So I’m not going to teach you how to do it (ha!) but I am going to bring your attention to sexual practices that may affect the health of your vagina.
First things first, cleanliness is next to godliness, especially when we are talking sex. And I’m not really here to give you a safe sex speech because I’m sure you’re aware of STIs and STDs. What I’m here to discuss is exposing your vagina to bacteria not normally present there. Your vagina has a low diversity of microbes living there, so there are not as many types present. Now bacteria grows everywhere and being careless of the things entering your vagina can leave you at risk of developing things like bacterial vaginosis (BV), thrush, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
So what are the things to be cautious of?
- Sex toys and dildos. These devices are fine to use but must be washed with soap and water after every use.
You should also consider what the toy is made of. Some can be made of toxic material which can be absorbed by the mouth, penis, vagina, etc. And some may be made of porous material, allowing microbes to inhabit them after repeated use.
Seek out food grade and 100% silicone, metals like stainless steal, platinum, titanium, glass that has been annealed to be stronger, glazed ceramics, wood with waterproof sealant, and ABS plastics at a pinch.
- Digital stimulation. Has your partner (or yourself) washed their hands before performing this act? Not exactly going to set the mood but essential for maintaining vaginal health.
- Oral sex. So this is a tricky one, not much you can do about the bacteria in the mouth, it’s there all the time. The mouth has a much more diverse and very different bacterial make up than the vagina, so oral sex (especially for those already vulnerable to BV or thrush) can be detrimental to the vaginal microbes. So what can be done? Well if you have a history of infections or are currently pregnant, steer clear of it. If not, then be mindful, watch out for any changes like increased discharge, smell or pain/irritation afterwards.
- Anal sex. Ok so not something people talk about openly, but such a necessary conversation to have. So clearly your bum is different to your vagina, containing vastly different bacteria, and a lot of the bacteria that live in your gut is detrimental to your vaginal health. Having spoken to women about this regularly, often anal penetration is followed by vaginal, without the thought of cross contamination. So how do you stop this cross contamination but still enjoy this sexual act?
You can try: practicing just anal or vaginal during a session, changing condoms in between or using a condom when entering anally that is then discarded, or washing in between.
If you are struggling with recurrent vaginal infections and need help, drop me a line.