have sex again once your UTI clears up, you’ll be ready to jump right in with all that built-up tension.
Take it easy
Sex can slow down the healing process when you are still recovering from a UTI infection while increasing your risk for another infection, so make sure to wait until your UTI clears out and you have finished your antibiotic treatment before having any penetrative sex.