Sex is fun, feels great and brings you closer to your partner—and regular intimacy is also good for your mental and physical health. Making love can improve your heart function, lower your stress and anxiety levels, reduce aches and so much more.

Unfortunately, some seemingly innocent habits before and after sex could cause problems in the sack, ruining your healthy fun. Here are seven things to avoid if you’re going to get intimate.

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1. Don’t shave right before sex

If you are the shaving type of person, then you should plan way ahead before you have sex, at least a day earlier. Shaving makes the skin around the genitals to be more sensitive, fragile and prone to irritation caused by friction during sex. It’s also advisable to use shaving cream or gel, shave in the direction the hair grows and apply fragrance-free lotion when done, so as to reduce the risk of irritation.

2. Avoid meals high in fat or super spicy foods

If you are planning to have sex, go slow on spicy foods like curry and peppers. You better tone it down on the hot sauce. This is because spicy foods trigger symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn and burning sensation in the throat. You may not be able to hold in burps or farts, if your body is sensitive to fiery foods. Foods that are rich and heavy, often are high in fat; for instance, fried chicken, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and caffeinated beverages can lead to heartburns because they’re hard to digest. It’s recommended that you go for fruits such as apples, bananas, or even oatmeal and graham crackers. ALSO READ:  Things you should do after sex

3. Don’t take an antihistamine

If you have cold, and you are feeling stuffy and can’t hold on coughs, you might be tempted to take antihistamines. You should avoid this at all cost, more so women. Though they can dry up running noses, these meds cause the vagina to dry. This is so because, these drugs cause mucous membranes to dry up all over the body. So, during sex the vagina will be less lubricated. You will end up having sandpaper sex, which may cause burning, itching or pain. But in case the intimacy moment comes up after taking the allergy meds, ensure you have a water-based lubricant handy for sex. To ease on the business, ensure you lube up.

4. Don’t skip the foreplay

Don’t jump into the act, try kissing, cuddling, massaging or oral stimulation. These are some forms of foreplay that can help get your partner in the mood. Foreplay raise the heart rate making you feel more connected to your partner, while at the same time preparing the genitals for sex. Men will start to get an erection as blood flow increases to the penis, while women will start to get wet as blood flow increases to the clitoris. This will make your intimacy more pleasurable.

5. Don’t drink too much alcohol

Most people have that mentality that drinking alcohol before sex puts you in the mood. But, do you know that alcohol contributes to erectile dysfunction (ED), making it hard to get and keep a strong erection to do the job. Though this problem arises in cases of heavy and frequent drinking that lead to ED in the long-term. Men, if you have to drink, then limit your alcohol intake to at most two drinks a day. And again, alcohol brings about false judgement, which can make a person do something which he/she will end up regretting. Like for instance, you may forget to use protection or even at extreme lengths end up forcing yourself on your partner who might not be in the mood. And by the way drunk sex, is the most unpleasant intimacy ever.

6. Don’t hold on peeing

if you’re prone to UTIs Sex is good, but it comes at a price. Being intimate may force the germs into the urethra, which can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). People who are sexually active tend to be more prone to UTIs. Urinating immediately before and after sex, will help reduce the risk of UTIs. If you need to enjoy the afterglow of sex, don’t exceed 5 minutes.

7. Don’t Douche

Cleaning inside the vagina after sex with water or pre-packaged fluids can open a leeway for more infections. Since this affects the natural balance of bacteria that protects the vagina. Naturally the vagina should clean itself.

8. Don’t forget to check for signs of bleeding or pain

Any type of pain or bleeding after sex can indicate an infection or friction during sex. Women should look for post coitus trauma to their vagina and seek medication.

9. Don’t forget to be tested

After sex, you should also check the condom, if it broke. Sometimes the condom might remain stuck in the vagina and this can lead to bacterial infections. In case you had unprotected sex, remember to be tested for STDs and pregnancy, for women. It’s always advisable to get tested if you’re sexually active, and more especially when you have been with a new partner. Normally STDs symptoms take a while to show, testing is the right way to find out if you contracted an infection. Look out for signs like, discharge, pain, blisters, sores, spots, or lumps around your genitals.

10. Don’t forget to wash your sex toys  

If you are the kind of person/people who use sex toys to make sex more pleasurable, remember to clean them always to prevent them getting germy. This should be done right before and immediately after sex. If not cleaned or poorly maintained, can cause bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal condition that causes a foul-smelling discharge. Your sex toy should come with disinfecting instructions.

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