What do people do about cleanup after sex?

Jay Dee

What do people do about cleanup after sex?

Aug 28, 2017

Sex can often by a bit of a messy activity.  Between bodily fluids and lube, there’s generally a lot of liquids to deal with after you’re done.  And unfortunately, no one really talks about it, so you don’t really know what to expect, or how

What do people do about cleanup after sex? 6 options for post-sex cleanup.Sex can often by a bit of a messy activity.  Between bodily fluids and lube, there’s generally a lot of liquids to deal with after you’re done.  And unfortunately, no one really talks about it, so you don’t really know what to expect, or how to deal with it.

This week I had a reader ask about this, so I thought I’d tackle it, because, frankly, I’m surprised we haven’t already.

I have a question about post-sex cleanup. My wife and I have been married for 4 years, and even since our honeymoon, we’ve almost always put a towel down under her/us as a quick clean up method. While I generally don’t mind this, it can be frustrating if we’ve been going for a while and then need to stop, grab a towel, and then continue. I definitely understand her wanting to be clean/dry and not get the bed all messy. I was wondering what other people do about the cleanup. Do most people just not worry about it and wash their sheets more often? Using specially designated towels has worked for us this long, but it would be nice to either try something different or not even worry about it. Do you have any suggestions?

Cleanup can be a tricky topic.  I mean, if you rush to clean up, it can seem like you feel disgusted by the fluids, which can be rather insulting to your spouse.  If you don’t, well, warm liquids are fine, but when they get cold and sticky… that can start to feel uncomfortable.  If you fall asleep, some people get UTIs if they don’t clean up.

Some women feel grossed out by the feeling of semen leaking out (please don’t tell your husband his semen is disgusting), others love the feeling.  Some are surprised that that even happens and wonder if their’s something wrong with them that it’s not staying inside (the answer is no, you’re perfectly normal there, it’s just … gravity).  Some guys freak out if semen gets on them, others couldn’t care less.

Whatever your dynamic, I thought I’d give some options for you to consider.  They may not all work for you, but at least you should have a few you can choose from.

Option 1. Leave it where it lands

There’s nothing wrong with semen, vaginal lubrication, saliva or lube.  If it doesn’t bother you, then you can just go to sleep.  This isn’t an option for some people because of the “ick” factor, the feeling, too wet (sleeping in a puddle) or a propensity for urinary tract infections (UTIs).  But, provided it’s not bothering you, there’s nothing saying you have to clean up right after sex.  Some people just go to sleep.

Now, if you’re going to do this, it might be a good idea to have a mattress protector just so that you don’t have to worry that your mattress is going to get stained or wet.

Option 2. Put something down before sex

Some people put down towels before they have sex.  Now, if you’re going to do this, I suggest some nice soft towels, we have some bamboo towels that are the softest I’ve ever felt.  I’m not sure where we got them, but they look like these.  That way you can have your fun and then just wash the towel later.

The only problem is that towels are generally fairly small, so that adds to the logistics of changing positions and things.

Alternatively, Sportsheets makes a throw that can cover a king sized bed specially designed for sex.  Easy to clean, plus, it comes with these neat velco pads that stick to it if you’re into playing with restraints.  Since it covers the whole bed, you can move around all you want, then just either just clean it off quickly or throw it in the wash afterwards.  A bit easier than changing the sheets, and if it stains you don’t care all that much because it’s not going to be on the bed while guests are walking through the house.

Option 3. Keep a stack of washcloths near by

My wife used to be a professional hairdresser (she still has the skills, just doesn’t work in the field any longer), and she used to own a shop.  So, we have tons of little towels around the house from her hairdressing days.  Like at least a laundry bag or two.  With 5 kids in the house, it’s nice to have so many.  It’s also handy to keep a stack of a half dozen of them or so in the nightstand beside the bed.  That way if we need to clean up, we just have to roll over and grab one.

