10 Tips for Practicing Sexual Health Hygiene
Sexual hygiene is crucial for your overall well-being. Not only does it help good sexual hygiene help prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but it can also prevent issues with fertility, especially for women. Here are ten important tips that can help you with sexual health hygiene.
1. Know How to Wash Your Genitals
This is perhaps one of the most important sexual hygiene tips. It is crucial for women to know that washing has to happen from the vagina to the anus and not in the other direction. Washing this way helps prevent bacteria around the anus from reaching the vagina, where it can cause yeast infections and other health problems.
For women, using warm water to wash the vulva is usually enough. You don’t have to use soap, but if you prefer to, turn to a mild one that won’t cause irritation.
For men who are not circumcised, it is important to retract the foreskin and clean underneath it. You can use mild soap, but it is not necessary. Using anything harsh or cleaning too often can reduce natural oils that prevent friction.
2. Urinate After Sex
Another important sexual health hygiene tip is to urinate after having sex. You should urinate after any type of genital stimulation, even if you did not have sexual intercourse. This step can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially for women.
For women, urinating both before and after sex is a good idea. This can help flush out bacteria from the urethra, reducing your risk of developing a UTI. For men, peeing after anal intercourse is also important.
There is no exact time when you should urinate after sex, but it is important to do so as soon as possible.
3. Avoid Douching
Women should avoid douching. The vaginal canal is self-cleaning, so sprays of water or other chemicals will do more harm than good. Douching can destroy the levels of good bacteria that the vagina needs to stay healthy, potentially leading to yeast infections.
Douching sends bacteria into the vaginal canal and the uterus, causing many health issues. It can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can affect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Douching is also associated with a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
4. Keep Sex Toys Clean
Another aspect of good sexual hygiene is to keep any sex toys you use clean. Whether you use them on your own or with a partner, you should wash toys after every use. Using a dirty sex toy can lead to a urinary tract infection.
The toy’s material will affect how you clean it. For silicone sex toys without vibrators, submerge them in boiling water and wash them with mild soap. The same method applies to waterproof plastic, glass, rubber, and cyberskin toys.
You should wipe battery-operated toys with a clean, damp, and soapy cloth. Regularly check for tears or cracks in sex toys, where bacteria can hide. Do not purchase or use sex toys made of porous materials.
If you plan to share a toy with a partner during a session, make sure to use a condom on it and change it between uses.
Before storing your toys, make sure that they are completely dry; bacteria grow more easily on wet surfaces.
5. Wash Your Hands
Another important sexual health hygiene tip is to wash your hands before and after sex. Make sure to wash under your fingernails. It’s best to keep your fingernails short to reduce the chances of bacteria remaining in the nail beds.
Try not to use any harsh products on your hands before sex so that manual stimulation does not irritate the genitals. Soap and warm water work the best.
6. Change Your Underwear Often
Bacteria thrive in the damp, and that is a concern for the genital region, too. Good sexual hygiene relies on keeping the area clean and dry, so if you sweat or get wet, the best thing to do is to change your underwear.
Sweaty underwear can lead to yeast infections as well as pubic hair follicle issues. These conditions develop because sweat can block the pores.
Try not to wear very tight underwear for an extended period. Tight underwear can trap heat and cause sweating, which can make it easier for bacteria to grow. It is also a good idea to choose natural materials like cotton instead of synthetic ones. Cotton and other natural fabrics allow for better airflow.
7. Trim Pubic Hair
Although having pubic hair is important because it can protect the sensitive skin in the area, keeping the hair trimmed is also vital. Too much pubic hair can trap heat and sweat, letting bacteria grow more easily.
Not having any pubic hair at all can also be a concern. A lack of hair in the genitals can lead to friction and irritation, and it can increase the amount of sweat. All of these effects can lead to more bacteria and increase the risk of developing yeast infections.
8. Practice Safe Sex
When you have sex, make sure you use protection. Safe sex not only helps you avoid unwanted pregnancies but can also protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
There are many types of STDs, including:
Wearing a condom or making sure that your partner does can be one of the most important ways to keep yourself safe and healthy if you are sexually active.
Don’t forget to be safe if you engage in oral sex as well. Some forms of oral cancer have been linked to HPV infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using a dental dam or a condom can help keep you safe.
9. Get Tested
It is always a good idea to get tested regularly for STDs, especially if you have had different sexual partners. Because many STDs do not have symptoms, you may not know that you have a disease — and you may end up passing it to others.
Getting tested is simple and easy, and at-home tests are available to make the process even more convenient. For most tests, you will need a urine sample, though some require a blood sample.
10. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is an important part of your overall health, but it can also be very important for your sexual health. Staying hydrated can help men achieve and maintain erections. Hydration also makes your sperm quality better because it can help lubricate the urethra, neutralizing acidity that can kill off sperm.
Dehydration can also lower your libido, leading to poorer sexual performance. It can also cause your body to release stress hormones, making it more difficult to achieve an orgasm for both men and women.
Since you should pee before and after sex, you want to stay hydrated so that this is not a concern.
Follow Sexual Hygiene Tips for a Better Sex Life
Having a healthy sex life can have a huge positive impact on your well-being, so it is something to strive for. By following these sexual hygiene tips, you can keep yourself and your partners safe, allowing everyone to enjoy their experiences.