I used to have a friend who worked at an office where a particularly good-looking lawn guy could be seen from the office windows.
The gals in the office would manage to take their break to gaze upon the hot sweaty lawn guy, which may rekindle memories for some of you of this Diet Coke commercial that was all the rage back in the day.
It’s all nice in theory (or in commercials), but jumping into bed with your spouse when one or both of you is already dirty and sweaty sounds… well… a little disgusting, if you ask me.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I don’t mind the idea of getting all sweaty during sex. That’s one thing. Sweat from passion is totally different than the lingering grime of lawn mower oil or the “I-just-ran-the-Boston-marathon” aroma.
If this topic were being discussed at a dinner party (which, I know, is doubtful), I’m guessing the vast majority of married folk would admit that they’d rather make love feeling clean than icky.
Lack of personal hygiene can be a big sexual inhibitor in marriage. (At least that’s what I gather from the emails I receive, as well as some good hearty common sense).
It can even cause tension, when one spouse has tried to lovingly express their reservations about their beloved’s lack of hygiene — only to be harshly rebuked or punished by passive aggressive behavior.
Personally I think that when a husband and wife make the effort to come to bed clean, they are more comfortable and uninhibited in enjoying each other’s bodies. Call me crazy, but comfort and lack of inhibition are key components of great sex in a marriage.
Plain and simple, good personal hygiene can be a turn on. (I told my husband this early in our marriage. Come to bed clean and you’ll have a happy, available wife.)
If we want to be incredibly honest, we would admit that some sexual acts, such as oral sex, are just more pleasurable for both the husband and wife if both have taken the time to clean up.
A few tips worth considering…
1. Shower or bathe before bed.
This seems really counter-intuitive to some people.
I’ve even had some women tell me that if they take a hot bath before bed, all they are going to want to do is SLEEP, not have sex. To which I say, “Don’t take a long bath. Take a quick bath. Enough to really get clean and then hop out.”
Another idea is to shower or bathe together, which can be great foreplay. (Our tub is too small. Sad.)
Showering together may not be an option every night, but every now and then, jumping in together can be a fabulous way to get things going. And even when you can’t shower together, shower separately.
Feel fresh and clean.
Enjoy each other. (And maybe I’m being super obvious here, but even if you don’t have sex, doesn’t it just feel better to sleep clean?)
2. Brush and floss. Maybe use some mouthwash.
Maybe your dentist’s admonishments could serve you beyond just happy, healthy teeth.
Suffice to say, bad breath can put the brakes on romance fast. If after brushing and flossing regularly you still struggle with bad breath, talk to your dentist or check out some more effective over-the-counter rinses that work better than the conventional ones. They are a little pricier, but worth it.
I’ve never — and I mean never — figured out why any woman would not shave her legs or armpits if indeed she could. That’s just me.
I know some people are into going natural, but that would be a surefire way in my marriage to wreak havoc in our sexual intimacy.
I’m guessing that the majority of my female readers share my sentiments and do try to shave on a somewhat regular basis.
You might ask your husband if he finds it particularly appealing when your legs are freshly shaved and super smooth. You could even pique his interest a bit further and ask him if he would like you to trim your pubic hair. He might find that hot.
The armpits on a woman can be a real erogenous zone. I’m guessing husbands would likely pay more attention to this area if their wife has shaved. That’s my guess at least. (You know, from my really scientific personal studies).
As for men and shaving, this is a personal preference thing. Some women prefer their husbands super clean shaven, while others like the scruffy look (and feel), and still others find the Grizzly Adams thing totally hot.
At any rate, talk to each other and express what you like. You may even ask your husband if he would be willing to trim his pubic hair (or let you do it? Hmmm. Be careful.)
4. Take care of your fingernails and toenails.
I’m not saying you have to dole out the money for a manicure or pedicure (although this can be a nice treat), but do what you can to keep your nails clean and trim.
Some guys find polished nails (fingers and/or toes) totally sexy, so you might ask your husband what color he’d like to see on your nails and then surprise him.
Foreplay. Foreplay. Foreplay. The little details really do matter.
5. Perfumes, colognes and lotions.
There is a certain perfume I wear that turns my husband on big time. For that reason, I occasionally spray this on the sheets or on myself before hopping into bed. (No, I’m not going to tell you which perfume, because I think that’s just TMI, even from a gal like me).
