why it feels like you have to pee during intercourse

Of course I can’t just drop a big question and not answer it.

So here goes, as best I can answer without using hand gestures.

Imagine you’re looking at the vulva of a woman lying on her back. The vulva is laid out from north to south thusly: clitoris, urethra, vagina, perineum, anus.

Under the surface of the vulva, the urethra is surrounded by the urethral sponge. It’s like… urethral insulation. Its job is to swell up around the urethra as a woman becomes sexually aroused, in order to stop her from being able to urinate while she’s turned on.

(You may have noticed this phenomenon if you’ve tried to pee shortly after having an orgasm. You know how to have to kind of take some deep, cleansing breaths and think about baseball or icebergs? Yeah, that’s what’s that is.)

When the urethral sponge swells, you can actually feel it through the anterior (upper) wall of the vagina. Insert a finger just a knuckle or two deep and press up. There will be a swollen patch – it might feel smooth or rough or like a little nubbin or… it will be somehow distinct.

(This is actually the g-spot. I’ll go into that sometime later, I promise I will. I know I’ve been saying that for a month, but I mean it. It’s on my list of things to do.)

Pressure on this patch – on the urethral sponge through the vaginal wall – during penetration is most often what causes a woman to feel like she needs to pee during intercourse.

(Something to rule out is pressure on the bladder from your partner pressing against you. If you feel like you need to pee without intercourse, this might be the cause instead. If you have pain with intercourse, infection is a possibility.)

The reason it feels like you need to pee has nothing to do with urine or pressure on the bladder; it has to do with learning. When you were little and being potty trained, you learned to recognize the sensation of needing to pee. You had to recognize it in order to get to a potty before it was too late. It was an important and useful lesson.

Now your body is experiencing a new and different sensation; it’s geographically and neurologically adjacent to the need-to-pee sensation, so your brain is misinterpreting it as pressure to pee because that’s the only existing category that this new sensation seems to fit. But it is not the same sensation.

Okay, so what do you do about it?

Relax.

That’s it, one step. Simple! (Though not necessarily easy…. it will take practice.)

If you feel like you need to pee even when your bladder is empty, it’s most likely because your urethral sponge is swollen and therefore you can’t pee, even if you want to. So. Take a deep breath and relax into the sensation. Let it be sensual, let it grow. You won’t pee. Relax. Experience the sensation without judgment.

Given time and practice, your body will create a new category for this sensation, it will learn that this sensation is erotic, and eventually you will be able to recognize the ways in which this sensation is very, very distinct from the need to pee.

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17 responses to “why it feels like you have to pee during intercourse

  1. Pingback: introducing… the g-spot « Emily Nagoski :: sex nerd ::

  2. I’ve always wondered about this myself, but was too embarrassed to ask doctors in the family about it. Glad I bumped into this. Thank you, Internet.

  3. Hi, this is very helpful thankyou.
    But… last night me and my boyfriend were once again trying to make me orgasm (i have never orgasmed) and it always feels like i need to pee but last night i swear i did. it smelled like urine. and also a mixture of something else. this it makes it very hard for me to relax because i think it will happen again :( PLEASE HELP MEEE.

    • That’s not piss, that was an INTENSE orgasm you had an distinct from piss even though it was free flowing and reminded you of urination. It’s actually female ejaculate and it does not happen frequently in females. It happened to me once, I was confused and wondering the same thing but something was off about me labeling it as urine. You probably thought it smelt like urine because you thought it was urine-I don’t think female ejaculate has a high count of ammonia. The texture is slightly different as well, like a runny milk shake I’d say. Hope this helps! ^_~
      -Dani.
      p.s.
      Don’t be ashamed, I wish I had another intense orgasm like that!

  4. Thank youfor this. Ihave read about the ‘need to pee’ sensation and felt it myself, but it means that I can not truely relax (i do get halla enjoyment though). I am glad that it is a different sensation, now I can focus on the difference in sensations for a while and get more used to it :)

  5. Pingback: top hat smorgasbord: ones I’ve answered on the blog | Emily Nagoski :: sex nerd ::

  6. Haha!! Thank you internet! I always wondered and even asked my friends but no one knew.. I was always scared I’d pee during intercourse, but I guess not (:

  7. I’m so glad I found this! This happened to me last night and my friend told me about the feeling but I’d never experienced it for myself lol I was a little tense at first but after some relaxing…WOW. Thanks for posting this!

  8. OH THANKS A LOT TO YOU! That was helpful, seriously, I am more relaxed now that I know this.

  9. Now you can explain the A spot. BTW, I already love you.

  10. I’ve felt this need to pee sensation while masturbating, and during intercourse. But the thing is, I do end up peeing, not very much, but I do. I’ve even tried using the bathroom before, and I still do it!

  11. Pingback: genitals and epistemology | Emily Nagoski :: sex nerd ::

  12. Every time when my wife and I have intercourse she always experiences a sensation to have to go pee, when I’m hitting a certain part inside her. She says that it feels good but that she has the erg to go and is afraid. I always tell her to relax and just go with it. Am i telling her the right thing? will she pee on her self? What is it that I’m hitting?

  13. Every time me and my boyfriend have sex I have that urge to pee real bad,and I’m really scared that its pee,I don’t want to pee and ruin the moment. What should I do?

  14. Annet angel nabweteme

    It happened to me but i did pee twice during the same round.

  15. This was really helpful. It made me not stress so much about this peeing-during-sex thing. But I’m still a little bit afraid. I’m 18 and I had sex for the very first time 2 months ago. And that was when I felt that sensation for the first time. I got so scared and all I was thinking about was “please don’t pee, please don’t pee”. And I haven’t had sex since because I’m afraid I’m going to pee all over the guy… I even tried to masturbate to relive that feeling and see what it is. But it doesn’t seem to work…I mean, I like it and it feels really good but…I don’t know, maybe I’m not “pushing the right buttons”. So, what I should do is just go with flow? I really want to get close to a guy and have sex but I’m afraid…

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