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body image, STDs, underwear, vagina, vaginal discharge

Scented latex underwear to improve “freshness” for oral sex? It’s a vagina, not a Yankee Candle.

Lorals is trying to raise money on Indiegogo for latex underwear for women to wear during oral sex.

My first impression was this could be an alternative to dental dams or cut up condoms! A hands free approach that does not require scissors would be great.

And then I watched the video.

Lorals isn’t going for disease protection. They don’t even mention reduced exposure to secretions. Nope, apparently perceived lack of vaginal and vulvar freshness is holding women back from hot dudes eagerly offering oral sex out of the blue.

The solution? Vanilla scented latex of course!

That’s the message, with the bad 80’s voice over, in their promotional video. Again and again. Ladies, we are apparently not fresh enough for oral sex unless we have showered a millisecond before lips meet lips. Or maybe we haven’t groomed just right?

Ugh.

The people at Lorals believe that 80% of women have said no to oral sex when they really meant yes due to cleanliness reasons. I can’t find a published study to back up the 80% claim. Of course reasons for women saying no to oral sex could also be that a male partner made them feel self conscious when they were just fine. This is exactly what I was writing about when I wrote the article, My vagina is terrific, your opinion about it is not. A lot of men tell a lot of women very nasty things about their normal anatomy, secretions, smell and taste. Many women’s magazines with their incessant “is your vagina okay???” headlines, GOOP with their stupid “vaginal” steaming, and products like Lorals just reinforce the false belief that a normal vagina is somehow unpleasant.

My speciality is vaginal and vulvar health conditions. When a patient has a concern about an abnormal discharge or an itch or an odor I take a sample of vaginal fluid and I perform something called a whiff or amine test. This involves smelling the swab. Not everyone showers right before they come to the gynecologist, but that does not impact the smell of their vaginal secretions (I hope I don’t have to point out that washing the vulva will not impact the smell of vaginal secretions). Many women come to the doctor after being at work all day and that also does not impact the smell of the vulva or vagina. Neither does working out earlier in the day. If these things mattered we would tell women to shower beforehand or not go to the gym or we would ask them to make early morning appointments. We do ask women to not have sex with a male partner without a condom within the past 72 hours as that can affect the test results.

The people at Lorals say they can’t currently promote their latex panty for sexually transmitted infection protection, but I really question how vigorously they looked into this idea. The Sheer Glyde dam for oral sex has never been studied on human subjects and was able to get by with biocompatibility studiesproving similarity with condoms. If the Sheer Glyde dam is considered substantially equivalent to a condom then if Lorals used the right latex I don’t see why that avenue wouldn’t be open to them? That would be a lot more empowering for women than stoking vagina shame.

The CDC currently recommends cutting a condom and unrolling it as one option for safer oral sex so it’s clear we need more safe oral sex options.

If less mess on your period is worth it for you then perhaps this latex underwear will be up your alley. You could also wear a tampon, use a disposable menstrual cup, or simply spread out a towel. If you and/or your partner don’t like sexual contact during menstruation that is just fine as long as both parties discuss it in a mutually respectful way. If a drop of blood freaks your partner out this is not your problem to solve or to take on, it’s his issue.

The message that woman aren’t having oral sex because they feel unfresh and that the remedy is vanilla scented latex underwear is wrong. Never mind that vaginal freshness isn’t affected by not showering, suggesting women wear vanilla scented underwear to be “fresh enough” has more in common with a Lysol douche than anything else.

If you feel a little riper down below than usual it is not because your vagina smells it is because your vulva has been sweating (you will also have been sweating under your breasts so perhaps we can expect a vanilla scented latex bra for that as well?). Maybe if Lorals were also introducing a vanilla scented latex scrotal sac for when you really want to go down on your dude but his balls don’t smell like puppy paws I’d be less ticked off.

Ditch the vanilla, the pearl clutching about taste, and focus on the safety aspect of reducing unprotected contact with fluids and then maybe you have a product. Talk with some people at the CDC and the FDA. If making women self conscious about their normally functioning anatomy is your selling point you are no friend of mine.

If 80% of women really are really turning down oral sex because of perceived odors the next step is not to reinforce that false belief or to profit from it, the answer is to educate any male partners who think this way and to empower women to be proud of how they look, smell and taste.

And if your vulva is a little sweaty and that bothers you wouldn’t it be easier and more effective to take a quick swipe with a wet facecloth than to put on a pair of latex underwear?

