You Need Help: Vulvas Taste Like Vulvas

I got this question in my inbox just last week, and I bumped it to the top of the queue because my heart goes out to the person who wrote this. Again, we’re going to publish almost the entire letter because the context here is very important:

Hi Ali. I stumbled across your article in a nervous google search about oral sex. I have recently “come out” as bisexual (a label that has followed me for years, but I have only just now accepted) and I have my first girlfriend. She is incredible, and I adore her. We have been friends for years and recently told each other of our feelings — I mean, it was a lesbian Nicholas Sparks moment and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

But here is what I hope you can help me with. She’s going to come visit me in a couple weeks, and I’m so excited to have sex with her I can’t stand it. I’ve had female sexual experiences before, but I have always been on the receiving end. I want to go down on her, but I’m afraid that I won’t like it. I’ve heard so many horror stories from guys (…even guys I’ve dated, who have been referencing me) about how gross vaginas taste. I will wash myself and drink cranberry juice and keep as healthy and hydrated as possible, but some guys still think I’m disgusting. Based on those experiences, I’m terrified I’m going to think the same way about her or she may think the same way about me. I’m so scared, Ali. I want her to be happy, and I would just die if I made her feel anything less than beautiful.

Please, when you have a moment, could you offer me some advice on the subject? Anything would help. Thank you so much.

Oh, honey, let’s chat.

This Whole Thing Tastes Like the Patriarchy

And I don’t mean your vulva tastes like the patriarchy, or that vulvas in general taste like the patriarchy. I mean the idea that vulvas inherently taste bad tastes like the patriarchy. It’s no secret that the world hates women, and while your ex-boyfriends or guy friends might not hate women themselves, we’re all part of a system that shits on women and anything remotely related to women. Traditionally female-dominated professions are constantly deemed less than traditionally male-dominate professions (nurse v. doctor, for example). Motherhood is constantly undervalued even though parenting is really difficult, and men get flack if they’re the primary parent because that’s generally seen as women’s work. And vulvas are constantly portrayed as icky things that bleed for five days. Though not all women have vaginas and not all vaginas are attached to women, there is a pattern here and I feel like this is part of it. And to illustrate how that pattern may be dictating the way people think about vulvas and their merits as a taste, I would like to tell you a story about grapes.

I was babysitting this kid and his best friend at school didn’t like grapes. So he decided out of the blue that he thought they tasted yucky too — his mother was super frustrated because it was like a light switch, one second he liked them and the next he didn’t. I’m sure he actually believed that they tasted yucky. Like, I’m sure it wasn’t just he thought his friend was cool so he pretended he didn’t like grapes. I actually think his best friend convinced him that they truly tasted bad, and so they began to taste bad for real. But pondering whether or not he was pretending didn’t solve the problem; he couldn’t live on bread and cookies, he actually needed to eat some fruit and grapes were easy and not messy. To get him to just eat the darn grapes, I rebranded them (this kid was young enough where this still worked). I was in college at the time and he was obsessed with going to college one day too. So I sat down with a giant bowl of grapes and started eating them. Except I didn’t call them grapes. I called them “college kid fruit.”

We were eating grapes within fifteen minutes.

I tell this story here because I think if we as a culture rebranded this particular taste the way I rebranded grapes, a lot less people would have “but it tastes bad” in the back of their mind when they first experience it. Think about it — people are unwilling to try foods their particular culture deems weird. Like Americans have this strange hang up about escargot? It’s actually really tasty if you eat things that were once alive, but so many people won’t go near it because everyone else is telling them that it tastes bad. The shit part is that people talking about the taste of vulvas aren’t as easily persuaded that they’re wrong.

This is all well and good, but it doesn’t solve your particular problem or answer your particular question. I just wanted you to know that this idea isn’t without its context, and that its context is might be distorting these horror stories you’ve heard. Which brings me to something way more specific…

Your Ex-Boyfriends Are Total Jerks

Yup. This heading speaks for itself and I don’t feel the need to expound upon this any further. Telling you that you taste bad is, like, super mean. End of story. Discount everything they said on the topic right now.

