Two Ways of Smelling a Vagina

It’s unpopular to acknowledge that women sometimes have an unpleasant odor about them. Women who eschew cunnilingus due to insecurity about their own personal flavor and aroma are often reassured that it’s all perfectly natural and nothing over which to concern oneself.

Is it true?

I worked with a woman who, in addition to being a miserable person, drenched herself daily in fruit-scented body sprays in lieu of bathing. Working in close proximity with her made me lightheaded and nauseated.

In retrospect, I wish I had said something. Life is hard enough without spending eight hours per day choking back the urge to vomit.

I frequently fought the desire to mail her a nasty note and a bar of soap. If she had been a decent human being in addition to smelling like a sewer, my memories of her wouldn’t be quite so unkind. Her odor still would have caused me actual physical discomfort, but I might not be complaining about it more than a decade later.

Working with Liz taught me one important lesson. Dousing oneself in fruity fragrance and hoping for the best is not an adequate substitute for standing under a spray of running water and scrubbing vigorously with soap.

The misunderstanding of the self-cleaning vagina

When they say that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and needs no further assistance in cleaning, what they are really cautioning against is douching or other aggressive internal cleansing. In the not-so-distant past, women were encouraged to used bleach and Lysol to wash out their prewar love canals.

Using bleach and Lysol inside one’s vagina is excessive, not to mention dangerous. That doesn’t mean a good thorough external washing isn’t necessary.

If you want to smell fresh as a rose, you actually have to bathe. Hold the bleach and Lysol products, please.

Two ways of looking at, or smelling, a vagina

There are two camps when it comes to the natural scent of a woman’s vagina, and they are both wrong.

There are those who advocate douching, and wet wipes, and sprays, powders, and pH balanced body wash. If you check out the feminine hygiene product aisle at the local pharmacy or department store or grocery store, you can find easily a hundred different ways to tame your natural scent into submission.

Then there are those who say a woman’s natural aroma is always good. As a woman, I can attest that it isn’t true. Our bodies are bodies. We sweat. We urinate. We defecate. We excrete. It may not sound romantic, but it’s the truth.

Even the most self-assured, beautiful, independent, progressive woman needs soap and water now and then. Based on my experience, it’s daily.

The problem is that some people look at a woman’s body as a filthy, malodorous thing while others attribute any foul smell to being “natural.” The truth lies somewhere in between.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean pretending a woman’s body smells fresh and clean after a ten-mile jog or an hour of Crossfit. Likewise, equality doesn’t mean a man’s body is self-cleaning and never in need of soap. Or deodorant.

We are humans. We are modern-day cavemen. We are moist and damp and sweaty, and we stink. Sometimes. Not always. Maybe a century ago, no one batted an eyelash at a woman or a man who entered the room dressed to the nines and smelling like manure. Now is not then.

As far as that feminine hygiene spray goes, if you don’t smell bad, then you don’t need it. If you smell bad enough to need it, then it won’t help you. Save your money and spend it on more useful things. Like soap.

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