The morning after a recent tryst, I was mortified to find two giant purple hickies on my neck. Even more painful: I limped through the rest of the weekend because we had gotten a little (ahem) enthusiastic in the sack. Determined to avoid more bedroom battle-scars, I turned to science to find out how to get off without getting injured. My tricks, after the jump…THE OUCH: BRUISE
THE FIX: A bruise usually lasts between three to seven days, says Boston-based dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, M.D. As soon as you can, apply gentle pressure to the area to prevent swelling.
NEXT TIME: Use a pillow or a plush scarf at the point of impact. For example, wedge a pillow between your body and a hard surface — a desk, that staircase, the washing machine. You get the idea.
THE OUCH: PULLED MUSCLE
THE FIX: Ice it for a week, then switch to heat the following week. If you’re hurting too much to even consider sex a few days later, see a doctor to rule out a torn muscle.
NEXT TIME: Stay limber by doing a few stretches every morning. Even better? Ask for a massage pre-romp. Or turn off the AC for sweatier sex, because heat keeps muscles loose.
THE OUCH: RUG BURN
THE FIX: Clean the wound with soap and water, slather on Aquaphor to moisturize and cover the area with a band-aid, suggests Hirsch.
NEXT TIME: Upgrade to high-thread-count sheets. (Hint: higher equals softer) Or just toss a blanket on the floor or over the backseat of the car.
THE OUCH: VAGINAL IRRITATION
THE FIX: The good news: your vagina is made to heal quickly. First, check to make sure you don’t have lesions or sores on your privates, says Linda Bradley, MD, a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Those symptoms are STD red flags — go to your doc immediately if you spot them. If everything looks normal, switch to gentle, unscented soap and put an ice pack on your bottom for a few minutes. “I also tell my patients to dip a tea bag in warm — not boiling — water, and then place the tea bag on the vagina for five to ten minutes,” Bradley says. “The tannic acid in tea soothes irritation.” If you don’t feel better in 48 to 72 hours, see your doctor.
NEXT TIME: Demand more foreplay. It can take several minutes once you’re aroused before you naturally lubricate
THE OUCH: HICKIES
THE FIX: Hickies are basically just broken blood vessels, so you want to disperse the blood to take away the bright purpley-redness of the mark. Apply ice right away to the area (or the back of a cold spoon if you forgot to fill your ice tray!) and apply subtle pressure to the area. Keep this up using other objects — the cap end of a Chapstick, for example — or your fingers and press and twist in order to get the blood to move deeper into the skin. It can kind of hurt, but not as much as the embarrassment of having a hickie post-8th grade. You can also rub Vitamin K on the area and then apply a warm teabag (not the one you used on your vag, please) to help the mark fade.
NEXT TIME: If you insist on dating dudes with the kissing skills of your 8th grade boyfriend, remind him to kiss, not suck or bite. And maybe invest in a turtleneck.