Personally, I Don’t Think Vulvas Taste Bad

I just don’t. I think they taste pretty wonderful, actually. I understand, though, that it’s a brand new thing you’re about to do and it’s the unknown punctuated by the mythos that’s getting you down. It would help if you knew what was coming, right? The thing is, I can’t describe for you what you’re likely to encounter for a few reasons. The first is that vulva generally doesn’t taste like anything I can compare it too. Vulva just tastes…like vulva. It’s a unique thing that is all in its own category. And the second is that not only does everyone’s vulva taste different, but one person’s vulva can taste different each time you put your tongue on it. Once I was going down on my girlfriend at the time and I shit you not, she tasted like a strawberry-banana smoothie. That was not normal for her and we don’t know what happened that day to make it so, but it happened. And that’s okay. And it’s okay that it never happened again after that. It’s true that what you eat and drink can impact how you taste, but so can a lot of other things. Your mood, your stress level, the goddamn weather. Okay, maybe not the weather, but your unpredictable environment can impact your body in all sorts of unpredictable ways, and not everyone’s body is affected by the same things. It would be crazy-making to try to eat and drink only things that make you taste like a popsicle, especially when that’s not guaranteed nor is that necessarily desirable. Like I said, I like the taste of vulva. I also like the taste of popsicles. I don’t really want them to be one in the same.

It’s Also Okay If You Need to Acquire the Taste

In the true spirit of boiling things down to a binary as society so often loves to do, I also hear from many the opposite sentiment: that vulvas are the food o’ the gods, that it tastes like a mix of ambrosia and rose petals and that a choir of angels with alternative lifestyle haircuts serenades you every time you taste it and if you think anything different you are neither gay enough nor feminist enough. Also not true. Like I said, vulva tastes like vulva, and sometimes you’ve got to try it a few times to really appreciate it. The first time I experienced wine, I didn’t finish my glass. It was too weird and bitter and alcoholy for me. And now it’s one of my favorite things. I love wine. And it wouldn’t hurt to point out that my love of wine really took off when I lived in France, steeped in a culture where wine is not only a normal part of a meal, but important and valued. Just food for thought. So if you taste it for the first time and you’re like, meh, that’s okay too. So let’s talk about what you should do in the moment — keep in mind, these are only “in my opinion” and I’m sure our commenters will have other, different ideas. Keep in mind also that you are different from me and I am different from that reader over there who is different from our senior editors — this advice is merely one opinion and it may work for you or not. But it’s all options to think about.

Your Vulva Tasting Checklist

1. Reframe this experience in your mind so you’re a little less terrified going in. I can see doing this one of two ways — first, you can try reframing it as nothing more than trying a brand new food. That’s a fairly low-stress experience for most because the worst that happens is — nothing, actually. Because even if you’re meh on the taste, you’ve had a miniature adventure. There is no bad thing that happens. Well, I mean, unless you’re allergic to the new food but the odds are in your favor that you won’t be allergic to her vulva. Or you could reframe it as an opportunity to connect to this wonderful new person in your life. Now that has the potential to backfire in a way — some people get super stressed by the that. But you’re into her and this is one more evening you get to spend together and one more thing you get to do together.

2. Hygiene is always good. And cleaning yourself should happen all the time, even if no one’s gonna be downstairs that night. Make sure you wash behind your ears, too! But seriously, don’t scrub or be self-conscious about it, just do as you normally would. Here are a few vagina hygiene tips and tricks. Also keep in mind that if you find either one of y’all has an extremely pungent smell or taste to the point where you’re like, “hmmm, that doesn’t really seem normal for me,” you want to talk to your gyno. You might have something like bacterial vaginosis, which can alter the way a hoo-ha tastes and smells.

3. If you’re scared because you’ve never done this before, remember that she hasn’t either. It doesn’t matter how many other vulvas she’s put her tongue on, none of them have been yours and vulvas are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike.

