Do You Really Need to Pee Before Sex?

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Why this should be part of your pre- (& post-)coital ritual

In the realm of widely held beliefs and myths about sex and sexual health, we give one particularly pervasive piece of advice to women: That they should always urinate before sex.

This, we’re told, possibly prevents urinary tract infections. But is this true, and is the practice of urinating before sex actually beneficial to most women? I spoke with Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, OB-GYN and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, about this subject.

So, for women who are susceptible to getting UTIs after they have sex, Hutcherson says that she tells them to urinate both after or before and after sex. "That’s because if you have urine in your bladder when you’re having sex, the bacteria that is pushed inside could multiply, especially if you don’t urinate within a few hours after intercourse," she notes.

Women who aren't particularly susceptible can still help prevent UTIs by peeing after sex. But Hutcherson's main takeaway is that urinating before sex is not necessary for all women But there are other reasons aside from preventing UTIs that compel many women to urinate before sex: mainly, pleasure. Hutcherson explains that from a pleasure standpoint, urinating before sexual activity is a good idea.

"When some women get close to orgasm, they feel like they need to pee, which means that it changes their focus to their bladder," she says. "It gets in the way of them reaching orgasm."

If a woman is exploring female ejaculation, emptying her bladder first may also relieve her worries about urinating. It's well-known that a feeling similar to an urge to pee is a common sensation right before female ejaculation; knowing that your bladder is actually empty might be the difference between holding the orgasm in and letting go.

As for me, I know that I like to urinate before sex because I have a rather small bladder, and nothing is more annoying than asking to be untied during a bondage session to go to the bathroom. Peeing before sex enables me to play with my partner for longer periods of time without interrupting for a pee break. This, indeed, increases my pleasure and my ability to engage in my pleasure as well as my partners'. Have you ever tried giving a blow job when you really need to pee?

In general, what I learned from speaking with Hutcherson is that if you don’t have a tendency to develop UTIs, you shouldn’t worry about whether or not you pee before or after sex. Most women's immune systems properly deal with the bacteria that cause these infections. If you must, peeing after sex is the better choice.

If you do often get UTIs, however, speak to your family doctor or OB-GYN about proper hygiene measures you can take around sexual activity to minimize the risks. As Hutcherson explains, you will probably be told to urinate at least after, but ideally both before and after.

Lastly, a full bladder can be a hindrance to orgasm for some women, so many of them prefer to engage in sexual activity after urinating. So stay hydrated, pee accordingly and enjoy yourself!

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