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Self-Conscious About Smell During Oral Sex

Hump Day: Does My Body Smell Bad?

Welcome to Hump Day, TrèsSugar's sex advice column. If you have questions about sex, send them to TrèsSugar, and our friend Dr. Charlie Glickman from Good Vibrations will offer his sound advice!

Today's question:

“Do guys mind the smell down there? How can I feel less self-conscious about it?”

To see Dr. Glickman's advice,


A lot of guys LOVE the way that women’s vulvas and vaginas smell. It’s really unfortunate that there are so many messages that tell us that these parts of the body are dirty or smell bad, because they make a lot of women feel bad about themselves and they make a lot of men feel bad for their appreciation of women’s scents.

It’s also a problem because plenty of women are so concerned about the way they smell (and taste, for that matter) that they use all sorts of harsh cleaning products like douches or strong soap to try to fix it. These products often throw the natural balance of the vagina off, which can cause yeast infections, vaginal bacteriosis or worse. Those can smell pretty unpleasant, but it’s the result of the product. A mild, unscented soap on the vulva (the external parts) is all you really need. Having said that, it is possible that the way you smell is a sign that there’s something going on. If you have a discharge, itchiness, or redness, get checked out by a doctor.


The vagina is self-cleaning and tends to come back into balance on its own. Still, some women find that they get yeast infections really often, which may be a signal that their vaginal balance is thrown out of whack a bit more easily than most. Other women report that certain lubricants or condoms cause irritation, so changing brands can help resolve a possible problem. Some women have found that their diet was affecting how they smell. For that matter, I’ve heard from women who were getting vaginal irritation because of something on their partner’s skin. Washing well before sex can help a lot, but one woman whose partner was a painter (and always had some paint on his hands) discovered that she needed him to use latex gloves to keep the paint residue out of her vagina. It was a very simple fix and well worth the effort.

Try wearing loose underwear made from cotton or other breathable materials. This allows air to circulate and reduces how much your skin sweats. Sleeping in loose nightgowns, a t-shirt, or nothing at all does the same.

As far as your comfort goes (and assuming that you don’t have a yeast infection or such), you might find that you’re more relaxed if you shower before sex. A lot of people like to make that part of their warm-up and bathing together can certainly be lots of fun. It’s also important to remember that a healthy vagina has some scent to it, just like any other part of the body. Learning to recognize the difference between the healthy scent and the odor that says that there’s something going on can be really useful.

You may also want to explore what messages you’ve heard or learned about your vagina or about sex. A lot of women have been told so many times that their sex organs are dirty or nasty, and that can make you hypersensitive when it comes to how you smell. And if you have a partner who has judgments about your body, pass this link along, or check out this article on

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Girl101 Girl101 7 years
I tend to agree with Venus, I shower before I left him near me down there. As for shaving, smooth is just so much better (in my opinion and I know others disagree, just my and my husbands opinion) in terms of appearance, cleanliness and desirability.
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
I once commented on a similar post elsewhere which resulted in some unkind remarks about my bi-sexuality, I hope SUgar has a more mature audience. From a personal point of view I do like to jump in the shower first before someone goes near me, particularly as I prefer to make love in the mornings. As someone who goes for girls as well as boys there is nothing unpleasant about the smell or the taste of a healthy woman. Obviously if you have had a long day it's nice to shower first and I agree with Jannine's comments about pubic hair which is one of the reasons I shave smooth.
Janine22 Janine22 7 years
If you are certain that you do not have an infection which may cause you to smell weird (such as bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection), and you have good personal hygiene then I am sure that you smell fine. As the linked article says, just make sure that you wash the external parts daily with a very gentle, unscented soap and do not ever use douches or scented tampons. If you are uncomfortable you can wash your vulva before sex or use baby wipes (don't use them all of the time because they can cause chafing or irritation if you use them too often). Also, I would suggest that you trim your pubic hair because more hair can make you sweat more down there. Use condoms (with a good quality natural lubricant) always for safety and because when a guy comes in you it came make you smell funky. Other than that, ask your partner how he feels about your smell and tell him that you feel self conscious. A good guy will reassure you that he loves the way that you smell and make you feel comfortable. Good luck and remember that most guys love the way that women smell.
lauraxtc lauraxtc 7 years
I just always make sure to stay clean and never let a man get near me If i know I have had a long day. I wouldn't want to be remembered as the girl who smelled bad and didn't even had the decency to give her partner a heads up. I do however enjoy oral. I just make sure I am clean for the occasion. :)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Wow I can't believe I'm the first to comment here but just f.y.i. ladies being a guy I have over heard many chats between my straight male brethren. Although some have made comments regarding a strong smell at times they all agree they love pleasuring their women that way regardless.
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