4. If you find you really like the taste, feel free to compliment (I mean, if they’re the type to like talking during sex, not everyone does)! If you find that you need to acquire the taste, compliment her on any number of other things that are awesome. Just because in every porn or movie with a sex scene we hear someone say, “Oh baby, you taste so good!” doesn’t mean that phrase is obligatory or even expected. Other possible things to compliment include but are not limited to:

-that sexy noise she just made
-how good she feels on your lips/tongue
-her completion of her thesis/her promotion at her job/how smart she is in general
-how she just gets you and makes you feel so at ease
-her choice of date outfit
-her choice of pubic hair style
-how beautiful she/her vulva is

Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be your jerky ex-boyfriends, so if you find you need a couple of tries to really get into the taste, just focus on how good she’s making you feel and how good you’re making her feel when you comment on the sex you just had/are having.

5. I know it’s tempting to substitute vulva taste for something you’re familiar with on your first go, but please steer clear of flavored lubes. Firstly, they all taste like that weird blue medicine and they never ever ever taste what they say they’re going to taste like so you’re more likely to be thrown off by it than not. Second, most of these flavored lubes contain glycerin, which many vagina-having folks are sensitive to because it’s basically a yeast infection invitation. There was one flavored lube that came up in the comments of our Lube Guide as being okay, but I can’t fully endorse that one because it contains aspartame and I’m sensitive to that. Basically I have yet to find a flavored lube that I can recommend, so I just don’t recommend it at all.

6. Keep in mind that not every sexual encounter needs to include oral sex. And I know you super want to do this, but if either or both of you aren’t into it that night, don’t stress it. It’ll happen when you both really want it.

7. If you discover after a few tries that you’re not into oral sex, remember this Venn Diagram, courtesy of Intern Geneva:

sex-venn-diagram

Pick from the bits that intersect!

Darling reader, I wish you the best of luck and amazing sex. And remember, if we just never tried things because we were afraid we won’t like them, life would be very boring indeed.

Oh, And One More Thing—

Could someone please explain Nicholas Sparks to me? I just don’t get the appeal but everyone else does so I think I might be weird/missing something? Reader, perhaps you could do an advice column for me re: Nicholas Sparks.


Have a question about sex? Email me at ali [at] autostraddle.com, PM me on Autostraddle or for a completely anonymous experience you can ask me a question right here.

Please keep your questions to around, at most, 100 words. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.


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Freelance writer and fiction author, Geekery Editor for Autostraddle.com and Fiction Editor for qu.ee/r Magazine. Keep up with her at her website.

Ali has written 272 articles for us.

98 Comments

  1. Thumb up 41

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    Can I be first in line to give all these ex-boyfriends a big fat virtual punch in the face? (Although really to be fair, I think I just pity them? They are seriously missing out on one of life’s greatest delights.)

  2. Thumb up 27

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    Holy moley – what a fantastic response. Seriously. I’ve seen this issue addressed on many blogs and this is such a well crafted answer to a problem that hinder a lot of people.

    Ali – I salute you! :::cue slow clap:::

  3. Thumb up 31

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    Sooo… this is really good, but, like… it assumes you will inevitably enjoy it eventually no matter what and makes no distinction between not being found of vulva and being a shithead who thinks it’s something you should ever comment on to your partner.

    Like, some people DON’T enjoy the taste of vulva and are STILL very queer and love their partners very much. As someone who enjoys oral sex but doesn’t like the taste of vulvas because all mucus membranes freak me out a little, here are some points for just-in-case you simply don’t end up enjoying it after a little practice:

    1 – Not everything you do in sex is about your personal preference. I’m not saying you should do things that are emotionally dangerous or triggering for you, but there are a lot of things a person can be neutral about doing that they’re still enthusiastic about performing for someone they care about. That’s the reason that kink and sex checklists usually allow for the ‘willing to try’ option. You’re willing, even if you aren’t passionately into it yourself, because you like making someone else happy.

