How Does Your Vagina Smell?
My vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned up. It smells good already. Don’t try to decorate. Don’t believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it’s supposed to smell like pussy. That’s what they’re doing — trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden. All those douche sprays — floral, berry, rain. I don’t want my pussy to smell like rain. All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cook it. I want to taste the fish. That’s why I ordered it.
_Eve Ensler, the Queen of Vaginas, whose Vagina Monologues have done as much for the vagina as Martin Luther King, Jr. did for civil rights.
Recently, I had some issues with my lady business. It was really weird to me because I had not experienced that type of discomfort before. I just had this constant burning feeling down there that it was even hard for me to wash myself or touch the area. Weirdly, there wasn’t any odor or discharge. It was just might uncomfortable. But the feeling wasn’t constant; it usually came and went.
At some point it got so bad that I decided to visit my doctor. In short, the way I complained on the phone made him leave his house that evening to the hospital to check on me, this was after long hours of surgery. When I met him, he asked me to lie back and he examined me, did the whole speculum and finger check that hurt like hell. Finally, we sat down to have a chat and he told me I was having a pretty normal infection.
Naturally, I didn’t like the sound of that because I am very particular and meticulous about my V. Back in the day, I used to be that chick who would stay away from sex if I didn’t feel fresh enough. If I went into the toilet apart from the normal reasons, you could be sure that I was there cleaning myself. I couldn’t stand any smell, no matter how little down there. My husband had delivered me from my compulsions but recently, having resumed my day job and being away from the comfort of my home, I became finicky about that place again. So when my doctor told me I had an infection, I was mildly shocked. I hadn’t had one in a long time. Usually, I could track my V history and tell you the exact reason why I was having an infection but in this case it was baffling to me because I have been either at home or at the office and God knows I don’t sit on any strange toilet seat.
Continuing my story… my doctor asks me some questions and it seems the answers I’m giving him aren’t satisfactory and then he goes: “Do you over-clean yourself?”
And somewhere in that room, a bomb drops.
Now, get this right. I know what over-cleaning can do. I have read about it and yet it didn’t make sense to me because I had never experienced the consequences until now. Anytime I read it up, I would be like ‘how can cleaning be bad?’ I mean, if my room is dirty, I clean it, and if it gets dirty again, I clean it again. So what is the issue there? How can cleaning all the time be bad?
My answer to my doctor: “I don’t want it to smell.”
“But it’s supposed to smell!”
I laughed really hard but I thought about it deeply. And yeah… It really is supposed to smell like vagina. We may like it smelling like a rose flower or vanilla or something lovely but seriously, it has its own unique smell that may not always be really nice in our own opinion but it is okay.
A good question my doc asked me: “is your husband complaining?”
“So what’s the issue there?”
I didn’t have an answer. He added that as long as I am clean, I am good to go.
He also said that washing that area excessively with scented soaps, pouring water up the birth canal or dipping soapy fingers up there is totally wrong. It kills off the good bacteria and allows all the bad bacteria that bring in infections. This is because the pH balance has been messed with. He finished off by telling me to enjoy my smell because it was natural and that no matter how much I messed with it, it was going to be there. The worst I’d end up doing was hurting myself which was what I had already done.
I went home, after buying expensive drugs (yes, private clinic) and was asked to stay off sex for two weeks to be completely healed 🙁
But I finally decided to listen to good reason and kill all my compulsions by allowing my V smell like my V, the way God made me. I really don’t know why women have this need to be excessively clean in their private area. On a good day, guys don’t complain. In fact, they love the smell; it turns them on. There are men who keep their women’s used underwear just to smell them. Others like the smell on their fingers and would rather not wash it after they’ve had sex. Sometimes, I believe they are the best smell detectors and can tell when something is off with a vagina.
A colleague of mine says that unless you walk into a room and your V is the first and only thing they smell about you, then you are okay.
Every vagina has its own special smell — a combination of the normal bacteria that live in your vagina, what you eat, how you dress, your level of hygiene, your bowel habits, how much you sweat, and what your glands secrete. Remember that the glands near the vagina also secrete pheromones, meant to attract a sexual partner. So you don’t want to deodorize your va-jay-jay so much that it smells like rain. Doing so thwarts the primal function of what your smell is supposed to accomplish. Plus, it interferes with the vagina’s natural pH balance and can lead to a whole host of gynecological conditions.
_Dr. Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, an author, a nationally-represented professional artist, and the founder of Owning Pink, an online community committed to building authentic community and empowering women to get — and keep — their “mojo.”
So ladies, own your smell. Enjoy it as I enjoy mine these days. And next time someone tells you it smells like vagina, tell them it is supposed to.
Have a great day!