CHALK 3.6 Korte

Pussy. Vajayjay. Poon. Fanny.

Whatever you call it, nearly half the earth’s population has one. And for as long as people have walked the earth, humans have been a bit confused about vaginas and what to do with them.

College students today are no exception. Even those who possess a vagina aren’t sure how to treat it. While we might not be shoving onions up there as a pregnancy test (hello, ancient Egyptians), inconsistent sex education and vaginal taboos have left us to rely on word of mouth and inaccurate information.

“The things that people believe, that they were told either by a peer or someone that they care about and cares about them, it is f*cking terrifying,” says Jenny McKee, a peer health educator at the University of Kansas.

McKee has been teaching a course on peer education for years, and says the lack of knowledge around sexual health can sometimes be astonishing.

In 2018, the Center for American Progress reported that only 20 states require sex education to be medically, factually and technically accurate. So even if you did go to high school in the less-than-half of the country that provides sex ed, chances are, you might be prescribing to some false wisdom.

“I think that most humans believe, or most females believe, their genitalia is life-giving, badass, the best part of ourselves,” McKee says. “But we live in a society that uses ‘pussy’ to talk about people in a derogatory capacity while also telling us that we need to be douching and using Vagisil and it doesn’t smell right.”

To get the low down on the down under, Chalk spoke with McKee and Dr. Joy Murphy, a women’s health physician at Watkins Health Center, about some common vagina myths.

 

Vagina Myth #1: I need to use special soap or products to clean my vagina

Dr. Murphy says she strongly discourages any douching or special soaps to clean the vagina. Not only is it unnecessary because the vagina is self-cleaning, but douching can upset the vagina’s natural ph and lead to infections.

“There are entire aisles in drug stores, grocery stores that hold products that basically give a females the impression that there’s something wrong with their genitalia,” McKee says.

Dr. Murphy recommends using a mild soap on external genitalia and nothing inside the vaginal canal.

 

Vagina Myth #2: Coconut oil as is a "natural" lubricant

In case there’s any confusion, the vagina, in addition to being self-cleaning is also self-lubricating (talk about an all-in-one tool). But for those looking for a little extra glide, coconut oil and other natural oils have become a popular option.

Dr. Murphy says there’s no evidence that using coconut oil or olive oil can cause an infection in the vagina, but oils of any kind can erode condoms. The best option is to stick to a water-based lube you can find at the store or a sex shop.

 

Vagina Myth #3: Parsley works as a contraceptive

According to the Museum of Contraception and Abortion, Parsley has long been thought of as a useful tool for preventing and aborting pregnancies. While traditional folklore suggests ingesting the herb and its seed, recently the women’s magazine Marie Claire told readers inserting parsley into the vagina could induce periods.

While herbal “contraceptives” have been around for hundreds of years, but the reality is, shoving a bunch of herbs up there is more likely to result in a yeast infection than stop pregnancy.

Dr. Murphy says if you’re worried about pregnancy after unprotected sex, seek out emergency contraceptives like Plan B which can be taken in the days after a sexual encounter.

Our advice? Save the herbs for your salads.

 

Myth #4: Yogurt can cure a yeast infection

Yogurt has long been lauded as a cure-all for many bodily ills thanks to its naturally-occurring “good” bacterias, so it’s no surprise that people have tried it as a topical cure for yeast infections.

But Dr. Murphy says she doesn’t recommend using yogurt for yeast infections, and it can actually increase the risk of infection.

“Yogurt by itself has a lot of lactose, and other carbohydrates, milk sugars, and many of the yogurts out there actually have a fairly high sugar content,” she says. “So you're putting in a substance that has a lot of negative ingredients.”

 

Myth #5: Alcohol-soaked tampons can get you drunk

This one, unfortunately, is true, and something Dr. Murphy says she’s seen before. But just because you can soak a tampon in vodka to get drunk doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Not only does alcohol have sugar in it (a perfect recipe for yeast infections!) it’s also highly irritative. Leaving one in your vagina long enough to feel buzzed is likely to result in painful itchy burns and infection

Maybe just suck it up and get drunk the old-fashioned way?