Here are 10 tips to keep you smiling after sex. Simple ways to protect your health and fertility. Handwashing is recommended for containing spread of corona virus COVID-19, and it works for lots of other nasties as well.
Candles, champagne and clean mitts
This is a piece I wrote three months ago after someone shared her story of curing recurrent bladder infections simply by peeing after sex! What is your sex hygiene routine?
Genitals are full of harmful bacteria, and so are hands, fingernails, and as for cuticles? Filthy! Believe me, I was a hospital infection control nurse. You can minimize risk of passing infection to your partner’s delicate bits by washing your hands. A proper scrub means more than drizzling fingertips under the tap. Think soap, water and even a nail brush. Imagine your’re a surgeon, scrubbing in for an operation.
Use a lively song as a 20 second+ time guideline, like Ciara Kelly’s excellent rendition of Jolene. Dry your hands fully on a dryer, clean towel or paper.
- Perfumed soaps and shower gels strip natural oils from the privates, altering the PH of skin, causing micro abrasions – an invitation for harmful bacteria.Skin and mucosa (the vulva, vagina and glans penis) with less oils are prone to friction abrasions, even during the gentlest of action.
- Nude pubes may be popular, but so is the rise in Bacterial Vaginosis. This is a malodourous nasty that loves microabrasions caused by shaving, plucking and waxing. It seems that 80s ‘au natural’ pubic hair has an evolutionary role in vaginal well-being as a gatekeeper for blocking infection. Hair to stay?
- Keep it brief. Thongs act as wicks, spreading bacteria from back to front which is perfect for cystitis and UTIs. Snag some cotton big girl pants for daily down-under wellness, and silk lingerie for special occasions. Panty liners with a plastic backing create a warm moist fugue, creating a bacteria breeding heaven. Ventilation is key to vulval wellbeing. Plastic and acrylic leggings are culprits here.
- Foreskins need to be well retractable, and fully clean. A foreskin that cannot be fully moved from over the top of the penis glans, is likely to harbour gunk, and harmful bacteria.
- Small, medium or liar?One size condoms do not fit all men properly. Finding the right size means a comfort fit and less risk of leakage, skin irritation and contraceptive fails. Unusually large or more slender-fit condoms can be ordered online. Sensitivity to rubber causes inflammation for both partners, the perfect portal for infection. Silicone condoms cause less reactivity.
- Stopping condoms is normal as time goes by. While not quite Insta-worthy it is a sort of mini-milestone in a relationship. So it’s a good idea to schedule a STI screen for each partner, for the peace of mind of an ‘all clear’, or to clear up any nasties. STIs bung up fallopian tubes and can linger in the testes, screwing up fertility down the line. Some folk fear a partner might baulk at this, feel mistrusted or threatened. Hmmm, let’s recap: you’re intimate enough to have sex, and this is awkward? Who’d risk health, dreams and even life, because of embarrassment, or fear? Someone, in a coercive, controlling relationship? Sexual health clinics screen and treat women and men for sexually transmitted infections STI. (A three month safety period of condom use is recommended when changing to other forms of contraception.)
- Pee after sex and dramatically reduce the risk of bladder infection. Wiping alone is not enough, even with ubiquitous wet wipes. A shower or bidet wash is ideal. This is even mandated in certain religions. And remember to brush your teeth, and rinse out your mouth. Wash your hands with a gentle natural soap. Vaginas themselves are naturally self-cleaning areas. Douching washes away good bacteria, upsetting the internal vaginal microbiome balance.
- Change bed linen at least weekly, towels and knickers daily. If you sleep in briefs pop on a fresh pair every night.
Handwashing is a simple habit that does you good. Sing along while you scrub. For a real deep clean remove jewellery and keep fingernails short, and polish-free.