~ partial crosspost from Magenta's blog!
As a former sex worker and occasional play party attendee with vulvodynia, a latex allergy, and proneness to yeast infections, I often get asked by people who know my vaginal woes, "but how?!" The reality is, vaginas can be complicated places, and anybody sporting one knows it's a complete bummer when irritation, soreness, or lubrication issues get in the way of having the fun you want to be having with it. Here are some professional tips for vagina upkeep, I hope anybody with similar difficulties finds it useful for their personal life too!
Okay let's be real I don't really get wet. It's hard for my vagina. A friend of mine, also a sex worker, suggested SeaBuckthorn Oil (aka Omega 7) to "turn the Sahara into a lush rainforest." It *really* helped, in addition to generally being more moist vaginally, I found my vagina just generally felt happier and healthier. It took me about 2 weeks to see the difference, but when I did it also was reflected in my skin overall feeling happier and healthier.
I've tried a variety of moisturizing suppositories, but generally been dissatisfied with everything except Luvena. Luvena was suggested to me by my allergist when we thought I had an autoimmune disorder that led to dry mucous membranes, it helps to restore healthy flora and boost your vagina's ability to moisturize itself. In general, this is cost-prohibitive for me to use on a regular basis, but when my vagina was my primary source of income I used it religiously twice a week. Now I just use it if things feel like they're getting irritated.
Also, this is such a no-brainer to me that I failed to mention it in my original blog post on this topic, but CHECK YOUR DETERGENT! You'd be amazed how irritating scented detergents can be to mucous membranes. I personally use anything labelled "hypoallergenic" or "fragrance free" to wash my underpants.
I am absolutely shameless about my deep love of lube. My personal favorite by Healthy Vibes is no longer available, but any pump top pure silicone lube does it for me! I even use this stuff for massages, since it leaves the client not smelling like massage oil, and makes transitioning between types of play without upsetting my vag easier.
I use latex free condoms, and always have them on hand in regular and large. I change them between all activities, including between oral and vaginal- I found that regular exposure to my mouth bacteria by using the same condom for vaginal sex I had just used for a blowjob upsets my flora.
Speaking of delicate vaginal flora, I also would make sure clients wore gloves before fingering me. This removed any questions about how clean their hands were, or under their nails, and also decreased possible tearing to my delicate vagina from hangnails or rough fingers. In my personal life, I use gloves at parties, but generally trust lovers to wash their hands first.
When receiving oral professionally or at parties, I always use dental dams or saran wrap (any kind except the microwaveable type.) Beyond the safety/STI prevention reasons, I've found mouth bacteria really upsets my vaginal flora (and for this reason, tell all my partners not to try using spit as lube with me). When I have a regular lover and I'd like to experience them *without* the barrier, I just ask them to use an antiseptic mouthwash before going down on me.
After professional parties, or at play events, I *always* give my vulva a wipe-down with an unscented cleansing cloth, to get rid of leftover lube and sweat, then pop into the shower and rinse it with water. I'd follow that with Sliquid's pH balancing moisturizer. In my personal life I'm a bit less rigorous, but always pee after sex to prevent UTI's!!
Parties on a Period:
Being a sex worker while actively menstrual is slightly complicated. There's a few approaches to what to do here. Some women would use a silk sea sponge internally all day, so they could just party whenever they needed to. I found this irritated my vagina, so I would keep in a little pouch my cleansing wipes and single use makeup rounds. If I got booked for a party, after handing the cashier the money I'd pop into the bathroom, wipe off any blood on the outside, and pop in a single use sponge for the duration of the party.
Managing to feel sexy while cramping, bloated, and probably having the period GI issues many uterus-havers are familiar with, was a different story. I would just... focus on the money, honestly, and power through. :3