Stay Safe for V-Day

Valentine’s Day is pretty much synonymous with crazy, no-boundaries, twist-your-body-into-unnatural-positions sex. It’s also assumed that if you have a lover, you’re probably going to want to take multiple romps in the sack.

But while Americans have been educated on preventing pregnancy and the contraction of sexually transmitted infections, there are multiple maladies you can contract by engaging in the wrong position, doing it too many times, or stopping before reaching orgasm. Boston University sexologist Teri Aronowitz addresses some major problems, and how to prevent and fix them.

  • Urinary tract infections. Also called UTIs, this infection of the urethra is more common in women than men. Since the urinary tract is internal in women, it lies close to both the anus and vagina, and is located much closer to the anus than in men. Because of this, women are more susceptible to bacteria entering and infecting their bladder during sex. “The urethra is pretty much caught between a rock and a hard place,” Aronowitz explains. Symptoms of  UTI include painful/burning urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, and painful cramps in the stomach and back. She suggests urinating after sex to prevent contracting a UTI, which will help bacteria leave the body.
  • Blue balls. Contrary to popular belief, guys aren’t the only unfortunate recipients of blue balls. Aronowitz related stories of women coming in to see her, complaining of vaginal discomfort. Instead of checking for infection, Aronowitz suggests a newfangled cure: masturbating. “When the clitoris is stimulated, the labia engorges it,” Aronowitz explained at a public function at the Women’s Resource Center. “If climax is not reached, the labia can continue to be swollen for days, which can pull on the clitoris and rub together as you walk.” This can cause the discomfort many of her patients feel. She suggests preventing this by making sure both you and your partner have reached climax during sex.
  • The wrong position. Anyone who sees Very Bad Things will be sexually scarred for life: Jeremy Piven’s character takes a prostitute into his hotel bathroom, engages in aggressive sexual intercourse, and slams her into the wall in a fit of passion. Unfortunately, the wall he chooses has a nail pointing out of it, punctures the prostitute’s skull, and dramatically kills her. While this scene is very rare, it certainly discourages one from having sex against walls. Aronowitz suggests avoiding scenes like this by being open and reading your partner’s body language to see if they like aggressive sex. She says agreeing upon a “safe word” at the beginning of the session will also help open communication during sex.
  • Dirty dildos. For couples who use adult toys as a special addition in their bedroom, passing them back and forth without cleaning them in between can lead to infection. Aronowitz suggests either introducing two toys – one for each person – or simply cleaning the one in use with soap and warm water before using it on your partner. She also suggests employing this cleaning method after each time the toy is used to prevent infections during future use.
  • Chafing. It is pretty tough to get too much of this good thing — but unfortunately, multiple bouts of sexual intercourse can cause discomfort in both parties, and can even lead to chafing. “It’s important that both parties are aware of each other, and making sure there is enough lubrication,” Aronowitz suggests. Bleeding after intercourse in women is also common. “It’s a natural response,” Aronowitz said. So before you decide to try for the 6th or 7th time in one day, reach for the lube!
  • Shaving. Chafing and discomfort in the nether regions could be a result of the “new sexual shaving,” according to Aronowitz. Since Americans now embrace shaving their downstairs for aesthetic, the fine bristles of hair – if not shaved closed enough – rub up against your partner, irritating his or her skin. Aronowitz also suggests that there has been an increase in HPV and other STIs due to this new trend: since the bristles rub abrasively, they can break the skin and easily transmit infections. People should either shave closely every day, or let their hair grow out to prevent this from happening, said Aronowitz.
  • Vaginismus. Vaginismus is defined as “the instantaneous, involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor muscles in anticipation of vaginal penetration,” according to “This muscle is pretty darn strong, and it has got a mind of its own,” Aronowitz said. If this muscle has been torn in the past, the muscle might seize up at the beginning of intercourse, resulting in discomfort and even pain in both partners. Aronowitz suggests having your partner practice a special technique to open the labia up: with two fingers, gently press down inside the vagina on the rectal area, following a half-moon shape while doing so. She also suggests going through mental therapy if the problem continues to persist.

There you have it. Be careful with the toys, shave completely clean (or not at all) and make sure to use plenty of lube! With all of these things in mind, you’re fully prepared to have crazy special sex while keeping yourself – and your partner – safe.

About Jackie Reiss

Jackie Reiss (COM '11) writes "The Hookup," a sex and relationships column, for the Quad.

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