You can’t cook a dinner without buying the ingredients. You can’t go for a run with a quick warm up or stretch. So why do we think we can just stop everything we’re doing, have sex and then move on with our merry, post-coital day? Vaginal health during sex, like most activities, requires care and consideration before, during, and after the act itself. In this article, we will be going through some tips and tricks to make sure we’re being conscientious of our vaginal health.
General Pelvic Health
A healthy pelvis is part of a healthy you. The same general health recommendations for keeping your body healthy — eating nutritious foods, low to moderate cardio activity a few times a week, and staying hydrated — are the same recommendations for keeping all parts of your pelvic, including your vagina, healthy. Specifically, walking and running are excellent workouts for helping to keep the pelvic floor toned up, as well as just for general health.
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Vaginal Cleanliness Dos and Don’ts
Add this to the list of the wonderful things about a vagina: The vagina is designed to keep itself clean. Discharge, the clear or white secretions from your vagina, is mucus naturally produced from the cervix. Discharge is your body’s natural way of cleaning itself from the inside. You should strive to keep the outside of your vagina and the perineal area, the area between your vagina and anus, clean. This involves daily washing, utilizing your normal hygienic routines with non-allergenic, plain soap. We also recommend you wash with warm water, dry thoroughly with a clean towel and wash all new underwear before wearing.
Between discharge and routine washing, you don’t need too many fancy products to keep your vagina safe. And some of these actually mess with the pH of your vagina, which can end up causing yeast infections and other irritations. Some things we’d recommend avoiding:
- Perfumed soap, gels, and antiseptics: Some people can experience irritation from the additives in these products. Some women have no problem with these products, but we suggest erring on the side of caution.
- Vaginal douches: A douche flushes water up into the vagina in an attempt to clear out vaginal secretions or “clean” the vagina. They actually flush the vagina of healthy bacteria, and there’s no evidence that douching protects against STIs or infections. Ridding yourself of healthy bacteria may actually increase your risk.
- Scented wipes or vaginal deodorants: Call us old fashioned, but at Stix we like that your vagina smells like a vagina. Avoid products that are scented or aiming to change the smell of your vagina. These can disrupt your pH in an irritating way.
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Vaginal Health During Sex
First of all, let’s just reiterate that safe and fun sex is healthy sex for your vagina! Avoiding STIs is one of the best ways to enhance and maintain a healthy vagina. But, it’s important to be cognizant of your vagina during sex as well. For example, being well lubricated is essential for protecting your vagina or vulva from tears or painful intercourse. If your vagina is not producing as much lubrication for painless and fun intercourse, you could try using vaginal moisturizer and/or synthetic lubrication to combat routine dryness during sex. There’s a world of lubricants out there for your vagina’s specific needs.
If you feel pain or tearing, or notice any unusual bleeding, one of the first steps that could help is using a mirror to do an external look for any cuts, tears, or fissures (dry/cracked areas of skin). These can be very painful, and even become infected. Listen to your body’s cues while you’re doing the deed — sex is supposed to be pleasurable, not painful!
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We were always told, from our real-life friends and our less-real friends on Sex in the City, to pee after sex. They were all right — peeing after sex is an important way to keep your vagina healthy. Peeing after sex may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs are caused by bacteria that travels through your urethra to your bladder, and the opening to your urethra is very close to your vaginal opening. Peeing after sex can help clear any bacteria that may be lingering nearby your urethra and prevent it from spreading any further.
Finally, clean your sex toys! We recommend keeping it simple — use hot water and mild, unscented soap. Or, if it’s a specific product and requires a deeper clean, read the instructions provided. Just remember, your vaginal health is integral in your holistic health and wellness. Now, go have some clean and safe fun.