I spent about 70 percent of the long holiday break watching Hulu, where I heard, via the ad for the TV show Casual, the following line: “Every woman knows to get waxed the day she plans on having sex. That’s dating 101.” The first, say, 50 times the commercial ran, I thought nothing of it. But as I gradually rose out of my catatonic state, I started to think, What the hell? It was partially a feminist WTH (to state the obvious, women don’t have to wax for an anticipated sexual encounter — they can do whatever they damn well please down there). But it was also a practical, concerned WTH: Shouldn’t you not have sex the day you get waxed? Wouldn’t the, er, friction further stress skin that’s already been through a lot? And beyond the whole irritation thing, what about bacteria? I’d always assumed you should wait 24 hours. I had to know. So I tried not to blush and asked three waxing experts for their takes.
“It’s a simple answer and not a simple answer,” says Jodi Shays, the owner of Queen Bee Salon & Spas in Los Angeles and Seattle. “You have to use common sense. If you’ve been waxing for a long time — and I mean Brazilians, labia and all, on a regular basis — then go for it. You can probably handle having sex that night. But most people are quite red and sore. They could use a barrier cream (like Aquaphor), but it really depends on the person.” It also depends on the technician. “If you’re at the hands of an unskilled waxer, they could break the skin,” Shays warns. “Those holes will harbor bacteria.”
Broken skin or not, “the pores are open, so they’re more susceptible to bacteria,” points out Michelle Mapes, a longtime aesthetician at Stark Waxing Studio in Los Angeles, who recommends that most people wait a minimum of 12 hours before having sex. “Waxing seriously exfoliates the skin, and it takes time for the outer layer to regenerate,” she says.
Another factor to consider? Your partner’s hair situation. “If they’re freshly trimmed, their pubic hair could potentially hurt your freshly waxed skin,” warns Shays. “It’s going to get irritated. If it’s oral sex and they have a beard, that could irritate, too. My recommendation is to always wait 24 hours, but again, it’s different for everyone. Some women can handle it. But if the skin looks or feels compromised, then do not have sex.”
Temper any tenderness and irritation with a salve such as Aquaphor or pure aloe vera gel. To prevent ingrowns, continue to treat the area with a salicylic acid cleanser. Uni K Wax Center founder Noemi Grupenmager recommends applying a cold pack “to close the pores and prevent ingrown hairs.”
And there you have it. You’re welcome for saving you that awkward conversation with your aesthetician at your next waxing appointment.
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