November 3, 2011

Q&A After Sex, Vagina Is Itchy & Puffy

How do you know what’s going on? Aside from checking in with a healthcare provider, you might try experimenting

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Question: I’ve recently been dating this guy whom I like a lot. We had sex over the weekend and now my vagina is itching and puffy. I don’t have any pain when I pee or anything but don’t understand why I am itching. Before this weekend it had been about 2 years since I had sex.

If your vagina or vulva is still itching and looking puffy, pink, red or inflamed, it’s worth checking in with a healthcare provider.

Is It An Allergy?

As you had sex with him only a couple of days earlier, it’s unlikely that you’re itching as a result of an STI – symptoms from chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and other STIs typically take longer to appear, if they ever do (many people never notice STI symptoms).

Did you use a condom when you had sex? If so, perhaps you are hypersensitive or allergic to an ingredient on the lubricant on the condom, if indeed the condom was pre-lubricated (most are).

If you added store-bought lubricant, or used an arousal cream of some sort, it’s also possible that you’re irritated as a result of being sensitive or allergic to an ingredient in one of those products.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t use a condom and your guy (boyfriend?) ejaculated inside of you, or on your vulva, then you may be hypersensitive or allergic to his semen. Some women are hypersensitive/allergic to the semen of a particular man and others are hypersensitive/allergic to semen in general.

Other times, the sensitivity or allergy isn’t to semen itself but to something the man ate or ingested (like nuts or penicillin) – if you’re allergic to certain foods, you may want to ask him to limit eating those foods or you may want to use condoms when you have sex.

So, how do you know what’s going on? Aside from checking in with a healthcare provider (after all, the itching/puffiness might not even be linked to sex; maybe you have a yeast infection) you might try experimenting.

Get Scientific

Once you feel like yourself again – with your vagina being free of itching and puffiness – try changing something about the way you had sex last time. If you didn’t use a condom last time, try using a condom this time.

If all goes well, then maybe you are indeed sensitive or allergic to his semen.

If so, you might stick with using condoms for a while but to test the theory out more fully, you two might decide to once again go without a condom to see what happens – just make sure to use some other form of reliable birth control and to both get tested for STIs before ditching condoms.

You can do similar at-home “experiments” with other aspects of sex. If you used a lubricated condom last time, try using an un-lubricated condom and see how that feels.

Or if you had very vigorous intercourse last time (which can cause vaginal irritation), try having more gentle intercourse this time. You may be able to fix the situation at home. If not, these types of at-home experiments can help give your doctor or nurse useful information in their quest to help you.

Read more about vaginal and vulvar health (and sex, not to mention vagina themed arts and crafts) in Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva.

Health-specific information can be found in The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health.

Next Question:Frustrated By Long Blowjob With A Virgin

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 6 months. I am his first girlfriend and he’s never had sex before. He hasn’t been able to reach an orgasm from a hand job, so I find a blow job the only way of pleasing him. However, it still takes him a while – sometimes nearly 45 minutes. He says that I’m not doing anything to cause him pain or discomfort and that he gets close but then it just starts to feel “different”. Is there anything that I can do or avoid doing to try to help him? At first I thought he was just nervous and I tried to get him to relax, but now I am starting to get a little frustrated.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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