Shutterstock

What Happens To Your Vagina After Sex? 7 Things You Should Know

Updated:
Share

Right after sex, your whole body begins to return to its regular resting state. But what about the star of the show? Learning more about what happens to your vagina after sex is an interesting look at the body and its many amazing abilities. During the afterglow period, your vagina makes all kinds of adjustments as it returns to its chill state.

One fact needs to be clear right away. There’s definitely one thing that the vagina does not do, however, and that’s stretch out until it’s loose or shaped differently. “You will not stretch out your vagina by having tons of sex, even with the biggest of penises or dildos. The vagina is elastic and meant to be stretched,” Dr. Nan Wise, an AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) certified sex therapist, tells Romper via email. You’re not going to wear your vagina out, so that’s one myth you can definitely consider busted.

So while there are plenty of ways your vagina changes when you get turned on — increased blood flow and lubrication are only a few of the obvious and well known differences — the changes following intercourse are just as fascinating. Your vagina’s color, size, and even temperature go through a transition phase in the minutes following sex as explained below.

1. Swelling Decreases

During sex, there is significant swelling of the external organs, including the vulva, clitoris, labia, and the vagina itself, explains Dr. Wise. Once your sexual activity is complete, however, the vagina’s swelling decreases. Afterward, everything returns to its regular “resting” state.

2. Soreness & Light Spotting May Occur

Shutterstock

In some instances, sexual activity can result in discomfort later on. “Sometimes you may be sore or have spotting after sex, which can happen for a number of reasons, including skin irritation caused by friction or an allergic reaction,” Dr. Gillian Dean, Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, tells Romper via email. Using plenty of water or silicone-based lubricant can help prevent the tears and friction that can result in this discomfort.

Really, there are multiple reasons why your vagina may experience soreness after sex. In fact, anything from a particularly vigorous love-making session to an STI could cause this. If you have any concerns related to your sexual health, then see a doctor for advice.

3. Sensitivity Slowly Fades

It’s common for that “turned-on” feeling to last for a little while. “It's normal for the vagina to feel more sensitive and engorged for several minutes after sex. All the increased blood flow to the area that helped increase sensitivity and pleasure, takes a little while to return to a non-sexual state,” Dr. Jenn Conti, Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health and OB-GYN, tells Romper via email. So while you’re mentally winding down, your body is winding down, too.

4. Returns To Regular Color

For some people, a revved-up vagina may appear to have a slightly different hue than one in a resting state. “The increased blood flow can darken the tissues temporarily,” says Dr. Wise. It’s somewhat like the reaction that makes your cheeks blush with embarrassment or arousal.

5. Temperature Decreases

Shutterstock

Granted, you’re probably not going to whip out a thermometer to check this fact when things start getting hot and heavy. But the local temperature of your genitals can increase with arousal, explains Dr. Wise. When the activity is done, then everything returns to its usual temp.

6. Size & Shape Returns To Resting State

Arousal can cause a vagina to change in size. “The vagina is very accommodating,” says Dr. Conti. “One of the most fascinating things about it is that it naturally expands in length as part of the sexual response, as a way of better accommodating a penis or sexual toy and preventing injury.” Really, its expansive ability is pretty impressive. “Vaginas also have the ability to stretch in size to make room for things to go in and out, and during penetration, your vagina can expand anywhere from two inches up to eight inches in length,” says Dr. Dean. When sex is complete, they return to their regular resting state.

This also applies to the post-baby vagina, too. Even giving birth won’t change things down there very much, as vaginas are made to stretch and return to their regular shape without a hitch, whether that’s for a sex session or delivering a baby.

7. It Does *Not* Fundamentally Change

The vagina is built to experience sex and then go back to business as usual without any major, fundamental changes. “Sex doesn't change vaginas per se,” says Dr. Conti, further explaining that “you can't look at a vagina and tell whether or not someone is a virgin.” Really, the vagina recovers from sexual activity pretty quickly. “After sex, your vagina will typically go back to its usual size, color and temperature within a few minutes to a half-hour or more,” says Dr. Dean. For the most part, any physical changes to the vagina caused by sex are temporary.

Experts

Dr. Jenn Conti, OB-GYN and Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health

Dr. Gillian Dean, Provider at Planned Parenthood NYC, Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Dr. Nan Wise, PhD, AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) certified sex therapist, author of Why Good Sex Matters; Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life

This article was originally published on