Is your genitalia this week’s guest star on The Itchy and Scratchy Show? You’re not alone. Lots of folks experience itchy vaginas and penises post-sex. Here’s the deal.
Friction from sex can cause vaginal itching and discomfort. It’s usually nothing to worry about. But you might have an underlying issue if:
- you have other symptoms
- your vag itches on the reg
- symptoms last more than a few days
Are sperm to blame?
You might be allergic to sperm. Really tho. Seminal plasma hypersensitivity is rare but possible. It happens when you have a bad reaction to proteins in semen.
A semen allergy can affect any part of your body, not just your vag. Reactions can be hard to predict. They can pop up randomly — even if you’re doing the deed with a partner(s).
Symptoms usually kick-off 10 to 30 minutes after contact with semen. You might experience:
- redness or discoloration
The latex lining: Condoms can protect you from a sperm allergy flare up.
A lot of condoms are made from latex. That’s a bummer for folks with a latex allergy. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on your level of sensitivity and how much contact you’ve had.
Mild symptoms include:
- redness or discoloration
Moderate symptoms include:
- watery eyes
Anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — can happen in severe cases. Get medical care ASAP if you experience:
- trouble breathing
If you’re allergic to latex, you can choose non-latex condoms. Lambskin and polyurethane are popular options.
While we’re on the subject: The chemicals inflavored condoms can irritate your vagina (even if they aren’t made from latex). So, save those babies for oral.
Some peeps are prone to vaginal dryness. It’s pretty common when your hormones are in flux — like during pregnancy or menopause.
Other vaginal dryness triggers include:
- not being aroused during sexy time
- surgical ovary removal (aka oophorectomy)
- certain meds (e.g., antidepressants and hormonal birth control)
- health conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder) and diabetes
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- painful intercourse
- a frequent need to pee
- vaginal pain after penetration
- chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Lube it up
No shame in the lube game, friends! Lubes can prevent a scratchy aftermath. They can even lead to better sex. There are loads of flavors and sensations to choose from.
Vaginal infections — like bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections — can lead to lots of issues. In addition to itching, symptoms can include:
Vaginas are slightly acidic. A healthy pH level should range from 3.8 to 4.5. This helps keep bad bacteria at bay.
If your pH level is off, you’ll have a higher chance of getting an infection. Some warning signs include:
Here’s what might be behind your pH imbalance:
Several sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause vagina itching. Here’s the lowdown.
This STI comes from the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Symptoms tend to show up 5 to 28 days after exposure.
Common signs of trich include foul-smelling discharge and burning during urination. It can also lead to painful sex.
The clap is usually asymptomatic in folks with vaginas. But symptoms can include:
- painful peeing
- vaginal bleeding
- abnormal discharge
Chlamydia is usually easy to cure. That’s good news since this STI can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system if left untreated.
A lot of people don’t show symptoms. If you do, you might feel the burn when you pee.
Genital warts come from human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts range in size and texture. Even if you don’t have warts you can still experience:
There are two types of genital herpes:
- herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1)
- herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)
You can get HSV-1 from nonsexual contact. HSV-2 is usually transmitted through sexual contact by a partner(s) who’s contracted the infection.
Both viruses can cause blisters on or near your vag. These little suckers can be itchy and painful AF. You can also have both types of herpes at the same time.
In more severe cases, genital herpes can cause:
- body aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Rough sex. Dry skin. No lube. All of these factors can take your d*ck to itch town. Here’s what might be going on down there.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, less than 1 percent of Americans have a latex allergy. Even though this allergy is rare, it can really cramp your condom style.
- runny nose
- watery eyes
Pro tip: If you have a latex sensitivity, stick to non-latex condoms.
Reminder: #TeamPeen can get yeast infections too. The first sign of a penis yeast infection tends to be a red or discolored rash. You may also notice:
- a thick, white substance under skin folds
Another common pee-pee prob is balanitis. This is when the head of the penis (aka glans) gets inflamed. Bad hygiene is often a factor.
Balanitis can cause:
- penis pain
- smelly discharge
STI symptoms vary a lot depending on the type of infection and its severity. But a super common symptom is itching. You may also experience:
- redness or discoloration
- painful sex
- penile discharge
- testicular, penile, or scrotal pain
- pain or burning during urination
- sores or blisters on or near the penis
Here’s a recap on the STIs that can make coochies and peens itch:
- genital warts
- genital herpes
Your treatment depends on the cause. You can usually treat mild irritation at home. But you can’t DIY an infection or STI. You’ll need to talk to a doc.
Here are some easy ways to treat your sex itch solo:
- Keep your private parts clean.
- Soak in a lukewarm oatmeal bath.
- Avoid sex until your symptoms are gone.
- Use products designed for sensitive skin.
- Don’t douche. Seriously. It does more harm than good.
- Avoid latex condoms until you know you’re not allergic.
- Try an over-the-counter treatment if you’re dealing with some yeasty business.
Most infections and STIs can only be treated with meds. Your doc might recommend:
- an antiviral
- anti-fungal cream
- topical wart treatment
- oral or topical corticosteroids
- topical, oral, or injectable antibiotics
- wart removal procedure (e.g. cryosurgery)
Def go to the doc if your post-sex itch lasts more than a few days. You should also give them a call if you aren’t sure what’s causing your discomfort. They can help you get to the bottom of things.
STIs don’t always come with noticeable symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. The CDC can help you find what testing centers are closest to you. Or you can ask your doctor.
Mild after-sex itch is usually nothing to worry about. But if you’re sick of treating your junk like a scratch-off lotto ticket, there are lots of treatments to try. You can prob nip the itch in the bud using an at-home remedy.
But! If discomfort lasts more than a few days — or if you have other symptoms — call your doctor. They can help you get to the root of the issue and offer medical treatments.