Content Warning: This post contains references to sexual abuse from a survivor. Please take note if you are sensitive to this topic.
September is Sexual Health Awareness Month and this year’s theme has been vaginal health! So far, we’ve covered the science behind keeping your vagina healthy, the importance of your vaginal microbiome, and how sex can throw a wrench into the works. To end the month with a bang, we got intimate with a few of our favorite sex-positive creators to ask how they keep their vaginal health in tiptop shape.
Meet the creators ❤️
From Long Beach, CA, based in Brooklyn, Christina Brown is a lifestyle & activist content creator who uses her platform to bring light to issues surrounding misogynoir, sexual assault, queerphobia, and anti-black racism. She uses current events, pop culture, & comedic satire to discuss said issues.
Catie Reay is a sexual abuse & exploitation survivor who advocates for the sexually exploited & human trafficked. Child safety and freedom focused, she aims to show survivors that healing is possible.
Kathleen Navarro is a lifestyle content creator based in Houston and Miami. She offers to coach those who want to break through in the influencer/digital space.
Q: What's your favorite tip or trick for supporting your vaginal health that many people wouldn't expect?
“Growing out my pubic hair! I used to shave it all off and would get lots of vulva irritation, UTIs, and yeast infections. Pubic hair serves as a protective barrier and I had a noticeable difference in the number of infections that were occurring once I started growing it out. Now I keep it trim, tidy, and clean and my vagina/vulva feels much healthier! I also felt a huge confidence boost once I switched up my downstairs hairstyle —which was a huge bonus.” — Gabriella
“Avoiding vaginal “ph balancing” products like Summer’s Eve. Our pH balance being “off” can be an indicator that something needs to be addressed and masking it with fragrances can actually more negatively impact our vaginal health.” — Catie
“I don’t use soap or body wash to clean my vulva or vagina. Ever since I stopped using soap and being concerned with smelling like roses and lavender, my vaginal health has increased. I stopped dealing with itching & discomfort, and I was able to get accustomed to my 'natural' smell & discharge which is helpful when figuring out if anything is wrong down there. Oh! And boric acid suppositories! They’re literally a life saver since our vaginal flora is so sensitive.” — Christina
“My favorite tip is to drink lots of water! I make sure to stay hydrated and that keeps my vagina and pH very happy.” — Kathleen
Q: Do you, or have you used, probiotics to support your vaginal health? If so, what was your experience like? If you haven't used probiotics, why not?
“YES YES YES!!! I take a daily probiotic and since making it an everyday part of my routine, my pH balance has stayed pretty regular.” — Catie
“I haven’t actively used probiotics, just because I haven’t really needed to. I maintain a pretty balanced diet, and other stuff like using boric suppositories typically is all I need.” — Christina
Q : What kind of information did you get as a child/young person about your vagina (hygiene, health maintenance, hair removal, etc.)? Where did you get this information?
“I grew up in the early 2000s where everything on the internet was accessible. Any question I had, there was a solution on Yahoo Answers. When concerned about the look of my “outie” vulva, I took to the internet where I read forums and watched porn to see what was normal. This wasn’t a great source of information because it made me feel like I was ugly down there. Now I know that I’m actually completely normal! The vulva comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and having an outie is extremely common! We are all unique and beautiful and it’s a cool feeling to know that there is not a single person out there who looks just like me down there—I’m a snowflake!” — Gabriella
“As a survivor of intrafamilial sexual abuse, I had little to no knowledge of vaginal health care and regularly suffered from UTIs and yeast infections. It wasn’t until I was moved out and an adult, seeing an OB for the first time by myself, that I learned IN DEPTH how to care for my vaginal health. From there I dug deep on the internet to find vaginal health forums and learned everything I wish I would have learned sooner.” — Catie
“To be honest, I don’t remember receiving much information. I remember learning about periods and pregnancy from school, and even that didn’t go into too much depth. I learned about vaginal hygiene at home, especially after I started my period. Especially from this book, The Care Of Keeping You from American Girl (Editor’s Note: This is a wisp staff favorite, too!). That book was like the puberty bible! A bulk of what I learned about vaginal health came after high school when I became an adult and had to do a lot of my own research and just having my own experiences with my vagina and vaginal health changing and fluctuating.” — Christina
“As a child/young woman, I was not talked to much about vaginal health/the birds and the bees. It was something I had to figure out on my own—being raised in a Mexican household these conversations are extremely taboo. This is why I use my platform to educate and inform young people about safe sex and taking care of themselves.” — Kathleen
Q: Do you feel like sex or particular sexual acts throw off your vaginal health? If so, what problems have you encountered and how do you deal?
“Intercourse has historically played a role in my pH levels changing. Over time, my spouse and I have adjusted to ensure the changes are minimal. Showering EVERY TIME prior to intercourse and cleaning well after, being intentional about clean bed sheets, and when something doesn’t feel right or hurts (not in a good way), we call it a night. Listening to your body is so important when engaging in intercourse.” — Catie
“Sometimes, specifically any sex without a barrier, whether oral or penetrative. Some changes I notice–if any at all–are smell, discharge, and irritation. If that happens, usually boric suppositories help and can literally change it in the next 1-2 days. It also helps to wear cotton-based underwear that isn’t too tight. But for regular maintenance after sex, I make sure to pee after, I like to use coconut oil on my vulva, and not wear underwear for a bit after cause sometimes the girl needs to air out!” — Christina
You can find all these wonderful creators on IG or Tiktok for more content about vaginal health, sexual health, and sex positivity. And you can always find us @hellowisp.
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