Can You Have Sex with a UTI? | Uqora
8 min read | March 04, 24

Can I have sex when I have a UTI?

Medically Reviewed by: Heather Ott

Written by: Sareena Rama

Article summary

While it's physically possible to have sex with a UTI, it's generally not advised to have sex during an active UTI. Anecdotally, having sex with a UTI can feel uncomfortable. Since a UTI is an active infection of the urinary tract,  it could also worsen your symptoms, and potentially introduce more bacteria into your urinary tract. It’s generally recommended to hold off on sexual activities until UTI symptoms have cleared. There are a few sexual and urinary health measures that can support you in getting proactive about your urinary health, like peeing before and after sex, and making informed choices about lubrication.

Can I have sex when I have a UTI?

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UTIs can impact every aspect of your life – including your sex life. We’re glad you found our resource, created to support you with more information about having sex while you may have a UTI. With everything related to your health, it’s important to remember that the choice is always up to you. We’re here to give you more information so you can decide what’s best for your body. 

UTIs are the second most common infection in the United States (1). This means that UTIs are a health concern for many people, plus they come along with painful and uncomfortable symptoms that can impact every aspect of your life. Even after seeking medical treatment of antibiotics, coping with UTI symptoms can still be quite challenging, especially when you're unsure whether your day-to-day activities have the potential to make things worse.

Many people often have questions regarding UTIs and intimacy: Can you have sex with a UTI? Is there a link between new sexual partners and UTIs? Can your UTI be passed on to your partner?

In this article, we’ll share more information about having sex with a UTI, sharing insights from urinary health experts, medical expertise, and recommended best practices. Let’s dive into the information.

Reasons to wait to have sex if you have a UTI

Sexual and urinary health are closely intertwined. If you’ve found this article, you know that UTIs are notorious for causing discomfort, and these symptoms can certainly impact your sexual experiences. But, you might be wondering, can I still have sex if I have a UTI? Here are some key reasons it’s often a good idea to hit the pause button on sex while dealing with a UTI:

It may be painful

Can you still have sex with a UTI? Physically, yes you can. However, depending on your symptoms, it may cause further discomfort. 

Sexual activity involves significant physical contact and movement near the urethra. During a UTI, the lining of the urinary tract is inflamed and sensitive(2). Engaging in sex can cause friction or pressure in the already hyper-sensitive affected area, leading to increased discomfort or pain and further spreading the bacteria(3). In short, the sensitivity in the area can make intimacy less enjoyable while healing from a UTI. 

It may worsen your UTI symptoms

UTIs can cause a range of symptoms, including pain in the abdomen, pelvic area, and lower back, frequent urination, blood in your pee, and more(2). Engaging in sexual activity can irritate the urinary tract further, exacerbating these symptoms (4) .

The stimulation in the region can also lead to further inflammation, potentially prolonging the healing process and making the infection harder to clear(5) .

It may introduce more bacteria

During sex, GI bacteria like Escherichia coli (or E. coli) has the potential to spread from the anus to the urethra, potentially causing reinfection(6). Moreover, the physical act can push existing bacteria deeper into the urinary system, or introduce new bacteria through the urethra – both of which could potentially further complicate the infection(5).

Sexual intercourse can push bacteria deeper into the urinary system, which could potentially complicate an existing urinary tract infection

Quick tips

While there are many ways someone can develop a UTI , sex is a common risk factor(6). Here at Uqora, we hope that you can get back to doing all the things you love to do (yes, including sex) by getting proactive about your urinary health! 

Awareness and practicing specific sex-related proactive measures can help reduce the risk of UTIs. Before we jump into the tips, we wanted to remind you that some people are more prone to UTIs than others, so if you feel like these practices have not been working for you, it’s important to remember you aren’t doing anything wrong. Some people just need more support!

Here are a few essential tips to consider:

Quick tips for proactive after-sex urinary care

  • Pee after sex: Yep, the age old tip for after-sex UTI prevention. We’re adding this one in here because urination is the body’s first line of defense against bacteria that may have been introduced to the urethra during sex. Emptying your bladder immediately after sex helps flush out any bacteria that might have been introduced near the urethra during sexual activity of any kind (6)
  • Avoid switching between anal and vaginal penetration: As we mentioned earlier, E. coli bacteria from the anus can be UTI-causing bacteria so we’re here to remind you that it’s important to remember to thoroughly wash up and/or change condoms used in or near the anus before switching to the vagina(7).  We know this one can be hard to remember in the moment, but remember that bacteria from the anus can cause infections if introduced in or around  the urethra(6)
  • Stay hydrated: To help you get ahead before and after sex, drink plenty of water regularly to ensure you can urinate to flush out any potentially harmful bacteria(6)
  • Use the right lubrication: If you choose to use lubricants during sex, opt for water-based ones. Oil-based lubricants can break down latex condoms and can even promote bacterial growth(8). Anything inserted into the vagina, can impact the pH of the vaginal microbiome which can influence the risk of UTIs. To learn more about how urinary health and vaginal health linked, read more here.

Having Sex With a UTI: Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I wait to have sex after my UTI?

