vaginal smell

What are the factors that affect vaginal smell?

When two or more individuals engage in intimate activities, it's natural for the room to be filled with various scents. However, a significant portion of these smells can originate from the genital region, as, while not implying any negative connotations, genitals do have their own distinct scent.

Speaking specifically about vaginas, the natural smell is described as "a mild, musky scent that is not unpleasant." Nevertheless, there are instances when an individual's natural balance may be disrupted, leading to an odor outside what they consider their normal scent. Several common and easily addressed reasons for this can include:


People are indeed complex beings, each carrying a unique blend of ideas, hopes, dreams, emotions, thoughts, and chemicals. Your individual chemical makeup is distinct, and the same goes for each of your partners. The bodily fluids we release, such as vaginal fluid or semen, carry distinct smells, and when combined, they create a completely new odor.

Vaginal fluid is notably acidic on the pH scale, while semen tends to be slightly alkaline. The interaction of these acids and alkalis significantly influences the chemical composition inside the vagina, leading to a noticeable change in its scent. If the new partner also has a vagina, the mixing of vaginal fluids, each with its unique pH balance, can further impact your personal pH scale.

It's important to note that disrupting the pH balance of the vagina is a common factor contributing to changes in odor and can be influenced by various reasons. Even when both partners have vaginas, the exchange of vaginal fluids during sexual activity may alter your vagina's natural pH, resulting in a potentially unfamiliar scent after sex.

A brief cautionary note: Fluid exchange between vaginas, such as sharing sex toys without proper cleaning (using the same toy on each other during a sexual encounter), should be minimized. It's recommended to avoid such practices and, if sharing sex toys, ensure they are thoroughly cleaned before use.


The delicate balance of your vaginal pH can be disturbed for various reasons beyond intimate encounters with a new partner. Factors such as your menstrual cycle phase can lead to pH fluctuations. Additionally, the introduction of new medications, particularly hormonal birth control, can contribute to an imbalance.

vaginal smell


Women often note that their diet can impact their vaginal odor. Consuming excessive amounts of certain foods, such as garlic or onions, is said to alter the scent in that area. Similarly, the consumption of asparagus or an excessive intake of alcoholic beverages can also have an effect.


Not implying a lapse in personal hygiene, but engaging in sexual activity after intense physical exertion, such as post-gym or mid-hike encounters, can lead to a distinct scent in the genital area. Much like the rest of your body, the vagina has sweat glands, and when this sweat mingles with a partner's sweat, fluids, and skin cells, it can result in an odor that may prompt a desire to shower soon after such exercise.

It's crucial to note that engaging in sex shortly after a previous session, especially without adequate cleaning in between, can increase the risk of infection, including conditions like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis (BV).

However, when referring to being unclean, it's important to clarify that douching is not recommended for vaginal health. The vagina is self-cleaning, and external washing with warm water and/or unscented soap is sufficient. Inserting anything into the vagina for cleaning purposes is discouraged.


The vagina naturally contains a small amount of yeast, bacteria, and the fungus candida albicans. Disruptions in this balance can occur, often triggered by factors such as wearing damp clothes or prolonged moisture in the groin area. Antibiotic use can also contribute to this imbalance. An increase in candida levels can lead to discomfort and alter the natural scent.

Fortunately, yeast infections are easily treatable with over-the-counter remedies. If these treatments prove ineffective, it may indicate a more significant issue: bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial vaginosis results from an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina, presenting symptoms similar to those of a yeast infection. However, since vaginosis is bacterial rather than fungal, conventional yeast infection treatments may not provide relief. Symptoms include discomfort, a burning sensation during urination, and a distinctive "fishy" odor. If bacterial vaginosis is suspected, seeking medical attention is crucial to determine the appropriate course of action.

In summary, understanding your natural discharge and odor is essential. If you notice any unusual scents or discomfort, consulting with a doctor is advisable.

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