Yeast Infections and Sex: What You Need to Know

Are you facing a possible STD alert? First, double back and make sure it isn't a yeast infection. If it is a yeast infection, you’ll have a million questions ranging from treatment, to whether you can have sex, to the risk of contracting other STDs.

This article will help you clarify your doubts during this prickly period.

What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection isn’t technically an STD because people who have not had sex can also contract it, but sex can trigger it too. The infection can also be triggered by certain antibiotics, birth control pills, pregnancy, using deodorants or sprays in the genital area, sweaty underwear, or diabetes. Yeast infections are also more common in people with a compromised immune system, such as people with HIV/AIDs.

The Candida albicans fungus is naturally found in the vagina. Yeast infections happen when the bacterial balance is interrupted and the fungus overgrows, which can happen due to any number of factors. The symptoms can be very similar to STDs and include, itching, rashes, pain and swelling in the vulva, pain during urination, and vaginal discharge and inflammation.

Is Sex During a Yeast Infection Safe?

It is generally recommended that a person abstains from sexual intercourse if they are suffering from a yeast infection. This applies to all forms of sexual activity like oral sex, fingering, anal sex, and the use of sex toys.

If you suspect a yeast infection buy take over-the-counter (OTC) medications like miconazole, terconazole, or butoconazole. These can be bought without a prescription as suppositories, oral tablets, or topical gels/creams. Pregnant women should stick to topical applications as oral antifungals can cause birth defects. If you aren’t sure about your symptoms or are experiencing them for the first time, consult a doctor who will do a pelvic examination and/or swab sample to confirm the diagnosis. Confirming a yeast infection is of paramount importance because treating other STIs with antifungal medication causes resistance to yeast infection medication down the line and also makes treatment harder.

The single-dose treatment for fungal infections lasts for 3-7 days during which sexual activity is better avoided. If the infection doesn’t resolve within a week, you may need another dose. If the infections recur more than 4 times a year, the severity of symptoms rises, or you experience other uncommon symptoms like bleeding, it could be indicative of a more serious issue.

Having Sex While Symptomatic

Having sex while suffering from a yeast infection will undoubtedly be very painful, and unpleasant. Sex can worsen the symptoms as well. Swelling in and around your vulva will hurt more during penetration or even just rough touch.

The friction during intercourse can rub skin raw and worsen the burning and aggravate existing symptoms. Crucially, sex can introduce further bacteria into your system and worsen the infection. The insertion of any external object such as sex toys, fingers/hands, or your partner's mouth/tongue during oral sex can further infect the labial tissue. Your partner’s hands and fingers may not be perfectly sanitary, and if they suffer from oral diseases like oral thrush, the mouth bacteria spread in your intimates and exacerbate the symptoms. Anal penetration can also introduce the Candida bacteria, and spread the disease in the anal region.

Even just arousal or foreplay can cause a woman’s vulval muscles to expand and lubrication to be released, making the irritation and itching terrible.

Not to mention, if you are sexually active or having sex for the first time, sexual intercourse itself can trigger the onset of a yeast infection due to disturbances in hormones and fluctuations in the vaginal bacterial ecosystem.

Having Sex While Asymptomatic

If you have a yeast infection but are largely asymptomatic that doesn't give you a free pass. Intercourse may not be painful or make symptoms worse, but the silent transmission of the yeast infection is a possibility. The risk is higher with women, who should avoid sexual contact with their partner(s) if they are diagnosed with a yeast infection. Only about 15% of men will experience symptoms if they engage in intercourse with a woman who has a yeast infection. The symptoms are usually limited to a mild penile rash.

However, even if symptoms are not visible, the yeast infection should be treated before engaging in sex. The partners can pass it between one another, or other sexual partners. In any case, repeated contraction can occur if the infection isn’t treated – this is not advisable as such negligence prolongs the healing process.

Does Sex During a Yeast Infection Raise the Risk of Contracting STDs?

Having sexual intercourse during a yeast infection isn't the best practice in terms of sexual health. While the yeast infection on its own cannot cause any STDs, it can create situations that make contracting STDs more likely.

Swelling or itching of the vulva/ labia can cause sores and cuts through which bacteria can enter and spread. Any kind of penetration or stimulation can also cause small tears in the vagina which also increases susceptibility to pathogens.

Having protected sex with contraceptives is recommended if either partner has a yeast infection. Even with safe sex practices involving the use of condoms, topical medication like anti-fungal creams and ointments are usually oil-based. These can damage the condoms or cause them to slip off, which could cause STD transmission and accidental pregnancies. Vaginal penetration also causes any creams applied in the area to be rubbed off or pushed out of the vagina.

HIV/AIDS-positive individuals should take extra care to refrain from sex during a yeast infection because the transmission risk is extremely high at this time.


To keep yourself healthy and ensure a safe sex life keep your sexual partner (s) informed of any ongoing or recent yeast infections. During this infection period, take a break from sex, maintain hygiene, eat probiotics like Greek yogurt, and wear airy cotton clothes. Before you know it, you'll be fungus-free and ready to roll!

Updated on: 24-Jan-2023


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