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I Gave Up Feminine Wash After My Go-To Was Sold Out For Months

I'm just using water and I'm never going back.

Women's Health

Two years ago, I went all organic with my feminine products and it's made a world of difference. My cramps have subsided, and overall my experience with my monthly flow has been great. I went from the girl who could barely exercise on her period to swimming with organic tampons on the heaviest days of my flow monthly. And I was feeling really confident about my new relationship with my vagina until an herbalist suggested that I take the journey one step further and ditch my vaginal wash altogether. It wasn't my first time hearing this conversation before, anyone who's read The Queen V knows that according to Dr. Jackie, all the vagina needs is water. However, I wasn't having it.

Perhaps it was a habit, but I'd been using feminine wash since I got my period. And while swapping out my Always and turning to organic pads/liners wasn't as difficult, this was. I hated the idea of not using anything but water, but COVID-19 made it so that I had no choice but to get to know my vagina. Since quarantine, the company that I used was out of stock for months and it caused me to rely on myself to learn what my body needed. Months in, I'm adjusted and no longer rely on feminine wash.

Here's how I've managed to keep my WAP healthy during these past few months.

I upped my probiotic intake.

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Prior to this year, I'd taken probiotics, but not on a consistent basis. Back in college, I was first introduced to them after I perforated my eardrum and had to get on antibiotics, my mother suggested that I take a probiotic to counter the medication. I remembered that in my research that probiotics not only lead to good gut health but taking a probiotic with 1-2 billion CFU per day can help treat vaginal imbalance issues like bacterial vaginosis.

I clean my vagina with my hands as soon as I get in the shower.

As soon as I get in, I clean my hands, and then I clean my vagina. Not using soap has in many ways allowed for me to redefine self-care, because it's the first thing I tend to when I get in. I'm able to examine any ingrown hairs, the scent, and even how my hair on my vagina feels after I'm finished versus before.

I drink ACV water (yes and mind my business).

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One of the selling points that I hear most people express is that feminine wash balances your pH, and I get that. One of the most important ingredients in my plant-based feminine wash that I loved was ACV. That said, in order to not miss out on the alkalizing benefits, I add a small amount of apple cider vinegar with mother to my water daily. According to doconline.com, drinking ACV with mother is helpful because when the culture of bacteria is removed during filtration and refining, it results in clear and transparent apple cider vinegar. The healing properties of vinegar are due to acetic acid and other beneficial compounds present in it.

I shower as soon as I work out. 

This has been my hardest habit to break, but staying in your workout clothes after you hit the gym is a huge no-no. Women's Health cites that skipping the shower after your body has perspired can result in fungus, and lead to potential yeast infections. Even if it's just a five-minute shower before you get ready for work, take it. Your vagina will thank you later.

While the idea of ditching what is a part of your daily regimen can be scary, the benefits of ditching your go-to feminine wash are filled with opportunities for empowerment and self-discovery so that if, by chance, you experience an issue with your vagina, you don't have anything covering up what you need to address.

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Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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