Some date night when you have the time, stop by your local drugstore or department store and browse the perfume area. Each of you find scents that you both like and buy them.
I found a scent for my husband that has a really goofy name, but I just love the stuff. Seriously. Lock-the-bedroom-door kind of effect on me.
I know it’s easy for marriage to become a super relaxed place where we let personal hygiene habits slide, all in the name of “we love each other for who we really are.”
You might be surprised, though, what a difference it can make in your attraction to one another — and in your sexual intimacy — if you devote a little more time to personal hygiene.
Clean sex is hot sex if you ask me. (Few people ask me things like this, but if they did… I’d be ready with an answer, wouldn’t I?)
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.
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24 thoughts on “Clean Sex: Why Hygiene Helps Keep Things Hot”
LOL! We have done all of these items suggested except the fingernail polish … just not into that anymore … There is a great “trimmer” out there for the bikini area made by Venus I believe … perfect for the trim job for both sexes with shaving completely which is great for the first 3-4 hours and then it’s porcupine time … which is NO fun … he-he 🙂
I’m glad you mentioned the toenails because males have very thick toenails that can be painful if not trimmed. Being harpooned by my husband’s foot mid-foreplay is not my idea of a turn-on.
Great post, Julie! I have heard this complaint as well, and it is SO hard for the sensitive spouse to bring up the subject and tell the offending spouse that they stink or feel icky or whatever. We need to make sure we don’t take this personal. EVERYONE has body odor sometimes, and it’s easy in our day and age to combat it. Freshen up & go for it!
Clean is good, but having a man who gets all sweaty working in the yard is a definite turn-on too. It would be fun to hop in the shower with my husband after his yardwork. Now how to keep the kids busy?
Good point @Sis… As for keeping the kids busy, that’s why there are 150 cable channels, right?! And video games?! Ha!
As a husband who reads your column/blog, I want to say that I am in complete agreement with everything I read. One suggestion on the shaving — my wife (and many women from my experience as a counselor) love the results, but hate the process of shaving. We have lived in Europe for a number of years and one of the more highly suggested tools here is an epilator — rather than a razor. They are available in the US also. Yes, the first couple times are “challenging”, but my wife will never return to shaving — legs or underarms. Epilation pulls the hairs, eventually as they come back (in 4-6 weeks), they are thinner, softer, and less noticeable. Eventually, they reduce in number. Given a discussion my wife had just a couple of days ago with some other women — the answer to the next question is, “Yes, the bikini area can also be done.”
… not only 150 cable channels, but surround sound is a must have – you know, for noisy bunch!
Hey Larry… Thanks for the tips! Cool!
I love my epilator for my legs…will never go back to a razor. It does ouch the first couple times, but the hair never grows back stubbly again, just soft and fine.
However, I had a major problem with in-grown hairs in the bikini area, so had to switch back to a razor.
I have the Braun brand epilator, and it has worked great for almost 5 years, but there are also many other brands out there.
Is this a guy/girl difference? I love it when my wife is sweaty. I find it very sexy. She’ll say “I smell bad I need to take a shower…..” But she doesn’t. She smells great. I mean, I know the difference between bathed and perfumed and what she calls sweaty/stinky, but I love the smell of her body even when its “sweaty/stinky”
Bathed and perfumed is awesome, and I’m not discouraging it at all, but so is the other more “natural” state. : )
To me its more like the difference between lingerie and torn sweats. Both can be very sexy. One is like, “gourmet” and the other “down-home cookin” The variety is nice.
Of course I’m aware that it doesn’t necessarily go both ways : )
Yes, absolutely, cleanliness is a must. It takes just a few minutes to shower, with a special care for intimate areas, 30 seconds to shave your face in the shower, jump out and dry, add a drop or two of after shave, and it’s done.
As a tip/suggestion, at times it is very fun to “dry” each other, and I mean without a towel… 😉 Anyway, yes, clean is such a must, basic requirements, and it makes it so much easier to get into the moment with the peace of mind that “everything is all right” … and the games can begin.. My wife and I also see it as a mutual form of love and respect for each other.
………I guess I’m just different. : )
Just a note – Sometimes bad breath is not the result of poor oral hygiene, but is actually a digestive problem. A clean mouth is always the first step, of course! When those efforts fail, it’s worthwhile to explore possible problems such as acid reflux, insufficient digestive enzymes, and so on.
My husband could care less about the last time I’ve showered, but is understanding about how it matters to me. I’ve recently had a car wreck that resulted in a back injury (I will be fine, in time-God is good) but we have discovered how much fun a shower bench can be. : ) I am one of the lucky ones that has a very attentive husband who truly does put my needs first, and he has LOVED helping out with my showers. He also enjoys (always has) shaving my legs for me. This obviously takes a lot of trust and communication about technique, but hey…it works for us, although I WILL be trying the epilator mentioned above. For those of you with smaller children, take heart…they will get older, get their own lives and make it much easier for you to get away with all kinds of things. : )
Thank you Julie, for taking your time with this ministry and for your willingness to discuss subjects that are sometimes touchy. I hope everyone else can see a theme with solutions to all sorts of problems and needs….COMMUNICATION. It can mean the difference between an ok relationship and a great one. Thank you Lord for experience and the ability to learn from our mistakes.
I love my husband, he loves me, but he doesn’t see the importance of hygiene as I need him to (soaping ALL of his body in shower, brushing his teeth regular, wiping thoroughly, clipping finger and especially toe nails) I have brought up all issues and I am not taken serious enough. It is a turn off. Sex life has been affected. My heart aches.
I like it clean. Icy Cold shower. Avoid cologns, I am allergic to sprays. Natural polished nails ok.
Mouth can cause annoyance, please brush 30 mins before, thanks and Wives should read this
@Pati: your husband isn’t taking you seriously because you don’t make him, pure and simple. All these things you mention are instantly correctable given the right incentive! Tell your husband you will not live with a pig, and that his hygiene is vital to your relationship.
I have a somewhat off-topic note: I’ve had laser hair removal in my intimate areas and backside, and MAN is it easy to stay clean. My wife’s oral attention has increased a lot since I deforested, and it’s cooler in hot months. I’m a perfectly normal (but hairy) guy, and wish I had done it sooner. Smooth, clean skin is quite a turn on, guys!
My husband is uncircumcised and incontinent. He doesn’t change his underwear everyday (between shower days) because he says that they will just get that way again. When he showers he uses the suds from the shampoo from his head to wash the rest of his body – does not work! He thinks that he doesn’t have to be clean when there is passion (what passion). When I touch his penis – OMG – stinky and slimy. Have you guessed yet that I have no desire. His face is full of blackheads too because he again, uses the suds from shampoo.. I obviously did not marry him for sex, because I do love him out of the bedroom. You can imagine what my sex life is like.
My husband is a naturalist and gets furious when I want to be clean before oral sex. But I want to be clean and I want him clean. He says this will break us up !!!!!
HELP !!!!! PLEASE JESUS !!!!!
This issue has been suggested to me several times from various commenters on this and other sites. We have an almost non-existent sex life but hygiene is definitely not the reason. My wife has always been prone to UTI’s and so I take extra care about my cleanliness to prevent it. I always shower before bed and shave “everything” to minimize the possibility that hair could hold in any body oils, germs or other contaminants. I am meticulous about keeping clean just in case the planets align in such a way that she will be in the mood. I wish sometimes that she would take as much care with her cleanliness as I do mine. I can’t complain or sex could be limited further. I have to choke back a gag reflex sometimes when I’m giving her oral and end up with pieces of hair or worse, toilet paper in my mouth. If I acted as grossed out as I feel at those times, sex would end immediately and probably wouldn’t happen again for at least 2-3 months. It’s not really a concern for her though. She has only given me oral a few times ever and hasn’t in years.
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I think columns like this need to be even more specific about the need and importance of hygiene in the area of our buttocks. Men often do not use washcloths and are not cleaning their anus at all or not often enough. I need help in communicating this to my lover yet again. He has a ritual/habit when he showers daily but he does not clean that area sufficiently. It is embarrassing to me to have to tell him and it is a conversation I have had with him before but the issue is recurring. I want us to be intimate but this is getting in the way. Please help.
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Thank you for the comment,this advice is so helpful.I have had problems in my marriage for the past 14 years with that.This tips will help so many couples heal ik the future.Thank you.