Women have had to deal with several concerns regarding their vaginal health, particularly their smell. However, I want to tell all women and all vagina-concerned citizens, that all these ideas and assumptions about the smell of a vagina and vaginal health are all myths.

Vaginas have been given a bad reputation when it comes to their care and impression. Here are 6 vaginal smell myths that need to go immediately, let’s put them all to rest!

Improper Vaginal Hygiene Results in Foul Odor 

African american woman wearing yellow sweater at smelling something stinky and disgusting

There is no type of hygiene used to take care of vaginal health. All you can do is clean them with water and leave them alone. When using scented soaps or other cleansers to clean your vagina, you are doing harm. There is no such thing as improper vaginal hygiene, attempting to clean can cause pH imbalance. Vaginas have pH balance which helps the vagina fight off infections, when it’s disturbed you are more likely to get infected.

Vaginal Odor Means Your Vagina is Contaminated

a woman sweating and stretching after a workout

Completely false! According to the Mayo Clinic, vaginal odors change on a daily basis and can depend on a number of factors. The most common causes of a vaginal change in smell are due to having your menstrual cycle. When you are producing blood, the smell will be different. Other examples of a change in vaginal smell are sex and sweating.

If you are having penetrative intercourse, the smell can change drastically. Being intimate with another individual can cause your vagina to smell a bit strong because you are touching each other’s genitalia, everyone has their own distinct smell, so when it mixes it will be different. Lastly, breaking a sweat while doing physical activities such as exercise, physical labor or sex can make the vagina pungent. 

Vaginal Discharge is Unhealthy 

vaginal smell myth a fruit representing a vagina discharge

Producing vaginal discharge that is clear or white is completely normal. Discharge can have a faint odor or none at all. Vaginal discharge helps keep the vagina moist, helps protect your vagina from UTI’s and prevents dryness. 

However, if you have more discharge than normal, a change in consistency and color, itchiness, pelvic pain, or burning sensations; you may have a vaginal infection or an STD.  Consult with your gynecologist immediately if you begin having these symptoms.

Douches and Feminine Cleansers Help Clean Your Vagina 

a female hand hold a douche

It still astonishes me how so many companies still make products like this. Douches and Feminine cleansers promote the idea that these will help keep your vagina healthy and clean. That is the furthest thing from the truth. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, using any of these washes/solutions can cause an imbalance of fluids within your vagina. Using these products can cause infections, STD, and yeast infections. 

One thing I recall learning in sex ed when I was in high school is that “vaginas are self-cleaning”. Women don’t have to clean it at all, or with soaps of any kind. These products need to be taken off the shelves to prevent any infections or problems with your vaginal health. 

A Healthy/Clean Vagina is Supposed to Smell Pleasant 

a woman smelling flowers

This illusion is the most popular myth. There is no such thing as a ‘pleasant-smelling’ vagina. Many men and women have this idea, when you are a woman this means you are feminine. The definition of a woman means that she smells good everywhere all the time. However, that is so not the case. According to Vagina Museum “A healthy vagina will produce a number of smells, but it’s never going to smell of a ‘floral scent’ or ‘ocean air’—nor should it.” 

A vagina is just a vagina, it’s not supposed to have a specific smell. Vaginas aren’t like scented candles; they are a part of the biologically female body. 

Eating Pineapple Gives the Vagina a Sweet Smell 

a female hand holding up a pineapple

They say you are what you eat, but does this apply to your vagina? No, it doesn’t. The most popular ‘trick’ to a sweet-tasting and smelling vagina is to eat lots of pineapples. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. There are plenty of lubes out there that have sweet scents and are edible for oral sex, however, the reality is a vagina has no distinct smell. This fantasy has been going around for ages, and there needs to be a change.

Yes, you can play with scents safely if you want your vagina to smell good for you and your partner, however, eating pineapple isn’t the one-way ticket cure to a sweet-smelling vagina. The only upside is that you are eating plenty of fruit, which is healthy for your body overall.

Vaginal smell myths are one of the reasons many women have been put in a position of high expectations. Many women face issues in their relationships, their self-confidence, and their care routines. All products that women buy are self-harm and have given the impression that a vagina needs to be the ideal perfect image and smell. However, being aware of the myths set before us can give us the opportunity to educate ourselves and take better care of our vagina.

Women need to get a mirror and admire what their amazing genitalia can do. The goal is to be able to look in the mirror and say “I love my vagina the way it is—a vagina.”