You’re practicing safe sex and have gotten tested, so you’re in the clear, right? Wrong. Even if you’ve already crossed these two off your list, there are still some things you need to do to ensure your sexual health. Check out these six things women should do for their sexual well-being.
Sexual Health Tip No. 1. Get to know “you.”
When was the last time you stared yourself down in a mirror? Not your face, down there! Your first step to maintaining good sexual health should be getting acquainted with your genitalia. “Learn about your anatomy and look with a mirror on a regular basis—every two to three months,” advises Dr. Elizabeth Gunther Stewart, an Ob/Gyn and spokesperson for Vagisil Women’s Health Center. Knowing what’s what and determining what’s normal for you—what your vagina looks like and how much discharge you normally have—can help keep you alert to changes that can put a damper on your health and sex life.
Sexual Health Tip No. 2. Rethink your bath.
No, we’re not telling you to skip it altogether. Just revamp it. Nix the scented soaps, bubble bath and scorching hot water. Instead, simply go with a mild soap and warm water. The fragrance in some scented soaps and bubble baths can lead to vaginal irritation and dryness. Using water that’s too hot can be a moisture-zapper too. It doesn’t make much sense to have a wonderfully scented vagina that feels like the Sahara desert.
Sexual Health Tip No. 3. Don’t go too dry.
Speaking of dry, think about how you dry off. It’s fine (and ideal) to pat dry the outer (hair-bearing) labia, but don’t attack your inner labia with a towel or hair-dryer, says Stewart, who authored The V Book: A Doctor's Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health. “The inner labia are more like the lining of the mouth. It’s used to being moist so that it doesn’t grate around as you walk and do things,” she explains. Another bonus: The moistness of the inner labia helps keeps sex feeling comfy!