Do you ever think to yourself, “Am I doing this underwear thing wrong?” It may be an integral part of our routine, but it’s not something the average person knows much about.
Like, did you know that there are certain fabrics that are healthier for you or certain times that going commando is better or that there’s sort of an expiration date for underwear?
These unspoken underwear rules can have an impact on your vaginal health — and, depending on the style, can even affect your mood!
So we did a lot of research, dug through several underwear hygiene studies, and talked to an OB-GYN to collect eight underwear rules to live by.
1. Overall, choose natural fabrics — specifically cotton
You may have heard this before, but with all the cute styles in a variety of fabrics out there, it’s worth saying again: cotton is the best underwear fabric.
“The vulva is a very sensitive and delicate area, similar to the lips on your face. You want to treat [it] gently,” explains Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, board-certified OB-GYN.
And the most simple, gentle fabric to touch your skin? Yep, cotton. It’s also breathable and absorbent, which can help prevent yeast infections.
“Since it is healthy to have a vaginal discharge — similar to the moisture you always have in your mouth — you want your underwear to gently absorb any extra moisture,” explains Kelly-Jones.
Synthetic materials like nylon and spandex don’t allow the area to breathe. Instead, they trap heat and moisture, creating a perfect breeding ground for yeast infections.
2. Aim to change your underwear every day, even more than once if you want!
It seems like we typically wear one pair of underwear a day and then put it in the laundry to be washed. That may not always be necessary. On the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t feel restricted to just one pair per day.
Some doctors say that you can get away with wearing a pair of underwear two days in a row if there’s not much discharge or sweat. But if you start to feel uncomfortable because of vaginal discharge buildup, you can change them more than once a day, as Kelly-Jones reminds her patients all the time.
“Many of my patients are bothered by this moisture and wear pantie liners all of the time,” she says. “I think this is not the healthiest of behavior as liners can cause chafing and irritation. Cotton-lined underwear will solve this problem, and it’s OK to change more than once a day.”
After they’ve been worn, toss them in the hamper to wash. Unlike jeans, underwear shouldn’t be reworn just to save on doing a load.
3. Go commando at night to air out the moisture
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not going underwear-free to bed is better for you.
For those who have a healthy vagina, either choice is fine. For those who deal with regular yeast infections, going pantie-free to bed can make all the difference.
Going without a cloth barrier allows the area to breathe overnight and keeps moisture from building up or creating an environment for bacteria to build.
“I believe the vulva area should be exposed to the air, just like any other area of your body,” says Kelly-Jones.
If you really don’t like the feeling of being naked, Kelly-Jones recommends wearing loose-fitting pajama bottoms. Just remember, if you’re going without underwear but are wearing another type of bottom, they need to be washed frequently as well.
Basically, it doesn’t hurt to go without underwear overnight.
4. Well-fitting, moisture-wicking underwear is best for working out
Again, whether to go pantie-free or not when working out is a personal preference. If you’re wearing shorts that have moisture-wicking underwear built into it, you can forgo the underwear.
Wearing something between you and the fabric may be more comfortable and an even healthier way to catch the sweat. Typically, this would be a high-tech polyester that’s light and slick.
If you do choose to wear a pair, Kelly-Jones notes, “The most important thing is to make sure it fits well and doesn’t cause chafing.”
5. Thongs really aren’t bad for your vaginal health
It’s always been assumed that thongs can’t be good for the health of your nether regions.
However, studies haven’t found evidence that thongs cause yeast vaginitis (YV), bacterial vaginosis (BV), or urinary tract infections (UTIs) — three of the main issues women experience:
ATrusted Source2005 studyTrusted Source looked directly at string underwear and found that the microenvironment of the vulvar skin didn’t change at all due to the style of underwear. The underwear had no effect on the pH, skin microclimate, or aerobic microflora.
A recent study looked at the association of thongs with UTIs, BVs, and YVs and, again, found no evidence supporting the assumption that thongs can cause these issues.
