Because one cannot be a happy and healthy slut if one is constantly anxious and afraid
It’s a frustration of mine that the va-jay-jay is still a bit of a medical mystery to us, like how much of the information here I gathered through friends and not doctors. Due to that, I have compiled the things I have learned over years of practice into this helpful guide.
I am not a medical professional. I am an experienced slut, and I’ve learned a lot. This is definitely not “medical advice,” but it is what I have learned from my own and my friends’ experiences. An Everyday-Practical Guide, for sure, not a medical one. Female health, when in the lifestyle, is extraordinarily important. OK, so is male health, but for anyone who has had a vagina, our cases are more complicated. This topic is important not just to one’s health but also to one’s mental health. One cannot be a happy and healthy slut if one is constantly anxious and afraid.
While, as medical practitioners, they should also feel obligated not to judge, you might have to feel this one out or decide if you care about that.
One of the big concerns when having multiple sexual partners is Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). STI is the new (maybe not all that new) preferred term in the medical field — just in case you, like me, were still calling them Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
First, from the World Health Organization:
“Eight pathogens are linked to the greatest incidence of STIs. Four of these are currently curable: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. The other four are incurable viral infections: hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and human papillomavirus (HPV).”
Now that we’ve gotten that formality out of the way, let’s talk about everyday health in this regard.
The importance of your care team: My husband and I are completely open with our doctor about our activities. We like to have frank discussions about our risks. Also, doctors are obligated to keep this information private (thank you, HIPAA!). While as medical practitioners, they should also feel obligated not to judge, you might have to feel this one out or decide if you care about them judging you, as long as they give you good information.
I’ve had both experiences: a doctor who judged me because I had BV (more on that in a moment) and one who was almost clearly jealous of my lifestyle. Our current doctor is open and non-judgmental, but often I’ve had to see someone else for scheduling purposes — that’s why the gambit of reactions. Also, we live in a very religiously conservative state (Utah). We do not live in a particularly LDS-concentrated area, but I’ve heard this can make a difference. Use your own judgment and find an alternative doctor, if needed. Planned Parenthood is often an option, and there are some online resources, too (see below under BV).
Testing: The “norm” in the community that I have seen is STI testing every three months. My husband and I take turns, so it’s every six months for each of us. My husband has standing lab orders, while I call mine in when it’s my turn. This is a detail, but if you have standing lab orders and you get labs for anything else, your standing ones often end up getting drawn, too — so that’s why I prefer to request it when I need it. Another note here — one of our physician friends has his wife get tested every time because women have a greater risk of contracting something. That seems logical, but most couples we know switch back and forth. We’ve met people who test every six weeks and many who test every few months — it’s about finding your own comfort level with the amount of lifestyle activity you partake in. Another option is at-home testing kits you can purchase online, which might make it easier to test more often. I’ll let you google that one on your own.
Anuses don’t care about pH balance.
Condoms: Oh god, I actually hate this topic. Why? Because it’s a no-brainer conversation that still has some complications. Condoms are the best way to protect yourself from STIs, and not the best way, but a good way to protect yourself from pregnancy. Having said that, and knowing that medical professionals probably won’t like some of this, take the rest of this with a huge grain of salt. I have a lot of female friends for whom condoms are the number one cause of imbalance in the vaginal world. Will someone please make a condom that is lubed with the RePHresh gel (explained alter) or something similar? Seriously, vagina holders are ready for a condom innovation that may not have anything to do with pleasure but just practicality. Also, tight-knit swinging couples will sometimes forego condoms and rely upon testing and trust.
For anal, there is no question — anuses don’t care about balance, and penile receivers are at a MUCH GREATER risk for STI transmission during anal sex. In conclusion, yes, condoms in general (unless they cause you more problems and you have safe solutions for all), and absolutely yes for anal.
Also, on the condom note: a good friend of mine discovered that she had a latex allergy. She said that every time she used a condom, she would experience actual pain in her vagina. She switched to non-latex, and the problem went away. Good to know, easy to try, and not something I had considered before that conversation.
Female condoms: They are great (caveat the latex allergy mentioned above). I have used them, and my partner came using them even though he NEVER comes with a condom. I also had tremendous pleasure. They are slightly awkward on the insertion, but that probably comes with practice. They are not sexy, but then, are any condoms sexy? I’m guessing the reason these aren’t used or readily available is simply convention. Online or Amazon is your best bet for a source. I haven’t used them enough to comment on pH balance effects here, but I’m a huge proponent of people trying them. The more options, the better.
