Most of the time, I see things that, as a sexuality educator, I just shake my head and move on.
However, my lady parts are getting seriously pissed off at all the crazy ass marketing telling me my genitals could be so much happier if I only bought these products.
What products am I talking about? Brace yourself because there are a lot of them out there. A lot.
Internal products that claim will make my vagina sing with freshness:
Douching. I don't advocate douching for a variety of reasons, and using a product that is designed to make me feel fresh, but can actually make me feel a lot more funky is just bad. In short, the chance that your douching adventure will result in more harm than good is very high.
Insertable vaginal sticks: Sounds weird, right? Well it is! Your vagina (just like your eyes) are self cleaning. An exfoliating insertable vaginal stick is not going to be doing you any favors, and this particular company actually has an entire page dedicated to the horror of "smelly vaginas". As a woman and sexuality educator, I completely disagree with their claim that their product is the missing link to a "healthy, beautiful, and tight vagina". The company describes their product as such:
"Secret Ceres is a unique tool that tightens and heals the vagina while simultaneously stimulating the body’s own cleansing mechanism as well as the regeneration of skin tissue in a completely natural manner."
Um, your honor, not only do I object, but the product is priced at $120. I rest my case.
External products aimed to make my vulva/vagina, anus feel and look like a million bucks:
Vajazzling. While I'm sure it can look very beautiful and interesting, you are not actually -azzling your vagina. I blogged about this earlier. It annoys the crap out of me. Vajazzling doesn't exist because you are putting crystals on your mons pubis, not your vagina. Vaginas are internal structures.
Vulva makeup. As if women don't already have enough hang ups about how their genitals look, now this product comes along. A company called "My new pink button" claims to be "A simple to use genital cosmetic colorant that restores the "pink" back to a woman's genitals". They offer their product in four different colors named after iconic actresses (Bettie, Ginger, Marilyn, Audry) to address the variety in skin tone, and I am shocked to see that their most popular color is currently out of stock. Do I really need labial makeup? Me thinks not!
Vaginal facials or "vajacials". Hey, I love a good facial as much as the next gal, but I'm not sure my vulva needs it's own spa day. The whole idea just makes me a little nutso. Women are already insecure about the texture, color, size, and overall appearance of their genitals. I'm pretty sure highlighting these very natural and normal variances and distinctions is NOT going to make vagina owners more secure. I'm also not excited about the number of products involved in this process. Exfoliating gels, papaya masks, and lightening creams are alright for your face, but if those same products get into the vaginal canal, it is probably not going to end up well.
Laser Labia Reduction or Vaginalplasty. This may also be known as designer vaginas. Many women are uncomfortable with the actual size of her labial lips because of more increased exposure to pornography. Many people who have sex on camera have adorable little pink lips. They seem to be perfectly proportionate, and overall lovely to look at. As I am half asian, there is just no way my labial lips will ever look like those seen in medical text books and pornography. It is very common for women of color to have an entire range of labial lip colors. Again, this is perfectly normal. Unless your labial lips are so large that you find they tend to repeatedly get caught in your pants zipper, I see no need for going under the knife. Not to mention that many women who have had labial reduction surgery report having less sensation because of increased scar tissue.
Anal bleaching creams. Why would one put bleach on or near their anus? To make it pinker, lighter in color, and more attractive, of course! Just like with vulvas, the color of your anus has a lot to do with your overall color tone and ethnicity. Color variances are perfectly normal. Also, the anus is extremely sensitive and prone to irritation. Purposely applying bleaching creams can be really bad. I'm just sayin.
So, as you can see, I have some pretty strong feelings about society trying to make my precious lady parts insecure. Seriously, can we just agree to stop the insanity!
**I'm not proud to admit it, but I have douched before when I was much younger and had that "not so fresh feeling", and at one point I even considered talking to my ob/gyn about labial reduction. I really hope this post doesn't make anyone feel shame over what they may have done in the past. When we know better, we do better.**