7 Gross (And Common) Vagina Odors That You Need To Know About

Have you ever read a romance novel? Or some sort of smutty piece of fiction? I’m no expert, but as someone who has read a few sexy scenes in my time, I’m going to share something that has always infuriated me: Descriptions of vaginas as smelling (and tasting) good. Like, give me a break. There’s no way that their lover’s vagina tastes like honey and smells like roses. Vaginas generally don’t smell very good, and here’s a little secret: It’s okay. It’s…it’s really okay. Bodies don’t generally smell very good by default, which is why we cover ourselves in nice smelling lotions and perfumes. The vagina isn’t an exception. Why should the vagina–an area of the body that is very enclosed and surrounded by hair, skin folds, and fabric most of the time–smell like a Bath and Body Works?

So, we’ve established that vaginas aren’t meant to smell particularly good. But let me be clear: They’re not supposed to totally reek either. The distinction matters, so I don’t want you to assume that just because vaginas aren’t supposed to smell like fresh cookies, that your vagina that has a distinctly fish-like smell recently is totally normal…because it’s not. Check out these seven vaginal odors that you need to know about so you’ll know if your vagina smell passes the okay test.


This is likely the most common smell you'll experience from the ol' vag. Just that musky smell of skin and sweat. It's more pronounced when you're wearing tight clothing like skinny jeans, leggings, or tight undies. Make sure to give your vagina some air, especially if you're prone to yeast infections. Try sleeping underwear free at night!

Some Girls


Yes, your vagina isn't supposed to smell great. But it definitely isn't supposed to smell like a fish market in the hot sun either. A fishy smelling vagina is a major red flag for bacterial vaginosis, which is a very common vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. It could also be a case of trichomoniasis, which is a STI, but ultra curable. Both are usually accompanied by thick, grayish or white discharge. Whatever it is, go to the doctor and get checked out ASAP. You don't deserve fish vag, okay?



You know that smell that's kind of like...coins that have been in your hand for too long? Or, like, the smell of waterlogged metal. That rusty kind of smell that's kind of metallic? Don't sweat it if you're at the tail end of your period. That smell is likely just old menstrual blood. It could also be semen. Both can alter the PH of your vagina, which can alter the smell as well. If you experience this smell nowhere near that time of the month, go to a doc and make sure nothing is wrong.



If your vagina sort of smells like it's in the process of baking some bread or it smells like musty beer, you might have a yeast infection. But remember that often times, yeast infections don't smell, so watch out for other signs like chunky vaginal discharge, itching, or redness down there,

Cherry Glazerr/Vevo


I mean, there are a lot of different rotten smells. You're probably more familiar with the smell of rotten sandwich meat or vegetables in the back of your fridge than the smell of a rotten body, but you just know that smell when something is past its expiration. Well, your vagina, frankly, ain't supposed to smell like something expired. If your vagina smells like this, the likely culprit is that you accidentally left a tampon up your cooch and haven't fished it out yet. Yeah, this happens, and maybe it happened to you. The solution is to get it out ASAP and, if you feel kind of funny (or your vag still smells like butt), go make an appointment with a gynecologist. They've heard it all before, trust me.

Broad City


There's a lot of debate on whether or not your diet can have a major impact on the way your vagina smells or tastes, but you'll always find anecdotal evidence claiming that it does. Some say that eating citrus fruits like pineapple or grapefruit can make the vagina smell a little sweet. Honestly, it's probably not the most delectable sweet smell; you're not going to smell like peaches and cream. It's probably like...a little sweet mixed with a lot of musky sweat. Don't bother trying to achieve sweet smelling vag status, though; there's a good chance nothing down there will change.


Straight Up Poop

Eugh, okay, this is very rare but it can happen: If your vagina smells suspiciously like feces, you might be experiencing rectovaginal fistula, a condition in which a rupture in the wall between the vagina and the rectum allows feces to seep into the vagina. Yes, I know, gross, but if this is happening to you, please see a doctor ASAP. Please.


Are you surprised by anything on this list? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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