1. Sitting on a Bike Seat Without Padding
Ever have your labia go numb—or even start to hurt—during a SoulCycle session? That’s your vagina making it loud and clear that the way you’re sitting on the cycle seat is compressing nerves and blood vessels in your crotch, which over time can reduce genital sensation.
2. Not Taking off Your Gym Clothes After a Workout
As you lounge around in your sweaty yoga pants, bacteria are breeding like crazy, thanks to all that perspiration your below-the-belt region produces (your vaginal area is packed with sweat glands, you know). If bacteria get into your vaginal canal, they can upset the balance of the microbes that normally live there and cause a yeast infection. Change out of your sweaty, stinky gear as soon as you can, and take a quick shower to wash away the sweat that allows infection-causing bugs to thrive.
3. Drizzling it With Whipped Cream or Chocolate Syrup
If your ultimate fantasy is to cover your naked body in ice cream sundae toppings and serve yourself up to your partner, just make sure you keep the sticky, syrupy stuff far away from your crotch area. That’s because if sugar manages to get into your vagina, it can mess with pH levels and lead to a yeast or other type of infection.
4. Lathering Up With Too Much Soap
Even a soap that calls itself gentle can be irritating to your labia. The less you use, the better: Once a day or after a gym session, work up a small lather from a soap made with no dyes or fragrances, which can itch or burn. And if you were one of the millions of women who received bath salts as a holiday gift, keep them wrapped in the box.
5. Putting Fruits or Vegetables Inside It
We’re always encouraging women to up their intake of plant food. But experimenting with grapes, carrots, or any other fresh fruit or veggie normally found in the produce aisle is not what we had in mind. Even the organic kind still contains bacteria, and that can upset your vagina and result in infection, eat them don’t put them in your vagina.
6. Getting a Tattoo On or Near It
Tempted to get inked below the belt? Consider how it might affect your lady parts. Having a tattoo done anywhere on your anatomy can trigger redness and inflammation, but your vaginal area has the most sensitive skin of your entire body. So you’re practically asking for a rash and itchy irritation. Even the cheap dye from a temporary tattoo can have the same effect, she says, so get body art on your ankle, arm, or back instead.
7. Lubricating It With Baby Oil
So you’re ready for a roll in the hay, and to get things going quick, you rub on some baby oil or another petroleum jelly product. You’re hoo-ha isn’t going to be happy. Oil-based lubricants are thicker and don’t wash out very easily, so they can get stuck in your vaginal canal and eventually trap bacteria along with it, resulting in infection. Stick with silicone- or water-based lube instead. Because they wash out easily, they make your vagina smile.