What is hygiene? What is the importance of hygiene? “Personal hygiene refers to the comprehensive cleaning of and caring for your body”. It also includes making safe and healthy physical interactions with others. Good personal hygiene practices is important for our health and our social lives. A clean body helps in combating and preventing infections — both for oneself and the partner. It is also important for personal, social, health, psychological well-being. A good standard of hygiene thwarts the chances of development and spread of infections, illnesses and bad odours.
Cleanliness, hygiene, sanitation and measures and importance of hygiene are something we are all taught about from our primary schools but only a few are enlightened about sex hygiene and the importance of hygiene after, before and during sex . There are certain hygiene rules one should abide by to prevent infections during or after physical intimacy.
Oral Sex refers to “oral stimulation of genitals”. Most of the people prefer oral sex because of no risk of pregnancy. However, there are other disadvantages to be considered. There are certain sexually transmitted infections such as hepatitis, herpes, HIV, HPV, yeast, gonorrhoea which can be transmitted through oral-genital contact. Thus, maintaining proper hygiene is essential during oral sex. A shower is necessary before and after sexual activity. It removes the dirt, seat and other undesirable substances that accumulate on our body. Anal or vaginal douching is not recommended. Other hygiene tips are discussed below.
Menstruation is a time when women are prone to get infected, especially with sexually transmitted infections. During the period of menstrual cycle, the cervix which is usually blocked by mucous, opens up to allow the blood to flow out of the body. This heightens the risk of infection as it opens up a passage for the bacteria to travel into uterus and pelvic cavity. Thus, it is important to maintain a hygienic menstrual routine.
- Do not skip a bath during the period of menstrual cycle
- Wash hands after going to washroom, or changing the tampons or sanitary napkins
- Keep the vagina clean and avoid using soaps or shampoos
- Avoid ill-fitted or tight clothes during menstrual bleeding
- Change the tampons or the napkins during your period of menstrual cycle. Prolonged exposure to damp surfaces may lead to skin infection
- Never use a tampon unless you have your period
Hygiene Tips 1# Genital Hygiene
It is essential for women to wash their outer genital areas and anuses after sex. Cleaning of genitals prevent the transfer of germs from the anus to the vagina, and thus prevent chances of infections. Moreover, it also prevents yeast infections and bad odour. One should not go overboard with washing and cleaning using scented liquids because it disturbs the pH balance of the genital area and leaves it more susceptible to infections. After cleaning, one should avoid rubbing vigorously with a towel, instead the private parts should be sponged with care. Wet vaginas are breeding places for yeast.
Men need to cleanse their genital areas too. Men should pull back their genital foreskin as far as it is possible to expose both the glans, which should be cleaned with lukewarm water with care. The glans and the inner side of the foreskin should be free of smegma. Smegma is a combination of dead skin cells, oils, body fluids and bacteria. Presence of smegma can cause infections and unpleasant odour. For circumcised men, cleaning of genitals before and after sex is essential to prevent infections. Absence of foreskin makes the tip of the genital area vulnerable to infections since it is directly exposed to sweat and bacteria.
Hygiene Tips 2# Keeping the Pubic Hair in Check
It is important for both men and women to trim their pubic hair. A bush down there is not only scratchy, it also summons various problems. Since our private parts are not exposed to fresh air, it is susceptible to various infections. Trapped heat and sweat makes the area prone to boils and skin problems, by making it a perfect breeding area for bacteria. Trimmed pubic hair also reduces itching and bad odour. It is also important to ensure the cleanliness of the trimmer or razor before hair removal. If one is getting a bikini wax, it is recommended to check the hygiene standards of the salon.
Hygiene Tips 3# Avoid Holding Pee
One should never hold on the urge to urinate, especially before sex. Urinating gets rid of bacteria and toxins thriving in the urinary tract. Holding up the urge to pee accelerates the breeding of bacteria, which in turn, may lead to infections.
Hygiene Tips 4# Oral Sex
One should not indulge in oral sex if either of the partner has sores inside or around the mouth or near the genitals. Not only it leads to infections, it can also pass onto the other.
Hygiene Tips 5# No Sex during Menstrual Cycle
Women should avoid having sex in the first two days of their menstrual cycle to avoid embarrassment, bad odour and infection.
Personal Hygiene Habits
Good personal hygiene is required to promote good health. It not only makes one feel good, but also protects from infections. Simple regular habits such as brushing, washing hands, bathing keep the infections and illness at bay. Such personal hygiene habits to lead a healthy life are as follows:
- Both the hands and nails should be washed before and after sex to prevent transfer of germs and bacteria to the genitals.
- Nails should be trimmed to prevent infected nail beds.
- Sweaty clothes and underwear are breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast. Sweat and dust blocks the skin pores around the privates and cause folliculitis, which inflames and infects the hair follicles. It leads to bacterial and yeast infection.
- Wearing tight underwear or tight fitting jeans for a long time is not recommended as they trap heat and sweat and makes the privates a breeding place of bacteria. Natural fabrics such as cotton should be preferred instead of synthetics for innerwear.
- Depending on the menstrual flow, women should change their tampons and sanitary pads every four to six hours. Using them for a long time may let bacteria flourish, resulting in bad odour and infections.
Sex is an essential part of our lives. Following some sexual hygiene habits are important to lead a healthy and happy life. Poor hygiene can lead to infection which in turn can lead to serious diseases. Lack of personal hygiene can be a sexual inhibitor in our sexual lives and conjugal relationships. So, next time you try to get intimate with your partner, remember to follow these sexual hygiene habits to have a safe, infection-free life ahead!
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