I take very good care of my private parts, by which I mean I endeavour - as much as possible - to keep them clean. In the shower, I douche thoroughly. In between my thighs, all over my perineum, down my arse crack and over (but not into, because that's weird) my anus. All over my balls; all over my shaft. I even roll back my foreskin to wash the head of my cock. All of this with the application of some sort of vegan shower gel, so I have a chemical-free, carefully cleaned, fresh genital area.
I even shampoo my pubic hair. And condition it. And blow dry. But that's probably just me. I said I was careful; I didn't say I wasn't weird.
To me, this is normal; it's part of my routine. It makes me feel better. I can't speak for those who don't have the same genitals as me - or even those who have a penis and testes but don't slather them all over with something from Lush with the expectation that this will, eventually, confer MAGICAL POWERS.
My second girlfriend used to do pretty much the same thing. The drinking girl was completely unashamed of her body and all the functions that came with it - she was okay with using the toilet while I was in the same room; she would trim her pubic hair (and, at one point, shave it all off - "okay, that's enough, I'm going to shave my snatch...") with my assistance; we would shower together and then have sex on the bathroom floor. She also used to, I notice, wash as carefully as I did - including her genitals and pubic hair.
So ends the "feminine mystique", I suppose: when you're in constant contact with it on full display (and explained to at length about what it is; sex ed didn't tell us boys about periods because... I don't know, they just didn't tell us), it's less of a mystique and more of a function. It's biology. I like that. I like sex and I like the bodies that can have sex and I appreciate the way they work. I think it's hot.
Last week, I was told by my current girlfriend that, although I'd like to lick her out, she thinks that I'd be put off by her vagina. I wouldn't, of course; Heaven knows I've been inside her vagina long enough to think that I'm perfectly okay with it. But I didn't press the matter; it's her anxiety that's making her think that (my anxiety doesn't extend as far as my naked body - it's more focused around my complete lack of talent, odd shoe size and the fact that I don't have a cat), with which I sympathise. There was even one memorable moment where I cleaned her vulva with one of those "intimate area cleaning wipes" we got from some event or other.
I've even offered to help her wash her own privates out if she's skittish about doing so.
I'm aware that it's not so much of a physical necessity than it is a psychosomatic thing. Genitals even clean themselves during sexual arousal: the Cowper's gland fluid that beads at the tip of the penis, and that trickles off as precum, is released by the gland to help clear the urethra from anything left after urination of ejaculation (so it may contain elements of urea and inactive sperm - sexy!). The "wetness" that begins to come from the vagina (and the girlcum too, in a way) are there to lubricate the vagina to allow easier penetration and therefore increase the chances of baby-makin'. Neither of these things, I think, are particularly dirty.
But then, I don't think that way. Period blood can stain, but I know how it can wash out. Semen leaves a mark which initially may seem semi-translucent but turns opaque over time, but I used to sponge my computer chair or put a towel over it. Yes, sexual functions can be messy - sex is a messy business in general; it's not as clean and clinical as softcore would have you believe - but that's what a washing machine's for.
And that's what washing yourself is for. If you're absolutely sure that your partner isn't going to be happy with the condition of your privates (and, you know, if you want to have sex with them - which is always something you have to consider too...), then maybe you ought to make sure that you are happy with them too? And, if you think they are dirty (even though they really, really aren't), then maybe clean them a little? I genuinely don't think this should be a problem.
I think it's very intimate to do it together.
Please tell me I'm not alone in thinking this.