Taste of a woman

Hey Alice,

My boyfriend says that he doesn't enjoy oral sex with me because of the taste. He says it's too strong. I have had 2 pap smears in the last year and my doctors say everything is fine and tell me not to douche. I need to do something. This has caused a lot of problems in our sexual relationship. Can my diet or anything else help this problem?

Dear Reader,

It certainly sounds that you've gone the extra mile to make the oral sex situation rosier between you and your boyfriend. Some dietary changes may affect the natural balance of chemicals in vaginal fluids, and sweeter oral sex may also be possible by incorporating some delectable sex products into your routine. While these options are ripe for exploring, some deep discussing and soul-searching about your natural smell and taste may also be in order.

The normal pH of the vagina is slightly acidic, around 3.8 to 4.5, or somewhere between a lemon and a sip of red wine. Food and menstrual cycle timing can affect the tangy taste of vaginal fluids — a taste of iron can sometime be detected when a woman is nearing her period, for example. Some evidence suggests that alkaline-based foods, such as meat and fish, can produce a more bitter taste down there in both men and women. Dairy products, which usually contain high bacterial content, can also make for an unpleasant taste. Avoiding these food groups on the eve of a cunnilingus encounter may help the situation. Avoiding tobacco and caffeine may also help induce a more favorable flavor. Drinking plenty of water is another way to filter chemicals out of the body and water down the acidity of vaginal fluids.

Dietary changes may not always be feasible for an occasional, perhaps unexpected, jaunt of oral sex. Keeping some saucy products on hand may be an easier solution. Flavored condoms and lubricants are a great start — lubes are available on the market specifically for oral sex enhancement. Check out some sex-positive retail shops, such as Babeland, Good Vibes, and the Smitten Kitten, for the latest flavored products for oral sex. Homegrown options exist too: have your boyfriend suck on a menthol cough drop while going down on you, or some ice, which will also increase your sensation. A dab of hot pepper or hot sauce to his lips will bring some extra heat to your experience, and a drizzle of chocolate or honey are good ways to sweeten his experience between your legs. As a rule however, anything you use to alter the taste of oral sex should not make its way inside your vagina — rather all flavor factors should remain on the outer vulva and clitoris. Sugars, oils, or artificial chemicals inside the vagina could disrupt the balance in your vagina, which can lead to vaginitis, including yeast infections.

While these tips should point you in the right direction, it may be helpful to have a larger discussion with your boyfriend about any underlying feelings related to giving oral sex, as well as examining your own feelings about your natural taste. Girls and women may believe that the smell and taste of a natural, healthy vagina is a problem. Consider: Do douches, spotless panties, and a crotch that smells like rose petals a true woman make? Your partner's willingness (or in this case unwillingness) to please you in this way may also be tied up in some misconceptions about what real women taste like. For more musings on taste, smell, and all things cunnilingus related, check out the article Taste of a Woman by Violet Blue.

Each woman has her own unique aromatic and flavor signature. Hopefully you and your boyfriend can explore some new solutions to fix a distasteful situation, both through using some new products and through honest, open communication.

Last updated Apr 23, 2015
Originally published Dec 05, 1997