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When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?

You deserve to be pampered from head, to vagina, to toe.

Women's Health

I'm big on pampering. Unapologetically so too. When you think of all that it takes to be a Black person in this country and also a woman in this country, why shouldn't we make the time to indulge ourselves a little bit? Problem is, I know far too many women who barely get a facial, massage or mani/pedi, let alone set some moments aside to pamper their vagina. Yep. I said it. Pamper their vagina.

It might sound a little strange at first that there are things that you can do that will "treat your vagina with extreme kindness or luxury". Still, believe it or not, it is possible. Today, I'm gonna share 10 effective, affordable and super self-gratifying ways to help you to do just that. Make sure to send this to your girlfriends when you're done. I'm pretty sure they could use this very important info too.

1. Give Your Vagina a Massage

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If the first thing that came to your mind with this one is "I mean, I masturbate", that is not really what a vaginal massage is all about. There is literally something that is called yoni massage therapy that focuses on releasing physical and emotional blockages. Some people refer to it as vaginal mapping which I actually wrote about last fall (check out "Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey"). Very similar to standard massages, you can pay to have a professional one done or you can do it yourself. Either way, taking out the time to gingerly caress your vagina, simply for the sake of releasing stress that might be built up in it, is one of the best ways to pamper your vagina, hands down.

2. Get into Some Specific Yoga Positions

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Yoga does a lot of things. It de-stresses. It increases strength and flexibility. It puts you into a better mood. It relaxes you. It helps you to sleep better. So, it makes perfect sense that partaking in it would benefit every part of your body, including your vaginal region. In fact, there are certain positions that specifically can improve the overall health and well-being of your va-jay-jay. If you'd like to know what some of them are, so that you can try them out from the comfort and convenience of your own house, check out Health Shot's article that features six vaginal-focused yoga positions right here.

3. Wash Undies by Hand in Fragrance-Free Detergent

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Did you know that there is some fecal matter in washing machines? Not only that but any time something germ-filled is put into a load of laundry, it tends to spread to 90 percent of the rest of the clothes that it's in the wash with. This is reason enough to hand-wash your undies. Start by using some sort of antibacterial fabric spray on your underwear (if you'd prefer to go the DIY route, there's a great recipe here). Spray your panties with it (especially the crotch area) and let it penetrate for five minutes or so.

Then, soak your underwear in really hot water. Once the water is a comfortable enough temperature for you to touch it, wash your panties in some fragrance-free detergent and rinse thoroughly in warm water when you're done. All of this will help to get rid of infection-causing bacteria without irritating your vagina in the process. (By the way, if you want to "super sterilize" your panties, you can always iron the crotch on low heat once they are clean and dry.)

4. Also, Keep Some Fragrance-Free Wipes in Your Bag

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Whether it's because you use a menstrual cup or you simply want to freshen up throughout the day when you're not at home, it can never hurt to keep some fragrance-free wipes around. They are oftentimes better at thoroughly cleansing your vagina without removing any of the natural moisture that it needs. Just make sure that they are fragrance-free. Otherwise, the wipes could upset your vagina's pH balance and lead to a vaginal infection up the road.

5. Make Yourself a Monthly Period Basket

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There are two ways to look at your menstrual cycle—like something that you should dread every month or something that you can use as a time to pamper yourself. My recommendation is to go with Door #2. Stay with going to a local arts and crafts store to pick up a basket (one that you would use to make someone else a gift basket) along with some cellophane and a bow. Then, on a monthly basis, put things into it like—chamomile tea (it soothes abdominal discomfort) and/or raspberry leaf tea (it reduces uterine contractions); dark chocolate (the potassium eases cramps); clove essential oil (it reduces excessive pain and bleeding); avocados, pears, berries, bananas and popcorn (fibrous foods reduce bloating); turmeric powder (it's a natural painkiller); a bottle of sparkling water (the more hydrated you are, the less blood clots and backaches you'll have); a magnesium supplement (it'll ease your uterine muscles while giving you more energy); a favorite snack (it'll comfort you); some fresh flowers (just because); a DIY lavender spray for your bedding (to help you sleep more soundly. You can check out an easy-to-make recipe here), and a fresh pair of period panties (Thinx's Hiphugger Period Panties are currently all the rage). Knowing that there is something special awaiting you can definitely make you feel better about, well, the inevitable (your period, chile).

