So, it turns out that apparently I’ve been washing my vagina (sorry, vulva) wrong all these years. Maybe you have too? According to Martha Hickey, a Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Melbourne University, women shouldn’t be using soap or any cleaning products down there. Like, at all.
Uh-oh. I treat my lady bits just as I would my armpits or my butt and I go to town on that baby with soap – and not just any soap, the Dettol antibacterial one. You know, that kind that gets rid of 99% of germs, just like on those grotty kitchen benches you see on commercials. I know that unlike my kitchen bench, the chances of my vagina coming into contact with raw chicken and contracting salmonella are pretty freakin’ slim, but it is such an ingrained habit that I don’t think I’ll ever change it.
According to Professor Hickey your vagina, just like your fancy-pants oven, is self-cleaning and requires nothing more than good old water. She says, “The vagina, for example, is a very sophisticated organ and has the ability to self clean. It doesn’t need products, especially potentially irritating products with things with perfume in them. It is quite a sensitive area. Some women are sensitive to the perfumes in the soap and find they cause rashes or irritation. Instead, use plain water. Water’s good.”
And it’s not just washing Professor Hickey is warning women about. She’s also a little wary about all forms of vaginal ‘beautification’ from waxing to surgery. Look, I totally get the surgery thing – no two vaginas are the same, but waxing? What’s the go Professor Hickey? “With a Brazilian wax, for instance, you are pulling all the hair out and thereby leaving the follicles open to infection,” Professor Hickey revealed to The Huffington Post Australia. “The hair isn’t unhygienic. It has a role, it has a purpose.”
“The other problem that happens is by removing the pubic hair, it makes the vulva look very different. So that’s created concerns around some women who worry their vulva doesn’t look right, and that’s actually fuelled the desire to get cosmetic surgery. And that’s just because it looks different, because it’s not covered in hair like it should have been in the first place.”
I think it’s really important to know as much information as possible about our vaginas; hell, they’re pretty damn important. Armed with all of Professor Hickey’s recommendations and your own experience, it’s then up to us to make the decision that suits best. For some, that’ll be lathering-up a manicured lady garden, often void of grass, and for others it’ll be ‘watering’ a full bush. It’s your landscape, maintain it as you see fit.
Are you partial to a shit load of soap ‘down there’ or no soap?