We might be unaware of some essential practices that keep us and our lady parts healthy during our lives. These six tips can prevent a lot of problems for us.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 22, 2021. It has since been updated.
No matter how experienced you are at being physically intimate with your partner, people still do tend to make some mistakes. Age doesn't need to slow us down when it comes to having intercourse with our partner, but we still need to take care of ourselves. Good hygiene down there goes a long way and these practices should be always part of our lives.
There is more to getting busy between the sheets beyond the finish line. "When the vaginal tissues have been lubricated, swollen, and rubbed against during intercourse, it changes how that tissue reacts to the environment," Kansas-based gynecologist Dr. Leslie E. F. Page, told Women's Health Mag. "Primarily, you run a much greater risk of infection," she added.
It is important to remember that there are certain things we should NOT do after the act to avoid an infection. So, here are six things that must be avoided after intercourse:
Many people might have claimed that douching is a safe and healthy way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. However, this advice comes with its own set of problems. Douching "alters your normal vaginal flora and will increase your risk of UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis," a condition caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, according to Insider. Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, an OB-GYN, said that douching "wipes out" natural bacterial flora, leaving the area "prone to any bacteria or yeast," or "just about anything" that might inadvertently enter.
As romantic as it may be to cuddle with your partner in a post-coital daze, make sure to go to the bathroom and pee before you do so. "It is a good idea to empty your bladder after sex, because the activity is known to help bacteria transfer from back to front, from the anal area to the vaginal/urethra. Using the bathroom flushes out the area, lowering the risk of infection," explained Dr. DeLucia. Keep the washing up process as simple as possible.
If you can, don't let him skip the shower before you get busy. If he's uncircumcised, ask him to rinse behind his foreskin since a UTI-causing bacteria may build up there, which could be passed to you, says Prevention.
If you use accessories to aid your intercourse, don't forget to clean them up before keeping them away. "Toys are usually synthetic and can hold bacteria," DeLucia told Insider. "Keep them clean and they will not increase the risk of infection." Warm water and mild soap will be good enough to clean most of them. It's easy to forget if they were washed right before the next session, so it's always ideal to get it done immediately after.
There's a wide selection of scented soaps, gels, washes, lotions, and other products being sold for genital health, but these products should be avoided at all times. They can irritate internal and external skin. It should be avoided after physical intimacy, especially for women. "We don't recommend using soaps or products with lots of added fragrance/chemicals, as they can alter your good, normal bacteria; ideally, you should wash just with warm water. Using anything foreign, such as [a] toy, gels, creams, and lubricants can disrupt your delicate flora, causing bad bacteria or yeast to overgrown," said Dr. Allison Hill and Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB-GYNs at Los Angeles Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Cotton lingerie and loose-fitting clothes are ideal for going to sleep in at night. Cotton undies are breathable and absorb moisture, which is why clothes and underwear that let our skin breathe is important. Women should avoid pantyhose, girdles, and tight clothing since hot and sweaty places are where bacteria and yeast thrive. If you can skip the underwear completely, that's the best option, as per WebMD.
Hitting a hot tub afterward seems like the best way to further wind down but it's not ideal for your private parts. "When your vulva swells in response to sexual stimulation, it reveals the opening of the vagina, which means you have a greater chance of infection," Page told Women's Health Mag. When we're in a hot tub with our partner, we are going to be exposed to the bacteria on his skin. Not only that, water exposure also reduces our skin's antimicrobial barrier, she says.