Don't Put That Up There - Reboot by Erica
It has been a while since we’ve written a “don’t put that up there” piece, but we think it is about time for another one. The false message that “your vulva is dirty/smelly/needs fixing” has never really gone away, but there seems to be a resurgence of products you can buy to put up your vagina that purportedly do a variety of things from connect you to your divine feminine to make your vulva smell or taste like fruit.
Your body does not need anything like this and putting anything in your vagina besides menstrual products, a clean body part, or a clean sex toy will do more harm than good!
There are two products we have heard about recently that we will discuss in this post. The first is “Yoni Oil”.
Yoni Oil isn’t specific to any one brand, but rather is used as a catch-all term by the many companies selling it to describe an oil-based product for people to put on their vulvas. “Yoni” is a Sanskrit word that has a rich, deep meaning but in this context has been interpreted to simply mean the vagina and/or vulva. The oils that make up these products are usually a variety of essential oils and food oils specific to each seller.
Sellers say that their Yoni Oil will moisturize, promote freshness, boost vaginal health, lubricate, improve skin elasticity, among many other things. Besides the fact that most of these claims are unsubstantiated, it is likely that applying Yoni Oil can have negative effects. Essential oils should not be put into your vagina because they are quite strong and can result in burning or the killing of healthy bacteria. Just because an oil is food safe does not mean it is appropriate to use on your vulva. Even if a product claims to be natural it doesn’t make it suitable or safe for use in the vagina. Brenda wrote a previous “Don’t Put That Up There” blog post all about this! Some people like to use oil-based products as lubricant or moisturizer, but we do not recommend it because it can upset vaginal pH and it is not safe for use with condoms
Essentially, sellers of Yoni Oil are capitalizing on this wave of Western spiritual wellness marketing to profit off a product that may actually be harmful.
Another product your vagina doesn’t need that we recently came across is called Sweetums.
Sweetums are fruit flavored and scented “intimate wipes”. There is a lot wrong with this product, but I am especially upset at the fact that it perpetuates the myth that vaginas are dirty and need to smell and taste like something they do not naturally smell or taste like.
Vaginas don’t need to be cleaned, they do that by themselves! Washing the exterior part of the vulva with gentle soap and water is all the cleaning that is necessary. Shower gels, sprays, and wipes can actually upset the delicate balance of microorganisms inside the vagina.
Vaginas have their own natural smell and taste that does not need to be covered up or changed. In some instances a strong smell may indicate that something is up, but that is a conversation for your doctor, not your local seller of “intimate wipes”.
There are other things that bother me about this company, like this quote “Is it a feminine wipe? An intimate wipe? It's both!” I’m confused about what this is supposed to mean. They also have an article on their site claiming there is a “wipe revolution” happening right now and that we should all jump on board. I guess anything to make people want their product?
I also really dislike a blog post on their site titled: “Your WAP (Wet Ass Pussy) is Nature’s Way of Saying Helloooo I’m Readyyyyyyyy”. This is a whole other conversation, but this article falsely claims that store-bought lubricant is unnatural and says that your natural lube is better. It then claims that you can become more naturally lubricated with more foreplay, all of which to say that their wipes are a fun part of foreplay (so their wipes will ultimately make you more wet)? Through this article they are spreading false information and saying you don’t need to spend money on lube, you just need to spend money on their wipes instead! There are many things wrong with this, first, your natural “wetness” does not always correlate to how aroused you are and that’s okay. Second, we need to retire the word “foreplay” because it only reinforces a penis-centric, heteronormative, cis-centric, exclusionary, and ableist understanding of sex. Third, I doubt that their wipes are a fun addition to sex.
I am upset by companies spreading misinformation to make people think something is wrong with their bodies. Utilizing shame and confusion around sexuality to make people run to purchase a product which will fix everything they claimed was wrong is not okay.
Your vulva and vagina don’t need to smell or taste like cinnamon buns, the way it naturally is is okay. You do not need an essential oil in your vagina to connect you to your inner goddess, you can do that in other ways that won’t upset your balanced vaginal bacteria.