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Fishy Smell After Sex: Causes and Solutions

Why does my vagina smell after sex? It's crucial to be aware of and take care of any issues that may emerge with your sexual health. One such issue is a stale or fishy odor that lingers after sexual activity. The purpose of this article is to explain the problem and offer suggestions for how to fix it.

What is a fishy smell after sex?

Some people report fish smell after sex activity, which is an unpleasant stench. Vaginal odor is typical, but if it's really strong and fishy, there may be a problem.

Common concerns about vaginal odor after sex

People who notice a fishy odor after sexual activity may worry that it indicates a hygiene problem or a sexually transmitted infection. Knowing the many origins of this odor and when to seek medical attention is crucial.

Causes of Fishy Smell After Sex

A fishy odor after sexual activity may have multiple causes. Understanding these factors is essential for arriving at a correct diagnosis. Some typical explanations include:

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Inadequate vaginal hygiene is the root cause of bacterial vaginosis, a prevalent medical problem. Particularly after engaging in sexual activity, it may generate a fishy stench. Other symptoms include itching and abnormal discharge.

Multiple sex partners, douching, and the use of scented items are all variables that can enhance the likelihood of contracting BV. Antibiotics recommended by a doctor are the standard treatment. Good genital cleanliness is essential in the fight against BV, as is staying away from using harsh soaps and douches. This can be the reason of vagina smells after sex.


The parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is responsible for the transmission of STDs. Sexual activity may be followed by symptoms such as discomfort, redness, and an increase in vaginal discharge as well as a fishy odor.

Having multiple sexual partners and engaging in unprotected sexual activity are both risk factors for trichomoniasis. Seek out medical attention from trained professionals for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. The conventional therapy is antibiotics, and most doctors will advise taking them orally. It is also important to inform sexual partners of the disease and encourage them to seek treatment to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Poor Hygiene

A fishy stench after intercourse may be caused by improper genital hygiene. A foul odor may result from bacteria growing in the vaginal area due to improper hygiene before or after sexual activity. Washing the external genital area with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water is an important part of maintaining excellent hygiene. Harsh cleaners and douching might upset the vagina's delicate bacterial balance, so it's best to avoid them.

Retained Semen

Retained semen in the vaginal canal is one possible cause of a fishy odor that lingers after sex. There are components in sperm, such as proteins, that can give it a pungent odor. Urinating and washing the vaginal area carefully after sexual activity might help reduce any lingering stench. This helps eliminate the possibility of lingering odor by flushing out any remaining semen and bacteria.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may have a fishy stench after intercourse because of allergic reactions to specific chemicals. A latex allergy can cause irritation and a strong odor. If you have a latex allergy or suspect you might have one, use barrier methods other than condoms made of latex. It's also possible that spermicides and lubricants used during s*x can cause reactions in some people. Substituting hypoallergenic or fragrance-free options can help alleviate symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Help

The most common causes of a fishy odor after sex are bacterial vaginosis and poor hygiene, but persistent or overwhelming scents require study. If the smell persists for more than a few days, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, pain, or abnormal discharge, medical treatment should be sought. A professional medical doctor will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Regular appointments to a gynecologist are necessary to keep the genital area in good condition. It's crucial to undergo checks on a regular basis so that any issues can be identified and addressed before they worsen.

Tips for Reducing Vaginal Odour After Sex

To minimize or prevent a fishy smell after sex, consider the following tips:

  • The elimination of microorganisms and the prevention of body odor can be achieved by urinating prior to and after sexual activity.
  • Put on undergarments that will let air in and will keep you dry, like those made of cotton.
  • Loosen up your garments: Tight clothing can trap sweat and promote the growth of bacteria. Instead, put on some comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by washing the external genital area with warm water and unscented light soap. Don't use harsh detergents or douse the area in water.
  • Discuss the issue with your partner if the stink persists, and make sure they are taking steps to improve their personal hygiene as well.

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can help maintain a healthy vaginal environment and reduce the chances of experiencing a fishy smell after sex.

Why do I smell after sex? Concerning though it may be, a fishy odor after sex is typically explained by common factors like bacterial vaginosis, inadequate hygiene, retained semen, or allergic reactions. It is critical to identify the root problems and implement solutions. You can lessen the likelihood of having persistent odor and relish in a worry-free sexual life by practicing proper hygiene, consulting a doctor when necessary, and taking precautions.


Author: Deborah L. Tolman

Tolman is Assistant Editor of PinkKitty Sex Toys. Deborah L. Tolman is a developmental psychologist and the co-founder of SPARK: Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge. She regularly researches adolescent sexuality, gender development, and gender equality. She is the author of Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality, which was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Book Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.

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