Life

Adult couple's feet looking out of bed, vagina itchy after sex
eclipse_images/E+/Getty Images

Why Your Vagina May Be Itchy After Sex & What To Do About It

According to science.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Sex is supposed to be exciting and fun and orgasmic. And hopefully, afterwards, it leaves you with a lovely relaxed afterglow. What it’s not supposed to be, though, is itchy. But if the post-sex sensations you’re experiencing are scratchy (and not soothing), there might be an issue. So if you’re wondering why you have an itchy vagina after sex, there could be quite a few reasons why. Here, doctors explain why your vagina might be itchy after sex, and what you can do to prevent the discomfort.

Why is my vagina itchy after sex?

But let’s get the basics out of the way first. Although people might refer to everything “down there” as their vagina, it’s actually the inner channel that is considered to be your vagina. “The part that you see from outside is the vulva, and it continues as vagina which goes all the way to the cervix,” Dr. Amir Marashi, a board-certified OB-GYN, tells Romper. “The lining of your vagina, and most of your wall is made of a kind of tissue that’s called mucosa. This is very different from regular skin and is much more sensitive.”

If your actual vagina is itchy after sex — as opposed to your vulva — here are some possible reasons why, according to Marashi:

  1. Not enough lubrication
  2. Yeast infection
  3. Friction
  4. Latex allergy
  5. Sperm allergy
  6. Hormonal changes
  7. Bath products irritation
  8. Sexually transmitted infection
  9. Skin growths/lesions on the vulva
  10. Tampon usage

What to do if your vagina is itchy after sex

Pekic/E+/Getty Images

Get lubed up

Sure, you might be in the mood for sex, but is your vagina all the way there yet? “One of the most important aspects of active intercourse and doing it comfortably is to have enough lubrication,” says Marashi. “If there is no lubrication or a lack of lubrication, that can cause excessive friction on a tissue that is not supposed to go through that kind of friction.” That, on its own, can cause itchiness and even micro-tears in the vagina. So if you and your partner are looking to do a quickie and you’re not sure if your vagina is lubricated, you can always use some lube that will help reduce friction and increase pleasure for all.

See your doctor

In some cases, a vaginal itch after sex can be a sign of something more serious. “Itching after sex can also be caused by skin growths/lesions on the vulva in both pre- and postmenopausal women,” Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, a board-certified OB-GYN, explains. “HPV-related lesions and/or lichen sclerosis are not too uncommon and can be the culprit in these cases.” In order to properly diagnose it, you’ll need to be seen by your health care provider. They will perform a skin examination, looking at both the vulva and vagina. They may even do a skin biopsy for further evaluation.“In some situations, these skin conditions may be precancerous, so it's important to be careful,” Demosthenes adds. “Fortunately, these are treatable.”

Get tested

If lubrication isn’t an issue (but the vaginal itchiness after sex is still there), it might be another issue, such as a yeast infection. This can occur particularly around the time of your period when your body undergoes hormonal changes. “This can lead to change in the balance of microorganisms that live in the vagina, and an overgrowth of candida (yeast),” Marashi explains. You might know if you have a yeast infection if, in addition to the itching, you experience burning and a white, cottage cheese-esque discharge from your vagina, researchers reported. Antifungal creams and ointments can help clear a yeast infection. Your doctor can also check to ensure that the itchiness you’re feeling isn’t being caused by a sexually transmitted infection.

Change your condoms

If your vagina is itchy after sex, the condoms you’re using could be the culprit. “Itchiness could be due to a sensitivity to latex condoms,” says Marashi. If you find that you’re allergic to latex condoms, you can try switching to plastic ones instead.

Assess if it’s an allergy

There are many things that can cause your vagina to itch, such as soaps and body washes, but also your partner’s sperm. “Now, if the lubrication is there and you still have an itchy feeling, it could be due to a sensitivity to your partner's semen,” adds Marashi. Known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity (SPH), your healthcare provider will probably do a skin test to confirm the allergy, but there are ways to deal with it, including using condoms, medications, or desensitization practices.

Although you might want to feel frisky (and not itchy) after sex, there are ways to find a solution. So the only thing you’ll be feeling after a romp is peaceful — and not prickly.

Studies cited:

Arya, R., Rafiq, N. (2022) Candidiasis, StatPearls. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32809459/

Lavery, W., Stevenson, M., Bernstein, J. (2020). An Overview of Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity and Approach to Treatment, J Allergy Clinical Immunology Practice, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33039013/

Experts:

Dr. Amir Marashi, MD, FACS, FACOG, a board-certified OB/GYN

Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN and Senior Medical Director with Babyscripts

This article was originally published on