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When Going Commando Is a Good Idea

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Gynecologists often recommend slipping off your panties while you sleep, as a way to let your vulva breathe (and potentially reduce your risk of infections). Yet only 18 percent of women actually follow this advice, according to a new Brazilian study. “I often tell my patients to sleep without underwear, and some of them look at me like I have three heads,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., co-author of V is for Vagina. “They’re concerned about vaginal discharge—that you’re supposed to have a barrier. Wearing no underwear might seem kind of gross to them.”

But it’s actually a smart idea to ditch your undies at night, since your lady parts are naturally moist, dark, and hairy. “If [the area] is constantly covered—especially by a fabric that’s not moisture-wicking or absorbent—moisture collects,” says Dweck. “That’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or yeast.” That’s why she recommends going commando at least some of the time, especially if you’re frequently plagued by infections below the belt.

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Can’t imagine sleeping sans panties? Choose a loose-fitting cotton pair (no spandex or Lycra!), or borrow a pair of comfy boxers from your guy. “If there’s ever a time to break out the granny panties, this would be the time,” says Dweck.

You can air things out during the day too—without necessarily going commando: If you constantly wear pantyliners (you never know when your period might show up!), give those a rest, since the material isn’t very breathable. And consider cutting the crotch out of your pantyhose to make them less restricting to your lady parts, Dweck suggests. (Really—it works!)


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