Showerhead fun: Safe?

Dear Alice,

Recently I have discovered if I change the settings on my shower head so the water pressure is harder and faster it works wonderfully as a tool for masturbation. My question is, is there any health risks for using water for self pleasure? My main concern is getting water in my vagina...could that cause issues? Thank you so much!

— Fun in the Shower

Dear Fun in the Shower, 

Showerhead-as-masturbation-tool is an excellent discovery and spraying water on or around your external genitals is A-OK! But you're right about how letting water spray into your vagina can be associated with several possible risks. Sending the shower stream into the vagina could mimic douching (you can see Douching for more info), which is now widely recognized as being harmful for vaginal health. Spraying water inside can rinse away healthy bacteria and other organisms that are naturally found within the vagina and upset its slightly acidic environment. In turn, this increases the risk of problems such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. 

Douching on a regular basis, or either before or after sex, may also increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. These infections take advantage of the absence of regular vaginal flora to come in and set up shop. It can also irritate vaginal tissue, which may make you more susceptible to STIs. And, if you do have any foreign intruders, douching can force them into the upper genital tract (the uterus, fallopian tubes, and abdominal cavity). Moreover, a contaminated douche or showerhead can also introduce new infections and potentially lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition that can cause decreased fertility, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies. 

Furthermore, another possible, but extremely rare, risk of spraying water inside your vagina is that you could force air inside your body and potentially cause an air embolism. An air embolism is a pocket of air that enters the blood stream. If an air bubble reaches the heart, lungs, or brain, it could cause permanent damage or even death. Although more research needs to be done to determine if spraying water inside your vagina can cause an air embolism, it's still a great reason to keep your showerhead fun to stimulating external areas, such as the labia, clitoris, breasts, nipples, or any other erogenous zones that float your boat. 

All that said, go ahead and enjoy your showerhead. 

Here's to singing in the rain, 

Last updated Oct 08, 2021
Originally published Feb 16, 2007

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