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What Your Vagina Wishes You Would Do More Often

Sometimes we don't give our "passion flower" the kind of attention that it deserves.

Women's Health

In order to be successful in life, we need to prepare ourselves for just about anything, right? So, just in case you happen to get a call to be a contestant on Jeopardy and then, just in case one of the categories is "vagina" (which is the entry into the body; the outer part is our labia), here are some random facts that you should know.

The word vagina is Latin for "sheath"; a sheath is a covering for a sword or dagger. Hmm…remember in the song "Rump Shaker", there's a line that says, "Now since you've got the body of the year, come and get the award. Here's a hint—it's like a long, sharp sword"? Welp. (By the way, the hymen is named after the Greek goddess of marriage.)

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Most of the nerve-endings in our vagina is located within the first 1-2 inches of it. The average penis is 5" when it's erect. So no, you don't need a man who's "packin'" in order to have a really good time. That's a (media) myth. You'd be far better off with someone who knows what he's doing—"average" or not.

While the hair on our head can grow for seven years, our pubic hair grows for no more than three weeks before a new cycle starts. And yes, pubic hair serves a purpose—it can protect us from bacteria, serve as a cushion from friction and abrasions, and it also decreases our chances of getting an STD since shaving or waxing could leave sores behind and make us susceptible to them (if the person we're sleeping with is infected).

These are just some of the things that make our vaginas so fascinating. Hands down, they are super special (just look at what men go through just to get close to one!). Still, sometimes we don't give our "passion flowers" (a popular nickname for it) the kind of attention that it deserves.

So, in honor of knowing that our vaginas could probably stand to get some extra TLC, here's what my research revealed that a lot of us could probably stand to do more often for/to it:

1. Wear Cotton Underwear

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First up, if you've got any panties in your collection that are older than 6-12 months, you should toss 'em. There is bacteria (plus about one-tenth gram of feces) that could still be in your underwear that could lead to irritation.

When you head out to buy some new ones, it's best that they are made out of cotton (organic cotton, if you can); high-tech polyester comes in as a close second. Since they're the kind of fabric that breathe and absorb liquid, they significantly decreases your chances of having a yeast infection.

If you're thinking this means that you have to go without thongs, well, it is important to do all things in moderation (thongs tend to be pretty tight). But so long as you're wearing a size that actually fits and they also are made out of cotton (100 percent cotton), you should be all good.

2. Wash Your Undies by Hand

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Tossing your underwear into the wash with the rest of your clothes may be quicker and easier but it's kinda wreaking havoc on them at the same time. It really is best to wash your undies by hand in the sink with a hypo-allergenic detergent.

If you'd still prefer to use your washing machine, cop a few mesh bags to put them in, set your machine to hot when cleaning them. Oh, just to be extra safe—before putting your panties in, put about a ½ cup of bleach into the machine and let it run a full wash cycle in order to sanitize it.

3. Take a Probiotic

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When it comes to vaginal health, it's always a good idea to take a proactive approach. One of the best ways to keep yeast and bacterial infections at bay is to take a probiotic on a daily basis. It's what maintains "friendly bacteria" in our gut and vaginal tract while also keeping our pH levels in check.

When shopping for a probiotic, make sure that it contains lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, or saccharomyces boulardii in it (preferably all three). It also needs to contain at least one billion forming colony units in it (it'll say so on the bottle).

If you've never taken a probiotic before and, at first, you feel gassy or your stool patterns shift, generally that's nothing to worry about. It simply means that the probiotics are taking effect.

As far as probiotic foods go, yogurt definitely tops the list. Also, fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso soup and brine are good. So is dark chocolate (the kind that contains 70 percent or more cocoa).

4. Also Take Some Omega-3s

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Something else that your vagina needs is healthy dosages of omega-3 oil. The acids in them help to increase blood circulation, even down in the genitalia region. You know what that means—more orgasms! Also, if a shift in your hormones has led to vaginal dryness or even atrophy, omega-3 can soothe your labia's skin and even help to restore lubrication.

Taking a daily supplement is a good idea. Also, foods that are really high in omega-3 include walnuts, salmon, sardines, pastured eggs and spinach.

