News flash: In case you didnt already know, your vagine is home to all kinds of bacteria. As long as theyre in balance, theyre like the roommates that clean up after your drunk self wreaks havoc on the kitchen every weekend. You give them a place to stay, and in exchange they make sure that place is in platinum condition. The only problem is that everyones bacterial colony is different, and theyre super easily disrupted by stuff like your diet and, apparently, P-in-V sex.
In the study, a bunch of researchers from Melbourne Sexual Health Center in Australia spent a year checking up on the bacteria shacking up in 52 young womens vaginas. For 12 months, these unfortunate women had to swab their own lady bits at regular intervals and keep a record of their sex livesstuff like whether they used a condom and what kind of sex they were having. Basically, it was the kind of information you used to write about in the diary you totally didnt keep in high school, but with the knowledge that an entire team of scientists were going to be reading it, so 10 times as awkward.
After researchers were done
judging the volunteers sex lives compiling data, they compared the sexual diaries with womens vaginal bacteria, and if youre even slightly OCD, you might want to stop reading now. Usually, vaginas are dominated by one particular strain of bacteria, but according to the study, women who had unprotected penetrative sex were way more likely to have two different kinds of bacteria chilling in their vag. Virgins who couldnt drive got laid for the first time during the study also tended to pick up a second strain after they started having sex.
The scientific conclusion was that non-pathogenic bacteria can be passed around like an STD. The not-so-scientific conclusion is that dicks are kind of disgusting. Actually, I guess vaginas are too when you think about it. Why do we have sex again?
Anyway, as if all this wasnt uncomfortable enough, having two strains of vaginal bacteria is a bad sign. Imbalanced vaginal microbiomes (check out that SAT word) are linked to bacterial vaginosis, an increased risk for STDs, and other less-than-fun health issues. According to past research, penetrative sex is pretty much a one-way ticket to Imbalanceville.
The good news is that this applies to unprotected sex, so if youre on month three of a never-ending yeast infection, you
can try SHOULD DEFINITELY BE using condoms with new partners to let your shit return to normal. If youre hooking up with the same dude regularly, researchers say your vagina should adapt to his personal bacterial combo eventually, so you can just wait it outbut honestly, given the current political climate you shouldn’t take any chances and should use a condom anyway. Here, everybody take some rubbers. Also, pro tip: IDGAF if they say they’re in the middle of a backpacking trip to “find themselves,” have some self-respect and don’t hook up with men unless they understand basic hygiene.
In the meantime, stock up on cranberry juice and try not to think about any of this too closely next time you have sex.