Hollywood rom-com sex scenes, magazine help columns and the karma sutra do their bit to inspire and guide our actions in the bedroom. But, when it comes to post-coitus care for our vulvas, our education tends to be a choice between misinformation or … no information at all. Old wives’ tales are twisted into fact and then spat out as fiction quicker than, well, a “quickie” and the grapevine rarely knows its do’s from its don’ts.
At moode, we believe that protecting your vulva during and after sex is just as important as protecting your pleasure, so we’ve made it simple to keep your hoo-hoo in top health well after the woo-hoo.
Choose Your Lube
Your clever vagina is good at producing natural lubrication in response to sexual arousal, but obstetrician Dr. Kara Thompson says there are plenty of reasons why it might not produce enough, leading to discomfort during sex.
“Lack of adequate lubrication … isn’t necessarily a sign of lack of enthusiasm or arousal,” she says. “Organic reasons why lubrication may be a little lacking may include low oestrogen, breastfeeding, menopause, stress or other medical conditions.” Adding a personal lube product into the mix is a great way to avoid discomfort, and – bonus! – will help stave off friction-induced infections after the deed.
Lube isn’t just for those moments when you need your body to catch up with your horny head, either. Even the naturally moist report that a good lube goes a long way to further enhancing the pleasure of body parts getting their grind on.
Trying to conceive? Lube’s still your favourite third party in the bedroom, but consider being a little more selective. Some products have been found to impair the motility and health of sperm, and could be detrimental to baby-making. So swipe right on a lube that’s sans silicone and petroleum, and has a pH-match with semen and cervical fluid (around 7).
There’s no need to jump straight from the mattress (or deckchair or dining table – you do you, boo) to the bathtub, but a little post-sex wash-down before passing out in exhausted ecstasy will do your vulva the world of good. Fancy lotions have no place near your labia, so let simple warm water be the hero. Just add mild soap if the sensitive skin in the most sensitive of areas can handle it. Think about your hands, too. If the age of COVID has taught us anything, it’s that a good hand-wash helps to stop the spread, and that also goes for (not-so) sexy infections. A gentle wash helps to protect against bacterial transfer and – bonus – keeps things fresh down there. Anyone for round two?
But Don’t Be A Douche
Your vulva is all for a gentle rinse after sex, but douching is a no-no. A vaginal douche is a mixture of water and other fluids, like vinegar or iodine, that’s sprayed up into the vagina from a bottle or bag. It’s a squirt … but not the sexy kind. Many women believe that a douche will help to avoid STIs, wash away odours and even prevent pregnancy but – newsflash – it will do none of these things. In fact, douching can cause irritation and infection by upsetting the natural bacterial balance around your vagina, so dump the douche and let your vulva do its beautiful self-cleaning thing. After all, you might have gotten down but you didn’t actually get dirty.
Pee After Sex
The post-poke pee trope has taken on urban legend status, having gotten around high school gossip trains like wildfire. But urinary tract infections are a wildfire of their own, and anything you can do to avoid getting one deserves a bit of credit. UTIs spring up when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and make their way through to the bladder. They result in a burning sensation when passing urine, nauseating pelvic pain, and a full bladder feeling that’s at odds with the few drops that typically eventuate. The urethra is a close neighbour to the vaginal opening, so penetrative sex gives those bugs a one-way flight right into the danger zone.
But, according to Dr. Thompson, there’s no strong evidence for peeing after sex being the panacea it’s cracked up to be, particularly if you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t cop urinary tract infections on the reg. If, however, you do ride the UTI-train (destination: agony), Dr. Thompson recommends some alternative fixes.
“Chat to your doctor about having a stash of antibiotics that you can take a single dose of when you have sex to get ahead of any infection before it has a chance to develop into a full-blown UTI,” she says. “Other things to try to prevent recurrent urine infections may be probiotics, cranberry tablets, or Hiprex.”
And if you’re post-menopausal or otherwise low in oestrogen, Dr. Thompson says UTIs can be avoided with a topical oestrogen cream to plump up the tissues around the vagina and urethra. Botox for your vulva? Sign us up!
Keep It Loose
Bacteria and yeast love hot and sweaty places, just as much as you do when you’re in the depths of Pleasure Town. Tight clothes are a veritable breeding ground for sex-induced infection, so keep things loose and make cotton your friend – it’s a heavy breather and absorbs moisture the way synthetic fabrics can’t. Better yet, skip the scruds and let your vulva breathe free for a few hours after sex or overnight.
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