If you're wondering, can I have sex if I have a UTI? it's usually advised to wait until your symptoms are gone(5). Since UTIs can cause pain and other symptoms, intimacy may feel less appealing while recovering, but everyone is different and it’s always up to you to decide! 

It's generally recommended to wait until you've completed your full course of antibiotics, and all your UTI symptoms have resolved. This usually means waiting a few days to a week after treatment, depending on the severity of the UTI and the type of treatment(5). We recommend checking with your doctor for more advice.

Can you still have sex with a UTI? 

Even if the prominent UTI symptoms have subsided, your urinary tract can still feel sensitive and be inflamed. Engaging in sexual activity too soon might cause additional pain or discomfort. 

As always, listen to your body. If you feel discomfort or are unsure, it's okay to take a pause on sex for longer. You can consult a healthcare provider or urologist for general guidance tailored to your situation when in doubt. 

Can I have oral sex if I have a UTI?

It's important to remember that a UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) (10). But, can you have oral sex with a UTI? The short answer is yes, physically you can. However, there are still a few things to consider before you go for it.

Sexual activity of any kind involves significant physical contact and movement near the urethra. During a UTI, the urinary tract is inflamed and sensitive(1). Engaging in oral sex can cause additional friction or pressure in the already sensitive area.

While oral sex shouldn't aggravate the UTI directly, there's still a risk of spreading bacteria to the urinary tract(11). In short, the sensitivity in the area can make intimacy less enjoyable while healing from a UTI. 

Can I have anal sex if I have a UTI?

While UTIs impact the urinary system, the decision to have anal sex can still affect your recovery and comfort. One significant concern here is the potential to transfer bacteria from the anal area to the urethra, particularly in females (6)

Getting infected again can amplify symptoms and even increase the chance of developing chronic UTIs . It can be crucial to keep the immune system focused on eliminating the initial infection, before engaging in activities that have the potential to introduce new bacteria to the urethra(12)

If you plan to have anal sex with a UTI, avoid switching from anal to vaginal intercourse without a thorough cleaning or changing condoms. This can help prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria to the vaginal area. 

However, it is also important to consider what products you use to clean up. Some personal hygiene products can disrupt vaginal pH balance , potentially leading to an increased risk for UTIs. An imbalanced pH could also lead to other vaginal health issues such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections .

Of course, before making a decision, it’s always a good idea to communicate openly with your partner about your UTI, potential risks, and any apprehension or discomfort you might experience.

Can I pass my UTI to my partner?

If you're wondering, can I have sex with a UTI? you might also be worried about transferring it to your partner. UTIs are not STIs, so you cannot "pass on" a UTI to your partner. However, sexual intercourse can introduce and spread bacteria, especially in females. This means that while the UTI itself isn't contagious , the bacteria causing it can be transferred during sexual activity(9).

For instance, E. coli, commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract (or GI tract), is a common cause of UTIs. This bacteria can be spread during intercourse(6, 10).

So, can you pass a UTI on to your partner? While you can't transmit a UTI like an STI, it's possible to transfer E.coli (a UTI-causing bacteria from the rectum) during sexual activity, so maintaining good hygiene is crucial. 

Why do I keep getting UTIs when I have sex?

Frequent UTIs following sex can feel frustrating, but it’s important to rememberyou’re not doing anything wrong. Some people are just more prone to UTIs than others. Understanding the anatomy of the urinary tract can also help provide clarity on why UTIs occur and how they relate to sexual activity.

Due to the anatomy of the urinary tract and surrounding areas – sex can introduce bacteria into the urethra and up into the bladder, leading to infections. However, some individuals are more prone to UTIs than others. For instance, females have a shorter urethra than males, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder(6)

Due to the proximity of the anus, vagina, and urethra – females could be more susceptible to UTI-causing bacteria entering the urethra during sex.

This is why it’s important to pee immediately after sex, so you can help flush out any bacteria that was introduced as soon as possible.

Hormones may also play a role in UTI recurrence. Reduced estrogen levels after menopause can lead to changes in the vaginal microflora  that could make the urinary tract more susceptible to infections, making postmenopausal females even more prone to UTIs after sex(13)

If you experience UTIs after sexual activity, we recommend talking to a healthcare provider to help you determine the cause and provide the best advice for treatment.

Final Thoughts

We believe knowledge is power when it comes to your health, so learning about the complexities of sexual activity and UTIs can support you in making more informed decisions about your health. 

Remember that the choice is always yours, and this article is here to support you in understanding the science behind sex and UTIs. We’re here for you every step of the way!

Note: References to "female" and “male” in this article refer to sex assigned at birth, not gender. This article does not replace medical advice. We recommend you seek treatment if you think you are experiencing a UTI.

This article does not replace medical advice. We recommend you seek treatment if you think you are experiencing a UTI.


Sareena Rama manages Uqora’s Digital Content and is responsible for Uqora's social media, newsletters, and contributing articles to the UTI Learning Center.


Heather Ott is Uqora's Senior Health and Science Educator. She supports the team by writing Learning Center articles and reviewing all scientific communications.


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