First a little Anatomy lesson: The Vagina is the structure inside your body, while the Vulva is the structure surrounding the opening to the vagina on the outside of the body. The vulva and vagina are two different parts of your body, both with a specific purpose. Your vagina is not only the gateway to the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus, where babies are birthed from, it’s also a fantastic pleasure zone of goodness with lots and lots of nerve endings to make sex with yourself, or another human being, quite enjoyable. Part of the vulva are the two sets of lips outside of the vagina called the labia majora and the labia minora. They are there to protect the vagina, the uretheral opening as well as all the surrounding crevices from foreign bacteria and other things that don’t belong – kinda like eyelids are to eyes. Also, and this is very important, the vulva is, for some women, the most import pleasure zone of all because it houses the clitoris! The clitoris is the little pea-sized nubbin at the apex of the vulva and it holds the best real-estate on the body with more than 8,000 nerve endings (twice as much than the penis!) and that’s just the outside portion of the clit! The fleshy area above the clitoris often covered with hair is the “mons.” The mons is fatty tissue and skin that lays on top of the pubic bone thus providing a little buffer from the ol’ bump and grind. These are all the areas of the vulva and the vagina (for our purposes at least).
JUST SAY “NO” TO REGULAR SOAP:
When you wash the inside of your vulva with regular soap you’re disturbing the delicate ecosystem that exists there. You see, there’s some good bacteria in them there folds. That good bacteria protects the vulva and vagina from pesky bad bacteria that can be introduced from spit, less than clean fingers or toys and just everyday hygiene. This bad bacteria love to attack when your good bacteria is most vulnerable, and that’s when it’s pH is most compromised. Your Vulva and Vagina are acidic, with a monthly average pH of about 3.8-4.5. Body soap is alkaline with a pH anywhere between 8-10. When you wash with soap (or, heaven forbid, douche) the strong detergents with a high pH are stripping all the good bacteria away and that gives the bad bacteria an opportunity to move in and grow. This growth of the bad bacteria is because of the change in natural pH of your vulva disrupted by the high pH in the regular soap. When that happens the disruption in pH might cause a different smell (anywhere from ammonia to dead fish) than a vulva with its natural pH, and that different smell can sometime be BV (Bacterial Vaginosis) or a yeast infection to name just a couple.
So what do we do if the harsh detergents in soap aren’t good for our vulva? Aside from using water to rinse, cleansing with an intimate wash that has a neutral pH is a refreshing way to go. In fact, aside from making personal lubricants, Sliquid also makes an intimate wash called Splash, that’s paraben and glycerin-free, vegan friendly and gentle enough for all genitals … even penises! In fact, Splash is so gentle I use it as a face wash in the shower.
So to recap: don’t use soaps or douches, use water or a pH neutral intimate wash to clean your vulva. She’ll be kept healthy and happy all year round!~