FAQ: Can I Have Sex If...?

Detailed Question: 

When is it ok for a woman to have sex?


Can I have sex if I have a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

Yes. A UTI is not contagious. Having sex will not delay the healing process once antibiotics have been started. However, friction on already-inflamed tissue may worsen the symptoms of the UTI. Having sex with a UTI will not pose any health risks, but may be slightly uncomfortable. Do what feels right for you body.


Can I have sex when I have a yeast infection?

Yes. A woman most likely will not transmit a yeast infection to her partner during sex since it is NOT an STI. However, using protection is recommended if one partner has a yeast infection. That way, partners will not reinfect each other with the infectious form of yeast that may have caused the original outbreak. A male partner may experience some itching, but yeast infections do not grow on dry skin (like that of the shaft of the penis). Yeast organisms thrive mostly in warm, moist environments. Meaning that two female partners may want to abstain from sexual activity to prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms. Also, sex may aggravate the already existing symptoms of a yeast infection, but will not worsen an existing condition.


Can I have sex when I have an appointment with my gynecologist?

No. Sex before a Pap smear may irritate the vaginal issue, increasing the chances of receiving a false positive test result. The test may indicate the presence of a problem when there is not one. A woman should abstain from vaginal intercourse for 48 hours before seeing her gynecologist. It is also recommended for women to avoid receiving oral sex as well to ensure accurate test results.


Can I have sex when I have a cold or the flu?

Yes. Cold and flu germs are spread from the nose and mouth, not sexual fluids. Being sexually active is technically ok, but there is a high chance of transferring your cold to your partner since you are in such close quarters. It is wise to abstain from all sexual activity for a few days. If it is a sickness that may be cured through antibiotics, you are usually not contagious 48 hours after starting antibiotics. However, we are not doctors so it is wise to check with them before engaging in sexual activity. If you are going to have sex, consider positions where you are not directly face-to-face with your partner (such as doggie-style) to avoid kissing them or spreading germs.

Can I have sex when I have a cold sore?

No. The oral type of herpes (herpes simplex I) usually infects the mouth. However, it can still affect other areas of the body, including the genitals. Herpes infections are extremely contagious, especially when a sore is present. It is important to steer clear of oral sex and kissing until the sore heals completely. It is also important to not use spit while masturbating, as you may infect your own genitals if you are not careful. Use other forms of lube until the sore completely disappears.


Created April 6, 2003, last updated May 29, 2012



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