Much like the temperature outside, libido can fluctuate. Your sex drive can be impacted by everything from the weather, to your your mood, to what you ate for breakfast. And when summertime hits — rife with extreme heat, wet bathing suits, noisy air conditioners, and visiting family — your sex life can certainly take a hit.
That said, even with all the sweat and the sand, summer is still an objectively sexy season ( days are long, spirits are high, and drinks are cold). So if you’re looking to spice up your sex life this summer, the secret to success (or sex-cess) may have something to do with addressing all the seasonal factors at play. That’s why we partnered with urinary health and vaginal health brand AZOⓇ to build you an expert-led guide to ~heating things up~ this summer — without falling prey to UTIs, heat rashes, or weather-related libido concerns.
Ahead, hear from Laura Purdy, MD, medical director at wisp — a telehealth company with an emphasis on sexual and reproductive healthcare — for tips on how to boost your physical and sexual wellness as your navigate your Hot Girl Summer.
Protect yourself against vaginal infections
“There’s always a definite uptick in UTI, yeast infection, and bacterial vaginosis (BV) medications during the summer months,” says Dr. Purdy. As she explains it, sweating heavily or sporting a wet swimsuit — as one does in the summertime — can trap moisture in the vulva, making it easy for bacteria or fungi-like yeast to grow (these things thrive in warm, moist environments).
In order to keep discomfort at bay, Dr. Purdy recommends bringing a change of clothes to the beach to minimize time spent in a wet bathing suit, skipping sandy beach sex (which can cause plenty of bacteria to enter the vagina), and carrying around a pair of spare underwear for particularly sweaty days or a post work-out refresh.
That said, especially in extreme heat, infections can still happen — and they’re nothing to be embarrassed about. That’s why you should consider keeping over-the-counter items like AZOⓇ products on hand to relieve pain, burning, itching, and other symptoms when you feel an infection brewing while you wait for a diagnosis from your doctor.
Take precautions with your summer fling
Whether you’re single, partnered, or DTF, safe sex is always a must. But in the summer, when vacation flings abound and beach parties are in full swing, many of us are upping our casual dating games. “If you have new sexual encounters, it’s important to continue to use protection so that you decrease your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy,” says Dr. Purdy.
Year-round, you should be thinking about contraceptives. Regardless of the season, it may be a smart idea to keep birth control pills or emergency contraception on hand — or talk to your doctor about other methods of birth control. But for the sake of keeping things clean and healthy down there and protecting against STIs, condoms are always your best bet. And in the summer in particular, with added sweat, sand, and bacteria thrown into the mix, risk of infection can be higher than ever — so an extra layer of protection will certainly work to your benefit. Make sure you’ve got a few condoms on deck, whether you’re going out, sleeping out, or traveling.
And last but least (and we cannot stress this enough): Pee! After! Sex!
Install your A/C ASAP
“The heat index is well over 100 degrees in many parts of the country and air conditioning units struggle to keep up,” says Dr. Purdy. “This weather is not conducive to a great sex life. Who wants to get physical in hot, humid conditions? Heat can really lower libido quite a bit.”
To beat the heat (and the fatigue that comes with it), she recommends having your air-conditioning units installed and serviced before the season starts. And if you’re coming in from a particularly sweaty situation, be patient and give yourself time to cool off before you, ya know, heat things up again.
“In the summer, we have a higher need for water intake because we’re sweating constantly, and our bodies are working hard to stay cool and hydrated in the heat,” explains Dr. Purdy. “And on top of that, sex is a physical activity — so in order to have the energy to partake, you’ll want to be adequately hydrated, as if you were playing a sport.”
You definitely don’t want to run the risk of losing steam or feeling woozy when you’re in the throes of having hot, sweaty sex just because you’re dehydrated. Drink as much water as possible (eight glasses a day are recommended) to stay cool, hydrated, and ready to go.
Speak with a doctor if something feels off
Feeling funky down there after a pool party or hooking up with a hot stranger at the beach bar? Dr. Purdy recommends checking in with a doctor at the first sign of infection or irritation.
“Vaginal and urinary infections aren’t something you want to put off taking care of,” she says. “Thankfully, with virtual health, doctors are available at all hours of the day and night, all across the country to help you with your sexual health needs.” And, once again, over-the-counter urinary health options, like AZOⓇ products, are always there for you at your local pharmacy.