While quarantine has meant that our vibrators have gotten a little more love and masturbation has become the self-care du jour [insert praise hands emoji], there can be some…difficulties that come with over-pleasuring yourself. Like suddenly, out of nowhere, you find yourself in a burn, baby, burn situation in the bathroom. Which begs the question—can you get a UTI from masturbation?
Short answer: there’s can be correlation, but it’s a myth of masturbation that you would get it from your vibrator exclusively. No, there’s a long and winding road. Join us, won’t you?
“UTIs commonly occur in women after sexual activity due to the fact that the female urethra—the passageway that connects the bladder to the outside world and allows for evacuation of urine when you use the bathroom—is short, relative to male anatomy,” says Lucky Sekhon, MD, a fertility specialist and board certified OBGYN from New York City. “This means that bacteria from the skin surrounding the urethra and the outside environment, in general, has a shorter distance to travel to get into the bladder and cause infection.”
Fun, so to recap, that means that sexual intercourse and UTIs definitely go hand in hand, or urethra in…you know, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that your bathroom habits are actually where the problem usually brews.
“Bladder infections can also be provoked or induced by lack of hydration flushing the bladder clear, periodically, and holding one’s urine for too long which leads to the accumulation of stagnant urine where bacteria can proliferate,” says Dr. Sekhon. “One of the ways to prevent UTIs is to ensure you wipe ‘front to back’ to avoid spreading fecal matter and the bacteria it contains such as E-coli from the anal area to the urethral opening.”
There are a lot of feelings I feel about this. First of all, “Stagnant Urine” if 110 percent the name of some terrible New Jersey hardcore band, and I’m so sure I’ve seen them live at some point in my years. Beyond that, this is further evidence on why 2020 may just become the year of the bidet.
Anyway, to answer that precarious question, you can penetrate yourself into bacteria transferring [blech] a UTI.
“When having sex or even when masturbating or using sex toys, there could be transfer of fecal matter residue and associated bacteria frontwards, near the urethra,” says Dr. Sekhon. “Therefore, it is possible that any of these acts could increase the risk of UTI, particularly in women who have other risk factors for developing a UTI–such as pregnancy, which can make someone’s immune system less able to fight off infections, diabetes, or other medical conditions which can impair the immune system’s ability to ward off bacterial infections.”
Luckily the solve is usually pretty easy. When you’re, you know, done poking around in there, don’t be the Sloth Queen and neglect to go to the bathroom all night.
“One of the ways to reduce risk of UTI from sex is to urinate right away after intercourse–this helps to flush any bacteria from the urethral opening before it can get into the bladder,” says Dr. Sekhon. “In theory, urinating after any sexual activity including masturbation or use of sex toys that could transfer bacteria, dirt, fecal matter from ‘back-to-front’ will help to prevent a UTI.”
To that point, be Team Front-to-Back when you’re in there and we won’t have to have this discussion again.
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