Caring for your vagina should be a simple task. However, years of misinformation about your vagina's cleanliness and sexiness has let some pretty unsafe ideas take hold in the popular culture. Accordingly, it's smart to know the things to never put on or near your lady parts.
For starters, some well-meaning attempts to clean your vagina could seriously backfire. In general, vagina hygiene is simple: use gentle cleansers and nothing else. Using douches, heavily scented soaps, or steam is not necessary. You aren't trying to scrub up your privates to perform surgery, after all. It's pretty clean on its own.
Next, you may accidentally harm your vagina in the pursuit of pleasure. Now, this is not to kink-shame: if you want to get weird in the bedroom, by all means, let loose. Just keep in mind that some things make better sex toys than others, and not all lubricant is created equal. You want to stick to toys and lubes that are safe for your vagina so you can avoid injury or infection.
Lastly, grooming techniques can also affect your private parts. In general, you will be smart to stick with waxing, shaving, or laser treatments, because other methods may result in serious burns where you least want them. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to lean about everything that does not belong near your privates, so you can maintain a happy, healthy vagina.
1. Everyday Objects
Sure, there's something to be said for thinking outside the box, so to speak. But in general, it's a good idea to stick with silicone toys that are specifically made for use in your vagina. (Sometimes plastic objects have seams or other potential sources of irritation). In fact, even sex toys made from rubber or latex may cause skin irritation or degrade over time, as explained by Columbia University. Stainless steel, silicone, or glass sex toys are often your safest and most sanitary choice.
2. Mint Anything
Mint is great for your breath, and generally terrible for the skin around your delicate areas. According to a study from the Archives of Dermatological Research, menthol may have an irritating effect on regular skin. This says nothing about its potential effects on your more sensitive skin.
3. Candle Sticks
Steam is a fantastic way to clean your jewelry or floors, but it's best to keep the hot stuff away from your vagina. According to Women's Health, vaginal steam treatments may result in burns or a decrease in your body's healthy bacteria. Seriously: mild soap and water is all you need to keep things clean down there.
5. Flavored Lube
Flavored lube is a fun way to liven up oral sex with a penis, but it may be smart to keep the strawberry-flavored stuff away from sensitive vaginas. Buzzfeed noted that if you're prone to UTIs, then the flavoring agents could lead to an infection. Sometimes it's best to stick with the basics.
6. Depilatory Creams
Going bare down there is a common grooming choice for many people, but waxing or shaving may be the best route to take. According to the New York Daily News, many experts are advising against the use of depilatory creams because of the potential for burning or irritation. And no one wants chemical burns on their most sensitive parts.
7. Hair Dye
Admittedly, the idea of rocking electric purple hair down there sounds amazing. But according to The Talko, hair dye that's formulated for your head may contain bleach or other ingredients that could harm your vagina. There are special dyes formulated for pubic hair if you want to go that route.
8. Sharp Objects
Even if Edward Scissorhands spurred your sexual awakening, sharp objects have no business in your business. Just no. Don't do it.
9. Scented Soaps
Your vagina likes mild cleansers. According to Shape, heavily scented soaps or body washes may lead to inflammation or rashes for some vaginas. Sometimes bland is best.
10. Tampons Soaked In Anything
Is this an urban legend? Please let this be an urban legend. For what it's worth, sticking in a tampon soaked in alcohol can cause serious burning sensations, as noted by Thought Catalogue. It's safer to use tampons for their original, intended use, and ingest your alcohol the old-fashioned way.
11. Food Products
I feel like this point has been hammered home a thousand times. But here's 1,001: douching has been linked to problems with vaginal infections and even fertility issues, as noted by the Office on Women's Health. Douching is basically never a good idea.
13. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a great addition to a foot soak. As a lubricant? Not so much. As noted by Self, using tea tree oil around your vagina could lead to serious chemical burns. Save this oil for external uses only.