It is a fact and indeed common knowledge that women are advised not to douche as it can disrupt the PH of the vagina, leading to infections, not cancer.
But how many of us women adhere to this on a daily bases? Or how many men encourage their women to keep the place only as the good Lord created it?
A guy once told me if he must make love with a woman, she must first wash out all traces of mucosa in her vagina! (He probably loves it dry!) A neighbour also once disclosed during a conversation with some other women that she washes her vagina with soap and water every morning and has also taught her little daughters to do likewise because that is the way she was trained by her own mother.
Women who douche, do so for varied reasons ranging from personal to “medical” and not a few of us are guilty too, including yours truly until a couple of years back. A habit that began way back in college as a teenager through grapevine information on sexual health and which was practised by many young girls then.
It was something you must do after your monthly cycle to clean out residual blood and keep foul odour away, and it caught like wild fire. Unfortunately, the originator of this information died about eight years ago as a result of cervical cancer, my first real life case of cancer victim.
No! Second actually. My aunt died over twenty years ago from breast cancer. Last September, my sister-in-law also died as a result of breast cancer. So, perhaps you might understand my concern when I come across information about cancer which are likely to mislead people.
For your information (FYI), vagina douching is the process of cleaning out the vagina by forcing water or solutions into the cavity to flush out its contents. Douches range from ordinary water to soaps (even native black soap) and manufacturers’ brands spiced with a variety of fragrances, sold over the counter.
More ridiculous are women who douche right after sexual intercourse to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases or just to feel clean and fresh down there. Earlier in the year, a friend who recently began a new relationship confided in me that she had to go shopping for several brands of douches to prepare her port because she’d not been intimate for almost two years.
According to her, she developed thrush after washing with one of the products and had to undergo treatment lasting several days.
Whatever the reason might be, it is all geared at improving the sexual act by preserving the great port for the pleasures of the men who use them and to boost the confidence and sensuality of their owners.
Studies have however confirmed that regular douching may introduce new bacteria into the vagina which can spread up through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes. Douching increases your chances of vagina infections and contracting STDs and will not prevent pregnancy.
In fact, the American Journal of Public Health published sometime ago that douching may reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant during a particular month by approximately 30%.
As if all these are not enough. Our insecurities as women cause us to abuse our ports with our own hands, besides those inflicted by our men.
The truth is that once a level of commitment and compromises have been staked in a relationship by the woman, it is not a very pleasant feeling to allow the man walk out into oblivion, especially when the decision was not by mutual agreement.
The port has since evolved from the place cavemen seek their sexual pleasures or ease tension and walk away, because feminism and sexual liberation has offered women a platform to explore and enjoy their sexuality and sexual experiences.
However, women still find themselves trapped in their own insecurities, most, a result of society’s sentiments, stereotyping and myths. Keeping the port clean and sweet smelling is not the only concern of a woman, keeping it tight and youthful, no matter the years of travelling through different turbulent, stormy weathers is another herculean task.
For this, women also have a variety to insert into the port, most of them, no matter how beautifully packaged by manufacturers may be dangerous to the body.
Generally referred to as vagina tightening products, they come in creams, tablets or solutions and are sold at all sex shops across the country and can also be locally sourced through homemade recipes (Alum).
The basic function of a vagina tightening agent is to compress the vagina walls, making the place tighter during penetration. Many sexually active women of all ages are known to adopt this method to boost their games in the arms of their men, since men are thought to prefer virgin girls in their beds (?).
It is believed that the vagina expands with use, especially so for women who have given birth to a number of children through self labour. Studies have also shown that age and hormonal changes may also compromise the elasticity of the vagina. Medical procedures and surgeries involving entrance through the vagina may also affect its size.
To buttress their points, some women do complain that after a while, they do not feel as confident and comfortable “down there” with their spouses as they once felt. Thus, a vagina tightening product is aimed at shrinking the vagina cavity, restoring suppleness and reshaping the vagina to make the woman feel young and rejuvenated, albeit temporarily.
For all these trouble and probably discomfort, the tightening product will only work for a few hours. If you want to have a go again, you will need to reapply. A more drastic measure at restoring vagina tightness is through cosmetic surgery known as vaginoplasty and this is expensive and not without likely complications. All these for a few minutes tumble under the sheets? Hmm!
The art of vagina tightening has been around for hundreds of years, and is deeply rooted in the Asian and Arabian cultures, though generally practised across. The popular Central Mosques on Lagos Island and Agege areas of Lagos State, are places you can find the most popular brands from Asia and the Arab world.
I met Ibrahim, a native of Kano State who majors in selling “man and woman” products and has an average command of both English and Yoruba languages. He attested to the potency of these drugs and their popularity but insisted he would only grant an interview and allow me take pictures of his stand if I parted with N10,000, 00 (ten thousand Naira). I promised to come back.
Other products available at many sex shops are; Instant Virgin Spray, Everteen Vagina Tightening Gel, Intiver (beware of fake brands of this product) 18again, Majinkani, to mention but a few.
The snag here is not their purported efficacy but the main compound in most of these products which is astringents, the most popular being alum.
Though astringents have their own medical uses, used as vagina tightening agents, they disrupt the normal function of mucosal cells found in places such as the mouth, digestive tract, vulva and the vagina, causing irritation. (remember that irritation causes discomfort, itching, discharge and even infections).
When these tightening products are applied, the mucosa cells dry out, causing stinging and pain in the area. Ironically, when users feel this stinging and dryness, they get the impression that the product is working wonders for them. Long term use of astringents might lead to more serious conditions as these areas need the cells to function optimally.
So, if I were to ask you again, is manual cleaning and tightening of the vagina really worth all the dangers that we expose ourselves to? As a woman who loves life and herself, what will your answer be?
Also, as a man who claims to love his woman and wants the best for her, what will your answer be? I doubt if the decision is that of the men who use the ports, but the women who own these ports! Life has no duplicate as they say. If you have any health challenge or been diagnosed of a terminal illness, you will appreciate how important it is to try to stay healthy.
The vagina does not need our help to clean up, even after use. It has been designed by God to clean itself daily with the help of the mucosa cells we dry out under the guise of cleaning and tightening our ports.
If you no longer feel “that good” enough down there, there are exercises, especially the Kegel, designed specially to take care of the vaginal muscles. Several sex positions are also available to help give you and your partner achieve a tighter feeling. And if you can afford the cost, a cosmetic surgery is the quickest and perhaps safest way to go about it you can find good professional hands. Do have a wonderful weekend!