Photo: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul
Could I have accidentally peed the bed during sex?
If the condom is intact and you've ruled out the possibility that the wet spot came from him, take a discreet sniff. Does the wet spot smell like urine? If so, there's your answer. There's often a tiny bit of fluid left in the bladder even after women use the bathroom, says Lauren Streicher, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Certain sexual positions--such as the missionary--can put enough pressure on that area to cause it to leak. If this happens only once in a while, then there's no need to worry. If the fluid has no odor or a musky scent and you're about to have your period, then, Streicher says, you may have ejaculated. (Hey, it happened on Sex and the City, so it could happen to you, too!) "But if you're regularly leaking urine, it could be a sign of incontinence," she says. She advises strengthening your pelvic-floor muscles through Kegels (seriously, they work!) and consider bringing this up with your gynecologist or a women's health physical therapist.
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Why do I sometimes laugh or cry uncontrollably during sex?
"Sex is a neurological and emotional event," says Debby Herbenick, PhD, a research scientist at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and the author of Sex Made Easy. In other words, it's intense, and getting naked (physically and otherwise) with someone can trigger unexpected feelings. An emotional reaction could also be due to hormones, where you're at in your menstrual cycle or fears you have about the relationship. You know yourself best: If you feel something's not right, consider bringing it up with your partner or with a therapist.
I'm nowhere near menopause, but I'm as dry as the Sahara down there--even when I'm in the mood. How can this be?
There are lots of factors involved in keeping the vagina naturally lubricated, but anything that sabotages your hormone levels or your blood flow throughout the body can dry you out, says Streicher, who is working on a book about sexual health. She also says that about 5 percent of women taking oral contraception experience vaginal dryness--yet even some gynecologists neglect to make that connection. Other culprits that have nothing to do with age include antihistamines, breastfeeding, chemotherapy, in vitro fertilization and diabetes. (An easy solution: Streicher recommends applying a good silicone-based lubricant, like Wet Platinum, before sex.)
Should I be worried if I bleed after sex?
If the blood is a light color, and this happens only once (especially after a strenuous romp), then it's probably just the result of irritation or friction, Streicher says. But if it happens again or if there's a fair amount of blood, then you should make an appointment with your gynecologist. It could be coming from the cervix, the uterus or be caused by an infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
About that, um, aquatic odor...
A science lesson, courtesy of Dr. Streicher: The normal pH in the vagina is between 3.5 and 4.5, and that creates the best conditions for good bacteria to proliferate. If the pH goes up too high, those good bacteria can't survive, which allows the not-good bacteria to take over, leading to that unfortunate fishy odor as well as infections like bacterial vaginosis. Normal semen happens to have a high pH, around 7.4. "So if your pH levels are already teetering on the brink or if you're having a lot of sex, the introduction of high pH semen can put you over the edge," Streicher says. Your period can also increase your pH level. Streicher sometimes prescribes an OTC gel called RepHresh to help keep levels balanced and also recommends vaginal probiotics (different than the probiotic capsules intended for your intestine). And if the post-coital bouquet you're referring to smells like bleach or chlorine, Streicher says, "well, that's just semen."
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Photo: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul