Can Food-Related Sex Toys and Activities Cause Infections?
If you've ever taken a trip to a sex shop or read an erotic fiction book, you may have felt curious about adding food to the bedroom. You'd have lots of options: candy G-strings, putting whipped cream or chocolate syrup on your partner's body—the ideas are endless.
But knowing things can be sensitive down under, are there potential risks you should keep in mind? Should food stay in the kitchen? We asked a couple of experts for their takes.
Why using sugary foods in the bedroom might cause infections
There's a chance sexy food games won't turn out to be so sexy, after all.
"Anytime an outside source, whether it be a new partner, a new scented detergent, an antibiotic, prolonged elevated blood sugar or anything else, interrupts the vagina's normal state, it can lead to a problem," said Rebeka Racz, a women's health nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood in New York City.
The problems she's talking about include bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infections and general skin irritations. She added that they aren't dangerous, chronic or incurable, but they are uncomfortable. You may notice a white or gray discharge that can be clumpy or thin, as well as itchiness.
"This is because there is bacteria…Candy G-strings and whipped cream are also made up of sugar, and any introduced sugar can cause yeast infections," Racz said. "Additionally, unrelated to vaginal infections, general skin irritations can occur due to the stickiness of whipped cream or chocolate on your body or the candy G-string rubbing against your skin."
However, other experts say if you're careful and mindful, you can use food during sex in a generally safe way. Let's talk about how.
So, you want to try it anyway…
If food games are still on your sex bucket list, we hear you.
"Putting honey on nipples, or whipped cream or any kind of fruit or chocolate syrup can enhance pleasure by creating some variety, adding the pleasure in your taste buds to the sexual experience, as well as playing with unusual temperatures and textures," said Alexandra Stockwell, M.D., the California-based, bestselling author of "Uncompromising Intimacy" and the host of "The Intimate Marriage Podcast."
However, for best (read: safest) results, she encouraged taking the following precautions:
- Don't use food that causes an allergic reaction for you or your partner
- Avoid hot pepper mixtures and acidic substances
- Use food that won't break down latex condoms and dental dams (which includes not putting your mouth on the food before it touches the latex)
- Keep the food outside the vagina and anus
- Ensure the food or toy is clean and not reused on the other partner
Racz agreed it's important to have fun in the bedroom, recommending short-term play and cleaning any sex toys thoroughly to reduce the risk of infections or skin irritations.
What to do if you think you have an infection
If you notice symptoms such as unusual discharge and itchiness, you need to take action.
"The first issue is to remove any remaining food which is the cause of the infection," Stockwell said. "If there is an infection, treatment is determined by the infection, not by the source of it."
In this case, you probably need to take a trip to your OB-GYN's office or doctor's office. They can get you hooked up with the medication you need.
"Treating these infections is not too difficult," Racz said. "BV is easily treatable with a pill or vaginal gel called metronidazole…Yeast is easily treatable with over-the-counter Monistat or a pill and vaginal gel called Fluconazole."
As far as at-home remedies for vaginal infections, she recommended boric acid.
"A homeopathic remedy is boric acid, which you can find on Amazon or most pharmacies," Racz explained. "It is a suppository pill that you insert in your vagina at night; it can help restore your vaginal normal flora or keep it at a steady state."
Keep in mind, you can get some of the same pleasurable sensations from other items, too—not just food.
"It is best to affirm consent for everyone involved, and then experiment to discover which flavors and textures and temperatures bring the most delight," Stockwell said. "If internal stimulation in the vagina or anus are desired, opt for something more suitable than food."
Licking sugary foods off your partner's body and genitals can be exciting, straight-up delicious and even (potentially) safe. However, it's best to be careful about the foods you choose, where you put them and for how long. After all, it would be pretty awkward for a night to start with sex and end in the doctor's office, amirite?