What do people do about cleanup after sex?Option 4. Don’t make a mess

Lastly, there is an option to simply ensure you don’t make a big mess.  As with the first option, this isn’t for everyone.  If you use condoms, then cleanup is pretty easy (unless you have a lot of lube, natural or otherwise), likewise if you end the sex session in oral sex with swallowing (which apparently about half of wives are willing to, according to our 2013 survey), well, that takes care of a lot of the mess.  Not saying you have to, just saying it’s an option.

Option 5. Have sex in the shower

You could always have sex in the shower.  That way you’re already there and it’s easy to clean off and go to bed.  Just be careful, because bathtubs are slippery.  You could always just have sex in the bathroom bent over the counter, and then jump in the shower afterwards.

Option 6. Full service treatment

Alright, this last one is to challenge you.  Whichever spouse did not orgasm last gets up, goes to the bathroom and gets:

  1. A washcloth wet with warm water
  2. A dry towel
  3. A glass of water

Then bring it to your spouse who is basking in the afterglow, wipe them down with the warm washcloth, dry them off with the towel so they don’t get cold, cover them up with the blanket (unless they’re still too hot) and offer them water to replenish their fluids.  Watch their oxytocin jump through the roof from the aftercare.

What you should not do is get a washcloth with cold water and just toss it on their stomach … it’s not pleasant.


So, there you go.  Six ways to deal with the clean up of sex.   Readers, if you have any more, let us know!

Looking for help?

31 thoughts on “What do people do about cleanup after sex?”

  1. Darren says:

    #7 – keep a box of tissue beside the bed. When husband’s deed it done, wife grabs a wad of tissue and uses it as a temporay dam until she can get to the bathroom and deposit the contents in the toilet where all is flushed away. This is especially succesful if she can have the dam in place before he withdraws. Woman on top positions will often allow some to slip by, but probably onto the husband, occasionally on the sheets.
    I know – this doesn’t sound all that sexy, and it isn’t – that is another story perhaps. But it is the way my wife has been handling the mess for 20+ years. About 1/3 the time she’ll bring me a warm washcloth back. I do appreciate that. The other 2/3, I follow her in the bathroom and do my own cleanup.
    This is completely her idea and her personal hangup with any “mess” getting anywhere externally on her. She doesn’t care if it’s on me (but then neither do I.)

    1. Kay says:

      Toilet paper roll here! We keep it classy. ?

  2. gdschut says:

    Thats exactly what I was thinking: Missing the tissues option! And having kids with wet noses from time to time it is a good excuse to have a box in almost every room in the house, which of course also could be used for more intimate times ;P Only need to grab a towel to protect the sofa ?

  3. Cara says:

    Baby wipes. We keep baby wipes and a trash basket handy. They make wipes warmers if they are too cold for you…

  4. Kay says:

    When my sister and her husband bought their first house recently, I confess this was one of my first questions (that I did not ask out loud) because there is no bathroom on the same level as their bedroom. So how do you clean up and go pee? The nearest bathroom is downstairs between what will be the kids’ bedroom when they have kids. No thank you! No bathroom near my bedroom is a deal breaker for me, thanks to sex and pregnancy. ?

    We have a roll of toilet paper by our bed. I catch what I can with my hand or with the toilet paper and let whatever else is there fall out onto my husband. (He’s a big dude and I’m bigly pregnant, so me on top is only option right now.) I then hand the TP to my husband while I hobble to the bathroom. I’m thankful ours is connected to our bedroom; it isn’t private, but we have our own entrance. I urinate to prevent UTI and wipe anything else away. Hubby just wipes off with the TP but doesn’t feel the need to wash off any better than that. We probably used to clean up more in the past, but 10 years and four kids in, we just don’t care much anymore. Ha. It is very unusual that anything gets on the sheets.

    1. Alex says:

      Your husband is lucky. When my wife was pregnant, there was no sex for us! She didn’t want it. I have found that after sex if I use TP to clean myself up it sticks to me. So I use a wet wash cloth if need be.

