preparing vagina for sex

Vaginal Spring Cleaning: Prep Your Privates for Ho Summer

If you’re in the global north, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and the days are getting longer. It’s springtime and that means opening up the windows, cleaning out the cobwebs, and glowing up for summer.

We’ve had years of pandemic, apocalyptic isolation and this year feels as good as any to reclaim our sexual power and make up for lost time. Let’s get ready for ho summer!!

But where to begin?

From hygiene to aesthetics, we’ve got you covered with a straightforward guide that covers everything you need to know to deep clean your cave of wonders for all your eager explorers to marvel at and enjoy.

Go to your doctor and assess your starting point

We’ve got to start somewhere, right? A good starting point is to book an appointment to get your pap smear and test for STIs if it’s been a while or if you had a new sexual partner since you were last tested. Depending on where you are, there might be test kits available to order online. Just take a few swabs, give yourself a jab, and send your samples off to the lab. If results come back positive for something, you can take care of it and plan appropriately. If not, you can get back out there with confidence!

While you’re at it, check for yeast or bacterial infections if you’ve been itchy or smelling extra funky. Conditions like bacterial vaginosis (BV) can actually increase your risk of contracting STIs, developing pelvic inflammatory disease, and if you get or are pregnant, triggering a pre-term birth.

While you’re at it, if you can, you might as well check out anything else that’s been bothering you. We are whole, embodied beings, and ignoring any part of ourselves can have consequences affecting the other parts. See your dentist (you don’t want bad breath deterring your dates), dermatologist (skin conditions can impede confidence), and any other specialist you think you need to see. When you’re stripped bare and sharing fluids, you’ll feel better knowing you won’t be transmitting any harmful pathogens to those sweet dates who just want to feel good with you.

 

Boost your nutrition and hydration

Did you know that vaginas have their own microbiome? They do! And there’s a strong vaginal-gut axis that means that what you eat and drink makes a big difference on your vaginal health. More sexual partners increase your exposure to different bacteria and if your microbiome is already struggling, that could quickly lead to UTIs, STIs, BV, and other conditions related to vaginal dysbiosis.

Prevention is key! Try to eat mainly whole grains, nuts and seeds, and plenty of fruits and vegetables,   like spinach that not only improve your microbiome but are also rich in folate, a nutrient essential for preventing birth defects (in case your wild romps result in pregnancy). Eat plenty of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles. Vegetarians actually have higher microbial diversity (diversity is good), so eating less meat is not only good for the planet but GREAT for your vaginal microbiome. To combat BV, eat plenty of foods high in vitamin A and calcium. Pineapple and cranberry are especially good at clearing out bacteria that lead to UTIs (but beware of added sugar) and staying hydrated with plenty of water is also key.

In 2024, we’re done with romanticizing self-harming habits. We’ve been doing the work and healing our hearts, and it’s time to extend that care to our bodies. No need to hide behind liquid courage anymore (it’ll throw off your microbiome anyway), because all that therapy has helped you to find authentic courage. Nourish your body because it IS a temple and your worshippers are lining up to pray.

 

Stress and Mental Health

Ok, so maybe you’re not done with romanticizing self-harm. Maybe you haven’t been healing yet and that’s ok – we get there when we get there. Life throws a lot of lemons our way it can take a while before we learn to duck. And then a while more before we turn around and realize, ‘Hey, these lemons are a resource I could use’ and turn around to catch them like Neo catches bullets.

Stress affects the microbiome composition, so learning to manage stress levels is like a superpower for your overall health. There are a lot of ways to do this and the best way is the one (or a few) you’ll actually do. Exercise is a great stress reliever and is also associated with greater vaginal microbiome diversity.

Yes, sex can be great exercise, but you’ll want to already have a nice level of relaxation before you start. Find an exercise form that suits you, get all hot and sweaty, and then ride that endorphin high right into your orgasmic pursuits.

 

Be mindful of Soaps & Vulva Cleaning

Cleanliness is next to godliness and this summer is all about invoking your inner divinity, but harsh soaps and detergents are not the solution!

