Much more than ever, people are interested in safely exploring the boundaries of sex. Especially when it comes to pleasuring females. Years back, the act of intercourse was geared towards the satisfaction of the man. But with the recent progression, so also have female sexual hygiene practices sprung up — douching is one of those. Douching is the act of washing or cleaning out the insides of the vagina with water or some other fluid mixture.
It is not a word you hear everyday but it is actually common practice in the United States where statistics show that one in every five women between the ages of 15 and 44 douche.
To be clear, douching is different from the regular washing of vagina because it involves washing the insides of the vagina.
Interestingly, keeping the vagina clean is not the only reason why women douche. There are some other pretty weird reasons why they do; one: for fear of contacting a disease from their sex partner or to prevent themselves from getting pregnant.
Now here is the big issue:
Although the douching seems like a very hygienic thing to do, the National Women’s Health Information Center has found that women who douche have an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, and even pelvic inflammatory diseases.
But cleanliness is supposed to be next to godliness, you must be wondering. If yes, why then does this supposedly hygienic practice stir up angry bacteria?
Let me reiterate: washing the external parts of the vagina with warm water is safe practice, the problem is in giving the insides the same treatment. Douching is harmful because it upsets the balance of bacteria and the natural acidity in a healthy vagina.
Yes, there are bacterial populations in a healthy vagina. Do not be horrified. Like men, bacteria aren’t entirely scum (ignore Twitter activists who label all men as such). There are good and bad bacteria, and this bacterial balance ensures the maintenance of acidity in the vagina. This acidity then protects the vagina from infections. So, yes; as many people claim online, the vagina does clean itself.
Douching — especially with some other concoction apart from water — leads to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. It has also been found that women who douche their vagina find it more difficult to get pregnant and are also more likely to experience a miscarriage.
Why do people even consider douching?
As stated in the opening paragraph, there is a hyper consciousness regarding women sexuality in this age. For most women, douching is probably informed by fantastical romance ideas in literature and popular culture that women must smell or taste fruity — cherries and peaches are metaphors for the vagina. Let go of that fantasy. The vagina smells like…well, a vagina. If fruitiness is your thing, you are better off eating a lot of fruits.
How then do we wash our vagina?
Easy peasy! There are simple ways to achieve a very clean, healthy vagina. Wash the outsides of your vagina with warm water and mild soap. To maintain its cleanliness, also wear fresh undies. Don’t just drain your purse getting heels and gowns, get yourself undies too.
But this does not mean the vagina is an impenetrable fortress. If you notice a fishy vaginal discharge, go for a proper medical test.