Vabbing for a week made me feel like a sexy, feral god
I simply don’t have time for anyone who’s intimidated by my hormonal excellence.
While vabbing — using your vaginal secretions as perfume — isn’t new, the practice is definitely having a well-deserved 15 minutes of cultural fame on the internet. TikTok is basically exploding with vab vids, comedians are having their say, and every media outlet with any sense of levity has been covering the trend. Regular Mic readers already know I’m not squeamish about getting my hands dirty with sex trends, so I tried vabbing for a week to see if it “works.” You’re welcome.
First, some context is in order. While I’m pretty sure vabbing was probably invented by some kind of Indigenous witch, most folks credit the podcast Secret Keepers Club, hosted by comedian Carly Aquilino, with their introduction to vaginal perfume. (Though, for the record, even Aquilino doesn’t claim to have invented it.) So, like any important magical practice, the origin of vabbing — a word created from the combo of “vagina” and “dabbing” — remains shrouded in mystery.
As for the point of vabbing, well, that’s also up for debate. Some vabbers claim putting vaginal fluids on your pulse points will ensure your pheromones get the attention they deserve, thus attracting potential mates. Others do it for vabbing’s apparent confidence-boosting abilities. There’s absolutely no research backing either claim, and scientists have long been skeptical about any role that pheromones play in human attraction — but genital health experts agree that vabbing isn’t dangerous in any way. Basically: Why not use your pussy for perfume?
On day one of my experiment, I researched vabbing best practices. Luckily, they aren’t that complicated: Just stick a finger or two in your vag, and dab your natural oils on your pulse points. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but please wash your hands before inserting them into your vagina. Having a clean pus when you vab is best from a hygienic perspective, but don’t overdo it. Detergents and douches are terrible for your delicate bits. Side note to the anti-vabbers out there: Making us feel grossed out by vaginas and vaginal fluids is a classic tool of misogynistic oppression. Don’t buy it.
The first time I vabbed, I was literally on my way to a sex date with my partner. I forgot to do it before I left home, and so stuck two fingers down my shorts at a stoplight. It felt kind of dirty, which was ideal for getting excited about the sex I was about to have, but I was slightly sweaty from a workout and a little concerned I might be too pungent. My partner definitely didn’t think so. When I got to his place, he told me I looked hot and grabbed me. That was pre-planned, though, so it’s hard to tell if he found my aroma was extra intoxicating. Regardless, I definitely felt like I had a hot secret.
“I found it really affirming to unashamedly imbue myself with me.”
After a day of awkwardly fingering myself in my car, I decided I needed to structure my vabs so that I wouldn’t constantly be touching myself in public with potentially dirty hands. Starting today, I opted to vab after every shower and anytime I would ordinarily put on perfume. I soon discovered that one of the most immediate benefits to vabbing is being in constant contact with my vagina. Not only does it feel like self-care, but I’ve also become a lot more sensitive to the subtle changes in the smell and texture of my juices.
Getting comfy with your pussy’s OG eau de toilette can serve you in a number of ways. First of all, being able to track changes is good for maintaining the health of your vag because it means you’ll be more likely to notice anything that could be a problem. Second, I found it really affirming to know what I smell like and to unashamedly imbue myself with me.
The gym I go to is really, rainbow gay. I’m usually in a small AFAB minority there, and no one has ever hit on me. In fact, I find I’m largely invisible at the gym. This day was no exception — at first. The bear working the desk nodded at me as usual, and I hopped on my indoor bike next to an adorable young hunk of a twink.
To my absolute surprise, the man smiled bashfully and then took off his headphones to strike up a conversation. He wanted to know where I was from, where else I had lived, and what I like to do for fun. He took out his phone and made notes of places I like and of the yoga class I teach. Maybe it was because he was newish to town or just friendly, but I got a subtly respectful flirtatious vibe.
Look, I don’t like to make assumptions about other people’s sexuality, but this man felt gayyyy. Yes, I am nonbinary, but I’m pretty femme and most strictly gay men don’t pick up what I’m putting down. It could have been my own increased confidence or endorphins, but I kind of think I made a flirty new friend.
By day five, I thought I was really comfortable with perfume de vagine, but as I was driving to teach my Sunday morning yoga class, all I could think was, “Oh my god, I really smell like pussy.” Unlike basically any other context, I do not want my yoga students to think I’m sexy. I have firm rules about maintaining boundaries with my students, and while sometimes they may crush on me, I try to keep everything above board.
“Why didn’t I think about this before?” I wondered as I sat down under a tree to teach. It wasn’t a particularly buggy day, but I slathered myself in (organic) insect repellent anyway. Its essential oils scent is strong, but I could still smell myself a bit beneath the citronella. Luckily, no one in my class seemed to notice, and we all went through a sweaty class with no sexual tension.
“Vabbing made me feel more feral, like everywhere I went was marked by my scent.”
While it’s notoriously difficult for femmes to figure out whether other femmes are flirting with them, we are trained (basically since birth) to sense sexual competition. While at a dinner party with my pheromones pumping, I felt more of that feral territorial vibe than ever. As I made plans with a new — notably hot — female friend who was smiling and leaning toward me, I glanced up to find a woman aggressively side-eyeing us. I tried to give her an, “I’m not here to hurt anyone” kind of smile, but she looked away. Ouch.
While the last thing I want to do is alienate people, I simply don’t have time for anyone who’s intimidated by my hormonal excellence. I don’t want to contribute to AFAB-on-AFAB emotional violence, but I do want to weed out anyone who might have a tendency toward patriarchal-style hierarchies. In this case, I think my vab allowed someone who seemed invested in the alpha-beta game to sniff me out — and allowed both of us to stay away from each other.
By the last day of my experiment, my partner and I had definitely had a lot of hot sex — but honestly, I don’t think it was more frequent or hotter than usual. When I asked him if he had been more attracted to me recently, he seemed confused and staunchly affirmed my consistent hotness. I really like that about him, but I was a bit disappointed. I really, really thought I was objectively more attractive this week because of vabbing.
While that may not be the case, I do think vabbing creates a new kind of self-awareness. That, in and of itself, is pretty fucking cool. This week, I thought more consistently about how much I’ve bought into the misogynist sanitization of pussy than I ever have before, and I purposefully opted out. Instead, I unapologetically covered myself in my own musk.
Vabbing made me feel more feral, like everywhere I went was marked by my scent. Maybe other people noticed the scent and maybe they didn’t. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I believe all the power I need to be confident and sexy is literally inside me, and that makes me feel like a god. And as we move through this particularly upsetting historical moment, feeling my pussy power is pretty high on my vagenda.