As for my suggestions, first and foremost: Douching doesn’t help. The vagina is not meant to be flushed with harsh chemicals or detergents. That’s probably the WORST thing anyone could suggest they do.
I’m pretty sure this is probably the first time you’ve heard that, so let me explain how things work…
The vagina has a naturally acidic pH level (healthy vaginal pH sits around 3.8 to 4.5 out of 14) that takes care of all the bad bacteria via discharge – fluid from glands inside the vagina and cervix – which carries away dead cells and bacteria, keeping the vagina clean and helping to prevent infection. When a person douches they wash away both the good and bad bacteria. Now with the good bacteria removed, the vagina is a perfect environment for the bad bacteria that enters to take over and run rampant.
With that in mind, they don’t need to use heavy soaps, detergents, creams, cloths, or sprays. Mild soap and water will suffice for external cleaning of the vulva.
My second suggestion is to bring up the option of 100% cotton underwear as it will allow the body to breathe and reduce the amount of sweat present, which will also hopefully result in less of a vaginal odor. Aside from that, it would be a good idea to limit the amount of tight synthetic material, thongs, and g-strings worn as they trap bacteria and can bring on the potential for infection.
If you use deodorant on your vulva and/or vagina I suggest you stop. That, like douching, can equal a recipe for disaster; the body sweats for a reason. By applying deodorant to the vulva/vagina they can not only increase the chance of infection, but also confuse the body and force it to overcompensate in other ways.
I’d also suggest seeing a doctor as the cause of the smell might be due to an infection like bacterial vaginosis (caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora).
Some common causes of Bacterial Vaginosis
- Douching – using water or a medicated solution to clean the vagina
- Having a bath with antiseptic liquids
- Having a new sex partner
- Having multiple sex partners
- Perfumed bubble baths and some scented soaps
- Using an IUD (intrauterine device), such as a contraceptive device made from plastic and copper that fits inside the uterus
- Using vaginal deodorants
- Washing underwear with strong detergents or change of laundry detergent
Among other natural causes, Bacterial Vaginosis may occur from semen entering the vagina and throwing off the natural pH balance. That said, if you’ve been having unprotected sex, stop. After your partner has seen a doctor and knows that they’re free and clear of an infection, or has been successfully treated for one, go back to using condoms to limit the semen that comes into contact with the vagina (unless your trying to conceive of course).
Vaginal Hygiene: How To Talk To Your Partner
The last thing I want to mention on this topic is that the way that you choose to discuss it and the words you choose to use will have a direct impact on your partner as a person and a lover; if you go to them in a loving way, with kind words, the offer to help, and be willing to learn all that you can (even possibly help pay for medication or cotton undies), they will be more willing to oblige and attempt to “fix the problem”.
Contrarily, if you go at your partner in an angry, disgusted, frustrated, turned off, embarrassed or rude manner, I can pretty much guarantee that you will not only offend and hurt them, but also create a situation where they feel embarrassed and ashamed of their vulva/vagina and in turn, their sexuality. They will think of the vagina as “dirty”, “gross”, or “shameful”, and likely not want to put out… and when they do, they will be less than enthusiastic and probably wont enjoy it very much. Trust me, I hear it all the time.
On that note, please also try to understand that for most, their vulva/vagina is a very touchy subject. Many people are raised in a society that teaches us to believe that our sexuality, body parts, and sex itself, are things we shouldn’t speak about and should hide away from others;
- we are taught to use words like “private parts” in reference to our genitals, a seemingly innocent choice of wording that only further instills this belief.
- depending on the culture a female has been raised, she could be taught to think that her vagina is “foul”, “disgusting”, “gross”, “dirty”, “nasty”, and all those other words associated with the things we shouldn’t want to touch or talk about.
- daily we are bombarded by mainstream media promoting products that “help” women to feel “fresh”, “clean”, and smell like “flowers” or “summer rain”. These companies do nothing more then make millions by continually misleading the mass viewing public and cause unknowing females to believe that their vaginas are not self cleaning and instead shouldn’t smell the way they do.
Basically, the vulva/vagina is something that not very many women are comfortable talking about… let alone their own genitals.
Be conscious and conscientious with your choice in wording and how to choose to deal with the situation, and understand that by bringing it up you could be hitting a really vulnerable issue for your partner.
If your relationship is important to you, I suggest that you take the time necessary to understand the way the female body works and learn as much as you can. Unfortunately, due to the corporations that solely exist to make society think vaginas are “dirty”, we are taught to think that there is really only one option, when instead, there are many.
I hope that this helps you understand that there is nothing wrong with your partner or the way they smell and provided you with options to think about.
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