Safeguarding Intimacy: Essential Tips for Maintaining Optimal Sexual Health

Fruits with stethoscope and condoms on beige background. Sex concept

Keep Your Genitals Happy

With World Sexual Health Day in September, let's review the essentials of sexual health — especially because your sex ed class probably didn't teach you about it very thoroughly!

Sexual health encompasses more than just the act itself. It includes physical, emotional, and social well-being. In this article, we'll explore essential tips for maintaining optimal sexual health. From practicing safe sex to promoting healthy habits, follow these strategies and practices that contribute to a fulfilling and healthy sex life.


Maintaining your hygiene is essential to your sexual health and important when you make contact with partners. Taking care of your genital hygiene is of utmost importance in your self-care regimen!

Follow these essential hygiene practices:

  • Wear cotton underwear for better airflow, reducing the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. Change them as often as you need, especially after sweating.

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, especially in the crotch area. Tight clothes create a warm and moist environment that promotes the growth of bacteria.

  • Always wash your hands before handling your goods or playing with someone else's. Ladies, don't forget to wash your hands before changing your tampon or menstrual cup!

  • Regularly visit the doctor for an STI check, wellness check, and Pap smear (if you have a cervix).

  • Consider investing in a bidet or bidet sprayer for quick clean-ups before sex, after sex, on your period, or after going number two. Trust me, it'll change your life.

  • Maintain your pubic hair to avoid bacteria growth. It's not recommended to shave the area as the skin is sensitive and cuts can cause infections. However, trim and groom your bush to keep it clean.

Vulva Owners

Vulvas come with a big responsibility. Follow these extra tips to keep her healthy and fresh:

  • Change sanitary pads or tampons regularly during menstruation, following the manufacturer's instructions. Maintain good menstrual hygiene practices to prevent infections.

  • Wash with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Avoid using harsh soaps or douches, as they can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria and pH levels. Never use soap inside of you! Beware of "vaginal washes" that claim to help you — many of them do more harm than good.

  • Pay attention to your discharge to know what part of your cycle you're on and maintain a healthy pH. Excessive discharge, foul smells, or burning sensations are signs of infection. See a doctor if you're experiencing any of these issues.

  • Rinsing after sex helps maintain your pH and lets your baby breathe again. Consider that bidet I mentioned for convenient clean-up!

  • This is perhaps the main piece of advice young girls receive, but in case you missed the memo: Always wipe front to back. Don't get any bacteria from your anus into your delicate vagina!

Penis Owners

Women's sexual health is a hot topic, but men should prioritize intimate health too! Take good care of yourself:

  • Regularly cleanse your penis with mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Gently retract the foreskin (if applicable) and clean beneath it to remove any smegma. Don't forget underneath your penis, too!

Sexual health spelled out with pink balloons

Practice Safe Sex

Safe sex doesn't just refer to avoiding unwanted pregnancies. It also refers to preventing STIs, maintaining good hygiene, and feeling safe with your partner.

According to doctor of human sexuality Dr. Emily Morse, "Communicate your health-conscious decisions with your partners (always without shame or blame) and make sure you’re both on the same page. Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone about STIs or how to utilize condoms, but avoid using words like clean or dirty as they contribute to certain stigmas associated with STIs." You can also check that they properly washed their hands before they stick them inside of you!

Adopt these habits into your sex routine to keep your body safe and healthy:

  • Always wash your hands before and after sex. Wash your genitals too, especially if it's been a long or sweaty day. (That bidet sprayer sounds nice again, eh?)

  • Discuss your sexual history with your partners to understand any risks of STIs or pregnancy. You should be on the same page about these things before you engage!

  • If you're not sure if you should use a condom, then use a condom. While the obvious benefits are STI and pregnancy protection, condoms also protect women from an unbalanced pH from their partners. If you play with more than one partner, make sure you use a fresh condom.

  • Discuss consent. All consensual sex is good sex! Make sure you're on the same page about boundaries and expectations before things progress by simply discussing sex.

  • Always pee after sex. Especially for women who have short urethras and are more prone to UTIs, peeing after sex is essential to flush out any germs.

  • If you're the proud owner of a uterus, track your cycle to know when you're ovulating and use extra protection during this time.

  • Use lube. Besides increasing a woman's chance of orgasm, lube makes everything move more comfortably and avoids micro-tears in a vagina — which can lead to discomfort and infections.

  • Don't mix anal and vaginal penetration. Bacteria from the anus is dangerous for the vagina. Use a fresh condom, wash up, or stick to a strict order of events.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Taking care of your body as a whole maintains all aspects of your health — including your sexual health!

Practice these good habits to benefit your overall health:

  • Regular physical activity improves blood circulation, boosts energy levels, reduces stress, and promotes overall well-being, which has a positive effect on sexual health.

  • Eating a nutritious and balanced diet provides essential nutrients that support overall health, including sexual health. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals.

  • Drink adequate water throughout the day to promote overall health and ensure proper bodily functions. Your juices reveal how hydrated you are!

  • Chronic stress can negatively impact sexual desire and performance. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies, or seeking support from loved ones or professionals.

  • Prioritize getting enough quality sleep each night. A well-rested body and mind enhances sexual function and overall well-being.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use can impair sexual function and decrease libido. Practice moderation or abstain from these substances for optimal sexual health.

  • Masturbating is great for your wellness, fitness, and health. Plus, it increases your libido and gives you a better understanding of your body when you're with a partner.

  • Practice those Kegels! Although pelvic floor exercises are usually targeted at women, men have a pelvic floor too, and it plays a large role in your sexual health.

Stress-Free Sex

Maintaining optimal sexual health is an integral part of overall well-being. By adopting these essential tips and practices, from practicing safe sex to prioritizing hygiene and promoting a healthy lifestyle, you nurture a fulfilling and healthy sex life.

Open communication, regular check-ups, and personal care are key to safeguarding intimacy. Take charge of your sexual well-being to enhance your overall quality of life and enjoy a fulfilling intimate connection with your partners.

For more tips on sexual health, pleasure, and relationships, subscribe to Cupid's Light.

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