According to the CBC, "flushable" wipes aren't actually all that flushable. They are backing up Toronto's waste treatment plants and causing all kinds of other environmental issues. Among the various types of wipes implicated in this problem are "feminine wipes" designed to help clean your genitals (and presumably also your anus). We've never been big fans of these products, mainly because they tend to capitalize on the fear of women being "unclean" by promoting the idea that women's genitals are constantly in need of "refreshing." This feeds into common shame that individuals experience about their female genitalia - that they are somehow dirty, smell bad, or have unhealthy secretions. Given the nature of our business where we teach about the importance of cervical mucus and its role in women's fertility, we don't like that these wipes and similar products (like daily pantyliners) reinforce the idea that there's something unnatural about vaginal fluids. Add to this the environmental waste of feminine wipes and the chemical processing that goes into them and you can see why we're not big fans!
That said, there are lots of reasons why our vaginas may need extra attention in the cleaning department. Our pelvic regions are generally poorly aerated due to tight clothes, compact folds of skin and lifestyle habits such as long periods of sitting or crossing our legs. It's not necessarily fun to give oral sex to someone who is sweaty and stinky and this area can be particularly prone to both those things. Furthermore, getting clean after a bowel movement can irritate the skin due to overuse of dry toilet paper, but when not cleaned properly can lead to infections, haemorrhoids, and skid marks. ;) Menstruation can further complicate things. Blood often pools and dries on various patches of the skin, leaving one feeling sticky or sore.
So what's a person to do if you want to freshen up, be mindful of the environment, and not give your money to companies that shame women's bodies? We weren't sure, until recently. But thanks to the multi-generational team at 2Lip - a new product and company formed by a mother and her two daughters (with input from their grandmother) - there is now an eco-friendly, reusable and portable bidet on the market. Bidet's have long been a staple part of the bathroom set in European washrooms. Unfortunately, since the advent of toilet paper, they have become more and more scarce.
At first we thought a portable bidet was a cool idea but weren't sure how much we'd use it. Now, after several tries we can't get enough! We use it following bowel movements, while menstruating, or before sex if it's been hot out (which it has!) and we feel particularly sweaty. When we spoke to the owners, Olivia, Chantal and Lynda about it on the phone, they reported that a diverse range of people are buying the product - from senior women to young gay men, for everything from menstruation, to incontinence, postnatal sitz baths and anal cleansing.
We're adding this product to our range of favourite eco-friendly reproductive health products, right alongside the diva cup and lunapads. Next step on our list? Reusable toilet paper. No joke!
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Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.