Although unpleasant, itching after sex isn’t uncommon. There are a few possible causes for itching after intercourse, like dry skin or an allergic reaction. Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can also cause itching that may be aggravated by intercourse.

The good news is that most causes of itching after sex can be resolved with treatment.

Vaginal itching after sex that only happens on occasion is probably nothing to worry about.

Not enough lubrication during intercourse or too much friction could cause vaginal itching. If this is the case, symptoms will probably improve by simply avoiding sex for a few days.

If symptoms persist or you experience other symptoms, an allergic reaction, vaginal dryness, or an STD may be the cause.

Can sperm cause itching?

Seminal plasma hypersensitivity — commonly known as semen allergy — is a rare allergic reaction to the proteins in semen. You may develop symptoms the very first time you have sex, but sometimes it can happen later with other sexual partners.

It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction with one partner and not another, or have a reaction appear suddenly after sex with a long-time partner.

Symptoms of a semen allergy can affect any part of the body that comes in contact with semen, including your vagina, mouth, and skin.

Symptoms usually start within 10 to 30 minutes after contact with semen. They’re similar to those of vaginitis and some STDs. Symptoms may include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain
  • burning sensation

Condom use can give you a clue as to whether a sperm allergy is the cause of your symptoms. If you’re allergic to sperm, you shouldn’t experience symptoms after sex with a condom.

Latex allergy

A latex allergy is a reaction to proteins found in latex. If you’re allergic to latex, you may experience a reaction after coming into contact with any product containing latex, including condoms.

If you’re allergic to condoms, your symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on how sensitive you are and the amount of contact you have with the latex.

Mild symptoms include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • rash or hives

More severe symptoms can include:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • scratchy throat
  • watery eyes
  • coughing and wheezing
  • trouble breathing

A severe, acute allergic reaction called anaphylaxis is possible in people who are highly sensitive to latex.

Medical Emergency

Get emergency care if you experience symptoms of anaphylaxis, including:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling or hives
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion

If you’re allergic to latex, there are non-latex condoms available. Options include polyurethane and lambskin condoms.

Dryness

Dryness is a common cause of itching after sex. It may be due to dry skin on the vulva or vaginal dryness. That occurs when not enough vaginal secretions are produced to properly lubricate the vaginal wall.

Some people are naturally prone to dry skin or have a skin condition, such as eczema. Overwashing or using perfumed products, such as soaps, can also dry out the skin.

Dry skin can flake and itch. It also increases your risk for irritation and chafing during sex.

The most common cause of vaginal dryness is hormonal changes, such as those experienced during menopause and childbirth.

Other causes of vaginal dryness include:

Symptoms of vaginal dryness include:

pH imbalance

pH is a measurement of how acid or alkaline (basic) a substance is. It’s measured on a scale of 0 to 14.

Your vaginal pH balance should be between 3.8 and 4.5. This level of acidity creates a protective barrier that prevents the overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast.

Having a high vaginal pH increases your risk for vaginal infections that can cause itching. Other symptoms you may notice of a pH imbalance are:

  • unusual discharge
  • a foul or fishy odor
  • burning when urinating

The following situations can cause a pH imbalance in your vagina:

  • condomless sex, because semen is alkaline
  • douching, which increases vaginal pH
  • antibiotics, which can kill good bacteria needed to maintain a healthy pH
  • menstrual periods, because menstrual blood is mildly basic

Infection

Itching is a common symptom of various types of vaginal infections, including yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Vaginal infections can develop from bacteria, fungi such as yeast, and parasites. Though some vaginal infections can be transmitted sexually, not all vaginal infections are STDs.

Symptoms of a vaginal infection can vary depending on the type of infection. Some symptoms are common to most vaginal infections, though. These include:

  • vaginal itching
  • a change in the color or amount of vaginal discharge
  • pain or burning when urinating
  • pain during intercourse
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods
  • fever

STDs

There are a number of STDs that can cause vaginal itching.