    1b – Doing things for other people can also be sexy and arousing for you even if it ISN’T on the top of your list. The reactions you get from your partner can be utterly amazing and worthwhile regardless of if the physical act gets you off. It’s also really good for mild kink because oral performed because the other person enjoys it can be framed as both a dominant act (the power you have in doing something that makes the other person lose control) or a submissive one (allowing the other person to have a particular act you don’t love because you want to do their will).

    2 – Dental dams exist for a reason. They are safer than sex without, and give someone who doesn’t find they love the taste of vulvas the chance to get their partner off without having to deal with something that puts them off.

    3 – Oral sex in the shower. Get washed up then get the sexy on. The water will keep things a little less in-you-face lady flavored without sacrificing hotness.

    Sex is more complicated than JUST “you’ll get used to it, no worries” because sometimes you never do. I’ve been having sex with people with vulves for 11 years and it’s still something I’m squeamish about. It’s not because of the patriarchy in my own case because I assumed I’d LOVE it until I tried and was surprised.

    I’m super duper happy for anyone and everyone who loves going down on someone they love or find super hot. But there should be room for, “this isn’t my fave thing” in talks about sex because in the end, if the person doesn’t end up with the reaction you told them to expect, they feel ashamed for not being a real queer.

    • Thumb up 2

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      OH MY GOODNESS THANK YOU FOR THE DENTAL DAM SUGGESTION. The first person I went down on for some reason or another tasted really bad to me and, like, it was still an awesome sexual experience for other reasons but now I’m *terrified* of the taste of vulvas BUT THAT HELPS A LOT cause **safety** and **fun** but without all the horrors of **taste**.

    • Thumb up 4

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      Honestly, she addressed your main concern “you’re not a real queer if you don’t like X” under It’s Also Okay If You Need to Acquire the Taste. She’s addressing this particular person’s fear that -is- based on the way others have treated her in the past so she’s trying to frame this in a positive light.

      I didn’t read this article like it was the end all be all of how vulvas taste or what I would experience when tasting them. Plus, she offered links to other articles that clearly state that dental dams are an option, as well as other dietary options that vary from person to person.

      Idk, that’s my perspective anyway. The letter writer was looking for guidance and I think Ali did a great job with this article. Your points, while completely valid, are addressing this article as if it exists within a vacuum, rather than one article in a sea of other articles on the vast internet.

  4. Thumb up 17

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    This kind of helps me feel more at ease about the nebulous day in the future where i might get laid. I’ve been worried that maybe i would be gross to, uh, go down on, but reading this puts it in perspective. Especially the parallels you drew, especially especially the food one, because it makes so much sense.

    (I’m also honestly worried about doing something wrong to the nebulous, maybesomeday girlfriend in that mystical nebulous future sex day/i’ll do something wrong when she does something to me. How do you do the thing oh god i’m sorrY)

    • Thumb up 16

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      Best and most important thing to keep in mind: Sex is weird and hilarious just as much as it is awesome. But the hilarious doesn’t take away from the awesome at all.

      The first time I had sex I fell backwards off the bed and did a full somersault. It was funny, and we both cracked up, but it didn’t make the sex not great. Sometimes people do dumb things in bed, but it’s okay. If whoever you have the future sex with can’t laugh with you and help you through the confusing weirdness of first-few-times sex, they aren’t cool enough for you.

      You’ll figure out the basics pretty fast and from there it’s all about exploring and learning what things you and they like best. Think of it more like an adventure than a competition. You’re not trying medal, just to see what happens next.

        • Thumb up 3

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          Oh my god, those stories. Backflips & broken beds, oh my.

          TMI (& i hope i don’t sound needy/make people uncomfortable) but i’m really nervous about, uh, orgasming itself. I remember reading something ages ago about “your partner’s orgasm face is really pathetic but you don’t tell them that” & it’s stuck in my mind. : X I mean, i don’t have to worry about it anytime soon, but, you know how things sit your head & make you nervous.

  5. Thumb up 11

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    As you rebranded grapes, my mom rebranded lasagna after my sisters and I decided we hated it. She called it “pichewi pasta” (spelling uncertain) and it was wildly successful.

    So you could always make up a nonsense word for your girlfriend’s vulva?

  6. Thumb up 18

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    Fortunately, I grew up out of the “It’s okay to talk about vulvas” loop so I honestly had little to no preconceived notions about taste. Plus, I was sexually active with other girls at a relatively young age which meant I thought I knew everything…ah, I was so wrong. My first experience was really awesome and I thought, “This is amazing! I NEED MORE OF THIS GLORIOUS TASTE RIGHT MEOW.” So, when my next partner tasted differently and I didn’t enjoy it as much I was honestly more turned on at the fact that all vulvas are snowflakes! Even if I like one partner’s flavor over another’s I still love pleasing them. That feeling of “yisss, you’re enjoying me!” totally eclipses any feelings of not liking the taste.

  7. Thumb up 13

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    A huge YES to this entire article, particularly the ‘you might be meh at first but don’t be discouraged’ part, and the venn diagram at the end (thanks Intern Geneva!).

    I had a pretty traumatizing experience the first time a high school boyfriend went down on me, as in he licked me for half a second and then went and spit in the sink. This was incredibly mortifying and gave me quite the complex for a couple of years, in addition to convincing me that something must be wrong with me.

    I have since heard from partners that I taste fine. And I have ALSO learned that I personally LOVE licking pussy :) So everything turned out ok.

  8. Thumb up 9

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    Well if it isn’t one of my favorite writers on AS. Jeez man, these posts on sex get better and better. And yes I totally 110% agree that those ex boyfriends are douchebags and reader, please DO NOT ever talk to them again. Just be glad they’re already ex boyfriends.

    As for your question, it is true that vulva will taste like vulva. I mean it even tastes different each time on the same person. But I THINK and this is just from personal experience…that if the person is really really aroused, it’s like it has more flavor than the ‘normal’ vulva taste. Then like there’s that time where it’s like the part closer to the opening is kinda ‘plain tasting’ then when you really go in it’s like ‘whoa this tastes different!!’

    For the hygiene bit, well let’s just say that it’s a MUST. Trust me, my sexual misadventures with people of the past…it takes away from the moment. Cranberry juice is good though, it really does help to clean the urinary tract.

    • Thumb up 1

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      Can i awkwardly ask, with regards to hygiene, what one should do if one might have sex before they take a shower? I mean, i shower every day, but what do you do if it’s not shower time yet, & maybe you can’t shower, but you’re planning on sex? Is there a good way to get cleaned up, or should you hold off?

      (I hope this is okay to ask; let me know if not!)

  9. Thumb up 23

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    Thanks for this article Ali, I got a lot out of it as well as the discussion in the comments. And it’s only at Autostraddle that we could have this conversation in such an explicitly non-transphobic way, and I really appreciate how you wrote this.

  10. Thumb up 65

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    THANK YOU for your spot-on takedown of how this idea is perpetuated by misogyny. Every time I hear a dude make a joke about “smelly vaginas” I want to shout, I BET YOUR DICK DOESN’T SMELL LIKE CHOCOLATE-DIPPED ROSE PETALS, YOU SWEATY HAIRY FUNGUS-BREEDING TESTOSTERONE FACTORY.

  11. Thumb up 16

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    1. In my experience, pussies taste way better than dicks, hush silly men.

    2. I can’t stop laughing at the idea of someone going down on me and then being like “Hey babe by the way you have a totally brilliant mind!” And I kind of hope that happens to me one day.

  12. Thumb up 8

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    This article articulates so much of the ridiculousness about this so well, though I have to say, the whole time I was reading about the moment of truth when you finally taste a vulva, I was waiting for it to say “you can taste yourself!” And really, you can. You won’t taste the same as your girlfriend, but it might demystify is and make is less of a tasting-the-holy-grail-for-the-first-time moment.

