Keep your microbiome balanced.
No matter what pop culture, outdated magazine headlines, and questionably reputable lifestyle influencers may have told you, some things simply do not belong in a vagina. And that’s not kink-shaming! It all has to do with maintaining your sexual health.
The vagina, you may have heard, is self-cleaning (you know, like a cat). That’s why “vaginal cleansing” products like douches are unnecessary—and can often be dangerous. Your vagina has a delicate microbiome that can easily be thrown off by a range of factors—which can result in unpleasant (albeit treatable) conditions like urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis. Basically, putting things in your vagina that shoudn’t go inside it can cause you way more harm than good (and arguably, no good at all). Here are a few key things you should avoid.
You may have heard of coconut oil used as lube, or even as a body moisturizer—but that recommendation is deeply misled. Just because something is “all natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Coconut oil can put you at risk for both bacterial infections and yeast infections, as it can disrupt your vagina’s microbiome. Stick to a good water-based lube instead (or, if you’re not using silicone toys, a silicone lube works, too).
DIY Yeast Infection Remedies
Yeast infections happen and it might seem logical to combat an overgrowth of yeast with good bacteria…right? Wrong. DIY yeast infection remedies (like vaginally inserted yogurt or apple cider vinegar) only set you up for a worsened infection. Stick to prescription fluconazole or over-the-counter miconazole instead for doctor-approved treatment.
Scented and Flavored Products
Flavored lubes, edible lotion, and under-there perfumes are, in fact, too good to be true: Because many flavored and edible lubes contain sugar (glucose) and glycerine, they can trigger yeast infections. So, they are not safe for vaginal intercourse or cunnilingus. If you’re tempted to use these products because you’re concerned about your taste or scent, do your best to ignore whatever society is telling you about what a vagina “should” be like. You’re not supposed to taste like Pepsi cola—or strawberry ice cream or cherry pie or anything other than your natural flavor.
Fruits and Vegetables
Listen—save the cucumber for your salad or tzatziki. Fruits and veg can harbor pesticides and bacteria that can lead to infections. Save the work of a dildo for a dildo (or reach for a vibrator instead).
The Infamous Jade EggA certain celebrity once made headlines for extolling the pelvic floor-strengthening powers of a yoni egg. But it turns out (perhaps not so surprisingly) they can actually be dangerous, putting you at risk of infection, causing irritation that can make STI transfer more likely, weakening your pelvic floor muscles, and putting you at risk for toxic shock syndrome. Just skip the pseudoscience.