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Dear Sexpert,

I’ve always heard rumors that eating pineapple would make my vagina taste better, but is that actually true? Are there other foods that do the same?

Sincerely,

Fresh-tasting Fluid?

Dear Fresh-tasting Fluid,

It seems like the rumor that eating pineapple makes your vaginal fluid taste sweet has been around since middle school. But from where exactly did this rumor originate? More than likely, it came from the idea that vaginas have to smell like a fresh field of flowers and not what they actually are — a body part. That being said, the myth that pineapples make your fluid tastes better might not be entirely false. At the end of the day, your diet has a profound effect on any bodily fluid, whether it be saliva, sweat, urine, ejaculate, or vaginal fluid. 

The science community has confirmed that eating certain groups of foods will affect the natural pH (the acidity or basicity of a liquid solution) and smell of your bodily secretions. For example, eating pungent foods, such as garlic, meat, vegetables like asparagus, and cheeses, will make for a stronger smell. The same can be said for alcohol and cigarettes, which are linked to a bitter taste. On the other hand, staying well hydrated and eating sweeter foods with a high water content can decrease the aromas coming from body fluids. These trends suggest that maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle — drinking lots of water, exercising often, and eating balanced meals — will ensure that your secretions smell just as healthy as the foods you are eating. This means that a pre-sex meal of pineapple is not going to make you smell any better or worse than eating garlic pizza — it’s about your overall diet on a long-term scale. 

General hygiene, like taking regular showers, wiping properly (front to back), and wearing clean underwear is just as important as a healthy diet. Doing more than this, however, can have unintended negative consequences. Your vagina is self-regulating and self-cleaning, which means that although it is possible for your smell to fluctuate based on the foods you have been eating or perhaps the presence of your menstrual cycle, there is no need to use more than a mild soap and water when cleaning the vulva and labia. Using douching products and scented wipes could actually make your vagina smell worse by throwing off your natural pH, causing irritation, and leading to infection. If there is a noticeably foul odor (from more than just the broccoli you had at dinner), check with your doctor. The smell might be indicating that something else (like an infection) is to blame.

With rude nicknames like “fish taco” or “tuna town,” it’s no wonder that people second guess whether their genitals smell. And can be hard to know what to believe when we are bombarded by myths on social media or ads for products that promise to make us smell “fresh and clean.” These reinforce the negative stereotype that genitals are dirty and smelly — which just is not true! Everyone has their own healthy pH and natural smell that is normal (and even “sexy” to others). 

So does pineapple make your vaginal fluid or ejaculate taste better? Maybe, but it’s not really going to matter in the long-term. What is important is that you stay healthy in terms of hygiene, diet, and exercise, and those things will ensure that your vagina continues to smell like a healthy vagina. 

~ The Sexpert

Information regarding the smell and taste of bodily fluids retrieved from Buzzfeed, Self, Vice, and Health.

For more advice from The Sexpert, visit thesexpert.princeton.edu.

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