Weird Sex Science Facts: Every Vagina Smells Different

NOTE: this article is specific to cis-women who have a cervix and uterus.

 

If you know a woman with a vagina or have one yourself, you still may not have realized that every vagina has its own unique fragrance. If you have a keen sense of smell, you may have already noted that while every vagina has a primal scent (one friend compares it to fresh delicious clams), no two smell exactly alike. In fact, every cis-female cycles through different aromas at different times of the month.

Here is the science on vaginal aroma:

  • All cis-woman produce vaginal odor. Some odors are so slight you barely notice them, others are distinct, even from a couple of feet away. It’s all natural. Vaginas are designed to give off scent so potential mates can identify a potential mating opportunity. Vaginas do not drip because they are flawed or unattractive. They do so because it helps them to attract potential partners with an enticing aroma.
  • You smell a vagina before you smell a vagina. While you cannot always be aware you are smelling it, primal instincts seem to allow the smell to register in our primal brains and automatically enhance our feelings of attraction. If you ever notice someone’s nostrils flaring while he’s trying to buy you a drink, chances are his nose is sucking up some vaginal fragrance and reptile brain is climbing up to it with high hopes
  • You cannot eradicate the smell and no doctor will help you do that because the smell goes with a healthy adult vagina that contains beneficial bacteria. While some women have scant smell, it’s always there, even after bathing, because it is a product of internal organs.
  • The smell of a cis-woman’s vagina naturally changes throughout the month as the female reproductive cycle works invisibly, cycling estrogen and other hormones. The biggest change happens around menstruation, which elevates a woman’s PH. Combined with the blood, her vagina can get a metallic odor at that time of the month.
  • Douching hurts more than it helps. A healthy vagina is a small sea of microorganisms and symbiotic flora that automatically keep it naturally clean and fresh. Douching can disturb the flora and cause yeast infections and smelly or discolored (green) discharge.
  • A strongly fishy smell indicates an imbalance in the bacteria and is usually the result of Bacterial vaginosis (BV) or trichomoniasis. Get that vagina to a doctor to clear it up quickly with antibiotics.
  • The fluid that comes out of a healthy vagina is safe to ingest. There are no waste products and nothing potentially harmful (unless the woman has a pre-existing medical condition, like BV or a yeast infection). A chemical analysis of vaginal juice shows that it consists of salty water, cells that are naturally shed from the vaginal walls, and some mucus that seeps from the internal reproductive organs (cervix, uterus, and vagina). All natural and clean matter.

The biggest differentials in the way a vagina smells come from lifestyle and habits.

  • SWEAT: the vulva sweats and there are also sweat glands in the area (thighs, ass, perineum). Depending on how heavily a cis-female sweats, her vagina smell will be altered to the same degree. If you are athletic, have a very physically demanding job, or carry extra weight, expect to produce more sweat and a muskier aroma.
  • SEX: A vagina can get very wet, but not necessarily any smellier, during sex. Sex can change the smell in two ways. Semen in the vagina may leave a lingering odor, as may a latex condom, making the vagina smell the same way. Other toys or objects can also leave a dank smell. The smell is particularly noticeable if the vagina itself is relatively odorless. No worries: the smell of semen or toys can be quickly dispelled by washing up afterwards.
  • PANTIES: Doctors recommend cotton crotches for a reason: the vagina needs air. It wasn’t built to be encased in synthetic fibers. Tight pants, g-string undies, pantihose, full girdles, compression garments and anything else that seals the vagina from air increase the risk of bacterial infections and smelly discharge by trapping sweat and other bacteria in the lips. If you sweat heavily during the day, make sure to air your parts out at night and use plain water (i.e., zero chemicals) to rinse off sweat.
  • DIET: Clean diets help keep vaginal aromas clean too. Booze and dairy products can give the vagina an unpleasant smell, and a diet that includes a lot of spicy foods can create oddly pungent smells as well. Whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and unprocessed foods help the vagina maintain a healthier balance of bacteria. If you want to clean up quick, opt out of Vindaloo and Chipotle, and go macrobiotic before your next sexual encounter.
  • HYGIENE: Over-washing the vagina and douching can create an imbalance in the good bacteria. When you squirt a commercial douche into the vagina (or even home blends with vinegar or yogurt, as women have traditionally done), you could be disturbing the naturally good flora. Opt for a simple daily bath (or shower) to wash off sweat and bad bacteria. Go easy on the soap because commercial brands can quickly dry out the sensitive inner tissue. Use something gentle, like a glycerin soap. There is no need to squirt any products inside the vagina. Double up on quick washes in the summer if you sweat heavily or wear restrictive clothes. Stick with pure clean water whenever possible.

 

TIP: A bidet is an invaluable tool in maintaining vaginal hygiene.
Use it after every bowel movement to eliminate fecal germs.

 

A few final thoughts for cis-women….

Sometime back in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and aware that women felt ashamed of their natural bodies because they were trained to feel insecure and inferior as compared to men, crafty marketers seized on women’s fears and promoted douches to make them “more feminine.” You can find hundreds of ads promising women that they can have better-smelling vaginas, better sex lives and better marriages (!) if you use their products. In the process of women being hounded into a sense of terror that their vaginas smell bad, when most of them simply smelled the way they were supposed to in the first place, marketers sold them “cures” that actually triggered pain, dryness, infections and medical problems. What the marketers either didn’t know or didn’t care about was the scientific fact that introducing commercial chemicals into the vagina causes more harm than good.

It’s a sad historical scam, made worse by the fact that many useless and potentially harmful “pussy-cleaning” products like douches and sprays are still being marketed and sold. Why? Because women are still operating off a Victorian/Edwardian patriarchal assumption that they are not good enough as they are and that their bodies are fundamentally flawed by vaginal odors.

Today this same sexist propaganda has been twisted and expanded to shame women over their weight, their breast size, even the way their sex organs look. It all springs from the same sexist philosophy: that women aren’t good enough to be sexy by nature, and require physical alterations to improve. The sexism here is mind-boggling…and the fact that het women hate their vaginal odors more intensely than het-men (who actually love the smell, in case you hadn’t noticed) only goes to show you just how beat down women are when it comes to sexual self-esteem.

Ditch the douche. Love your body. Don’t worry about all the normal variations in smell and color of the juice. If you think you have an infection (dark discharge, major smells, pain or discomfort), see a doctor for treatment so you can get back to smelling like your old delicious self again.

Finally, please don’t think of the scent as a bad odor that drives people away. See it for what it is: the perfume of your sexuality which entices lovers to dive in, just as the bee dives into the most fragrant flowers. Vaginal aroma excites sex partners and plays a role in making them get even more aroused. It is part of what makes a cis-female desirable to men. The knowledge that every woman has her own unique smell is actually a precious biological gift of individuality. It announces she is truly an original. And that is awesome.