At Love Not War, we want to constantly help people improve their intimacy and have a more satisfying sex life. This week's blog focus is on the vagina and vulva, and how to keep them in tip-top shape. We see the word ‘vagina’ thrown around quite often, however, we want to make sure you understand the difference between a vagina and a vulva, after all, it’s good to know what you or your sexual partner(s) are made of, right? So whilst it’s great for us to discuss how to ensure you have a healthy vulva, we also need to differentiate a vagina from a vulva.
What’s a vagina?
The vagina connects with the cervix and, through that, the uterus. The ovaries, located on either side of the uterus, release eggs inside fertile people. These eggs travel down the fallopian tubes to the uterus, where, in conception, they meet up with sperm for fertilization and implant along the uterine wall.
What’s a vulva?
The vulva is the outside portion of the female genitals — the part you can see!
It consists of the mons pubis, clitoris, urethra, labia majora, and labia minora. The labia majora is the ‘outside’, whilst the labia minora is the ‘inside’. These parts help to protect the clitoris - and just like the head of a penis, the clitoris can be a major pleasure centre!
So how do I keep my vagina and vulva healthy?
Here are our top tips to help you maintain a happy and healthy ‘downstairs’.
Choose your cleaning products carefully
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ so there’s no need to get scrub happy! Avoid using harsh chemicals or chemicals that you don’t need to use, including scented lotions!
Also, avoid douching! Vaginas already do a fantastic job of keeping themselves clean, by balancing healthy bacteria and pH levels. Douching can eliminate some of that healthy bacteria, which in turn, alters your pH and can make you prone to infections. Instead, opt for a scent-free soap. If you want to alter the scent of your vagina, you can change up what you eat! For example, pineapple can make a vagina taste or smell sweeter! *Adds to shopping list*
Use natural lube and body-safe sex toys
Lube is great, it can really enhance sex for everyone involved, however, it’s important to choose a lube with body-safe ingredients. Make sure the lube you chose is paraben and preservative-free! Some ingredients, such as glycerin, can contribute to bacteria growth which, let’s be honest, no one wants. And if you’re using silicone sex toys, don't use a silicone lube. Other things you may want to avoid include:
- Non-natural oils
And whilst you’re at it, make sure your sex toys are body safe too! The entire Love Not War range is made up of FDA grade silicone and recycled aluminium, you can read more here.
Avoid ingrown hairs
Shaving down there is a personal decision, and everyone has their preferences, however, if you do shave, make sure you use a clean razor and natural, unscented shaving creams to avoid pesky ingrown hairs, and irritation.
Did you know, pubic hair serves many purposes? It protects your downstairs from extra bacteria, and it also eliminates issues related to friction and sweating. Less hair removal also means less itch as the hair grows back, fewer cuts and scrapes, and fewer ingrown hairs. How does your garden grow? Let us know!
Let it breathe
It’s important to wear breathable cotton and take a break from tight clothing every now and then simply to prevent excessive sweating which may lead to a yeast infection. Breathable clothing and fabrics make happy vaginas! Cotton is always a safe choice, as it will limit the amount of wetness that may contribute to bacterial growth. And this may go without saying, but change your underwear daily!
Hopefully these small tips can help you and make your vagina happy!