When it comes to taking care of your vagina, the first thing you should know is that “vagina” only refers to the vaginal canal. The lips, mons pubis, clitoris, etc. are all a part of the vulva. If you’re going to have healthy, happy ladybits, you should know the proper names.
When it comes to vaginal health, myths have sprouted from left to right. There are promises of vaginal tightening through surgery (gag), scented soaps, washes, and tampons aimed to “freshen” your nether regions. All of this is nonsense.
Here is what you need to know about taking care of your vagina and vulva on a daily basis.
Never use soap on your vulva or vagina
Soap is the enemy. When it comes to soap, it shouldn’t be anywhere near your vulva, let alone up inside your vagina. The vagina is self-cleaning. It doesn’t need to be soaped. Rinse the entire vulva with warm water and you should be good to go. Remember, it’s a vagina. It smells like a vagina. If it smelled like a rose, it would be a rose. OK?
And to that end, douching is also big NOPE. Douching will throw off your pH balance and: A) Cause a yeast infection. B) Make your vagina even smellier.
If you must soap your pubes, use Dove original, and only on the very outside of the vulva. If you feel like your vagina smells fishy or just plain, uncontrollably dank, you might have an infection. You should book an appointment with your OB/GYN rather than shoving a bunch of water up there and saying a prayer.
Wear cotton underwear
Wearing the wrong kind of underwear is likely the number one culprit for a stinky vag. Your vulva has a delicate ecosystem that needs constant aeration to remain healthy. Cotton underwear is your safety net.
The lacey thongs might look cute, but if your smell is ripe (and not in the good, normal way) as a result, it kind of takes the sexy back, right? Plus, lace, latex, nylon, etc. can irritate your delicate vulva skin. And no one wants their vulva to be mad at them.
When you workout, be sure to strip out of your sweaty gym clothes ASAP. The moisture gathering around your vulva and the non-breathable nature of your latex workout pants is a yeast infection waiting to happen.
With summer coming up, now is the time to let you know that chilling in a wet bathing suit should also be avoided. Once you’re finished swimming, slip into a towel or your coverup.
Whenever possible, air out your lady bits. Sleeping naked is our personal favorite (and sexiest) way to keep our vaginal health in check.
Do your kegels
This is not some shame-y diatribe (lookin’ at you “vaginal rejuvenation”) wherein we tell you your vagina will get loose and no one will love you. What is true is that like all muscles in your body, you vaginal muscles need to be exercised in order to maintain optimal resilience.
It isn’t just about vaginal tightness; working your kegels (aka: PC muscles) helps you avoid urinary incontinence (you know, when you sneeze-pee) and can even make your orgasms stronger.
Pop in some kegel balls and go about your day. They do the work for you. We love these from Lelo.
Stop shaving (or waxing) off all your pubic hair
As fun as those Brazilian waxes can be (shivers), they are not great for your vulva. We know, ripping the hair violently from your mons pubis and labia isn’t great for you. SHOCKING.
Waxing (and shaving!) all your pubic hair makes you more prone to infection. Your pubic hair was designed by nature to project your vagina from bacteria and other irritants. You don’t have to go full bush if you don’t want to, but a landing strip (at least) is best for a healthy vagina.
Pee after sex
Always, always, always pee after sex. When you have penetrative intercourse, bacteria can build up in your urethra. Your vaginal canal and urethra are very close together. Once you’re finished having sex, go pee to clear out any lingering bacteria.
You don’t want to wind up with a UTI. That is not fun for anyone. You don’t have to run to the bathroom the minute you’re finished getting down. You can snuggle for a bit. Just be sure you do so within the hour.
Be nice to yourself and your vulva
This is the most froo-froo of them all, but it is VERY important. Your vulva is very aware of your mood. Many valvular disorders such as vaginismus and vulvodynia are believed to be rooted in the psychological. Trauma, shame, and self-effacement can contribute to pain during sex, a lack of orgasm, and lower self-esteem.
Be kind to your vulva. Take a hand mirror and check her out in all her glory. She’s unique and perfect just like you. All confidence is rooted in the body. Take some time to connect with your vulva rather than expending energy to change it.