Sex

Hey vagina, are you OK?

Have an embarrassing sex question? We’ve got the expert answers to help…

OK, it’s not pleasant, but sometimes we need an intel-refresh about the ickier side of sex. We took your questions to Cosmo’s Dr Penny Adams to find out what’s what between the sheets.

Q: Can I still have sex with my boyfriend if I’ve got a yeast infection?

A: “These infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast that is already found in the vagina, so they’re not considered to be sexually transmitted infections,” explains Dr Adams. However, the symptoms of the infection, including itching, burning and a lack of lubrication, may make sex fairly unpleasant and possibly painful. Maybe avoid sex until it clears up.

Q: How soon after having unprotected sex can I find out if I caught a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

A: You should wait a week or two after unsafe sex to be tested for STIs. To check for chlamydia and gonorrhoea you’ll need a urine test or a Pap smear. If genital warts appear as a result of human papillomavirus (HPV), get your doctor to remove them asap. HIV, herpes, and hepatitis B and C are diagnosed by having a baseline blood test. “These tests will need to be repeated at three and six months, as it can take that long before antibodies show up in your blood,” says Dr Adams. Best to avoid the long, anxious waiting by always using condoms.

Q: Is it possible to give my boyfriend a urinary tract infection (UTI) from sex?

A: Only us ladies are at risk of contracting a UTI from sex – lucky us! A woman’s urethra is short and near the vagina, so sex can push bacteria into the urinary tract and cause infection. If a guy gets a UTI it’s most likely caused by an irregularity or obstruction in his urethra. “Chlamydia can cause symptoms like a UTI in both men and women,” adds Dr Adams. So if you’re worried, see a doctor.

Q: If a guy performs oral sex on me while he has a cold sore, can I get herpes?

A: Yes. While the strain of the herpes virus that causes cold sores (HSV-1) is milder than the type associated with genital herpes (HSV-2), both can cause herpes down there. “It’s also possible to get syphilis, gonorrhoea and HPV (warts) from oral sex, so it’s a good idea to use a condom or dental dam,” says Dr Adams.