Happy, Healthy Vagina: An Owner’s Manual
Is your vagina tired, rundown, listless? Does it poop out at parties? Is it unpopular? Fear no more! The answer to all your troubles is here! (Yes, this is a play on I Love Lucy’s “Vitameatavegamin” skit).
Keeping your vagina and vulva happy and healthy is actually pretty simple, but information about what’s best for your lady bits isn’t. In fact, there are complicated misconceptions, dastardly disinformation, and a whole lot of weird societal standards that make it harder to know your basic vaginal maintenance. Vaginas are special and they’re a big responsibility. So when you’re a proud vagina owner, it’s important to take care of it. Consider this your owner’s manual.
As a Sex with Emily reader, you’re probably pretty savvy to your anatomy, but a new study revealed that almost half of men can’t accurately identify where the vagina is (scary, I know). It’s common for even the most sexually literate to refer to the “vagina” as the whole shebang (ourselves included), but let’s clarify that the vagina refers to the muscular internal canal leading to the cervix, whereas the vulva is external. The vulva includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris, and the vaginal opening. Knowing the proper terminology will help your understanding as we dive into vaginal health and wellbeing.
Correctly Cleaned & Maintained
For some bizarre reason, there are products on the market designed to mask or alter the vagina’s natural scents and tastes, which allude to a false narrative that one’s vagina is dirty or needs these so called “cleaning products.” While nowadays most women find douching kind of passé, it’s important to know it can also have negative affects on your vaginal health. Synthetic fragrances and chemicals in products can disrupt your vagina’s pH level. Like a fine wine, your vagina has a bit of acidity and your optimal pH is 3.8 to 4.5– which indicates you have a balance of good bacteria (lactobacilli).
Things that can affect you pH are often hormonal, such as your menstrual cycle and menopause, but intercourse can also be a factor (the natural pH of semen is 7.1 to 8). If you’ve heard it’s important for women to pee right after sex, now you know why. When your pH level is off balance, your smell and taste may feel a bit off, or there may be physical discomfort due to the bad bacteria. When these symptoms occur, it’s best to start sipping sugar free cranberry juice and call your OBGYN for a visit. Other than that, the cleaning of your vagina and vulva is pretty simple– like using water on a regular basis simple. Use a little fragrance free, natural soap and water for washing from your vagina to your anus. Front to back ladies, always front to back.
And dear God, please don’t ever steam your vagina.
Chronic stress and anxiety are bad for your whole body, including your lovely lady parts. The adrenaline and cortisol coursing through your body can literally cause vaginal discomfort because those chemicals can cause discharge and infection. Your vagina itself can also get depressed– a real and very serious condition known as Vulvodynia. Research is still needed to know what exactly causes this painful condition, but it’s considered to have psychological ties in the same way depression does. It’s surprisingly common (affecting nearly 1 in 6 women at some point in their lives) and is often treated with a mild anti-depressant.
So if you’ve really been meaning to take that vacation, get weekly massages, or start meditating, now’s the time to start. Your vagina and vulva are counting on you. Plus, the more sex you have, the less likely you’ll be affected.
Food and Nutrition
Let’s circle back to this smell and taste business. Most likely, your natural vaginal state is delightful and delicious. Your vagina doesn’t need to taste like Starbursts. You may have an earthier, umami flavor, a buttery finish, or a sweet kettle corn taste. Whatever your taste may be, you deserve to have it enjoyed by your partner via oral sex. If he or she doesn’t like it, than that’s on them, not on you. They probably need their tongue checked. Of course, if you’d like to be your tastiest, there a few tricks to keep in mind.
Alcohol, cigarettes, smoking weed, caffeine and other fun things like dairy and sugar can all affect your flavor. Nixing those things or cutting down will likely make your vagina more delicious. You can also add in fresh veggies (not asparagus) for an enhanced taste. The rule here is pretty simple. The healthier your gut is, the less candida or yeast you’ll have in the body, the better you’ll smell and taste!
Ah, kegel exercise. Essentially pilates for your insides, pelvic floor exercises work the puboccygeal muscles to help keep you feeling “tight.” The benefits of these workouts go far beyond sexual, though it is satisfying to be able to grip and release a penis without your hand. Plus, it improves orgasmic intensity over time, and who doesn’t want that? Strengthened PC muscles can also prevent or eliminate urinary incontinence. Many women still have difficulty squeezing those PC muscles or they find the exercises to be a little ho hum. I mean if you’re going to work out your vagina, it should be pleasurable right?
This is why using a rabbit shaped rejuvenator like the Intensity by Pour Moi is an optimal way to strengthen your PC muscles and improve your overall vaginal strength. This is not just the lazy girl’s kegel workout. You see, there are two major muscles and only one is usually exercised with the average kegel ball set. Not to mention, it’s difficult to monitor your internal workout and know if you’re doing it right. The Intensity utilizes electromagnetic pulses to stimulate the muscles and ensures they’re being done correctly. It’s easy to use, but start slow, build gradually, and definitely read the instructions.
Set a Reminder
Like any muscle group, if you exhaust your PC muscles, you may feel discomfort or spasms. The most important thing is consistency. Being sure to work them out every day, is better than overdoing it and then skipping days. Fortunately the little rabbit vibe attached to the Intensity gives you an orgasm that’s well, intense. With all the distractions in life, it can still be easy to forget. So, if you still struggle to keep your kegel schedule, consider downloading a reminder app like Kegel Camp.
Love it, Always
Last but not least, the best thing to keep your vagina happy, healthy and tasty is to love it. Let your vagina relax if it wants to, or have sex all day on Saturday and not feel guilty. Buy your vagina presents and introduce it to nice people who will love it as much as you do. Treat it to new panties. Take it to Paris.
So if your vagina has felt tires, rundown or listless, following these tips will put you on the path to vulva wellness. Enjoy your happy, healthy vagina and remember, you’re a lovely lady, and so is your vagina.