Are Women on TikTok Using Their Vaginas for Perfume?

It's called "vabbing," and yes, yes they are

Close-up photograph of a woman sniffing her wrist
Why waste money on perfume when you can make your own, so to speak?
Image Source

Back in my day, before teen magazines got their Trump-era glo up and started inspiring girls to become confident, politically conscious young women, they were mostly a place for (often kind of deranged) beauty tips and advice on how to get your crush to your notice you. One such bit of wisdom that continues to live rent-free in my brain insisted that boys couldn’t resist the smell of vanilla. If you wanted to get a boyfriend, just douse yourself in some horrible vanilla body spray from Bath and Body Works and wait for the fellas to start lining up, ladies. And if your mom wasn’t the type to bring you to the mall and let you spend her hard-earned money on some sugary-smelling body mist that would give her a headache, have no fear: you could easily replicate the same effect by simply dabbing some vanilla extract on your wrists. Yes, this was real advice I read in a real magazine.

These days, such man-trapping hacks don’t come from magazines, but from TikTok. And these days, they’re not telling us to raid our parents’ baking supplies for the perfect fragrance, but to look no further than our very own vaginas. “Vabbing,” a portmanteau of “vagina” and “dabbing,” has taken over TikTok, and yes, it’s exactly what you think it is: the act of collecting one’s own vaginal fluid and dabbing it on the wrists and other pressure points to wear as a perfume. Why would someone do this? Because, according to the vabbing enthusiasts promoting the practice on TikTok, the pheromones in your bodily fluids will naturally attract hordes of potential suitors.

This, as you may suspect, is nonsense. It’s also nothing new. A recent vabbing explainer from The Cut traces notable pop culture references to vabbing back to at least 2018, and intimacy expert Shan Boodram — whose vabbing practice first went viral in 2019 — claims to have been doing it for over 15 years. The trend is currently enjoying its most recent wave of popularity thanks to a viral TikTok from influencer Mandy Lee. The video, in which Lee apologetically informed her followers that vabbing “works,” has racked up over one million views since it was posted last month, bringing the wonders of eau de vag to a brand new audience.

Of course, the virtues of vabbing are, well more or less non-existent, realistically speaking. Even Boodram herself admitted to The Cut that there’s “no conclusive advice on the impact of vabbing.” Still, if you want to wear your bodily fluids as perfume, it’s probably not causing any harm, per se, and at least you won’t be wasting any baking supplies.

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