Instead, they concluded that sexual behavior and hygiene choices had caused these conditions.
Avoid douching. ATrusted Source2011 studyTrusted Source specifically associated douching with increased BV. Daily bathing slightly increased the chance of BV. BV was not associated with underwear material, pads, or tampons.
So don’t be afraid to wear a thong when the occasion calls for it.
6. Wash your underwear in hypoallergenic soap
All types of underwear should be handled more gently then the rest of your wardrobe, not just your special lacy, stringy thongs. This isn’t because they’re your “delicates.”
It’s mostly because they sit up against your more sensitive skin area for long periods of time. Kelly-Jones recommends using gentle, hypoallergenic soap to wash them because “anything soapy or chemical next to the vulva can lead to irritation, itching, allergic reactions.”
7. Consider replacing your underwear every year
Sounds a bit excessive, especially for something that gets washed so regularly. But according to the Good Housekeeping Institute, even clean underwear can contain up to 10,000 living bacteria.
This is because there’s bacteria in washing machine water — about one million bacteria in just 2 tablespoons of used water! Further, about 83 percent of “clean” underwear contains up to 10,000 bacteria.
Beyond bacteria, there’s a chance your underwear could contain feces. According to Dr. Gerba, who told ABC News in 2010, “There’s about a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear.”
Throwing out your underwear every year isn’t the eco-friendliest option, and if you don’t have bacterial problems down there, you may not have to clean out your drawers annually.
But if you do experience BV or other symptoms frequently, experts say you may want to replace your underwear every year.
The best way to wash your underwear
Here are some washing recommendations:
After washing, tumble dry on low heat for 30 minutes: One doctor told the New York Times that tumble drying for 30 minutes or ironing after washing can help minimize new bacteria that’s been picked up during the wash. “The heat from a low dry cycle or an iron was sufficient to get the clothes free of the studied bacteria,” she told the publication.
Sick roommate or family? Don’t mix your underwear in the same load: With bacteria already swimming around in your washing machine, there’s no need to risk more.
Don’t mix contaminated underwear with other pairs or pants if you have BV: This is especially important for people who do laundry less frequently. Do a separate wash to keep the bacteria levels lower and avoid cross contamination.
Wash underwear separately from clothes with other bodily fluids: In hospital settings, wash clothes that have been cross-contaminated (with vomit, blood, urine, etc.) separately. Do the same with your underwear, especially if you have family members who work in a hospital. If there are other fluids, focus on getting the blood or vomit out of the clothes and keeping them away from garments that you wear up against your private parts.
8. The style of underwear can affect your mood
Even though it goes unseen (for the most part), underwear can actually play a major part in how you feel.
In a U.S. nationwide poll from by ShopSmart, 25 percent of self-identified women revealed that their moods were affected by “unattractive” or ill-fitting underwear.
They also discovered that almost half the women polled (47 percent) felt sexier or more confident when wearing a special pair of underwear.
Don’t underestimate the power of your most intimate garment or think that just because nobody sees it, it doesn’t have to look awesome.
What is orgasm?
When you get sexually aroused your vagina becomes wetter, which makes it smooth and slippery. With more stimulation, you could climax (orgasm).
When a man gets really turned on, he can have an orgasm – in other words, he can come, or climax.
Benefits of sexual intercourse during pregnancy
It’s strange and funny how so many people go on a long sex vacation when they get pregnant or abandon their wives when they get pregnant in terms of sex. The reasons or excuses are many but before I touch on the many misconceptions some have, I will like to encourage pregnant women who will like their husbands to have sex with them to also put in some effort to get them attracted.
Just because you are pregnant does not mean you shouldn’t take good care of yourself. Bath well and regularly because of the numerous hormones in your system due to the pregnancy. Dress well and look good but don’t stay down and look unattractive and expect your husband to come. Don’t keep saliva in your mouth for long otherwise, it can put your partner off.