6. Install a Bidet (or a Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment)

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Talk about pampering. There used to be a time when, if the topic of bidets came up, we'd assume the person who had one was rich. I get why too because the cost of one combined with the installation fee tends is oftentimes somewhere between $1000-1500 (on average). That doesn't mean it's not worth every penny, though, because bidets are able to keep your vaginal area, your butt and your hands cleaner (which reduces the spread of urine, fecal matter and bacteria overall). Another benefit to them is they can significantly reduce your chances of having hemorrhoids while also helping to keep you from getting bacterial vaginosis. Plus, since bidets eliminate the need for toilet paper, they are good for the environment too.

If money is tight and you can't afford to install a bidet right now, the next best thing is to invest in a bidet toilet seat attachment. It's basically a sprayer that you can use as a "handy" bidet. The Spruce has a list of some fairly affordable ones. You can check 'em out here.

7. Soak in Some Apple Cider Vinegar

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We honestly could write an entire article on what makes apple cider vinegar so dope. When it comes to the topic at hand—pampering your vagina—it's great because it's able to keep the pH level of your vagina (which needs to be somewhere between 3.8-4.5) in balance. That's why it's good to soak in if you've got a yeast infection or something to do once a week for mere "upkeep" purposes. The powerfully potent antiseptic and antibacterial properties can soothe inflamed skin, reduce vaginal odor and cleanse your vagina without irritating it in the process.

All you need to do is get some apple cider vinegar (make sure it contains the mother; the mother makes it unrefined and unfiltered). As you're running your bathwater, pour one cup (two cups if you've got a yeast infection or BV) of the vinegar into it and soak for 20 minutes or so. While you're soaking, definitely make sure to avoid bubble baths that contain lots of chemicals. If you want a few bubbles to create a certain mood, combine a half cup of distilled water with a half-cup of castile soap, one-fourth cup of vegetable glycerin and 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour it under running water and you'll be all set.

8. Try a Little Fur Oil

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If you're someone who, when it comes to "landscaping" down below, you prefer to shave and yet you haven't found a way to prevent ingrown hairs (remember not to shave against the grain; doing so can definitely cause them), you might want to pamper your vagina with a little bit of Fur Oil. It's an oil that's specifically made for pubic hair that contains ingredients like grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, clary sage and tea tree oil. Aside from helping to prevent ingrown hairs and soothe the ones that you already may have, this oil also has a great reputation for making pubic hair feel really soft. I won't lie to you, there ain't nothin' cheap about it (it's currently $46 for a couple of ounces). Still, the reviews are pretty spectacular and, at the very least, this might inspire you to cop a couple of the ingredients I mentioned and make some conditioning oil of your own (heads up, you can probably find it on other sites for a little less too).

Oh, I almost forgot. If you wouldn't dream of spending this much money on some vaginal oil, a hack that can help to keep your vagina—well, your vulva since it's the outer part of that area—from feeling itchy and irritated after shaving is to rub some fragrance-free deodorant onto it right after you shave. It has a way of soothing and bringing (semi) instant relief too.

9. Make Sure the Condoms Are “Super Vagina-Friendly”

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Unless you are in an exclusive long-term relationship where you both get tested and you're on some form of reliable birth control (unless, of course, you want to conceive a child), when it comes to sex, there's no way around the fact that condoms are the way to go. However, have you ever thought about if the ones that you've been using are super vagina-friendly or not?

The reality is that a lot of rubbers contain chemicals like casein (which can throw off our hormonal balance); glycerin (which contains sugar and can sometimes feed yeast); benzocaine (which can trigger vaginal inflammation and dryness) and, nonoxynol 9 (which can inflame your cervix, vagina and rectum). All of this is, yeah…not good.

I know you're probably not used to reading condom labels; however, now you see why it's a good thing to do. As far as condoms that are good for your va-jay-jay, Lelo Hex is one brand you might want to look into (it's made out of natural latex and has a silicone lubricant in it). Lovability is a natural latex rubber that is hypoallergenic and gets a lot of praise too.

10. Wear a Clit Clip

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One more. I know some people who got their clitoris (or clitoral hood) pierced before. And while they can personally vouch for the fact that it has made their clitoris more sensitive to the touch in some of the best ways possible, they've also said that the piercing process itself is not even close to being a walk in the park. That said, you're not a big fan of pain yet you would like to "dress up" your clitoris from time to time, there are clit clips that you can wear that require absolutely no piercing at all. Two that I thought were kinda cute are on Etsy's site (here and here). I mean, we are talking about pampering, right? Why not doll "her" up a bit once you've done everything else on this list? Look at it as the vaginal pampering 2.0 way to go.

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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
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