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The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Health: Hygiene Practices You Need to Know

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on sexual health hygiene! We provide practical tips and advice on essential practices for maintaining vaginal and penile hygiene, as well as pre- and post-sex hygiene routines to keep you feeling clean, comfortable, and confident. Prioritizing sexual health hygiene is essential for preventing infections, promoting overall wellbeing, and fostering healthy intimate relationships. So, let's dive in and prioritize your sexual health!



Vaginal Hygiene

  • Daily Cleansing - It is crucial to wash the outside of the vagina (vulva) daily with warm water and mild soap, ensuring not to introduce soap or water inside the vagina, which can disrupt its natural pH balance, leading to infections.

  • Proper Attire - Changing clothes and underwear promptly after exercising prevents moisture buildup, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth. Similarly, avoiding prolonged wear of damp swimwear is essential.

  • Choosing the Right Products During Menstruation - Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing to promote airflow and minimize discomfort. Changing menstrual products regularly prevents moisture buildup, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and infections. Also, fragranced products can irritate sensitive vaginal skin, so choose unscented menstrual products to maintain vaginal health.

  • Tracking Your Period - Monitoring your menstrual cycle aids in anticipating the start and end of your period, allowing you to prepare with necessary hygiene products. Various apps, such as Flo or Clue, facilitate period tracking for added convenience.


Penile Hygiene

  • Regular Washing - For circumcised individuals, regular washing with scent-free soap is typically sufficient to maintain hygiene and prevent the buildup of smegma. Smegma, composed of dead skin cells and oils, can accumulate and lead to hygiene issues if not properly cleaned.

  • Cleaning Beneath the Foreskin - For uncircumcised individuals, it is important to cleanse beneath the foreskin to remove smegma and maintain hygiene. Gently retracting the foreskin and cleaning with water is generally recommended to prevent buildup and potential infections.

  • General Hygiene Practices - Both circumcised and uncircumcised individuals can improve penile hygiene by cleaning regularly with mild soap and water, as well as wearing clean underwear to minimize bacterial growth.


Pre- and Post-Sex Hygiene

Pre-Sex:

  • Use condoms and/or dental dams during sexual activity to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI).

  • Some individuals may consider douching to clean their vagina or rectum before penetrative sex. However, vaginal douching can cause pelvic inflammation and disrupt the natural balance of bacteria, leading to potential health risks.

  • Similarly, rectal douching can damage the rectal tissues leading to bleeding and discomfort, increase the risk of STI transmission, and disrupt healthy rectal bacteria.

  • Opting for a comfortable shower with mild, unscented soap is a practical and effective pre-sex hygiene method. Using water alone is sufficient to clean the inner labia of the vagina and the head of the penis.


Post-Sex:

  • Urinating after sex helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially for people with vaginas due to their shorter urinary tract. Peeing flushes out harmful bacteria from the urinary tract before it reaches the bladder.

  • Avoid douching post-sex for similar reasons as pre-sex hygiene.

  • Instead, take a shower with mild, unscented soap around the external genitalia and use water around the inner labia and head of the penis to clean up. Showering post-sex is not only hygienic but also offers an opportunity to connect with your partner or yourself and unwind.


Benefits of Sexual Health Hygiene

  • Reduced Risk of Infections - Proper hygiene practices, such as regular bathing and cleaning of genital areas and urinating after sex helps prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi that can cause infections such as UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis.

  • Prevention of STIs - Consistent and correct use of condoms during sexual activity reduces the risk of contracting STIs, such asHIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.

  • Emotional Wellbeing - Taking care of one's sexual health promotes self-confidence, self-esteem, and emotional wellbeing.

  • Enhanced Intimacy and Communication - Open communication about sexual health hygiene, concerns, and boundaries with partners fosters intimacy and mutual respect in relationships.



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