Well, this is news I certainly never expected: Condoms are actually good for your vagina! It's not like I thought they were bad for vaginas, but I definitely didn't anticipate that they'd actually be able to do beneficial things for them. But they do! At least, according to new research.
Researchers in China found that sexually active women who had sex with condoms regularly had greater numbers of beneficial bacteria and microbes in their vaginas, when compared with women who did not use condoms. The study from Beijing Friendship Hospital looked at 164 married women in good health, from ages 18 to 45. Seventy-two of them were using condoms, 57 were using an IUD, and 35 were using the rhythm method. The group of women who were using condoms were found to have higher levels of lactobacillus, the bacteria that can help the vagina maintain optimal pH and protect against infections like bacterial vaginosis.
Apparently sex can often disrupt the natural pH of the vagina, especially when semen enters it. Fascinating! Not totally surprising, but it seems weird that semen, which has evolved for the express purpose of entering vaginas, can also be not-so-great for them. Anyway, the researchers think that using condoms can help protect the vagina's natural pH levels.
I don't know what your birth control and STD protection preferences might be, but this information is certainly a big old plus to add to the "condoms" column, especially if you're someone who is prone to vaginal infections.