  13. Thumb up 0

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    It’s not patriarchy unless women refusing to go down on men that are uncircumcised for being ‘nasty’ is matriarchy the underlying issue is smegma, it effects both males and females, we circumcised boys without consent (read rape culture) in the name of cleanliness, girls aren’t cut and if men complain (like women do about uncut guys) suddenly it’s patriarchy?

    Do you people even know what sexism is? you are being sexist to suggest that girls/women are inherently clean yet we need to mutilate boys so they can be clean… here’s a fun fact girls produce 6 to 8 times more smegma then uncut boys… (larger area to collect said smegma) so next time you refuse to go down on a ‘nasty’ uncut guy don’t expect your ‘down there’ to smell like roses.

    • Thumb up 14

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      Who in this conversation mentioned uncircumsized penises? Looks like someone skimread so they could go off on a tangent.

      Also as a non-American I find it super weird that people do that for anything other than religious reasons, there are hardly any circumsized guys in my country and yep, no one gives a fuck.

    • Thumb up 12

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      Hello, this is a website for queer women. Your hostility toward women who don’t suck the dicks of uncircumcized men is pretty poorly targeted here. Some of us are bi, sure, but if you want to really make an impact with your insightful criticism you should please go anywhere else.

      Thanks for all the opportunities to giggle at the word “smegma” though.

    • Thumb up 13

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      “so next time you refuse to go down on a ‘nasty’ uncut guy don’t expect your ‘down there’ to smell like roses.”

      Wow, thanks for that helpful PSA. I for one did not know about the connection between refusing to give a blow job and one’s vulva smelling floral. Thanks soooo much for letting me know what consent smells like.

      Sorry if there are any typos in this post. I am rolling my eyes so hard right now I’m basically looking at my brain.

    • Thumb up 11

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      ok but actually for seriousness I don’t suck dicks because I’m a firm believer in the matriarchy. hahahaha
      Also I think you need to reevaluate what rape culture means. I mean, unless you meant to put (female) before the circumcision bit, in which case, yeah exactly.

    • Thumb up 2

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      Are you seriously annoyed that in America there are more male circumcisions than female? That’s like getting angry that someone punched you in the face so you want others to get punched in the face…that makes no sense.
      I don’t agree with the practice regardless of genitalia.

      The line “girls aren’t cut” sounds reaaallly close to you being a proponent of female circumcision because of some petty “tit-for-tat” gender war.

      It’s a tradition steeped in patriarchal shitstems.
      Male circumcision is definitely not part of matriarchy?..What even?

      The underlying issue is misogyny and other patriarchal devices, not smegma. Everyone is subjected to these social constructs, not just women.

    • Thumb up 2

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      While I agree with you that circumcision is wrong and is part of a cultural pattern of removing body autonomy from those with less power, I think you anger is misplaced here.

      Nowhere in this article or in the comment discussions was it stated that vulvas are magically clean all the time or perfect. In fact, a link was provided for hygiene, and suggestions were made fro ways to insert showering and hygiene into sex in a less awkward way specifically because the readers and writer acknowledge that vulvas get sweaty and dirty at times.

      The only mention of penises in all this was to point out that culturally, there is no value judgement made about the smell or taste of penises, while vulvas are considered “nasty” or “gross.” Since the majority of those who have vulvas identify as female and the majority of those who have penises identify as male, its likely there is a component of sexism to this disparity.

    • Thumb up 2

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      I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that this person/troll is about 14 years old (isn’t it so sad the shit the youth are taught even in this day and age??). I would also gander that he’s never had the pleasure of engaging in any form of oral sex, or if he has, it was with the wrong gender for his very suppressed sexual orientation. Which is also a huge shame. But you know what, dude, there has got to be a better way to deal with your anger, so why don’t you go find out what it is and leave the grown ups alone to have our fun.

