You’re probably well aware of what should be done before physical intimacy ― from communication to setting the mood ― but you may be less certain about what should be done after sex. After all, there’s a wide variety of post-coital preferences: Some like to sleep it off, others like to cuddle quietly, some like to laugh or talk. However, you should also be making moves for your physical and mental health.
By doing just a few essential things right after you enjoy your partner, you can extend intimacy and promote optimum sexual well-being. Below are a few expert-backed activities you should consider right after every romp for your own health:
Hit the bathroom.
What everyone hears about peeing after sex is true, said Sunny Rodgers, a certified sex coach and ambassador for the American Sexual Health Association. It’s a necessity.
“This is the first step I always suggest for right after sex,” Rodgers explained. “This ‘clears the pipes’ and can help dispel any bacteria or toxins.” Afterward, Rodgers said you might want to briefly wash up, “using a clean washcloth, gentle unscented soap and warm water.”
This essential hygiene step will do a lot to ensure comfort and help protect against infections, like painful UTIs, Rodgers said. An added PSA: Also remember to wash from front to back.
Choose breathable underwear.
Next, Rodgers suggested selecting breathable underwear from your drawer.
“Cotton is the best for allowing genitals to breathe,” she explained. “Being a natural fiber, cotton is also hypoallergenic, highly absorbent, and won’t irritate your most sensitive regions ― which are prone to heightened sensitivity and moisture after sex.”
There’s a reason pillow talk is so satisfying ― you’re primed for bonding. Each time you have sex with a partner, “the love hormone,” scientifically known as oxytocin, is released.
“This hormone creates a feeling of closeness,” said Chamin Ajjan, a New York City-based psychotherapist and sex therapist. “Talking with your partner after sex is a great way to connect and create even more intimacy. You can talk about your hopes, your dreams, what you would like to do with your partner, or anything that is important to you.”
Either grab a bottle of water from the fridge and put it on your nightstand before you have sex, or make sure to hit the kitchen just after.
“Drinking a minimum of eight ounces of water after sex play can help you hydrate and keep your energy levels up, since sexual stimulation can definitely deplete strength,” Rodgers said. “It can also help flush out bacteria from urinary tracts.” Sip up.
Grab a snack.
It’s not unheard of to feel hungry after sex, because you burn calories and get your heart rate up. Grab a snack after, like chia seeds or green tea, Rodgers suggested. Or, you can try one of these post-burn foods.
You can also consider cooking something simple but satisfying together, like an omelette, Ajjan said. It’s a great way to continue bonding and use more teamwork and communication.
Compliment each other.
In order to get the most out of future sexual encounters, it’s important to verbalize what you liked with your partner.
“Immediately after sex, oxytocin is still high,” said Karla Ivankovich, a couples therapist and clinical counselor at OnePatient Global Health. “Share with one another what it is that you really enjoyed about your intimacy, physically or emotionally, is a great way to keep bonding.”
Even if you didn’t reach orgasm, connecting on an emotional level and communicating with each other allows for “everyone’s needs to be met,” explained Ivankovich.
Right after sex, you can also keep yourself in a playful mindset and connect with a bit of humor.
“In the post-coital state of euphoria, everything seems better anyway,” Ivankovich said. “Tell a corny joke, be silly, and extend the time in intimacy. That extra time is important; if one partner leaves too quickly, someone feels like their high just crashed to the bottoms.”
Overall, try not to think of sex as a just one-act play. It should also revolve around relaxing together, prolonging intimacy, and taking care of your health, too.
This post originally appeared on HuffPost.