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Itching After Sex - Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Published on Oct 10, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 14, 2023   -  7 min read


Itching after sex, although quite common, can be embarrassing and affect the quality of sexual lives. For more information, read the following article.

What Is Genital Itching?

Genital itching refers to an itching or burning sensation or redness in and around the vagina or penis.

What Are the Common Causes of Genital Itchiness?

Several factors may cause genital itchiness:

  • Allergic reactions.

  • Dryness in the genital area.

  • Diabetes mellitus.

  • Pubic lice.

  • Cancer- Cancers of the penis or vulva

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)- Trichomoniasis, genital herpes.

  • Skin Disorders- Eczema, psoriasis.

  • Bacterial vaginosis.

  • Vaginitis- Vaginal tissue inflammation.

  • Vaginal yeast infection.

  • Scabies- Contagious disease caused by mites.

  • Chemical Irritants- Soaps, detergents, perfumes, creams, sexual lubricants, and ointments.

  • Menopause- Estrogen levels fall in menopause, resulting in vaginal dryness.

  • Tinea Cruris- Fungal skin infection in the groin area, also known as ringworm of the groin and jock itch.

What Causes Itching After Sex?

Itching after sex can be quite common and is not necessarily a cause for concern. In many cases, self-care is enough to deal with the problem. However, itching may be persistent in some cases and require a closer examination to determine the possible causes and get treatment if necessary.

The causes of itching after sex may include:

Minor Causes-

  • Dry skin.

  • Rough sex.

  • Insufficient lubrication during sex.

  • Excessive friction during sex.


1. Latex Allergy- Wearing a condom made of latex could lead to a latex allergy in males. While latex allergies are quite rare, they can lead to extreme discomfort and symptoms like :

  • Itching.

  • Rashes.

  • Swelling.

  • Wheezing.

  • Watery eyes.

  • Runny nose.

  • Scratchy throat.

  • Hives.

2. Infections- Infections of the penis that may cause itching include:

A. Yeast Infections- A yeast infection is a fungal infection caused by the fungus Candida. Affected areas include the foreskin and the glans penis (head of the penis). It is also called male candidiasis or thrush. While uncommon in men, a yeast infection may occur in men with diabetes or men with a female partner who has vaginal candidiasis. It presents with:

  • Red or discolored rash on the penis.

  • Itching.

  • Burning sensation.

  • Pain.

  • White, shiny patches on the penis.

  • A thick white, lumpy substance (discharge) under the foreskin or the folds of skin in the penis.

  • Moist skin on the penis.

B. Balanitis- Balanitis is the term used to refer to inflammation of the head of the penis (called the glans penis). It is more likely to occur in uncircumcised males. It may be caused by poor hygiene, skin disorders, and infections and presents with:

  • Genital itching.

  • Penile pain.

  • Rashes.

  • Discharge with a foul odor.

  • Swelling.

3. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)- STIs that can result in itching include:

  • Genital herpes.

  • Genital warts.

  • Gonorrhea.

  • Trichomoniasis.

  • Chlamydia.

Scabies, which is a contagious skin disease caused by mites, and pubic lice can also be transmitted through sexual contact and cause excessive itching in and around the genital area.

Symptoms that may indicate the presence of an STI are:

  • Rashes.

  • Swelling.

  • Penile discharge - green, yellow, or white in color.

  • Pain on urination.

  • Burning sensation on urination.

  • Blisters, sores, or warts on or near the penis and mouth.

  • Flu-like symptoms.

  • Redness.

  • Discoloration.

  • Pain in the penis, testicles (oval-shaped male reproductive organs or gonads), and scrotum (the loose bag of skin that holds and protects the testicles).

  • Rectal pain.

4. Reaction to Spermicides- A spermicide is a contraceptive chemical substance for women inserted into the vagina immediately before sex. It can prevent pregnancy by:

  • Stopping sperm movement so that it cannot reach the egg.

  • Blocking the cervical entrance prevents sperm movement in the direction of the egg.

The chemicals in spermicides (such as Nonoxynol-9) can cause allergies and sensitivity mostly in males, although females may also display reactions. This sensitivity may be manifested as genital itching.


1. Vaginal Dryness- Dryness of the vagina can occur due to reasons such as:

  • Lack of arousal.

  • Hormonal Changes- Pregnancy, menopause.

  • Disorders- Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus.

  • Medications- Antidepressants, hormonal birth control medications.

  • Surgery- Oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries), hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus).

  • Chemotherapy in cancer patients.

The symptoms associated with vaginal dryness include:

  • Itching.

  • Frequent urge to urinate.

  • Vaginal pain during penetrative intercourse.

