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Itching After Sex - Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

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

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty

Published At October 10, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 4, 2023

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.

Frequently Asked Questions


How to Stop Privates From Itching?

Itching in the private parts may be dealt with at home or medically, depending on the cause and severity. 
At-home treatment options include the following: 
 - Use warm water to wash the genital area. 
 - Wipe or wash front-to-back. 
 - Do not use products like vaginal sprays and douches. 
 - Wear cotton underwear. 
 - Avoid using scented or harsh soaps, lotions, sprays, or perfumes in the genital area. 
 - Change underwear every day. 
 - Eat probiotic-rich foods or supplements to reduce the risks of yeast infections. 
 - Use protection during sexual intercourse. 
If the itching persists, report to a doctor immediately. The doctor will then prescribe treatment according to the cause. 
The options may include the following: 
 - Antifungal medications for yeast infections. 
 - Antibiotics, antiparasitics, or antivirals for sexually transmitted diseases. 
 - Antibiotics for bacterial vaginosis. 
 - Estrogen creams or tablets for menopause-related itching.


What Are Some Causes for Itching in the Privates?

Itching in the private parts can be due to a variety of reasons, such as:
 - Sexually transmitted diseases.
 - Conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, or eczema. 
 - Allergies.
 - Vaginal infections in females.
 - Menopause in females.
 - Jock itch in males.
 - Skin irritation arises from using harsh or excessively perfumed soaps and detergents.
 - Skin irritation from wearing tight clothing or sweating.
 - The use of products such as vaginal sprays and douches. 


What Creams Can Be Used for Genital Itching?

Creams may be used to treat genital itching, depending on the cause. In many cases, using a corticosteroid cream like hydrocortisone may be sufficient to relieve itching temporarily. Patients may use a topical antifungal cream like Clotrimazole if the reason is a fungal infection. Clotrimazole will not only kill the infection-causing yeast but also provides relief from the burning or itching sensations.


Why Is the Genital Region Itchy at Night?

Itching in the genital region may often be more noticeable at night. 
This could be due to any of the following reasons: 
 - Fewer distractions at night make itching more noticeable and difficult to ignore.
 - Temperature changes.
 - Having sexual intercourse at night.
 - Changes in moisture levels at night. 


Can Vaseline Be Applied on the Outside of the Vagina?

 - Vaseline may be applied externally on the vulva, as it can provide a soothing effect after shaving, or simply be used on the vulva as a moisturizer daily. 
 - However, it should never be applied inside the vagina.
 - It should also not be used as a lubricant during sex by application to condoms or by direct application inside the vagina.


Why Does the Genital Area Become Dry?

Dryness in the genital area could be due to a number of reasons, including the following: 
 - Conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, psoriasis, lichen sclerosus, and thyroid disease.
 - Sexually transmitted infections.
 - Smoking.
 - Cold climate.
 - Allergic reactions or contact dermatitis are due to products such as soaps, lotions, douches, scented sanitary pads, detergents, vaginal sprays, and perfumes.
 - Skin irritation.


How Can Dryness in the Privates Be Cured?

Some of the ways to reduce dryness in the private parts include the following:
 - Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. 
 - Regularly moisturize the area with a good, non-irritating moisturizer. 
 - Avoid the use of harsh, scented products. 
 - Do not wear tight clothing. 
 - Avoid long, hot showers. 
If these do not work, consult a doctor who will prescribe the requisite medications depending on the cause and individual patient needs. 


How to Tell if One Has Pubic Lice?

 - Pubic lice may be seen in the pubic hair on close inspection.
 - The affected individual may experience itching, especially at night.
 - The underwear may have brown to dark red spots, indicating lice feces.
 - Small blue or red spots may be noticeable on the skin due to lice bites.
 - White or yellow dots (lice eggs) may be visible on the pubic hair. 


How Do People Get Pubic Lice?

 - The most typical way that pubic lice spreads is through close bodily contact. This may usually involve sexual contact.
 - Using the same towels, clothes, or bedding as an infected person may also cause infection, but this is not very common.
 - Lice can climb from person to person, so it is necessary to avoid genital contact. 


Are Pubic Lice Considered a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?

 - Pubic lice may be transmitted through sexual contact.
 - However, pubic lice are not an actual infection or disease.
 - They may often occur in tandem with other sexually transmitted infections, so patients should be tested for STIs.


How to Get Rid of Pubic Lice Quickly?

 - Medicated creams, shampoos, lotions containing 1 % Permethrin, or a mousse containing Piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrins may treat pubic lice effectively.
 - However, it should be remembered that it takes about two weeks for the lice to go away and that there may be a challenging fix. Patients should use the given medication precisely as their doctors prescribe and not attempt to increase or decrease the number of times they use it.
 - Symptomatic relief after the first use should not be considered evidence of complete recovery, and patients should ensure that they avoid sexual contact and use the medication until they are entirely free of pubic lice.


What Happens if Pubic Lice Are Left Untreated?

 - Untreated pubic lice can be pretty problematic.
 - Patients may develop itchy, scaly skin.
 - They may also develop infections from scratching.
 - Sores may develop in the area. 
 - There may be skin color changes. 
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Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty



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