Discussion

21 thoughts on “Scented latex underwear to improve “freshness” for oral sex? It’s a vagina, not a Yankee Candle.

  1. Laughing…….

    Posted by cindy knoke | March 6, 2018, 6:03 pm
  2. Isn’t there something more than a little creepy about claiming women ‘reallly want to say yes’ but don’t? Like all the fella has to do is amp up the request in the way that seems sensible to him?

    Moving on. I haven’t dated since the 80s, but it feels like male attitudes have changed a lot. Back then, men were so delighted at being offered any kind of access to the ladygarden that I can’t imagine them complaining about the grooming standard. Maybe I just dated good guys?

    Posted by Iorek | March 6, 2018, 6:17 pm
    • I need to reply. Thank you. The ladygarden. Best word of the century.

      Posted by Simi | March 6, 2018, 6:54 pm
    • SO glad I’m not the only one who noticed the rapey vibes! Not only are we telling women they’re naturally disgusting we’re also reinforcing the idea that women really do want it, so just go ahead guys! We all know life is all about YOUR pleasure. And no REALLY means yes!

      Posted by Sarah | March 7, 2018, 6:37 pm
  3. Another great post! The scrotal sac smelling like puppy paws made me LOL. Thank you Dr. Gunter.

    Posted by SAS | March 6, 2018, 7:02 pm
  4. I don’t know how this would work; don’t men take your panties off when they want to give oral?

    Posted by AssViolator | March 6, 2018, 7:19 pm
  5. I thought they were going to be wipes .

    Posted by Jim | March 7, 2018, 12:04 am
  6. Hot dudes? What about us Lesbians? What happened to diversity? Statistically Lesbians perform more oral sex than men!

    Posted by loopyallie | March 7, 2018, 12:23 am
  7. Bu.. no… do… what?

    Posted by Asta Kask | March 7, 2018, 4:04 am
  8. But it still might break…
    If women need all this impedimenta, men need it too. Fair is fair. Equal opportunity disgust.
    Where there’s life, there are smells. Get used to it, or stick your face in something else. Maybe make yourself asexual like me. Just quit picking on one group. *Nobody* should have to feel like they are the unclean ones.

    Posted by Angiportus | March 7, 2018, 7:21 am
  9. And yes, I know asexuality or its opposites aren’t a choice, I was being facetious.
    –And why don’t they come in chocolate?

    Posted by Angiportus | March 7, 2018, 4:16 pm
  10. Dr. Gunter, thank you for pointing out the absurdity of this product. However, as one of many people who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, I would appreciate your not appearing to approve of scented candles.

    Posted by Ellen Pickett | March 7, 2018, 6:18 pm
  11. The idea that all vaginas are disgusting just needs to die. Women our told OUR bodies are gross, but penises are amazing! Look, I’m a virgin and don’t have firsthand experience… but I have trouble imagining a man smells like a bed of roses when he removes his pants. Yet he’s not made to feel insecure.

    People seem to forget how many of us came into this world through vaginas. They’re not gross, they’re amazing!

    Posted by Sarah | March 7, 2018, 6:45 pm
  12. Ugh. Vanilla? Really? That’s the scent they wanna go with? It’s never-ending the lengths companies will go to to exploit women and their bodies. I’m bettin’ a room full of middle-aged white dudes came up with this shit. Move on, people. Nothin’ to see here. Leave our va-j-j’s alone!

    Posted by madmegsblog | March 7, 2018, 9:00 pm
  13. What happens to those women and men who have an allergy to latex?

    Posted by Ellie | March 8, 2018, 10:55 am
  14. I’m both a follow of and a fan of yours, Dr. Gunter, but that is not to say that I always agree with you. To wit, I have to question an assertion that you make here – one that also features prominently in your otherwise spot-on essay “My Vagina is Terrific. . . .” Namely, the notion that it is men who are responsible for making women self-conscious about their vulvas and, in particular, about the aroma of their vulvas. You write, above, “The people at Lorals believe that 80% of women have said no to oral sex when they really meant yes due to cleanliness reasons. I can’t find a published study to back up the 80% claim. Of course reasons for women saying no to oral sex could also be that a male partner made them feel self conscious when they were just fine.” You are right to question Lorals’s 80% claim here, given that you could not find a published study with which that claim could be substantiated. But I could make the very same criticism of you: can you cite any published studies that demonstrate that male sex partners (or men, in general, for that matter) are the ones primarily responsible for “mak[ing] women feel self-conscious when they were just fine”? I ask this, not rhetorically, but, specifically, because I dispute the premise that an aversion to the aroma of the normal vulva is a male, as opposed to a female trait.