  5. Chris Tian says:

    Great topic to post about and I concur with the “tissues beside the bed” a nice box that can look innocent to other eyes but has its uses for your intimate times. I am glad it’s being discussed, my husband wouldn’t even wait when we first got married he’d jump straight up to wipe, wash and sometimes even shower! Which I had to tell him I found creepy and it made me feel disgusting -he used to wash twice a day and I feel a bit obsessed with cleaning -but he is much better now. I don’t mind that he wants to clean up now and he does it in a way that is far less clinical. I just wish he’d stay awake a bit longer after having sex lol! Culture plays a big part in this I feel.

  6. K J says:

    We use old beach towels–I keep a few around the house so they’re easily accessible 🙂 I sweat a lot and like to have something all the way under me or big enough that I can wipe my hands (of lube) on them and not get the comforter(s). We tried washcloths, but I did not like them nearly as much. Typically we both head to the bathroom after; I use the towel to keep anything from dripping on the floor, and then my husband uses it to wash/dry off. It’s usually pretty organized like this, but there have also been times when we’ve just grabbed a piece of clothing that we took off and used it in place of a towel and then jumped in the shower together after!

  7. DomesticDame says:

    We have a waterproof mattress cover on our bed. We keep tissues close by, but he has to wash up afterwards, because he doesn’t like the after sex smell afterwards.
    If it gets too messy, I just put a hand towel on top of it.

  8. Alex says:

    We are mostly option 3. Honestly, we don’t worry too much about messes as a result of sex–the best sex is messy and my wife understands (and seems to like) the fact that semen tends to create sticky messes and the amount and velocity of ejaculation can vary and is unpredictable. Most of the time, my semen is going to get on my wife whether it’s on her body or on her face somewhere (from oral sex), etc. She’s pretty laid back about it (always has been) and will just use a washcloth to clean up. If my semen is inside her, again, she’ll use a washcloth as appropriate. If my semen is in her mouth, she always swallows it. Occasionally, some semen might get on the bed sheets and in that case we just lay a wash cloth down and go to sleep. None of this is a big deal. If it’s a really big mess, such as a mess in her hair (this is to be avoided but accidents can happen), she and/or I might get in the shower and clean up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wife and I usually use options 2 or 6, but last time I opted to lick her clean. It was really very erotic and actually tasted pretty good. I know not everyone is in to that, but it’s another option.

    1. Alex says:

      You have to be kidding me? Wow. I have tasted it (but not in the presence of my wife) and it’s NOT good. I don’t think I could ever do what you did. The closest might be kissing my wife after some oral.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        Well, it tends to be the healthier you eat, the better you taste. Maybe check your diet 🙂

        1. Alex says:

          Jay Dee: I eat a very healthy diet. I just don’t think it’s possible for sperm to taste anything other than kind of yucky. That said, I have never heard my wife say a negative word about it.

          1. Jay Dee says:

            “Healthy Diet” means different things to different people.

      2. A says:

        If you want her to swallow it’s a little bit ridiculous that you cannot even stand the taste haha

        Once, my husband was heavily supplementing with garlic and he tasted how you would expect – I still went with it but we had a talk about cutting down his supplementation after that lol

        1. Alex says:

          A: I have no expectations for my wife to swallow. She swallows and I love it but I never have expectations on that.

    2. Ernest Same says:

      Oh even cleaner, no sex at all. My mattress is a stain free paradise.

  10. Austin Reason says:

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to echo all the “box of tissues by the bed” comments above. We usually keep a box on both of our nightstands for regular allergy/cold use anyway, so it’s discreet (as someone said above). Also, heading to the bathroom right after is just good sense for ladies. UTI’s are a real possibility if you’re not getting everything out relatively soon.

  11. Jerry says:

    We keep hand towels in a drawer next to our bed. Problem is, we seldom make love in bed. We are an “all around the house” couple, an advantage of the empty nest. If we plan, then one of us usually makes sure one of those hand towels is already near. If we don’t plan, then an article of cast-aside clothing works just fine. It’s usually my t-shirt. This may seem crude or unsanitary, but there hasn’t been an issue yet.

