Here I am. Ready to discuss something that a lot of us think about yet aren't necessarily or entirely comfortable with discussing — the smell of our coochie. First, let me say that anything that has to do with what makes us a woman is something that we should be cool with talking about (straight up). Then let me add that before getting into these 10 points, if you are trying to make your vagina smell like a bed of roses or a fruit basket, that is never gonna happen. The reality is our vaginas house a ton of bacteria — both good and bad. This means that sometimes it's gonna smell a little on the sour side (like tangy-like). Other times, it may smell like a copper penny (like around our periods). Other times, it may mimic molasses; still not a big deal. The main thing to look out for is a fishy odor or an ammonia-like scent. If this is the case, that typically points to an infection of some sort (one you should see your doctor about).
However, if the smell you're currently dealing with is more in the lane of body odor (which usually happens due to a lot of trapped sweat which is why you should almost always wear cotton undies) or one that is just not-so-fresh, I've got a few things that can help to get things back on track, so that you can feel more confident about how things are looking — well, smelling — down below.
1. Balance Your Vagina’s pH
When it comes to this point in particular, I actually just recently wrote an entire article on it. If you check out "Sis, This Is How To Keep Your Vagina's pH Balanced" on our platform, you can learn more about what a pH balance actually is, things that can throw it way off and how to get it "back to the middle" (cue India. Arie). For now, I'll just say that when it comes to keeping your vagina smelling like it's supposed to, a lot of the other "hacks" that I'm about to share wouldn't be all that necessary if your pH level is straight. However, the following nine can play a direct and significant role in helping to make that happen, so let's keep going.
2. Eat Less of Sulfur Foods
Sulfur is interesting in the sense that it's a chemical in your body that helps your system to produce various amino acids. Because of this, it's beneficial in fighting dandruff, relieving allergy-related symptoms, lowering high cholesterol levels, clearing up acne, helping to unclog arteries and so much more. That's the good part. The downside is it can cause your vagina to smell not so great because sulfur has a bit of a bad egg smell due to some of the compounds that it oftentimes contains. For this reason, eating a ton of foods that have sulfur in it could make your vagina smell a little on the unpleasant side. So, if you're a huge fan of stuff like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, eggs, walnuts, beef or turkey — while I'm not saying to go without these foods (because they are also really good for you), if you sense that your vagina isn't smelling so great, scale back and see what happens. Less sulfur in your system might just be the key.
3. Consume Kefir
Gee. I wish I had become a fan of kefir a lot earlier in life because, now that it's a part of my diet, I can really tell the difference.
If you're not familiar with what it is, kefir is a fermented food (in drink form) that has the texture and consistency of liquid yogurt yet a probiotic content (two to 10 billion colony-forming units compared to the mere 50 million that's in yogurt) that is totally off of the chain. This is good to know because, within your vagina, there is both good and bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria takes over, not only can that result in irritating health issues like a yeast infection, it can also cause odors from that area to arise.
So, whether you choose to drink kefir straight or do something like pour it into a smoothie, try and add it to your regimen. Like I said, I have and have absolutely no regrets.
4. Snack on Pineapples and Watermelon
Speaking of consuming things that will make your vagina smell better, anything that will help to give your immune system a boost is always a good idea — including foods that are loaded with Vitamin C. The reason why I specifically listed pineapple and watermelon here is because they both are great at promoting gut health (which also helps your vagina to smell good and healthy). Also, while your vagina will never taste like a pint of ice cream (it wasn't designed to), the extra antioxidants in both of these fruits can help it seem, just a little bit on the sweeter side.
5. Take a Neem Oil Supplement
Something else that you might want to consider doing is taking a neem oil supplement.
Neem is a natural herb that has some pretty potent antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties in it. This is good to know because, when it comes to your vagina, not only can it help to speed up the healing process of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes (it doesn't replace antibiotics, it just helps your system to recover faster), it can also help to protect vaginal infections from occurring — ones that could result in your vagina being not so fresh.
While some people like to soak in neem leaves or drink it in tea form, another route is to take a neem oil supplement. As a bonus, the fatty acids in it can help your skin to glow as it fights aging signs.
6. Use a Menstrual Cup
Although I used to wear them in college and a part of my 20s, on this side of wisdom, I'm not a fan of tampons. Like my mother used to oftentimes say, "that blood is designed to flow out". Indeed. As far as pads go, besides all of those fibers not being the best for the environment, they can actually be the cause of vaginal odor during our cycle. While I was in my 40s before I got a hold of a menstrual cup, it really has been life-changing for me. It's comfortable. There's far less leaking. And I don't smell a thing. So, if you've yet to try one, maybe this will be the lil' push that you need to at least give one a try. (By the way, if you have a high cervix like I do, the one that I adore on a whole 'nother level is the INTIMINA Lily Cup. Thank me later.)
7. Drink Mint Water
Something that your vagina is full of is mucous membranes. Basically, they provide a protective fluid inside of your vagina. In order for them to function properly, you need to consume the standard 6-8 glasses of water on a daily basis. If you really want to be intentional about your vagina smelling good, add some fresh mint to your glass. Mint contains antibacterial properties that reduce bacteria all throughout your system, your vagina included. Mint is also high in fiber which helps to keep you regular which helps to keep toxins out of your system — which is always good when you want to smell great in your nether regions.
8. Put Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda into Your Bathwater
Something that I personally think kinda sucks yet "such is life" is the fact that hot showers and baths have a tendency to throw our pH balance off. So, what temp should your water be? From what I've researched, it needs to be just a tad above your normal body temperature which puts it at around 90° F and 105° F (32° C – 40° C). Anyway, on the days when you want to take a long soak (check out "Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?"), it can't hurt to pour a cup of apple cider vinegar (the kind with the mother) and a half cup of baking soda into your tub. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in the vinegar will flush out toxins and remove bacteria from your vagina (and vulva) while the baking soda will help to deodorize your genitals. For the record, you don't need to do this every time. Just when you notice that your vagina is a little "too tart" smelling, your vagina/vulva is irritated or you want to feel a little extra fresh.
9. Make a Peppermint or Oregano Oil Spray
Oregano is an herb that derives from the mint family. As far as your vaginal health is concerned, some people use it as a way to fight the overgrowth of candida; that's because it contains really potent antibacterial properties, the kind that fight "bad bacteria". That's why you might want to also make an oregano spray out of distilled water and pure oregano oil. Just fill a small spray bottle up and add 10 drops of oregano oil. If you're about to go work out, spray a bit of the combo onto your pubic mound (not directly into your vagina). It can fight odor-causing bacteria so that odors won't arise.
10. Practice Proper After-Sex Protocol
Sperm/semen can throw your vagina's pH levels way off which can also result in your vagina not smelling too awesome. That's just one more reason to go with a condom when you're getting it in (check out "10 Things You Should DEFINITELY Know About Condoms" and "10 Ways To Make Using A Condom So Much More Pleasurable"). Yet if that's not how you get down, while it might seem all romantic 'n stuff to lay up with your partner for hours after climaxing (I mean, here's hoping, right?), it really is a good idea to follow a bit of an after-sex protocol which includes peeing right after sex and taking a bath, if you can.
An article that I wrote for the platform entitled, "Here's How To Care For Your Vagina AFTER Sex" can give you a play by play breakdown. I mean, it's not like he can't join you in the water if you want (check out "So, This Is How To Make Shower Sex So Much Better"). That way, you can get a 2-for-1 deal — another round and a healthy va-jay-jay. Simultaneously. Dope.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood