By Arielle Egozi
While the rest of the country is celebrating semi-stale boxed chocolates from CVS and sickly sweet Hallmark cards, we like to bring it a bit closer to home and celebrate another totally made-up holiday, one that we call Treat Your V-Day (as in vagina). Being snuggled up with your boo is an excellent way to spend any Wednesday evening, but whether you’re already taken, happily single, or in that weird relationship limbo (been there), it’s time to FaLL iN LUv...with your V.
It’s 2018, but there’s still a helluva lotta pressure for us femme-identifying people to fill the gaping holes of our existence with… a man! Who buys you flowers! Who gifts you diamonds! Who brings you a cupcake on your period! (If he does this he can stay). Because, you know, it’s been scientifically proven (lol, yeah right) that a woman can’t be WHOLE all on her own.
BREAKING NEWS, PPL: Women are powerful on their own and they can celebrate February 14 however they want!!!
Since today is officially recognized as V(agina)-Day in our office, we want to spread the love with some easy, indulgent, make-you-feel-good tips to celebrate and care for your V — not just today, but every damn day.
Clean your vulva properly
Yes, your vag is self-cleaning, but the outer bits, like the labia, need to be washed to get rid of any dead cells and bacteria. Use warm water and your hands! No need to use harsh things like a loofah. Use gentle pH balancing soap (like Summer’s Eve) without fragrances. Your vag has a natural pH (the number that tells you how acidic or basic something is) between 3.5 and 4.5, allowing for a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. Blood has a pH of 7.4 and semen has a pH between 7 and 8, so your menstrual cycle and penetrative sex can elevate your cooch’s natural pH levels. Wash it once a day *at most* — overwashing can strip your V of the natural oils that protect you!
Check-in on your body
Look at your undies and pay attention to what your body is communicating to you. Discharge is normal and awesome, but did you wake up with something lookin’ like cottage cheese in your undies? Might be a yeast infection! Is it extra white and thick today? Might just be ovulation! Notice the changes of your vulva through daily self-examinations — pay attention to any new moles, scars, or strange smells. Find an OB/GYN that you feel comfortable asking about ANYTHING, and make sure to tell them everything (like everything everything), too.
Use natural menstrual products with natural ingredients
Do your *best* to only shove organic, unbleached cotton up there. Your vagina is a mucus membrane, readily absorbing anything that’s inside it, and because pad and tampon manufacturers aren’t required to disclose the materials in their products, you don’t actually know what you’re putting in you. If you use conventional period products (we get it — organic ones can be pricey), ALWAYS opt for fragrance-free, as many vagina’s are readily irritated by synthetic fragrance.
Use vag-friendly undies
This means cotton undies, or at least panties with a cotton crotch. If your hoo-haw can’t breathe, it’ll make you more prone to uncomfortable yeast infections. Make sure your underwear fits you well (thongs or any other style is fine, as long as it’s not too tight!). Nancy Herta, an OB/GYN at Michigan State University, tells Glamour that she recommends taking your undies off when you sleep — between discharge and nighttime sweat, your vag is prone to moisture overnight, which can get trapped in your undies causing a breeding ground for bacteria. “Allowing that area to get some air helps to keep it dry and clean,” she explains. Especially if you’re prone to vaginal issues.
Whether your engaging in intercourse with a partner or just having some good ol’ me-time, using lube is an *awesome* tip to reduce friction. Without it, the skin of your labia and vagina can become chafed and irritated — who wants that during sexy time? Water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based lubricants are just fine, however if you’re using condoms, don’t use anything oil-based as it can cause the latex in the condom to break down. As a rule, *never* use petroleum jelly or baby oil inside your vag — it can cause inflammation which can lead to infection (eek!).
Take time for yourself!
Whether that looks like taking a bath with Rihanna on repeat, writing in your journal, or going out dancing (obvi with Rihanna on repeat), make sure you’re carving out space in your schedule to fill yourself back up. This is *so* important, which is why we partnered with Safe Horizon, the country’s largest victim-assistance organization, to bring a day of self-care and self-love to residents of their Bronx-based domestic violence shelter.
We teamed up with other female-founded and female-led companies to assemble and distribute backpacks stuffed with candles, undies, notebooks, and other cozy feel-good items. Our THINX team showed up live and in person to pass out those backpacks, hear stories from these incredible women and their children, and co-host a day of manicures, sisterhood, and sweet treats.
And get this — the kiddos had their own card-making station where they wrote love notes to their mommas, because mommas are amazing. I MEAN… if that ain’t true love...
How are you celebrating Treat Your V-Day? How do you make time for yourself and your V the other 364 days of the year? Let us know in the comments below!
If you or someone you know needs help, call Safe Horizon’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).