About 2 years ago I stumbled upon a Tumblr page that specialized in documenting and praising the unique shapes and forms of vaginas from all across the world. It aimed to spread awareness, but it also made me realize something. As I perused the page of perfectly posed vaginas, I noticed something disturbing. For every five or six clean and happy clams, I saw one atrocious one, which made me ask, why?
I’m not talking about one that is asymmetrical or a certain color, but I’m talking about dirty, grungy lady-bits that were obviously not cared for. These were women who did not seem to understand the importance of having a good relationship with their vagina, and I attribute that directly to a lack of education, so I am taking it upon myself to make sure that none of you ever make anyone else say “is it supposed to look like that?” Your vagina is your best friend, so why not take great care of it? It is, after all, the only one you have.
The most important thing that we must remember about our vaginas is that they are naturally acidic and contain many beneficial bacteria that help ward off infections and maintain a normal pH level. Because it is a self-cleaning body part, it often produces its own lubrication and therefore can leave small bits of discharge. This means that it is unnecessary to douche or use any harsh soaps or chemicals to “flush it out.”
These things can actually harm the healthy pH levels and allow in bacteria that can cause infections. If you feel the need to clean yourself, use warm water in your vaginal canal, and a natural and very basic bar soap on your vulva, being careful not to let any suds stray into the wrong places.
If you are concerned about odor, especially when your partner is diving tongue first into the danger zone, spray a dab of your favorite perfume between your knees and remember that some sort of smell is normal. If you detect anything strong or fishy, go to your doctor to be sure it isn’t an STD or bacterial infection.
FOOD AND DRINKS
What you eat and drink can also greatly affect what happens inside, so keep hydrated and eat healthfully. Try to limit your intake of artificial sugars, white bread and rice, because these items have high levels of yeast, which can cause problems not only in your nether regions, but in your intestinal tract. Yogurt is a great addition to your diet because it contains healthy bacteria that can keep your pH balanced. When you hear pretentious alcoholics like myself slurring “Cranberry vodkas are for pussies!” at the bar, you will find comfort in some level of truth to that statement. Cranberry juice (and not the sugary cocktail kind you find in vending machines) can also help maintain healthy pH and is suggested to help rid the body of toxins. If you’re going to bring food into your bedroom antics, be sure to remember the only cream pies that belong down there are the kind that you see on the Internet. Any sort of foreign object can cause vaginal problems, especially if it is not clean.
I fully endorse wearing a long skirt with no panties at least once a week, to give your pleasure palace a chance to air out. When you do choose to wear underwear, try to switch up the styles and materials often. Cotton is always best at wicking moisture and keeping things fresh. Thongs, G-strings and anything that rests between your cheeks can have a tendency to track bacteria from your rectum up towards your vagina.
Tight leggings, tights and pants can also trap moisture, so change up your daily choices to keep everything in tip top shape. Also remember to be conscious about the types of fabric softener you use, especially if it is going to be touching your ladybits. Try something without perfumes or unnatural dyes, because chemicals are the enemy to such a delicate area.
Our vaginal area gets a bad reputation by those that don’t understand it. We hear unfair comments about fishy smells, sagging skin, uneven “meat curtains” and other ridiculous assertions designed to make us feel like lesser beings. The truth is, our bodies are all beautiful and when adequately cared for, have few problems. In addition to always having safe sex and making regular appointments with your gynecologist, following the above guidelines can help you avoid problems.
Anneliese Hucal studies public relations and prelaw. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org