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I don’t know what I’ve been expecting all these years when it comes to my love below, but I think I had the perception that v*ginas are supposed to smell like lillies. Or strawberries. Or pretty much anything that makes people smile or gives off a widely adored scent. However, mine doesn’t smell like that, and for years it made me self-conscious.

I think we’re all like that sometimes though. For instance, when we start our periods, we’re mortified at the possibility that we’re smelling like catfish instead of roses, and we worry that people who really aren’t paying us any kind of mind can pick up our less than fresh scent. Chances are, unless you’ve been working out all day while on your period and are dancing in front of folks, or passed on the opportunity to change your feminine products during the day, nobody but you can smell what you’re working with.

But for me, even when I wasn’t on my period, I was paranoid about what I smelled like. Before you try to play me, I know I didn’t smell like rancid cheese or something of that horrifying sort, but with all the Summer’s Eve ads and such telling us we’re supposed to smell like floral arrangements, I was wondering if I was as fresh as I could be. For instance, in college, as I experimented more sexually, I wasn’t as excited about my boyfriend’s choice to go down on me as most would be, because my mind wasn’t on him as much as it was on my lady parts. There came a point where I couldn’t wait for him to be done so I could stop feeling like I got caught with streaks in my underwear or something.

In an article for Women’s Health, sex educator Logan Levkoff stated that many women are self-conscious when they really don’t need to be: “We are overly sensitive and insecure about the smell of our v*ginas. And we are far harder on it than any partner would be.” It was pointed out that women are so self-conscious about the smell their bodies make that many aren’t fully enjoying 0-ral sex (“the prime gateway to orgasm”).

And that’s true about what men think of your scent. Unless you smell terrible, most men don’t find your scent to be anything but wonderful. Whenever I asked said boyfriends if I smelled any sort of way, they would say no, it just smelled like a v*ginas. Thanks, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. Going to the gynecologist was even a terribly uncomfortable thing, and not just because of the pap smear…

I bought Summer’s Eve and thought it was going to change things for the better, but in all honesty, aside from using it when finishing my cycle, these feminine washes messed with my natural odor and PH balance, only to make me smell a lot worse than I originally did. No matter what I tried or did, I was more and more uncomfortable about my lady bits than ever.

That was until I did some research and started having real conversations with other women, only to find that yes, v*ginas do smell. They all have a smell, and in fact the smell is one that men are supposed to be biologically attracted to. I learned that I’m not the only one who gets paranoid about her v*ginas from time to time. Even today, when I asked a co-worker whether or not she ever worried about the way her lady parts smelled, she laughed a hearty, loud chuckle and eventually stopped to surprisingly say, “Yes.” It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone, and in fact, Eve Ensler,  the playwright behind The V*gina Monologues, cleared the air for me in a defiant, hilarious and honest bit about it all:

“My v*gina doesn’t need to be cleaned up. It smells good already. Don’t try to decorate. Don’t believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it’s supposed to smell like p***y. That’s what they’re doing — trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden. All those douche sprays — floral, berry, rain. I don’t want my p***y to smell like rain. All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cook it. I want to taste the fish. That’s why I ordered it.”

After finding that my partner paid absolutely no attention to any odors or scents (he stays down there by the way *winks*) and that, per the usual, I’m not the only person who ever wondered if my ish did or didn’t stank, I’ve become pretty comfortable with my v*ginas. I know how it smells on a daily basis, and the minute it doesn’t smell that way, I’ve decided that THAT’S when I need to worry. So no, it doesn’t smell like fruits and berries and poppies and roses, but as long as it smells healthy and smells like me, I’m good. Besides, I haven’t received any complaints yet…

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