From protecting yourself against STDs to avoiding dry lady parts and embarrassing farts, here are six pre-sex no-nos you may want to take under consideration before your next roll in the hay.
1. Taking an Antihistamine
Antihistamines work by drying out your mucus membranes to relieve nasal congestion… and in doing so, can also dry out other parts of your body, especially the vagina, says Nicole E. Williams, M.D., board-certified gynecologic surgeon. Long story short, no matter how turned on you might be, your vag will not get the memo.
2. Eating Spicy Foods
“Foods can affect vaginal odor and taste,” says Kathryn Boling, M.D., primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center. Super-spicy foods like jalapeños can cause gas, bloating, and farts that just won’t quit. What’s worse, the residue left on your hands and in your mouth post-nosh is notorious for setting genitals on fire.
3. Drinking Too Much
Sure, light drinking can put some people in the mood, but overdoing it can dull your senses—and may send your big O packing. “Since alcohol is a known depressant, your ability to experience an orgasm may actually be diminished if you’re too buzzed,” says Williams. In fact, one study at the University of Missouri-St. Louis found that 11 percent of alcohol users had problems achieving orgasm: Men who drank had a harder time ejaculating (pun totally intended), while women needed an extra stimulation for their grand finale.
4. Using an Electric Toothbrush
It sounds weird, but using an electric toothbrush and alcohol-based mouthwashes might make you more prone to STDs. “Similar to sensitive vaginal mucosa, spinning bristles can cause tiny tears in the gums, and harsh, alcohol-based mouthwashes can dry out and irritate your mucosa, making it prone to sores and contracting STDs,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills.
If you’re a woman who prefers trimming her hedges, it’s best to shave the night before nookie to give your skin a chance to heal, says Shainhouse. “Shaving will exfoliate the top layer of the skin, making the area more sensitive,” she adds. “It can irritate hair follicles, causing a pink bumpy rash, and can cause tiny cuts, which would leave your skin open to potential infections, such as herpes and HPV.” Use a multi-blade razor to get a closer shave in one swipe, and apply a thin layer of one percent hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation. Reapply the next morning if there are any signs of irritation hanging around, says Shainhouse.
6. Using Food as Foreplay
The chocolate sauce pre-game show is hot in the moment, but the post-sex yeast infection? Not so much. “Using anything with sugar in it as a lubricant (whether on purpose or not) can cause a yeast infection, as yeast thrives on sugar,” says Boling. Message received loud and clear!