When it comes to misconceptions that people have about sex during pregnancy, notable among them is that the semen will spill on the baby and might kill it. The penis might be hitting the baby’s head and affect it. The woman wouldn’t feel for sex during that stage. She will get pregnant again.
When a woman conceives, her cervix is closed. When she engages in sex, the semen cannot go through the cervix because there is also a mucus plug to prevent anything from entering. The penis cannot pass through the cervix into the womb. Most women rather feel for sex when they get pregnant. When a woman gets pregnant, the hormones prevent ovulation which is the release of the egg from the ovary. Imagine the disaster or the trouble of your husband or wife or your partner to wait throughout the 9 months plus delivery, to resume having sex with you. How many people will be able to wait till that period?
The only exception is when the doctor or midwife has indicated that sex can cause a problem for the pregnancy due to vaginal bleeding, repeated miscarriage, early labour treatment, or anything else that poses risk.
Now let us take a look at some of the benefits of having sex when pregnant.
1. Sex during pregnancy is a form of exercise for the lady. This also keeps her active and healthy because it burns out the calorie and keeps blood pressure in check.
2. Sexual intercourse can activate the feel-good hormones in the system. If the pregnant woman is happy, it makes the unborn happy because of their connection.
3. During pregnancy, it offers the couple or partners the opportunity to explore certain sex positions they may not have tried before. Sometimes you even later adopt those as your favourite even after delivery.
4. It creates a bond between the partners as the two people do not have to sexually fast for over 9 months. When sex continuous during pregnancy it doesn’t break the flow between them.
5. Sex is even more enjoyable during pregnancy especially for the woman because of the different hormones in her system and also the blood flow in her vulva.
6. During pregnancy, the woman experiences different hormones which can be very uncomfortable but sexual intercourse during pregnancy can help clear most of it as sex can make her sleep soundly.
7. Sex during pregnancy can make delivery easier, this is because the sperm is rich in a hormone known as prostaglandins which help in uterus contractions.
It is equally important to say that not every pregnant woman feels like having sex. Respect the decision of the woman if she doesn’t feel for it or not comfortable with having sex.
Care needs to be taken so as not to contract any sexually Transmitted Infections as this can also affect the unborn if care is not taken.
Sex during pregnancy is not harmful and can happen throughout the nine-month or the pregnancy period unless the doctor has said otherwise.
By Cons. Michael Tagoe
Good sexual intercourse lasts minutes, not hours, therapists say
Erie, Pa. — Satisfactory sexual intercourse for couples lasts from three to 13 minutes, contrary to popular fantasy about the need for hours of sexual activity, according to a survey of U.S. and Canadian sex therapists.
Penn State Erie researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani conducted a survey of 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen thousands of patients over several decades.
Thirty-four, or 68 percent, of the group responded and rated a range of time amounts for sexual intercourse, from penetration of the vagina by the penis until ejaculation, that they considered adequate, desirable, too short and too long.
The average therapists’ responses defined the ranges of intercourse activity times: “adequate,” from three to seven minutes; “desirable,” from seven to 13 minutes; “too short” from one to two minutes; and “too long” from 10 to 30 minutes.
“A man’s or woman’s interpretation of his or her sexual functioning as well as the partner’s relies on personal beliefs developed in part from society’s messages, formal and informal,” the researchers said. “Unfortunately, today’s popular culture has reinforced stereotypes about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long intercourse. ”
Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women who responded wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer.
“This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction,” said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of psychology. “With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions.”
Corty and Guardiani, then an undergraduate student and now a University graduate, are publishing their findings in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, but the article is currently available online.
The survey’s research also has implications for treatment of people with existing sexual problems.
“If a patient is concerned about how long intercourse should last, these data can help shift the patient away from a concern about physical disorders and to be initially treated with counseling, instead of medicine,” Corty noted.