Have you ever had a sexual partner go down on you, only to emerge from under the sheets five seconds later, gasping for air?
OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic ... and if anyone's actually done that to you - well, you might just be sleeping with an insensitive jerk.
But let’s be honest: Genitals don’t taste like candy. The vagina has been described as having a metallic, sweet, spicy, or bitter taste to it. The taste of semen has been commonly described as bitter or salty. And while a partner who's sexually attracted to you is more likely to be attracted to your own personal brand, keeping things fresh down there is kinda like using breath mints - not necessary, but nice.
Why You Taste Like You Do
Many different factors contribute to the way your vagina tastes: your sweat, the breathability of your underwear, the laundry detergent you use, how clean you keep things down there, and what you eat.
Most vulva-owners also get the extra perk of dealing with menstrual hygiene when Aunt Flo comes for a visit. Let's be honest, periods can be messy for all vulva-owners, and some menstrual products don't really make life any easier. I mean, maxi pads are basically a feminine diaper, and cotton tampons just chill out absorbing all (or let's be more realistic, SOME) of Aunt Flow's loveliness and drip the rest down on to a pad or your underwear. It's no surprise that that vaginas smell and taste a bit coppery after chilling with its blood-soaked comrades for days on end.
Luckily, there are alternatives. Enter the menstrual cup! If you're a vulva-owner, you've probably hear of these nifty devices. Sleek, easily insertable cups made of medical grade silicone that tuck themselves up next to your pubic bone and chill out for 12 hours. Goodbye risk of toxic shock syndrome and smelly, soggy cotton!
Some, like the Intimina Ziggy Cup, can even been worn during sex!
Yup, that's right, DURING SEX.
Vulva-owners shouldn't feel like they have to avoid sexual intimacy during period just because of a little blood. (Although, let's be honest, some people are into the blood, which is cool too!) So, if you've got a partner that's not a fan of the coppery taste, cups like these can help ease some of that during your period (but remember, periods are nothing to be grossed out or embarrassed about!).
Here's a fun penis fact: Semen contains only one percent sperm. The remaining 99 percent is composed of proteins, vitamins, sugars, salts, cholesterol and water used to protect, feed and fuel the sperm. That’s the reason why diet can have such an impact on how semen tastes.
So, while good hygiene will certainly improve the overall oral experience for a guy's partner, it won't make the result any more palatable. What a man eats, however, might.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at some of the foods that are believed to have an effect on how we taste below the waist.
Pineapple Upside Down ... Cupcake
The vagina is acidic. Pineapple, as well as other citrus fruits, like oranges or grapefruit, helps to balance its delicate PH balance and add a bit of sweetness to those secretions.
Not to mention, citruses are also great at alleviating some of those super fun period side effects, like bloating and mood swings. So, if you're on your period, grab yourself a menstrual cup, some citrus fruits and go to town!
The pH balance of semen is alkaline, so eating acidic fruits will help make it taste sweeter. Because pineapple has more acidity than other citrus fruits, it works the best out of all of them.
Cinnamon, and Spice and Everything Nice
Cinnamon, which is an alkaline spice, neutralizes the acidic taste of the vagina. It's also mildly antibiotic, and there's some evidence that it can help treat an active yeast infection. Better vaginal balance means better taste.
There’s a popular myth going around that goes like this: if a guy eats cinnamon, his semen will taste like cinnamon. This is true, to an extent. It won't make semen taste like cinnamon gum, but at least anecdotally, people says it sweetens the taste. Hey, it works for your breath, right? Don’t like cinnamon? Cardamom, peppermint, or lemon are also believed to do the trick.
Because celery is high in water and Vitamin C, it works wonders to reduce any bitter taste the vagina may have. Vitamin C is very effective in restoring the ecology of vaginal bacteria and promoting the growth of healthy flora.
For those looking to ease period related smells, celery is a handy vegetable to keep in mind. Since celery is mostly water, it helps to keep you hydrated, which also helps to dilute the fluid, tissue, bacteria and mucus that your body expels during your period.
That said, if your smell or taste seems really off, drop the celery stick, skip the oral and head to the doctor: That can mean infection.
Straight Up Celery Stick
Celery, as well as parsley and wheat grass, has a high chlorophyll content. That's believed to help sweeten the taste of semen ... along with just about anything else that grows and doesn't stink.
Yogurt must contain active live cultures to neutralize the taste of the vagina. Eating one four-ounce serving of yogurt a day helps add probiotics to the body and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your nether regions. That means minimal taste and odor, not to mention better health. (Psst! Wearing a menstrual cup instead of a tampon can help prevent vaginal nastiness as well because they reduce the growth of vaginal bacteria. Get yours here.)
Most sources suggest that men should avoid yogurt. It may work well for the ladies, but yogurt and other dairy products are said to negatively affect the taste of semen. A study out of Harvard University also found that high consumption of high-fat dairy products can reduce sperm quality.
Cranberry juice naturally counters bacteria in the urinary tract system. It also helps keep pH levels balanced, which is good for keeping things from getting funky down below.
Cranberry juice increases the body’s acidity, which helps balance the alkalinity of semen. As a result, eating cranberries can reduce the saltiness of semen and sweeten it a bit.
The Enemies of Oral Sex
A lot of red meat can create a sharp, salty taste.
The high bacterial putrefaction levels in cheese and other dairy products (except for natural yogurt) can create a salty or bitter flavor.
Anything that'll give you bad breath or smelly gas is a no-go. That means things like garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus.
It'll make you taste fishy (duh).
Junk food is loaded with chemicals and preservatives that pollute your body and can contribute to bacterial imbalance. The same goes for fried foods.
The Bottom Line
Can a coochie ever really taste like a cupcake? Um, no, it can't, and your partner shouldn't expect it to. After all, anyone's who's got their face in your crotch probably isn't seeking out a snack.
Even if you're on your period, your vaginal smell and taste are what they are. Menstrual cups can help keep you clean and make period play less bloody, but at the end of the day, you're bleeding! There's no way to make that smell or taste completely go away until your period ends (and you shouldn't have to!).
Think of a fancy crotch diet like dabbing on some cologne; it's something you can do to please your partner, or they can take you as you are. Either way, as long as you're clean and healthy, your sexual juices should taste just fine.
Intimina menstrual cups are available at your nearest CVS store.