Dear Dr. Kate,
I was just wondering if all vaginas smell the same. It sounds really weird but I am so insecure about the smell/taste of mine. My boyfriend does not seem to mind going down there, so I figure it must not be bad, but I can't help but think mine smells wrong or different from other women's. I can smell mine after I wipe and on my dirty underwear... I'm just not sure if that is normal or not. I have been tested for STD's and everything, so why does mine have such a distinct scent/taste? Can other people smell it too?
No, all vaginas don't smell, or taste, the same...but they do all smell. Every woman has a different musky scent, and we tend to be very attuned to our own smell, even when no one else is aware of it. No one smells you through your clothes; I will occasionally notice a patient's scent when she's undressed (and I'm doing her pap smear), but never when she's dressed. Odor tends to come from sweat - the vulva and vagina have sweat glands, like elsewhere on your body. And the scent may change as our menstrual cycle progresses, in response to hormones, or at the end of the day. Noticing vaginal odor, if it's your normal one, does not mean you don't have good hygiene or (god forbid) should start douching. No need to buy those scented sprays, either - the chemicals may give you a bad reaction, or lead to copious amounts of discharge. Your vagina should smell like...a vagina.
Yes, sometimes odor can signify bad things - vaginosis, a lost tampon or condom (don't laugh, it happens), or a bit of urine leakage. But if you've been checked out by your gyno, then rest assured that your scent is healthy. And as your guy's enthusiasm for oral shows you, you're all the sexier for it.
Are any of you concerned about your vaginal odor?
You can read more about sexual and gyno health at Gynotalk.
[photo credit: Getty Images]
Dear Dr. Kate,