Editor’s Note: Hump Day is now a bimonthly column.
The question was simple: “What does [vagina] taste like to you?” And at first, the anonymous contributors who responded to this question posted at ask.metafilter.com were just as blase as the question itself. Some mentioned fish, others musk or zinc, and some even used the forum to mourn the loss of their dearest vagina-having friends.
“It depends. Some good (yeah — I miss her). Mostly a bit sweaty/musky. Even fishy at times. Always 1000 percent more fun after a shower. Probably not the sexiest description; but true to my own experience,” one commentator wrote.
Another wrote, “My boyfriend says it tastes like vagina … always.”
Other contributors mentioned duck sauce, the color red, meat, cheese, the head of a hammer, frying butter, metallic tuna, blood and, my personal favorite, “sweetsaltymuskybloodsweatygoodfruity.”
But then the forum was hijacked when one of the commentators compared the flavor of vaginas to that of 9-volt batteries. The MetaFilter crowd went wild: Numerous other forum participants agreed and only two voiced concern over how this person could possibly know what a battery tasted like in the first place. The overwhelming support that the forum gave to the vagina/9-volt battery comparison made me curious.
For centuries, products have been made to make vaginas taste and smell different than their natural state — from douches, washes and wipes that are scented with flower blossoms and baby powder to the “internal vagina mints” that were unveiled a year ago by the company Linger.
But, obviously, neither flower blossoms nor baby powder nor whatever an “internal vagina mint” would be flavored with is reminiscent of the natural, acidic character of a real vagina. In fact, a natural vagina has a pH level between 3.8 and 4.0. On the pH scale, a 7.0 is considered neutral and a 1.0 is as acidic as gastric acid; so, a 4.0 might seem a little excessively acidic for such a sensitive part of the body.
But the acid produced by the microbial flora of the human vagina is exactly what keeps it healthy by creating an acidic, hostile environment to potentially dangerous foreign microbes that may enter it. The vagina’s flavor and scent is also affected by diet and lifestyle, including if a woman smokes, is a vegetarian or has a red meat-heavy diet.
Certainly the commercial pushes to change the olfactory and gustatory makeup of our vaginas with douches or “mints” were spurred by the idea that vaginas taste and smell gross. And comparisons between vaginas and batteries or cheese and duck sauce might lead one to believe that the natural vagina is still a shamed specimen.
But after my curiosity led me to conversations with a few vagina lovers around campus, it became obvious that though they definitely notice the unique flavors and smells that could be considered gross if not between the legs of a woman, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like being there.
“I’m not saying this to be mean or to suggest that I don’t love vaginas,” said a recent male UT graduate and self-proclaimed fan of vaginas. “But usually, they taste like pennies that have been sitting in souring milk. Of course there is a huge difference between the taste of a girl who was been running around all day and when she just gets out of the shower, but the real, inside-there taste is almost always the same, just maybe stronger if she hasn’t showered.”
While pennies marinating in sour milk sound like the most disgusting flavor ever imagined, this guy did not seem to care much.
“It might be gross,” he said. “If it wasn’t the smell of a vagina, you know?”