Vulvar tissue is really sensitive and the vagina is self-cleaning, so you don’t want to be using anything other than your hand and MAYBE a gentle, hypoallergenic liquid wash with a pH between 4.2 and 5.6 (yes, it needs to be that specific). Cleansers with lactic acid and thymol have been shown to be beneficial, but this is not a more is more kind of situation. Gently washing your vulva once a day in the shower (preferably after you’ve pooped) is the best plan.

Douching and using talcum powder, antiseptics, soaps, shower gels, scrubs, bubble bath, deodorants, baby wipes, sponges or loofahs are all associated with genital woes and should be avoided.

 

Should you remove your pubic hair? Bush Maintenance

While there have been more and more women embracing their body hair in recent years, the stylistic trend has dominantly been to remove most, if not all, of one’s pubic hair. In fact one study found that the vast majority of respondents regularly shaved some or all of their pubic hair and all respondents had shaved it at least once. Many feel less hair is cleaner and better overall, but is it?

No. No, it is not.

Hair removal can increase the risk of infections (including STIs) and commonly has minor complications like rashes and ingrown hairs. Shaving all your pubic hair makes you 74% more likely to experience vulvodynia compared to shaving only your bikini area, and any change to your pubic hair leads to changes in your vaginal microbiome. Hair helps to dissipate pheromones and serves as a physical barrier that protects skin against friction and irritation during sex, which is definitely preferable if you’re having a lot of it.

If you’re not quite ready to sport a full bush, using less irritating methods like an electric trimmer is preferable over waxing. You can get pretty close to the skin that way but can avoid the painful irritation and regrowth that shaving and waxing bring.

 

Watch what you wear: fabrics & aeration

If you’ve been wearing the same underwear since your last breakup, it might be time for a shopping spree. There’s nothing quite like fresh underwear to jumpstart your sensual excitement. Dark dyes can cause problems down under, so it’s time to embrace your angelic divinity with white and pale colours. Go for natural, breathable fabrics like silk and cotton that will minimise any bacterial overgrowth.

Air flow is key here to a happy vagina. Avoid tight-fitting clothes and if you use panty liners, try to limit using them to just days when you’re spotting. Yes, vaginal discharge happens and yes, it will bleach your underwear and that’s totally fine. There’s nothing weird, abnormal or dirty about it. Regardless of the type of menstrual products you use, make sure you’re changing and cleaning them frequently and appropriately.

The best option for optimal vaginal health is to go commando as much as possible. Sleep naked! Wear long skirts with no underwear! Walk around naked all you can! Not only will you be ensuring good airflow, but you’ll also probably feel extra sexy doing it.

 

Are you good with your hands? Finger Hygiene!

If you’ve got hands and hormones, you know those fingers are going to go places. Whether you’re putting on a self-pleasure show or penetrating someone else’s depths, hygiene and grooming is key. Forget about those long, witchy nails! They look awesome, but they are not your vagina’s friend. Nail varnish can irritate your delicate vulva and I shudder to think of what horrors would unfold if those scratched their way inside!

Au natural is best for penetrating digits and the shorter the nails, the better. Lots of bacteria can hang out under the whites of your nails so even if they’re trimmed, washing your hands, and scrubbing those nails before any sexual play will save you a lot of grief.

If you smoke, now is a great time to quit. Apart from the myriad of health benefits you’ll enjoy as an ex-smoker, you’ll also have cleaner hands for fun play times. Analysis of smoker’s fingers reveals quite a lot of nicotine left over even after hand washing and you don’t want that yellow gunk smeared in and around your genitals.

 

Hey sluts, it’s time to shine!

Fast-forward to summer 2024. The sun is blazing in this post-capitalist hellscape and you are the radiant future.

Toss your hair and stand in your divine glory. Your body is feeling phenomenal with how well you’re treating it. Your lungs are full and ready to pant and moan. Your bush is flowing freely in the wind and you are ready to get your freak on.

Now, strut out there with confidence and get yourself some ass!