New Delhi: Sexual hygiene is important for both partners. Sushma Tomar, Infertility Specialist and Endoscopic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan tells you what can be done to maintain optimum sexual health without being obsessive about it.
Sexual hygiene helps prevent infections and promote confidence during sexual encounters; it also helps keep unpleasant smells and infections at bay, enhancing your sexual confidence! Here’s what you must do on a regular basis to maintain sexual hygiene.
Men – Wash your penis with gentle soap water each day, gently wash underneath the foreskin by pulling it back. Base and testicles must be washed too especially since sweat and hair can produce a strong odor, just as unpleasant as in your un-deodorized armpits. These intimate areas need washing at least twice a day to avoid sweat accumulation, especially as they remain enclosed in the underwear for most of the day. Men must also make sure the area between the base of the testicles and the anus is sweat-free and odour-free; you may consider using a dusting powder. Steps to keep yourself clean will include – trimming pubic hair, washing-up before sex with soap and water
Women – While the vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions, use plain, unperfumed soaps to gently wash the area around the vagina twice every day. During your period, washing more often may be helpful. One must avoid perfumed soaps and gels that could affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation. Internet fads and televised ads that do not have any medical proof of efficacy heavily promote scented wipes and vaginal deodorants – these are a strict no no.
Infections in the intimate areas are usually caused due to an imbalance in the pH levels. You may want to speak to your doctor who would recommend gentle intimate washes which will help regulate the pH balance to an optimum 3.5, keeping infections at bay.
Safer sexual practices mean that you can protect your vagina against these infections by using a condom every time you have sex. Lastly, you may want to switch to cotton underwear which will allow your skin to breathe; also, regularly changing your sanitary pads and tampons i.e. every 3-4hrs (depending on the flow) is recommended.
Lastly, one must understand that sexual health and sexuality reflects one’s overall state of health. Coupled with exercise, healthy food nourishes your body and always allows it to be at its best, including sex. Here are some things you should try and avoid – Smoking in men causes reduction in blood flow which can lead to difficulty in having or maintaining an erection. Smoking impacts the genitals in women, among other problems it leads to reduction in lubrication.