Pre-pap sex?
April 16, 2009 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm having a routine physical first thing tomorrow, including a pap test. Can I have (hetero)sex tonight?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)

First google result:

Can I help make the test more accurate?

Yes. You can help make the test more accurate by not douching or using a feminine deodorant; birth control creams or jellies for 48 hours and by not having sex for 24 hours before the test. Plan to have your test done at a time when you aren't having your menstrual period.

Pap Smears
posted by zephyr_words at 2:02 PM on April 16, 2009

If he doesn't ejaculate or leave pre-cum in you, yes. (That means a condom, not withdrawal). But semen and women don't mix (sometimes):
If you are menstruating you should reschedule your pap smear as the blood cells make the smear difficult to "read" accurately. The same is true if there is semen on your cervix -- if you had sex without a condom within 24 hours of the pap smear.
posted by rosebuddy at 2:03 PM on April 16, 2009

The results of a quick Google search suggest that you shouldn't, as tiny tears may alter your Pap results. That said, none of the sites said it was anything to cancel the appointment over.

I am not a doctor.
posted by juliplease at 2:03 PM on April 16, 2009

Looking at Perplexity's link, I'll change to a complete no, even with a condom. It's not just the semen, it's the abrasion of the cervix during penetration that may be an issue.
posted by rosebuddy at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2009

It is disrecommended for various clinical reasons (slight abrasions, fluid changes). As someone who reads lab reports, I'm just going to remark as well - the presence of sperm will be noted on the test results and I can't imagine wanting that on a permanent record.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 2:06 PM on April 16, 2009

Not that the Cube is anti-sex - just the opposite - it's just that it seems almost unprofessional - it's an avoidable thing one can avoid in order to have proper test results, like not fasting before tests you're supposed to fast for.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 2:08 PM on April 16, 2009

Hetero sex isn't limited to vaginal intercourse.
posted by Science! at 2:50 PM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, I bet oral would be fine... ask him to remain external.
posted by cranberrymonger at 3:01 PM on April 16, 2009

An bemused medical school classmate came up to me during our family medicine rotation. He'd been looking at a vaginal smear under the microscope. He thought he'd diagnosed a patient with trichomoniasis.

Nope, said the preceptor attending, that's sperm.

Just so you know, sometimes we can tell - but no judgment!
posted by archofatlas at 3:04 PM on April 16, 2009

They're so annoying and uncomfortable, why risk having to do it again in a month or two? (Says she whose last test didn't pick up endocervical cells so she had to do it over.)

Have all the sex you want that doesn't include intercourse.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:14 PM on April 16, 2009

Huh. I mean, I guess not having sex before a pap makes sense if you think about it...but I'm now annoyed that no doctor has ever told me this before.

Kind of like when I found out, after 10 years on the pill, that antibiotics can weaken their effectiveness.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:24 PM on April 16, 2009

How much will it bug and/or cost you if you have to get re-checked?

The only abnormal Pap result I ever had was the only time I ever disobeyed the 24-hour rule. Not too big a deal to have it rechecked, but at the time money was tight and I didn't love the bill. And I find it awfully annoying over a decade later that every damn year when I review my medical history with my doctor I have to re-explain that yes, I had one abnormal result once, it was fine on recheck, blah blah blah.

All other things being equal, assuming this isn't some weird window where you only get to see your partner this one weekend, why not hold off? You can always look at it as an opportunity to be creative. If it is a weird thing where you only have this one weekend, maybe just reschedule the test.
posted by Stacey at 4:43 PM on April 16, 2009

It's odd that they never warn people about this. I've been having them for years and am pretty well informed on health and never knew it.

I wonder if its one of those precautions that is just "thrown in"-- that hypothetically makes the test less effective but has never been really studied.
posted by Maias at 4:52 PM on April 16, 2009

Mrs. Silvertree and I made the mistake once. She got an abnormal result and had to repeat the test. I would suggest avoiding it.
posted by Silvertree at 5:44 PM on April 16, 2009

My GYN office always reminds me no sex within 24 hours before when I schedule my yearly visit.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:37 PM on April 16, 2009

« Older Tag It, Mark It, Find It.   |   Teeny Tiny Foods Please! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.