If you’re someone who has a vulva, you’ve likely wondered, at some point: “Does my vagina taste good?” Or maybe you’re wondering what a vagina tastes like if you’re planning on going down on someone who has one!
As with any body part, vulvas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors; they also vary naturally in aroma and flavor. But many of us have received messages — from movies, TV, genital hygiene ads, from other people, ect. — that the vagina is meant to smell and taste like roses. This may cause you to worry about your vagina’s taste — but when it comes to the taste of vagina, variety is normal!
*(Note that, the vagina is the muscular tube that connects the uterus to the outside world and “vulva” refers to the entire genital region, including the labia minora and majora, clitoris, and vaginal opening. Many people use the words “vagina” and “vulva” interchangeably, and so will we throughout this article.)
What should a healthy vagina taste like?
“Vulvar and vaginal flavors occur on a spectrum,” Dr. Sarah Toler, Certified Nurse Midwife and women’s health advocate, tells O.school. “Since vaginal flora experience changes in pH [acidity], the taste can range from sweet to acidic.”
The vagina is a naturally acidic environment, thanks to the presence of billions of lactobacilli bacteria. Like the other beneficial bacteria that make up the human microbiome, lactobacilli help the vagina to resist the overgrowth of potentially harmful microorganisms.
The vagina’s acidity can translate to a slightly tart, tangy, or fermented flavor, which some describe as tasting like yogurt, sourdough bread, or even beer. Many people also find that the vulva can have a slightly metallic or coppery flavor; this can be attributed to the vagina’s acidity, or the presence of trace amounts of menstrual blood. The vulva is often salty, since sweat tends to accumulate in its nooks and folds between showers.
Vaginal flavors can change
Your vagina’s taste can fluctuate with your hormonal cycle: certain times of the month may correlate with a change in pH, which can influence taste. It’s often posited that what you eat can have an impact on “flavor.” Just as strong-smelling foods like onions, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables can change the odor of your breath, urine, and sweat, these odors could theoretically show up in the taste of your vulva. Pineapple, citrus, and other sweet fruits have also long been anecdotally associated with a sweeter, or at least more neutral, vaginal taste.
That said, Dr. Toler tells O.school that there’s no concrete evidence to support that idea: “There's no evidence that eating any types of foods impacts flavor in any way. There is some evidence that asparagus and caffeine can both impact the odor of urine, and since the urethra is near the sex organs, it's possible these odors could transfer to the rest of the body.”
How to make your vagina taste good:
Many people are interested in how to make their vagina taste good for a partner, but it can be super empowering to know what your own vulva tastes like! Not only can sampling your own demystify the taste of vulva, it can connect you more deeply to your body and help you to understand what your “normal” is if you invite a partner to pleasure you orally.
Being tuned in to your vagina’s taste can also help you catch potential issues when they’re still mild. The next time you masturbate, try sliding a finger into your vagina, or running it top-to-bottom from your clitoris to your vaginal opening, then licking or sucking it to sample your own taste.
While salty, sour, metallic, or earthy flavors may not sound particularly delicious, most people who like eating pussy enjoy its characteristic musk and what is often its rich, complex bouquet. Dr. Toler reassures O.school readers that the vagina and vulva “just taste like a body!” If you’re curious about how to make your vagina taste good, though, keeping the area free of sweat and other bodily fluids can help.
Contrary to what many advertisers of products purported to make your vagina smell like roses would have you think, the vagina is mostly self-cleaning and doesn’t require any special sprays, soaps, or douches. (In fact, research suggests douching is associated with disturbing vaginal microflora in a way that can negatively impact taste and smell.)
Washing the outside of your vulva gently with water, or with water and mild, pH-balanced soap, is the best way to prevent the buildup of secretions and dead skin cells and rinse away residue from urine and sweat. If you opt to use soap, make sure to keep it away from the vaginal opening; soap and other products can irritate sensitive vaginal tissue and upset the delicate balance of bacteria that help keep your vulva healthy.
In addition to good hygiene practices, the type of underwear you choose can have an impact on your vagina’s taste: synthetic or tight-fitting fabrics can trap and amplify sweat odors, as well as contributing to the warm, moist environment beloved by bacteria and yeasts. For maintaining vulva health, breathable, cotton undies are the clear winner.
What does an “off” taste mean?
Sometimes, an unusual flavor can indicate problems. Although variation is natural and vulvas generally don’t taste like strawberries, “fishy” or other noticeably foul aromas are cause for concern. (Since taste and smell are so closely linked, an off-odor will usually correlate with an off-flavor.)
Bacterial vaginosis — This infection is caused by an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria. It often results in thick white or grey discharge and a characteristic fishy smell. Yeast infections can cause a “fermented” scent that is stronger than that of a healthy vulva, can result in an extra-sour taste, and are often accompanied by thick white discharge.
STIs — Some sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or trichomoniasis can also contribute to an unpleasant funk.
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to a healthcare professional right away: early treatment can help prevent complications and get your vulva tasting normal again (whatever your normal is!).