You may have heard of all the things you shouldn’t do after sex, like waiting too long to pee (because UTIs are the literal worst), but chances are, you’re not too familiar with the list of things you should hold off on doing pre-sex. Well, as it turns out, there are quite a lot — from what foods to avoid to how many drinks might cause orgasm anxiety — we asked top sex experts to reveal some definite don’ts in the hours before you hit the sheets.
Eat a huge meal
You might be on a date at the most amazing restaurant ever, but if you’re trying to get frisky upon leaving, stick to digestible portions. Not only can eating too much cause you to be bloated and, well, not totally in the mood move around, but it can also be a problem sexually. “Both men and women need blood to flow to their sexual organs, and if the body is digesting a large meal, the blood is going there instead of other places,” explains Dawn Michael, PhD, clinical sexologist, relationship expert, and author of My Husband Won’t Have Sex With Me. Instead of piling your plate sky high pre-sex, she suggests taking advantage of that post-intercourse buzz and grabbing a late-night bite.
Eat problematic foods
Another thing to be aware of is what you’re eating. It’s best to stay away from any foods that create bloating, even when you’re not eating a lot of them. “Dairy, gaseous vegetables like cabbage, beans, and onions, and red meat combined with sugar can create some pretty nasty flatulence,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, sex therapist and the author of The New Monogamy. Unless you want to be praying that you don’t let out a fart (aka the ultimate turn off), it’s best to keep these foods off your plate before sex.
Drink too much
While it’s true that a glass of wine or a cocktail might make you more turned on and rearing to go (not to mention less anxious about being with someone new for the first time), too much booze has been shown to negatively affect sex — specifically a woman’s pleasure and ability to orgasm, says Dr. Nelson. “Alcohol dehydrates the body, so it can lead to vaginal dryness and a general ill feeling, both of which will impact the pleasure you feel during sex,” she explains.
Be it a cigarette or pot, smoking something before having sex, especially if your partner’s not doing it with you, is not a good idea. “The scent can seep out of your pores as well as your sexual organs,” warns Dr. Michael. “In fact, if a person smokes a cigarette and then touches you, there is a tingling feeling on your skin, and it can leave an odor on you.” No thanks.
Take an antihistamine
Allergy season is tough, and, for some, can feel like it’s year-round. While you might be reliant on your allergy meds, experts recommend avoiding popping antihistamines of any kind before sex. “They dry everything out, including your lady parts,” says Claudia Six, PhD, clinical sexologist and relationship coach. You’ll wanted to be fully lubricated for a full romp session, however, Dr. Six points out that you don’t want to be sneezing and tearing up the whole time either. She recommends taking half an allergy pill, if you must, a few hours before you think you might have sex.
Spray or slather on scented products
Of course, you want to smell good for your partner, but it’s best to avoid overdoing anything strong. “In some cases, colognes or scented products can cause the other person to have allergies, and the last thing you want is your partner to be allergic to you,” says Dr. Michael. “Cleanliness is always a plus, but don’t overdo the scented products.”
Pick a fight
This goes without saying, but right before you think you might have sex is not the time to rag on your partner over the fact that he or she forgot to do the dishes again. “Good sex is based on actually liking each other,” says Cath Hakanson, nurse, sex educator, and founder of Sex Ed Rescue. “You might love your partner, but some days you just don’t like them as much, so save that discussion for the morning, as you don’t want any arguments or unresolved tensions heading into the bedroom with you.”