You may have heard about the importance of peeing after sex to avoid urinary tract infections. But what about peeing before sex? It turns out, that can also be crucial — even if it means awkwardly pausing foreplay for a bathroom break.
"Holding urine for any amount of time when experiencing the urge to release can be harmful to the bladder," says Jessica Shepherd, MD, an Ob/Gyn at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Shepherd says that, specifically, holding your pee during penetrative sex can increase your risk for UTIs and bladder spasms, a form of incontinence caused by UTIs. And, as many of us unfortunately know from personal experience, people with vaginas are especially at risk for UTIs, because they have shorter urethras than those with penises. So, sexual activity can lead to bacteria (from your GI tract via your rectum, for example) accidentally spreading to your urethra, which can cause infections, Dr. Shepherd says.
But, like we said, it doesn't always feel 100% natural to press pause on foreplay to make sure you pee before you move forward with penetrative sex — sometimes, it can feel like you're ruining the moment. If that's the case for you, think of it this way: "It's hard to focus on pleasure, connection, and fun if you have to pee. You want to eliminate as many distractions as possible to be as present as possible," says sex therapist Kelly Wise, PhD.
Not to mention, you can use this as an opportunity to enhance the sexual energy and leave your partner begging for more, says Devika Singh, a tantric sex and relationship coach. "Depending on the person and our chemistry, I'll throw something flirty in, like, 'I'll try not to keep you waiting too long,'" Singh says. But also, what kind of person would judge you for doing something as natural as going to the bathroom? Since needing to pee is so normal, sexuality and gender psychotherapist Dee Dee Goldpaugh says to just get up and go. "Personally, I just say, 'Hold on, I have to pee,'" she says.
So, however you decide to take your bathroom break, the important thing is that you to take it if you need it. You can recapture the moment as soon as you — and your bladder — are ready.