While scrolling through Instagram, you may have come upon a story via The Neighborhood Talk that figuratively had you clutching your pearls. Imagine, if you will, the very idea of wearing your feminine essence as a cologne.
Yes, people are still talking about the beauty trend known as “vabbing” that took over the TikTok medium with more than 17 million views. Vabbing is when you use a dab of the essence of your vagina and place it on the pulse areas so that the scent attracts male attention.
Needless to say, at first reading, many were shocked that women were actually doing this, however, Dr. Stephanie Hack, MD reminded us that this is a practice that dates back to at least 1975.
“It’s difficult to find the exact origin of vabbing, however, there are studies examining pheromones in vaginal secretions as early as 1975,” she informs ESSENCE. The earliest mention of vabbing I’m aware of is an article in Cosmopolitan 2017, that shares that the practice of vabbing involves inserting a finger into the vagina to obtain vaginal fluid, and then dabbing that fluid on pressure points (neck, wrists) just as one might do with a store-bought perfume.”
According to Dr. Hack, people who practice the “lure of the animal” believe that there are pheromones in vaginal secretions that can help attract men. “The thought is that pheromones, chemicals secreted outside of the body through bodily fluids of mammals and insects, send signals to other mammals and insects of the same species,” she explains. “It’s unclear if they are present in humans.
Perfumer and founder of Pink Mahogany, Chavalia Dunlap-M. adds, “Science backs up that body secretions contain pheromones that generate certain reactions— most of the time unknowingly.” She continues, “Due to our genetic makeup, the attraction to certain pheromones is innate and creates a form of unspoken bonding and enticement.”
Dr. Hack believes that women are having an open conversation about vabbing because we are looking to try new things and are comfortable with exploring our bodies. “Women may feel more empowered simply by being comfortable with their own body. Vabbing may help her attract the partner she wants,” she says.
“With the way the dating scene has shifted over the years, it seems that competition for that special someone is at an all-time high,” adds Dunlap-M. “I think that this is a trending topic because if a man is attracted to a woman due to the pheromones she gives off unbeknownst to him, it’s assumed that there will be a high probability of compatibility – if in no other category, the boudoir. If one is in good health, and their secretions are pH balanced, a woman is bound to attract (at least one) object of her desire.”
The question that most of us want to know is: Is this sanitary? “As long as you wash your hands before and after, and don’t have any vaginal infections, it’s fine,” Dr. Hack explains. She also says that choosing to vab is a personal preference. “Currently, there isn’t any evidence to support or oppose vabbing, so I don’t recommend for or against it.”
When it comes to the scent of her feminine essence, Dr. Hack recommends that you may not want to vab if you have a pungent feminine odor. “Vaginal scents vary at different times during a menstrual cycle or different stages in our lives,” she shares. “This should not prevent someone who wants to try vabbing. However, this doesn’t apply if you are experiencing an infection or bacterial vaginosis.”
Dunlap-M. notes that the choice to vab is a personal preference, but the woman must be comfortable in her own vaginal scent. “As a perfumer, I’ve heard many stories of scents being created using minute ratios of various secretions. Scent is so unique to each individual, so if you find a signature that works, I say go for it! Just make sure to practice good hygiene.” She also recommends dabbing your essence on pulse points, such as the wrists and behind the ears, to get the maximum results.
If you want to bottle up your aroma like Gwyneth Paltrow, Dunlap-M. is ready to help you make the magic happen. “The best way to make your essence a bottled scent is to work with a perfumer,” she informs us. “When dealing with any body secretions, it’s highly important to use a specific proof and grade of alcohol, which can act as a sterilizing preservative and a filtering mechanism to create the purest, clearest version of your essence.”
If you’d rather just find scents that do attract the same attention, the perfumer recommends sandalwood, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and bergamot. “Each of these scents has a sexy quality by itself, and when combined, can tantalize the senses to create highly sensual energy between men and women.”
Overall, if a woman is confident and feels desirable or attractive while vabbing, the expectation should definitely be that of the men she encounters. “The combination of confidence and directly produced pheromone applications can be extremely powerful!” says Dunlap-M. “As with anything, though, caution may be advised because attraction is contagious!”
*Note: Dr. Stephanie Hack is also the Host of Lady Parts Podcast.