    As a heterosexual male, it has always been my experience, from early childhood on, that females, in general, are much more squeamish about the human body and especially about sex, than males are. As a child, I distinctly remember that, whenever the subject of sex came up and, especially, a specific act (such as cunnilingus), the reaction of the girls and young women – to a girl – was invariably “Ewwww!” The reaction of the boys was the sound Homer Simpson makes when contemplating fatty food. That carried forward into adulthood. It is an unscientific generalization, to be sure, but in my experience, the notion that the aroma of the vulva is exciting and attractive to heterosexual men is a notion to which most hetero men I know subscribe but which most women I know (who will voice an opinion on the topic) consider appalling, perverted and disgusting. I have a standing joke with my own wife prefatory to a planned sex date in which I reference the famous (or apocryphal) letter from Napoleon to Josephine in which he states that he will be home in several days and entreats her therefore not to bathe. Her reaction, invariably, is “That’s disgusting.” As a child, my father used to quip about how the boys from his generation got their jollies by sniffing girls’ bicycle seats.

    Yes, there is quite a bit of body shaming going on in social media but, as far as I can tell, this comes at least as much if not more from women directed at other women as it does from men directed at women. There is also just as much, if not more, body shaming by women of men – particularly by women of the intact male penis – including the way it looks and smells – as there is body shaming by men of the normal vulva. In a thread on Alternet below an article about female “grooming” several years ago (and after writing my own lengthy defense of female pubic hair, including how beautiful it is from an aesthetic standpoint, how arousing it is from a sexual standpoint, and in which I also argued that a preference for its removal was suspicious for pedophilia, to say nothing of how infantalizing of women that particular predilection is) I came across comment after comment by women themselves, the upshot of which was that the vulva is disgusting and that that is especially the case when it hasn’t been denuded of its hair.

    I have no doubt that there are cads out there who make disparaging comments about women’s vulvas and the natural aromas that emanate therefrom. But I wonder how many of these men are in fact merely closeted gay men who have not come to terms with their own sexuality and are displacing their own internalized self-hatred onto women.

    Speaking of self-hatred, let me anticipate the response to my assertion that women are generally far more disparaging of their bodies and especially their genitalia than men are that this is merely due to the phenomenon of female internalized misogyny, or, simply, self-hatred, which women in sexist and misogynistic cultures manifest as a result of cultural indoctrination. I am deeply skeptical of that notion as an explanation for the majority of the incidence of vulva shaming by women themselves. To the extent that it’s true – and I have no doubt that it is, at least to some extent – it must be combated. But I think that second-wave- (remember “Our Bodies, Our Selves”?) and now third-wave feminism have been around far too long and gained far too much currency and acceptance in our society for internalized misogyny be to blamed for for this phenomenon. In contrast, and at at the same time, I think that your tendency to make sweeping generalizations to the effect that it is men who are primarily responsible for speaking ill of women’s vulvas and particularly of their aromas is not itself fact based and is, in fact, a rather unfair derogatory generalization about men.

    Men in our society are guilty of a lot and there is plenty to lay at their collective feet. But cultural attitudes, including attitudes about sex and genitalia, are not passed down exclusively by males. Women and men both, are the vessels and conduits of culturally inscribed notions about such things. To lay this particular sin – disdain for the vulva and its aroma – at the feet of men only (or primarily) is unfair and unreasonable.

    A final thought in anticipation of what I expect will be replies along the lines of “My ex said this” or “My best friend’s boyfriend said that,” offered as anecdotal proof that men are generally assholes with a propensity for disparaging women’s bodies. To be sure, some are. But If the men in your romantic life (and I am addressing this comment to women broadly) don’t adore your body and worship your vulva, you’re simply dating the wrong men.

    Posted by David Balashinsky | March 19, 2018, 1:41 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Please, don't buy this latex underwear to make your vagina smell better - HelloGiggles - March 21, 2018

  2. Pingback: Des culottes parfumées pour le sexe oral existent… Mais en avait-on vraiment besoin? | Spootlit - June 6, 2018

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