LIFESTYLE
07/03/2018 19:05 SAST | Updated 07/03/2018 22:58 SAST

Vanilla-Scented Oral Sex Underwear For Women Exists ... But Should It?

"It's a vagina. Not a Yankee Candle," writes a Canadian OB-GYN.

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Hey, you know all those times when you really wanted oral sex, but you weren't comfortable saying "yes" to your partner because your vagina didn't smell and taste like a frosted cupcake?

There's a panty for that.

"Lorals: The World's First Oral Sex Panties" are currently looking for backers on IndieGoGo (they've already raised $17,000), and just became available for pre-order. Described on IndieGoGo as "barely-there panties that let you feel fresh anytime," to help you "get more oral and more orgasms," Lorals are thin latex underwear that "create a vanilla-scented barrier to tastes and fluids."

Unlike dental dams, the single-use underwear aren't meant to protect against sexually transmitted infections, but are designed to help a woman "forget about worries or concerns and enjoy the moment!"

"It's a vagina, not a Yankee Candle"

While some have celebrated Lorals for helping to "close the orgasm gap," others — including a well-known Canadian-born OB-GYN — are calling out the product for pushing the message that women aren't fresh enough to receive oral sex au naturel.

"It's a vagina, not a Yankee Candle," Dr. Jennifer Gunter wrote in her popular blog, which she often uses to debunk medical content on the internet (let's just say she's not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website, Goop).

"Ladies, we are apparently not fresh enough for oral sex unless we have showered a millisecond before lips meet lips," Gunter wrote.

"The message that woman aren't having oral sex because they feel unfresh and that the remedy is vanilla scented latex underwear is wrong. Never mind that vaginal freshness isn't affected by not showering, suggesting women wear vanilla scented underwear to be 'fresh enough' has more in common with a Lysol douche than anything else."

The vagina should smell (and not like a scented candle)

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Vaginas have their own natural scent, and women shouldn't use products to try to mask it, according to the Canadian Women's Health Network.

"Unfortunately, there is an entire industry built around 'feminine hygiene' based on the idea that the vagina smells bad," the network said on its website.

The Mayo Clinic echoes the sentiment, writing on its website that a slight vaginal odour is "normal."

"Vaginal odour may vary throughout your menstrual cycle and may be especially noticeable right after having sex. Normal sweating also can cause a vaginal odour. Though it may be tempting to douche or use a vaginal deodorant to decrease vaginal odour, these products may actually increase irritation and other vaginal symptoms," The Mayo Clinic wrote.

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The Canadian Women's Health Network does not recommend douching, vaginal sprays or deodorants, scented pads or tampons, or scented soaps for use on the vulva.

"The vagina cleans itself. It regularly flushes out dead cells and maintains a delicate acidic balance," the network said.

Lorals are meant to make women feel comfortable

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Lorals aren't meant to shame women, but to help them overcome any self-consciousness they might feel and, ultimately, enjoy more orgasms from oral sex, CEO Melanie Cristol said in an interview with Fast Company.

"Women turn down oral sex for many different reasons," Cristol said.

"They might be concerned that they haven't showered yet, have just come back from the gym, or are on the tail end of their period. They might be worried about how their sexual partner feels about tastes and scents."

"The reasons are varied. And we all deserve oral," the IndieGoGo page says.

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality found that men (63 per cent) are more likely than women (44 per cent) to receive oral sex, although any potential reasons for the gap didn't mention perceived vagina freshness. In fact, 52 per cent of the men who gave oral sex to women said they enjoyed it "very much."

There are other ways

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But not this way.

If it really is the case that women turn down oral sex because of their vaginal odours, there are other options, Gunter said in her blog.

"The next step is not to reinforce that false belief or to profit from it, the answer is to educate any male partners who think this way and to empower women to be proud of how they look, smell and taste," she wrote.

"And if your vulva is a little sweaty and that bothers you wouldn't it be easier and more effective to take a quick swipe with a wet facecloth than to put on a pair of latex underwear?"

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