Dental Dams: Again, this is going to be another place where no medical or sexual health professional is going to like me, but in five years of slutdom, I have never seen anyone use protection during oral sex. I gave a guy a blowjob once with a condom, and it was awful — for me. So, if you are going to use protection for oral, prepare for it with flavored condoms or something of the like.
I have never seen or know where to buy dental dams except for a Google search, so I cannot offer any practical advice except this: if it brings you mental-health benefits to use, by all means, find them and use them. Just keep in mind that you MIGHT have some learning and some teaching to do. That’s just the reality. Perhaps, like female condoms, it just isn’t convention; perhaps we need to change that. I once read that a truly comprehensive STI test would include swabbing of the mouth, but this seems hit or miss with people in the lifestyle. Another question for convention vs. practicality, I guess. Having said this, see the first reference for a great article by Planned Parenthood: Dental Dams Unwrapped.
HPV: There is a vaccine that helps prevent cancer and genital warts from HPV infections. If your doc doesn’t know that you are sexually active or knows that you are married, they will tell you that you don’t need the vaccine. It’s important to advocate for yourself here. I have had the vaccine because I am married and also promiscuous. You probably should, too. If you cannot be honest with your doc, maybe say something direct like, “I want the HPV vaccine.” If they give you pushback about you not needing it or benefitting from it, I would smile and repeat myself. I think after a few times, they should take a hint or just oblige. However you do it, you can protect yourself by getting the vaccine (and many insurances cover it now; just be sure to check because it’s pricey).
Now, for the everyday vagina…
… And the inspiration for this entire article. As it turns out, the vagina is very particular about its pH balance. I suppose everyone’s system is different, but this statement has seen a lot of vagina-owner heads nod. Also, still, STILL, it can be embarrassing to talk about these things, so generally, we don’t. Until we do, with a flood of exasperation, but then shared learning happens. Consider this to be that conversation for you if you haven’t already had it. Grab a cocktail (if you drink) and pretend you are out with some experienced lifestyle friends. Men and women alike are the better for knowing this.
Our pH system seems to get out of whack from (in no particular order): a lot of sex (toys or cocks, i.e., a lot of friction), condoms, hot tubs or pools, being wet for too long (think sitting or standing around pools for long periods of time), absolutely anything entering the vagina, and even people looking at her the wrong way. Also, if any anal play is happening, whether it be fingers or cocks, never ever let those fingers or cocks into the vagina after they have been in the ass. Your vagina won’t like it. And honestly, would you?
So, what to do about this? It’s actually pretty simple! There are a couple of pH balancers on the market that have been tremendously helpful to me and, seriously, every single lifestyle vagina owner I know.
RepHresh is a gel that comes in its own applicator that you insert, and it’s good for a few days. You might experience being extra wet during sex the next day (not a bad thing), and on day two, some white flake-like particles that discharge during sex, but these are minor side-effects compared to the enormous benefit of staying in balance. I usually insert it just before going to bed, and then the next day, I’ll wear a panty liner for some extra wetness / drippiness that might occur in the morning. I don’t even wear underwear to bed — most of it gets absorbed. Sidenote: a doc once told me that not wearing underwear to bed can help people who often get yeast infections. So, that’s an easy one to try if you aren’t already sleeping in the nude.
Where to buy: grocery stores, Target, pharmacies . . . anywhere.
pH Balance: This is essentially boric acid in pill form that you insert into your vagina (with your finger — not an applicator). There are many brands of this because boric acid is a “generic” ingredient. I know, anything with acid in the name seems scary, but trust me. I do it before bed, and it’s not a problem during the night. When I get up in the morning, I’ll usually have some “vaginal water” (not really sure what to call this) run down my leg, so up to you if you want to prepare for that.
Where to buy: I haven’t seen this branded product on my grocer’s shelves yet, but definitely at the big box stores and Amazon.
Between those two products, seriously, so many infections can be avoided. Ah, which infections? Let’s talk about those.
Don’t you love how vaginosis just rolls off the tongue?
Yeast Infection: She has been around — for me — since I was in college. I used to get them constantly, and then I didn’t get them for a long time. In the lifestyle, I started getting them often again. Nothing serious, but definitely inconvenient… especially if you’ve got a date coming up. If you’ve ever been prone, I’m guessing you already have your go-to fix for yeast infections. I have a standing prescription for fluconazole (the “one pill treatment”) for yeast infections. I heart fluconazole. Periodically, I’ll still need to do some suppository med to really clear it up, but honestly, since using the pH-balancing products, I rarely get these anymore. That, my friends, is a huge statement.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV): Don’t you love how vaginosis just rolls off the tongue? When I got this for the first time, I was in my 40s and was like, “WTF, how do I not know about this type of infection?” It was a very bad experience, so now it’s my mission that every woman knows about it and is at least somewhat educated about it before seeing their physician (see treatment section below). I don’t have a good answer for why it’s not as known as yeast, but this has been a common experience amongst my friends.
I don’t know if BV is more common now or if it’s just more common in the lots-o-sex-partners world but know that: 1) It is common (in case your doctor goes the shaming route), and 2) it is not considered an STI. If you want to self-diagnose (and who doesn’t?), I found this helpful quiz online (see reference two below; caveat: I have never used this company, but it sounds kind of great).
From my experience, the BV odor is the most telling — it’s a “fishy” odor and is as gross as it sounds. The odor may come at a later stage, however, so it’s not dependable as a first indicator. The first time I got it, I experienced pain. Maybe it’s because I didn’t know what it was, so I was incorrectly treating it as a yeast infection for a while until it got pretty bad. By the time I went in, it hurt. I don’t think that is all that common, though.
Some mental anguish also may have contributed to the pain — this is the one time I felt very judged by my medical care team. I go to a teaching facility, so suddenly it seemed I was a “unique teaching opportunity,” and I sensed that it wasn’t just medical — it was a “these are the woes of multiple sex partners” lesson. They didn’t say that, of course, so to be fair, it was my own sense. I’m pretty good at sensing, though. My point about BV is that it IS common, just not as common as yeast. The biggest problem with BV is if you don’t know about BV, s, now you know.
BV Treatment: The go-to treatment is seven days of a very harsh antibiotic that tastes like metal, and you cannot have a DROP of alcohol without serious consequences. Before you think it’s a bit much that I couldn’t go a week without alcohol, I’ll explain that the first time I started,d this treatment was less than a week before leaving for Desire in Cancun (a lifestyle resort). It would have been nice to have a drink sitting by the pool. More importantly, there is an alternative. I learned much later (through FRIENDS, not a doctor, to keep bringing that point home) that there is a gel version of that antibiotic that you insert that 1) doesn’t have any of the side effects, and 2) actually worked better for me. Once I knew about it, I had to request it, so it wasn’t a problem.
That the female body is more of a mystery than the male one in the medical world is a fucking travesty.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Pee after sex. I learned this after my first UTI in my 20s. It’s still one of the most useful pieces of advice to date. Do it. I know, it’s nice to fall asleep right after, but it’s not nice to suffer UTIs. You’ll never regret getting up that one last time to pee versus regretting sitting in your doctor’s office waiting room yet another time even though YOU know what you have, and they still make you come in to make sure that is what you have.
Blood: Sometimes, vaginas bleed. Yes, menstruation. Sometimes, other things. Blood is not very hygienic, so your comfort level is paramount. We have a lifestyle friend that just bleeds when longer/bigger cocks are involved. Not a lot of blood, and she is not in pain. I’m just saying there’s no need to panic unnecessarily (this message is actually more for guys — I think women have a better grasp on when to panic and not around their vagina bleeding).
Pregnancy: This has not been a concern for me due to my very reliable birth control and having a body that does well on it. Lucky me. Even though getting pregnant has not been a concern of mine, my husband getting someone else pregnant has been a big one. I’m up for alternative lifestyles, but having another baby to raise — and one that is not mine — that’s another matter. We are all adults, and I have no new news here, but I thought a post about female health in the lifestyle should probably include such a large topic. Vasectomies are a practical solution to this concern, and something a guy can do. Hooray.
It’s a frustration of mine that the va-jay-jay is still a bit of a medical mystery to us, like, how much of the information above I gathered through friends and not doctors. That the female body is more of a mystery than the male one in the medical world is a fucking travesty.
I’m nearing menopause, and my friends and I marvel at the inadequacy of healthcare around this. “Don’t suffer, come see me, when you start menopause symptoms,” my friend’s doctor told her. Then when she went to see him, he had one possible solution and then threw up his hands and was like, “That’s all I’ve got.” Every woman I know has gone on extensive research binges to help themselves through menopause. I’m going off on a tangent here, but you get the drift.
Ladies, it’s still up to us to watch out for one another. I would love to keep this guide updated so it can be the most helpful, so please reach out to me with new or different information — I would certainly like to know if anything I say here would misrepresent. Otherwise, happy healthy fucking.
“DENTAL DAMS UNWRAPPED.” Www.plannedparenthood.org, www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-pacific-southwest/blog/dental-dams-unwrapped.
“BV or Yeast?” Hellowisp.com, hellowisp.com/products/bv-or-yeast. Accessed 1 Aug. 2023.