So, you’ve just finished having sex.
The sheets are a mess, you’re covered in sweat, and you’re lying side-by-side with your partner basking in the afterglow as you both catch your breath.
Now what do you do?
Is it time for a shower, a snack, or a spooning session? Do you need to call them a cab or walk them home? And how can you be certain that they’re, y’know, satisfied?
For all the time that we as a society spend talking about how to get into bed, we’ve realised that we barely talk about how to get out of it. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today—what to do when sex is over.
Okay, we can hear some of you asking: ‘Why does it matter what happens once sex is over? The most important stuff has already happened, and the best bits have come and gone—who really cares what happens now?’.
Whether you’re sleeping with a one-night stand, making love to a long-term partner, gettin’ your groove on with a group, seeing a sex worker, or something else entirely, we believe that what happens after sex is just as important as what happens during sex.
We can use the moments after sex to talk to our partner, bond with them, check in with them, or just see which one of us has the energy to get up and get snacks from the kitchen. Sex isn’t a selfish affair—at least, it shouldn’t be—so our post-sex behaviour should be just as caring and considerate as our behaviour during sex.
Keen to level-up your after-sex game? Read on.
First things first—clean up!
If you glance over at your partner and share one of those telepathic looks that says, ‘That was amazing and we both must immediately roll over for eight hours of deep, satisfying sleep’, stop! Wait! Before you do so, summon the energy to spend a few minutes cleaning up—your bodies (and bedroom) will thank you later.
All pieces of used contraception should go in the bin: condoms and dental dams shouldn’t just be thrown onto the floor, you should properly dispose of them in a bin (not the toilet!). Likewise any empty lube bottles or tubes of massage oil—you don’t want your pet, kid, or housemate accidentally finding your used sex goodies.
We also suggest going to the bathroom for a quick pee, because urinating flushes out any bacteria that may have gotten into your urethra during sex. When this bacteria builds up it can cause a UTI, which can be incredibly painful and can sometimes lead to health complications.
We highly recommend you take a few minutes after sex to properly clean any sex toys you’ve used. If bodily fluid, lube, or normal household dust stays on them after use, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. A quick spray with a sex toy cleaner should do the trick—then make sure you store them safely away, or put them back on their charger for their next use.
Has everyone reached the finish line?
There’s no non-awkward way to say this: sometimes we have sex with someone and even though they climax, we don’t. Or vice-versa—maybe we’ve had our fill of orgasms and they’re not quite done yet. The orgasm gap is real, and even though it statistically affects more women than men, this doesn’t mean that men don’t sometimes miss out on orgasms too.
Just because one person has finished doesn’t mean that the other has, and even if both parties have climaxed those residual urges can still be there. If you or your partner are still feeling randy after sex is over, you don’t need to shuffle off to the bathroom for some secret solo time—here are a couple of suggestions for ways you can make sure everyone is left feeling satisfied.
- Try oral sex, fingering, or a hand job. If your partner wants to finish off and you already have, perhaps they’d enjoy it if you went down on them or stimulated them with your hands.
- Watch them get off solo. A bit of voyeurism can be kind of sexy—let your partner finish themselves off with their hands or a toy and offer them some encouraging dirty talk to keep them inspired.
- Remember that sex doesn’t have to be the final act. We often think of sex as the last stop in a linear progression of sex acts, but this doesn’t have to be true. Sex can be a precursor to all sorts of other things if you want it to be.
- Keep consent in mind. So, you’re still horny but your partner is done—it’s very cool if they want to help finish you off, but they have absolutely no obligation to do so (and nor do you have any obligation to them if the reverse is true). If one person doesn’t want to have sex anymore for any reason, they don’t have to. Make sure that even if you want some help climaxing, the environment is a pressure-free one and your partner feels comfortable and empowered saying no.
Have a quick chat and a check-in.
Sex can make people feel all sorts of ways. Some people feel totally euphoric and energetic, others would rather laze around and enjoy the afterglow. Some people can feel emotional after sex—sometimes to the point of tears—even if they had an amazing time.
Members of the kink community sometimes refer to these strong, post-sex emotions as sub-drop and dom-drop, named after the roles people may assume during sex and the ‘dropping’ feeling that comes after the high of sex. Aftercare, or the practise of caring for your partner after sex, usually comes into play here: it can involve anything from having a snuggle with your partner to grabbing them some high-energy foods if they’re feeling a bit woozy.
However you feel after sex is valid and worth listening to, and we reckon it will make your partner feel very cared for and heard if you spend a few minutes checking in with them and making sure they’re okay. You don’t need to start a massive pillowcase therapy session, but an open-ended question like, ‘How was that for you?’ can open the conversation gates and give your partner the chance to say, ‘I actually feel really emotional right now…’ or, ‘That was great honey, now let’s open the Barbecue Shapes’.
Don’t skip the compliments!
We’re more about making suggestions than telling you what to do in bed, but if there’s one thing we want to tell you to do every time you have sex, it’s to give your partner a compliment. The person you’re having sex with will likely really appreciate hearing how sexy you think they are, just like you’d appreciate knowing that they think you’re hot—so don’t skimp on the praise. Here are some phrases to get you started if you’re lost for ideas:
- “It was so hot when you…”
- “You looked amazing when you…”
- “It made me come so hard when we were…”
- “I always love touching you on your…”
- “You made my fantasy come true when you…”
- “When I’m with you, I always feel so…”
- “You’re the first person who’s ever made me…”
- “I get so turned on when I see you...”
A little respect goes a long way.
Even if you’ve just had sex with someone you never plan on seeing again, it’s still important to treat them with kindness and consideration. In fact, it’s a bare-bones essential to treat someone that way—we really shouldn’t be having sex without it. Everyone’s needs after sex are totally different, and what works for one person may not work for another. So as with anything: if you’re not sure, ask. A quick, “Do you need anything right now?” will help make your partner feel comfortable, cared for, and seen.