While it's hard to pin down the most iconic Megan Thee Stallion lyric, referring to her vagina as "the kitchen" when describing the oral sex she is about to receive from her partner is definitely at the top of my list. Whether you call your vagina your bits, flower, p*ssy, or kitchenette (LOL), it's natural to wonder: Can you change what your vagina tastes like? In other words, if your vagina is the kitchen, do you get to decide what's for dinner?
"The taste of a vagina comes mostly from the fluids inside it," Dr. Sherry A. Ross, sexual health expert and author of She-ology and She-ology, The She-quel tells Elite Daily. "Ultimately, the taste depends on its pH levels — a 'normal' pH balance is slightly acidic which helps protect the vagina from infections and odors."
A quick recap for those who slept through chemistry class: pH is the measurement of how acidic or basic a given substance is. Much like a non-inclusive sized store, the pH scale runs from zero to 14, with zero to seven considered as "acidic" and eight to 14 considered "basic."
According to Dr. Ross, as the vagina is naturally acidic, it's common for vaginas to have an astringent or almost-sour taste. "Some describe the taste as being metallic due to the high levels of acidity," Dr. Ross says.
According to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB/GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, having an "acidic vagina" (my next band name) is actually a good thing. "You actually want to have an acidic vagina," Dr. Minkin tells Elite Daily. "A higher pH is often associated with infections like BV and yeast, so keeping the vagina acidic is good."
As both doctors attest, an acidic vagina (i.e., a kitchen with low pH levels) can keep harmful bacteria away from your rockin' bod. If you've gotten some feedback that you're tangy and tart, you may just have a healthy pH level. Of course, Dr. Ross shares that if something is smelling a little too funky, feeling off, or your partner alerts you that you taste really different, it may be time to hit up your gyno.
In addition to your natural pH level, Dr. Ross shares that eating "strong" foods like garlic, onions, blue cheese, fermented things, and spices like curry or turmeric, can impact the way your vagina tastes. "You are what you eat is an idiom for all things body-related." Dr. Ross says. "Pungent foods and spices seem to take a fast lane in our bodies through the bloodstream, lungs, sweat, and vaginal secretions… everywhere."
Moreover, Dr. Ross adds that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol and caffeine can leave a detectable flavor in your vaginal fluids as well. "On any level — smell, taste, or general health-wise — nicotine is to be avoided, and alcohol and caffeine consumed in moderate amounts," Dr. Ross says.
Of course, before you give up kombucha and coffee forever (I honestly couldn't), Dr. Ross shares that it's important to remember that a fragrant and poignant vagina is perfectly healthy. "The vagina is not meant to smell like a rose garden," Dr. Ross says. "The key is to know what your 'normal' smells like." Lest you forget, you never need to let anyone make you feel ashamed or bad about how your vagina looks or smells or tastes. You are a stellar rockstar, and your body is strong and capable and worthy just the way it is. Of course, if you're excited to learn about improving your sexual health, Dr. Ross shares that checking in with your diet and general lifestyle habits (i.e., smoking and drinking) can positively impact how your vagina tastes.
"The good news is that there are foods that can actually add a sweet smell or taste to the vagina," Dr. Ross says. "Fresh fruits (especially pineapple!), fruit juices, vegetables, whole grains, Greek yogurt, and [drinking] plenty of water." Dr. Ross shares that keeping these foods around the house can be great for general health and a sweeter-tasting V.
Though this mission may inspire you to go on a grooming frenzy, Dr. Ross shares how important it is to be careful about what you're putting in and around your body. "Your vulva and vagina are very sensitive to everyday feminine rituals," Dr. Ross says. "Using the wrong types of soap can cause irritation and bad odor." As Dr. Ross shares, it's best to give a big thank u, next to heavily scented or perfumed soaps, products with a ton of unnatural ingredients, or anything with antibacterial properties that can mess with your body's natural balance.
No matter who you are, your body is amazing just the way it is. Though you never need to feel pressure to change the way your vagina tastes, if you're looking to improve your sexual health, eating fresh fruits and veggies, and drinking water throughout the day can make all parts of you feel better. As Dr. Ross says, what's "normal" and healthy for your body is going to smell and taste different than what's "normal" and healthy for others. And if someone has a problem with that, well, that's in poor taste.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB/GYN at at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine