College Men’s Knowledge of Vaginal Douching - Abstract
Background: Women persist in vaginal douching despite known negative health consequences associated with its practice. Women often douche due to being taught by their mothers and grandmothers or their perceived sexual partner’s preferences. However, little is known about men’s knowledge and attitudes regarding douching. This study examined male’s knowledge of female vaginal douching and discussions they have had about douching. Methods: Participants completed a 45 question survey on douching exposure, knowledge, and attitudes. Undergraduate and graduate males (N=89; Mage=27.20) were approached by researchers during class-change periods. Results: Most men (62%) reported exposure to douching and knew someone who douches (41%) but just 39% reported having a discussion about douching. Only 3% discouraged douching in this discussion and many recommended douching to help with cleanliness (50%) or vaginal odor (25%). Though most men (83%) were willing to discuss douching, only 14% would discourage it. Reasons for not discussing douching with a partner included not knowing what to say (46%), feeling it was not their place to discuss it (45%), discomfort with the subject (34%), and that their spouse did not want to hear about it from them (36%). Conclusions: Previous research suggests males could influence female douching and hygiene; however, college males may not believe they have a role in these discussions and may not have the knowledge of douching needed to have such discussions. Providing education about the risks and consequences of douching, for the health of both partners, should be encouraged to promote dialogue and discussions of feminine hygiene.