2. Sperm Allergy- Seminal plasma hypersensitivity is a rare allergic reaction to sperm - specifically to the proteins present in semen (which is the ejaculatory fluid that carries sperm). Symptoms may appear between 10-30 minutes after intercourse and include:

  • Itching.

  • Burning sensation.

  • Pain.

  • Redness or discoloration.

  • Swelling.

3. Latex Allergy- Women with latex allergies may display mild to moderate and severe symptoms, including itching, when their partner uses a latex condom. The symptoms include:

  • Itching.

  • Hives.

  • Rashes.

  • Redness or discoloration.

  • Sneezing.

  • Coughing.

  • Wheezing.

  • Breathing difficulty.

  • Dizziness.

  • Nausea.

  • Vomiting.

  • Confusion.

4. Infections- Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are common causes of genital itching.

A. Yeast Infections- Female candidiasis or thrush is caused by the fungus Candida. It causes:

  • Extreme itchiness of the vagina.

  • Vaginal irritation.

  • Thick white discharge from the vagina.

B. Bacterial Vaginosis- Bacterial vaginosis refers to vaginal inflammation caused by bacterial overgrowth in the vagina. Causes may include vaginal douching or unsafe sex practices. The symptoms include:

  • Itching of the vagina.

  • Vaginal odor.

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.

  • Fever.

  • Spotting between periods.

5. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)- Sexually transmitted infections can be passed through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. STIs that can result in vaginal itching include:

  • Genital herpes.

  • Genital warts.

  • Gonorrhea.

  • Trichomoniasis.

  • Chlamydia.

Scabies (contagious skin disease caused by mites) and pubic lice can also be transmitted through sexual contact and cause excessive itching in and around the genital area.

The symptoms that may occur with STIs are:

  • Intense itching of the vagina.

  • Painful urination.

  • Bleeding between periods.

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.

  • Vaginal odor.

  • Rectal pain.

  • Genital and mouth sores.

6. pH Imbalance- The normal pH range for healthy vaginas should fall in the 3.8 - 4.5 range (mildly acidic). When this pH balance is upset, the chances of getting vaginal infections increase exponentially. Causes may include:

  • Semen - alkaline in nature.

  • Douching.

  • Certain antibiotics.

  • Menstruation.

The symptoms commonly associated with pH imbalance include:

  • Itching and irritation.

  • Foul odor.

  • Burning sensation when peeing.

  • Abnormal thick vaginal discharge.

7. Flavored Condoms- The chemicals in flavored condoms may rarely cause allergic reactions in the vagina, including itching.

How Can Itching After Sex Be Prevented?

  • Use condoms made of polyurethane or lambskin in case of latex allergy.

  • Use condoms in case of sperm allergy to prevent direct contact with sperm.

  • Use flavored condoms only for oral sex and not penetrative sex in case of sensitivity to the chemicals. However, this may also cause oral reactions and sensitivity, so remain cautious.

  • Avoid douching - it upsets the natural vaginal pH balance.

  • Avoid using harsh chemical products, including detergents, soaps, and perfumes, either on underwear or directly in genital areas.

  • Avoid using scented sanitary or feminine hygiene products.

  • Use water-based lubricants to avoid having sex with dryness or increased friction.

  • Engage in foreplay for natural lubrication.

  • Use vaginal moisturizers for lubrication.

  • Switch from spermicides to other birth control methods or change the spermicide brand used.

  • Keep the genital area clean with mild products formulated for sensitive skin.

  • Use only a mild soap with warm water to wash the genital areas.

How Is Itching After Sex Treated?

1. Avoid sexual intercourse until symptoms improve.

2. Use over-the-counter creams or treatment kits for mild yeast infections.

3. Medications- Treatment from physicians is indicated in case of severe infections, allergies, or STIs. This may include:

  • Topical, oral, and injectable antibiotics.

  • Topical or oral corticosteroids.

  • Antiviral drugs for infections.

  • Antifungal drugs for infections.

  • Antihistamines and EpiPen prescriptions for severe latex and sperm allergies and for anaphylactic reactions (severe, life-threatening allergic reactions).

  • Sperm tolerance may be developed with help from a doctor who can inject diluted semen into the vagina and increase the amount in gradual doses, thereby creating tolerance.

  • Topical drugs for warts.

4. Surgical Procedures- Surgical laser removal of warts, cryosurgery for warts.


While genital itching after sex does not necessarily mean an infection or the need for immediate medical attention, it can be challenging to live with. Therefore, if frequent episodes of itching after sex are noted, consult a doctor and obtain the requisite treatment so that sexual activity continues to represent pleasure and happiness rather than dread.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
14 Feb 2023  -  7 min read




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