    Off topic, but what I find fascinating are the physiological differences between men and women when it comes to post-sex urination, as mentioned in some of the previous comments. It seems that after sex women can, immediately. Maybe I’m unique, but it is impossible for me up to an hour afterward. It has even been painful if I’ve forced the issue.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      That’s because, for men, urine and semen travel down urethra, and urine kills semen. So, there is a mechanism in men to ensure that it is difficult to urinate while aroused. For women, than mechanism doesn’t need to be there, because semen or eggs don’t travel during the same channels as urine.

      That’s why they can urinate regardless of arousal, but men generally have to wait a period of time that’s different for every one.

    2. A says:

      I have trouble urinating after sex and I am a woman.

      This usually means I sit the bathroom for up to 5 minutes trying to go. I don’t want to risk a UTI. I have never had one but I always pee and do a little clean up after sex. And I am pretty hygienic showering everyday and clean underwear everyday.

  12. Sparhawk says:

    My wife and I have always had and towels or washclothes next to the bed. I don’t know how this started but I think it was her. We usually bask in the afterglow for a while but when things start to cool down it’s gotta go. Just a note, we used to use the older, cheaper ones but we moved recently and this only ones handy were the newer super soft ones. Within the week we were at Bed,Bath,and Beyond spending some money. Trust me they are worth the price!!!!!!

  13. Bruce says:

    Jay, since biblical intimacy is between a husband and wife, I encourage you to choose photos with couples wearing wedding bands.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I get what you’re saying. However, there are a few problems with your … encouragement (which feels more like a rebuke):

      1) Not every culture believes in wedding bands. There are even Christian denominations even that forgo them intentionally recognizing that wedding bands were originally a pagan cultural symbol and has ties to beliefs in reincarnation. We need to be careful about value we place on symbols.

      2) Not every couple feels the need to wear their wedding bands, even if they have them. I lost my original ring in a lake and didn’t wear one for many years. I do now, but it doesn’t make me feel any more or less married. My wife currently doesn’t wear any because her finger size changed after one of the pregnancies. Doesn’t make me feel that she’s any more or less committed, nor does anyone question whether or not she’s married. Furthermore, many people take their rings off at night, because it’s more comfortable for sleeping. So, images of couples married couples in bed may or may not have rings, even if they have rings and choose to wear them regularly.

      3) It’s extremely hard to find photos that I can legally share (due to royalty restrictions, copyright, attribution laws, permissions, etc.). Further restricting it to require rings means no more pictures. Ever. I’ll give up.
      Because frankly, I already spend about a half an hour each post looking for images, and then another half an hour editing them for the various social media channels. Now, if you want to send me images that don’t require attribution, are royalty free and you can prove you have the permissions to distribute them. Send me one for each post, I’ll be happy to take a look at them. No guarantee I’ll use them, because I still might like the image I found better.

      Make sense?

      So, I guess I’d encourage you not to judge people’s relationships based on what jewelry they happen to be wearing in a snapshot.

      Or, you can simply see what I’m trying to get at with the picture, which is generally the feeling more than the minute details.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Plus, you know, plenty of intimacy occurs between people who aren’t married at all.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          It does, but it in the context of Christianity, it shouldn’t.

  14. Wayne says:

    Liberator has a satin waterproof sheet, very pricey, but works well and can be taken and used anywhere.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s been so long, so I don’t remember what we used to do….I know I may sound strange but thus whole thread screams “mood buster”

  16. Anonymous says:

    My husband and I usually just wipe off with a towel instead of getting up to do the whole shower thing we just wait till the morning makes it more intimate and we both can’t stand the icky feeling of the Sperm all over the sheets so I usually just put a panty liner on to catch whatever falls during the night and get up to pee to prevent UTI whenever I have to go. I just think it takes the whole intimacy/romance when u get up right away to go shower or clean off I use to do that but by the time I’d finish cleaning myself off my husband already would be asleep lol and also just cause u shower doesn’t mean your totally clean sperm still falls out through the night and I don’t like my clothes being wet so I use panty liners that way the sperm won’t go through my clothes or sheets and just shower in the morning?

  17. Fang Volume says:

    I love it she keeps it inside i fell connected with her because a part of me inside her

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