5. Do Kegel Exercises

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What is such a big deal about kegels? Your bladder, uterus, rectum and yes, even your vagina are all encased in what are known as your pelvic floor muscles. Kegels are what help to keep them nice and strong. The stronger they are, the more support your back and hips will get; the less you'll have to worry about a leaky bladder; the quicker your pelvic region can bounce back after childbirth and the easier it will be to not only have orgasms but intensified orgasms (yes!).

If you've never tried kegels before, you can learn more about it here. If you'd like to try it with a Yoni egg, there's a sistah that breaks that down here.

6. Make Your Own Lube

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Sex is great. Really great. But sometimes the friction that comes from having it creates little micro-tears in our urethra and vagina. Whenever that happens, it leaves us susceptible to infection. We're more vulnerable to this happening if our vagina is dry.

If you need a little extra help staying wet down there, either purchase a water-based lube or, even better, make some of your own. You can get your hands on an all-natural recipe here.

7. Occasionally Check Your Clitoris

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One time I read a story that took a good two weeks to get out of my head. A woman said that she let her pubic hair get so long that some of it got caught up into her clitoral hood and caused it to swell so big and hurt so much that she decided to have her hood removed. Eww and ouch.

My takeaway was to check my own clitoral hood more often. Not so much for hair but dry skin, left behind discharge, etc. A couple of times, I did find a few things lingering, so I did some research on what I needed to do to remove it.

All you need is to dab a Q-tip into some olive or sweet almond oil and gently rub it around your hood. If you do it right after washing your vagina, it should easily dislodge anything that may be caught up in it. The more you know, chile.

8. Bathe. Differently.

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There's nothing like soaking in a hot bath with a candle, some wine and 90s R&B for at least an hour. On some levels, it's really good for our health. Soaking in warm water can increase our blood circulation, expand our lung capacity (making it easier for us to breathe), calm our nervous system, soothe our joints and muscles and even help to balance out our hormones.

But when it comes to our vaginas, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. On one hand, if you put nothing in your water other than baking soda or apple cider vinegar (if you need to balance out its pH levels), it could be good. But all of the bubble bath products combined with your vagina's pores being open due to the water, could irritate your vagina; it might even cause a vaginal infection.

Bottom line—shower as much as you bathe and, for the sake of your vagina, try and keep all of the "extras" out of the water when you choose to soak in the tub.

Oh, and try and avoid rubbing your vagina with a terry cloth towel when you get out. Your vulva (the external opening of your vagina) is super sensitive and that could irritate it. Pat dry instead.

9. Sleep Naked

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There are all sorts of reasons why sleeping naked as often as possible (so long as you bathe daily and change your sheets weekly) is a good idea. It lowers your body temperature by activating brown fat and stimulating your metabolism. It decreases the stress hormone cortisol while raising the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin so that you can sleep more soundly. If you're not sleeping alone, the skin-to-skin contact that comes from being next to your partner raises the oxytocin levels in your body, which makes you feel safer (hornier too).

And yes, it's just one more thing that is great for your vagina. Remember, your va-jay-jay is cooped up in a pair of undies for hours at a time each and every day. It's pretty warm and wet down there, making it the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and infections. Sleeping naked all night gives your vagina time to air itself out, decreasing the chances of it getting "sick."

10.  Love Your Vagina (and Labia)—Just the Way It Is

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A couple of years ago, it was reported that vaginoplasty (a vaginal reconstruction procedure) went up 39 percent. As someone who used to work with a ministry that deals with the porn industry, for the most part, I think that's sad. I say that because I've literally heard women say, "I want a vagina like Jenna Jameson or Sara Banks."

Think about how insulted you would feel if someone who loved you said, "You'd be prettier if you got plastic surgery." While your vagina can't use words, I think it would be insulted if we tried to change it.

As far as vaginas go, each one has its own look and scent and, so long as it's healthy, there's nothing wrong with that. Out of all of the things that your vagina needs you to do, make sure that loving it, just the way that it is, tops your list.

When you think about all that it does for us, it's truly extraordinary. No changes needed.

Did you know that xoNecole has a new podcast? Join founder Necole Kane, and co-hosts Sheriden Chanel and Amer Woods, for conversations over cocktails by subscribing to xoNecole Happy Hour podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Originally published on March 20, 2019

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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