    • Thumb up 2

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      Not that I really need to be the 10th person to point out the ridiculousness of your pose. . .but here I go anyway! It is actually YOU that are being the sexist here, Beta-guy, because you are implying that all women agree with each other and form some sort of hive mind. How else could one interpret your comment that people on this website are suggesting we need to “mutilate boys so they can be clean” when, in fact, not a single person here has said anything about that? Just because you have heard women talk about this other places does not mean that’s what the women here think. . .women are all distinct individuals and not manifestations of some monolithic female “type.” And in fact, I would guess that comparatively few women, really anywhere, believe that men with uncircumsized penises are “nasty”– as you allege–although I’m sure there are some exceptions. Now I’m a trans woman, and truth be told, I am someone who attempted for many years to pass myself off as man, one who happened to have an uncircumsized penis, in fact. Growing up, I was also privy to all sorts of extremely explicit, often rather sexist and disgusting conversations about sex between men in men’s spaces. And in all that I have personally experienced, in all that I have heard others talk about, I have not once in my entire life overheard of a man being discriminated against or mocked by a woman because he was uncircumsized. Now I have heard men mock OTHER MEN for being uncircumsized. As in most other instances, it is actually men who are their own worst critics, men who are their own worst abusers–not women.

  14. Thumb up 12

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    I just want to say how lucky I feel as a bisexual lady that my boyfriend, who was initially kind of squirmy about the whole lady-parts-flavour thing because he’d had male friends tell him it was gross, loved it as soon as he tried it.

    I also had to introduce him to eggs, tofu, aubergines and Marmite, which he also held pre-existing prejudices against. So I guess it’s a talent of mine.

  15. Thumb up 7

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    I’m disappointed that “taste yourself” wasn’t included here. I mean, duh. Just stick a finger down there and see what it tastes like. At least then she’d have some sort of benchmark for the general taste of vulvas. And I’m sure it would alleviate her concerns about previous feedback from other partners about her own taste.

  16. Thumb up 3

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    Great article.

    If anyone needs
    vulva confidence I suggest they read Eve Einsler’s Vagina Monologues.
    Especially pertinent is this section:

    “MY VAGINA DOESN’T NEED TO BE CLEANED UP.
    IT SMELLS GOOD ALREADY
    DON’T TRY TO DECORATE.
    DON’T BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE TELLS YOU
    IT SMELLS LIKE ROSE PETALS,
    WHEN IT’S SUPPOSED TO SMELL LIKE PUSSY.
    THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE DOING, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO CLEAN IT UP,
    MAKE IT SMELL LIKE A BATHROOM SPRAY OR A GARDEN.
    ALL THOSE DOUCHE SPRAYS.
    FLORAL, BERRY, RAIN.
    I DON’T WANT MY PUSSY TO SMELL LIKE RAIN !”

    (Hope it’s OK to quote here)

    It’s thought provoking and funny, and it’s even better to perform it : )

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    thank you so much for writing this. it brought to mind times i’ve been heartbroken when a partner describes her own scent or taste in an ugly, completely untrue way that’s pretty much taken straight from some hateful, misogynist dude belief about girl bits. internalized misogyny is the pits.

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    What I’m about to say is pretty tangential to the main point of this article, and it certainly isn’t meant to be a criticism. I thought the article was very, very good actually. Based off of my personal experience, though, and the experience of a few different people I’ve talked to, I think that what would generally be labelled a “vulva” does not have a distinctive taste (or smell) all of its own. What I mean is, the word “vulva” usually either gets applied or not to somebody’s junk based off of what those bits look like, their visual appearance. The smell and taste of someone’s genitals, however, seems more tied to that person’s hormone levels. At least, that’s generally the case for trans women and other people with penises who change our internal chemistry so that we have high estrogen and low testosterone levels. Our genitals will eventually smell and taste like how a stereotypical vulva smells and tastes–regardless of whether we ever have any surgery that changes the physical configuration of our genitals. Now I’m not sure if what I’m saying applies in the other direction. . .to trans guys and other folks who take testosterone. . .and whether their genitals wind up tasting like dicks. But it’s definitely the case with most trans women, from what I’ve observed and the discussions I’ve had. Just thought this might be useful information, as many folks in the queer community seem to have some interesting about trans people’s genitals and yet basic, accurate information about those genitals is often hard to come by.

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