I don't know about y'all, but autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. As I was thinking about all of the things that I adore about it, I reminded myself that it's now time to get my va-jay-jay ready for cooler weather. What? Is there a light chuckle coming out of you as you stare at your monitor like I've completely lost my mind? While it might seem that way at first, you might be surprised how "winterizing your vagina" can actually do wonders for your overall health and well-being.
So, take a moment out of your crazy day to check out some of the things that I do to get my vagina in gear for fall and winter. Things that makes even "her" happy that this time of year has finally arrived—and can actually do wonders for your own if you're open to giving these tips a shot.
1. Up Your Probiotics
Yeeeeeah. Let's not act like October 31 (Halloween) through January 1 (New Year's Day) doesn't officially mark the time when a lot of us tend to consume more sweets than we do the rest of the year. When there's too much sugar in our bodies, that can actually trigger something that absolutely none of us want—a yeast infection. If you've ever wondered how in the world that happens, it's because, when sugar gets to a point of compromising our immune system, that can make it difficult for our immunity to prevent the overproduction of yeast within our body.
Something that can help to keep the good bacteria thriving in our system (so that sugar doesn't overtake our system) is upping our probiotic intake. First, try and get into the habit of taking a probiotic supplement that has somewhere around 10 billion colony-forming units (you can check out a list of 2020's best probiotics for women here). Also, it definitely can't hurt to consume foods that contain probiotics too. Some of those include fermented foods like pickles, kefir, miso, kombucha, Gouda and cheddar cheese and even beer.
2. Drink Some Hot Apple Cider
I don't know about y'all, but to me, a signature drink for fall (and winter) is hot apple cider. If you've ever wondered what the difference is between it and regular ole' apple juice, the long/short of it is apple juice goes through a filtration process that hot apple cider does not. Anyway, if you happen to be someone who knows that your estrogen levels are naturally low, that could throw your pH balance off which could also trigger a yeast infection. Drinking cider (or juice or eating apples) can help to keep your estrogen levels at a good place because apples contain phytoestrogens which are basically a plant compound that mimics how estrogen affects your body. (By the way, some other foods that contain phytoestrogens include pomegranates, garlic, carrots, potatoes, cherries, dried beans and even coffee.)
3. Watch the Alcohol Intake
Listen, I'm all for y'all turning up with a glass or a bottle from time to time. But balance is key. If you decide to use the fall and winter seasons to turn into a lush in these streets, it could end up wreaking havoc on your vagina and your sex life. The reason why is because too much alcohol consumption can actually lead to vaginal dryness as well as fatigue. So, anything more than a cup or two of mulled wine or glass of spiked eggnog a day might be pushing it. Either drink two glasses of water per serving of the booze or go without more than you initially planned to this year. Your va-jay-jay and libido will be thankful.
4. Keep Some Olive Oil in Tow
Here's something that you might've noticed but not given a ton of thought to. It's actually pretty common that your vagina can end up feeling dryer during the colder months of the year. The reason why is because things like too much alcohol, taking cold/flu medication or sleeping without a humidifier on in your bedroom (more on that in a bit) can all contribute to your vagina not getting the moisture that it needs. Something that can counter all of this is rubbing your vulva down with a little bit of olive oil.
Not only does it serve as a great moisturizer and natural lubricant (so long as you don't accompany it with condoms; oil oftentimes breaks condoms down), olive oil contains loads of antioxidants, a respectable amount of Vitamin E, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe any minor irritation that your vagina may be experiencing at any given time. Just make sure that you use extra virgin olive oil because, the purer the oil is, the better it will be for your sensitive genital region.
5. Grow Out Your Pubes
Personally, I see my vagina as being a big girl like the rest of me, so I prefer to have some hair on "her". The couple of times when I tried going totally bare, I felt like I was in elementary school again. But, as with most things in life, to each their own, right? Earlier this year, I wrote a piece for the platform on how even pubic hair has trends (you can check it out here) and yes, even when it comes to our pubes, there are all kinds of routes that you can take. However, since pubic hair does help to cushion the friction caused by penetration, it reduces the risk of getting an STD (because the hair can help to keep tiny nicks from occurring that could lead to transmission of infected bodily fluids), it helps to keep debris from actually getting into your vagina and, as an extra bonus, it helps to keep "her" warmer—if you're someone who goes bald or even has a little strip, why not grow it out, just a little bit more, this fall season? You might be surprised by how much you like it and how much more comfy you will feel if you do.
6. Get Some Wool Underwear
OK, so here's something that I bet you never contemplated before. While it's great to wear cotton (preferably organic cotton) panties so that your va-jay-jay can breathe if you want to keep her extra warm, get yourself a few wool ones. I know, it might sound crazy but the reality is that wool is a fabric that doesn't hold onto moisture which means that they are actually better at keeping your vagina from trapping in too much moisture which could lead to infections up the road. As a bonus, it doesn't hold on to odor either.
7. Purchase a Lubricant Warmer
How cute is this? If you're someone who's getting more and more into using lubrication during sex, first, check out "If You've Always Wanted A 'Lubricant Cheat Sheet,' Here Ya Go". Then, do yourself a big favor and pick up a lubricant warmer. Love My Pulse is a company that actually sells massage oils, condom-friendly lubricants and yep, a lubricant dispenser that warms up your oils and lubes. I won't lie, it ain't cheap ($199). But again, if you are a fan of lubricant, I don't see how this couldn't be the kind of gift that just keeps on giving. Straight up.
8. Cop a Sex Toy Warmer Too
While you're out here shopping for your vagina, if sex toys are totally your thing, why not get yourself a sex toy warmer as well? Experience Warm is a company that offers a sex toy warmer (that looks a lot like a wallet) that will warm up, pretty much any sex toy you've got, in 15-20 minutes. This one will run you around a hundred bucks, but if you're sick of using your hands to make your favorite toy of choice feel even a little bit like room temperature, this could be the perfect solution.
9. Sleep with a Humidifier
Dry air is a major issue in the fall and winter season, in part, because we tend to rely more on the warm air that flows out of our HVAC units. But when that dry air doesn't have any moisture in it, not only can that increase the air pollution in your house, it can also make you more susceptible to colds, cause your sinuses to clog up, and definitely dry out your hair, skin, scalp and yes, your vagina. You can combat this by putting a humidifier in your bedroom. It's one of the best ways to give your skin (and genitalia) the moisture that it needs while promoting a better quality of sleep in the process.
10. Invest in Some Flannel Sheets
I don't care what time of year it is, you should make it your ambition to sleep in the nude. One of the benefits mentioned in our article, "Yes, Sleeping Naked Could Help Your Anxiety & Sleep Pattern" is it's another way to reduce your chances of getting a yeast infection because your vagina is able to breathe (and not accumulate excess moisture) throughout the night. Sleeping naked can also help your body to regulate your hormones and metabolism while increasing your melatonin levels, so that you're able to sleep more soundly. If you're hesitant to do this during the fall and winter because it's colder and you don't want to turn up your electronic thermostat to the point where you'll be dead ass broke come March, get yourself some flannel bedding or some jersey knit ones. Both are warm, mad comfortable and make sleeping naked a pleasure from now until the spring season arrives. You'll love 'em, your vagina will love 'em and it'll be all good—no matter how cold it gets. It's one of the absolute best ways to winterize your vagina. Trust. Me. #wink
Featured image by Shutterstock
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images