What It Means When Women's Smell Changes After Sex

Sex can be a passionately messy act, complete with different tastes, scents, and sensations. From sharing saliva and bodily fluids to getting some of your partner's sweat on you (if the sex is particularly acrobatic), nothing is off the table usually. 

And while you might be accustomed and even turned on by the different smells that meet your nostrils during intimacy with your significant other, some scents might leave you with raised eyebrows. We're talking about the way your vagina smells after the act. You now what we're talking about. You roll out of bed, spent from a love-making session, go into your bathroom to pee and get a whiff of your lady parts. Something smells off.

Turns out, this is due to one of the surprising things that happens to your body during sex — the introduction of various substances to your nether regions that alter its pH balance. We're talking semen, vaginal fluids, saliva, condoms, lubricants, sweat, and moving between anal and penetrative sex. All of these factors can change the way you smell down there. Let's take a closer (ahem) look. 

Vaginal pH and how sex changes things (including smell)

Maintaining your vaginal pH balance is part of keeping your nether regions healthy and happy. Normal pH is considered between 3.8 and 5, per Medical News Today. The pH is also want contributes toward smell down there. 

Some of the things that alter the pH include menstrual blood, douching, infections, and of course, sex and most of its associated activities. In the case of semen, its alkaline properties can interact with the vagina's acidic nature and cause a temporary change in odor. Bacteria and enzymes in saliva can alter the pH and change your smell too. Even in the case of vulva-to-vulva intercourse, an exchange of vaginal fluids can temporarily alter the way your nether regions smell. Latex from condoms and sex toys, and lubricants, particularly the scented or flavored kind, can also lead to you getting a whiff of something different post-coitus. In fact, allergic reactions to scented condoms can lead to your pee burning after sex too.  

If you've just moved between anal sex and penetrative vaginal intercourse, there is a chance that you've transferred some of the stuff (poop) from that region to your lady bits as well, leading (quite obviously) to a change in odor. Let's move on to more serious implications changes in smell might mean. 

Other, more serious reasons for why your smell changes down there

A possible health concern when moving between anal sex and regular sex is something called bacterial vaginosis or BV. While a change in the balance of vaginal pH is what causes bacterial vaginosis, things like douching, unprotected sex, and transferring bacteria that's typically around your anus to your vagina region and not cleaning up after can also lead to this condition. With BV, your vaginal discharge after sex will have a fishy odor. You'd also experience itching, a burning sensation when you urinate, and differently-hued discharge (off-white, gray, or greenish). 

A foul-smelling vagina can also mean sexually transmitted infections (STI) like trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. There will also, however, be other symptoms like vaginal discharge, painful sex, pelvic pain, itching, urinary tract infections, and pain during urination. It is possible, however, to be asymptomatic carriers of these STIs too. 

Among the weird things that can happen to your body after sex, vaginal smell might be somewhat of an easy one to miss. But if the scent is so off that you're noticing it, it could be any one of the reasons we mentioned here. While the temporary changes can be altered by tweaking your sexual activity and avoiding scented lubricants, etc., the more serious health issues will require a visit to the doctor. For BV, your healthcare provider will assess your vaginal discharge's pH balance and odor and put you on antibiotics. Blood, urine, and fluid tests are part of diagnosing STIs.