Purchasing my first bottle of Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash when I was a teenager was like a right of passage into the strange world of womanhood. I’d seen my mother purchase it, I’d seen it on my friend’s shower ledge, and I’d waited years for my chance to purchase my first bottle. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want their vagina to smell like an ocean breeze or spring flowers?
Over the years, as I’ve gotten to know my vagina a bit better, I’ve found that everything I knew about taking care of my love pocket (ooo that sounds nasty) is totally wrong. The truth is that I’d been reading, and promptly ignoring, that our vaginas are self cleansing machines. In fact, soaps, douches, and other heavily fragrance materials can irritate our delicate skin down there. But, what about smelling like french lavender on a bright summer’s day while drinking lemonade on the veranda? Well, our self cleansing vaginas are supposed to smell like… vaginas. That’s right! Vagina. With all of this newly realized knowledge, I decided to toss out my Summer’s Eve that was honestly irritating my vagina for some time, and give washing my vagina with simply water a try.
I won’t lie, while I’m quite open minded, I was nervous about all sorts of consequences that could come from ditching soap to clean my vagina. I mean, I feel like we are taught from a young age that our vaginas are something to be ashamed of, feared, and treated as open wounds rather than the vessels of humanity. So, the thought of me only using water to cleanse this part of my body felt wrong and dirty. I mean, we use soap on the rest of our skin and if someone told me they didn’t, I’d admittedly side eye the hell out of them. But, according to Dr. Jackie from Doctors of Atlanta, our vaginas need a very simple and easy cleansing routine. Warm water, clean the folds, and use your hands only. Easy. So, I gave it a try and here’s my honest thoughts.
My vagina has never felt more clean, fresh, and happy as it does now. Right before I made this change, I’d accidentally used a soap that I knew was too strong for my vagina on the skin down there. I had to suffer with that constant irritation for weeks so this change was needed and welcomed. After a few days, the irritation was lifted and my vagina didn’t smell like a wide open sea like I imagined it would.
Here’s the thing, we need to make the collective decision as women to stop being afraid of our vaginas. They are not supposed to smell like rainbows and butterflies and any man that expects it to is too damn immature for you, girl. There’s no need to cleanse our vaginas into oblivion or disrupt our pH balance in the name of all things floral. Our bodies are beautiful and capable all on their own. I stopped using soaps and that other bullshit on my vagina, stopped trying to make my vagina into fruit basket and honestly, life hasn’t been better. Go on girl, don’t be afraid. Try it.