Trichomaniasis

Trichomoniasis results from an infection with a parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Most people don’t have any signs or symptoms, but those who do usually develop them within 5 to 28 days after contracting it.

Symptoms may include a foul-smelling discharge and pain or burning during sex and urination.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system when left untreated. The good news is chlamydia can be easily cured.

Most people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms. When they do, they may experience abnormal vaginal discharge and a burning sensation when urinating.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea can cause serious complications when left untreated. It’s often asymptomatic in women, but initial symptoms can include:

  • painful urination
  • increased discharge
  • vaginal bleeding

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). A person can have one or both types at the same time.

Genital herpes doesn’t always cause symptoms, but some people develop one or more blisters on or around the genitals. The blisters can be itchy and painful.

Genital herpes is sometimes accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • body aches

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), commonly types 6 and 11. They’re usually asymptomatic.

Genital warts can range in size and color and be smooth or bumpy. You may have one wart or a cluster. Even if you can’t see the warts, they may still cause symptoms for some, such as:

  • itching
  • burning
  • bleeding

Dry skin on the penis, rough sex, or sex without enough lubrication could cause friction burn and result in an itchy penis. If this is the case, your symptoms should improve within a couple of days of abstaining from sex.

Here are some other possible causes of penile itching after sex and their symptoms.

Latex allergy

Less than 1 percent of people in the United States have a latex allergy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If you’re allergic to latex, using latex condoms can cause a reaction. The severity of your reaction depends on how sensitive you are to latex and the amount of exposure.

Symptoms of a latex allergy can include:

  • itching
  • rash or hives
  • swelling
  • wheezing
  • scratchy throat
  • runny nose and eyes
Medical emergency

Get emergency care for signs of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of the tongue or throat
  • dizziness
  • confusion

Infection

A yeast infection is a common type of infection that can cause an itchy penis.

A red rash is usually the first symptom of a penile yeast infection. You may also notice white, shiny patches on the penis. Other symptoms include:

  • itching
  • a burning sensation
  • a thick, white substance under the foreskin or folds of skin

Balanitis, which is inflammation of the glans (the head of the penis), can also cause itching. It can also cause:

  • penile pain and swelling
  • rash
  • discharge with a strong odor

Balanitis more frequently occurs in people who aren’t circumcised. Poor hygiene may also be a contributing factor. It may also result from a yeast infection or STD.

STDs

STDs don’t cause symptoms in many people, but when they do, itching is a common one. Symptoms can vary depending on the STD.

Other common symptoms of an STD include:

  • penile discharge
  • redness
  • rash
  • penile, testicular, or scrotal pain
  • pain or burning when urinating
  • pain during sex
  • genital sores or blisters

There are several STDs that can cause itching, including:

Check out pictures of STDs and what STD testing involves.

Treatment for itching after sex depends on the cause. Mild irritation can usually be treated at home, but itching that’s caused by an infection or STD will require medical treatment.

Home remedies

The following are some things you can do at home to treat itching:

  • Abstain from sex until your symptoms improve.
  • Keep the area clean. Properly dry after washing.
  • Wash with products made for sensitive skin.
  • Soak in an oatmeal bath.
  • Avoid douching.
  • Use an over-the-counter yeast infection cream or treatment kit if you have a mild yeast infection.
  • Switch to non-latex condoms.

Medical treatments

Most STDs and other infections need to be treated with medication. Depending on the cause, treatment may include:

  • oral, topical, or injectable antibiotics
  • topical or oral corticosteroids
  • topical wart treatment
  • antiviral medication
  • antifungal medication
  • wart removal procedures, such as cryosurgery or surgical laser removal

See a healthcare provider if your itching doesn’t improve after a few days of home treatment or if you also have a rash, sores, or other symptoms that may indicate an STD.

Mild itching after sex that only lasts a couple of days is usually not serious. If your symptoms persist or are severe, see a healthcare provider. You may have an allergy, infection, or STD that requires treatment.