What does sex smell like, exactly?

Between kissing, touching, and moaning, sex is a pretty sense-heightening activity, and that includes your sense of smell. I mean, have you ever tried to pinpoint the odor and just kept wondering: What does sex smell like, exactly?

Have you ever noticed a smell during sex?

As it turns out, there are lots of scents—mostly pleasant but occasionally not—that you can sniff out if you pay attention in the bedroom, all combining for that “smells like sex in here!” effect. Here are some common sex smells, according to experts who *know* the human body:

Your scent, your partner’s scent, and the scent of both of you together.

Generally speaking, everyone has their own scent down there, says Jessica Shepherd, MD, a gynecologist in Dallas affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center. That means, even if you’re female and your partner is female, you’ll each have your own scent. And when your genital scent combines with someone else’s genital scent (of any gender), the two of you will together create a different scent, Dr. Shepherd says. Science! This might be why smells vary from partner to partner.


People get wet in a lot of ways during sex, and sweat is another one of them. Perspiration adds a whole other ingredient to the aroma. “That can create different scents as well,” Dr. Shepherd says. 

If your sex sweat makes you at all uncomfortable, as much as you can, try to embrace it. After all, it’s totally normal! Oh, and fun fact: Stress can make your perspiration smell worse, so you might as well relax! Just be sure to wash your sheets on the reg.

A sweet smell

The saccharine smell of whipped cream, the chocolate-y aroma of, well, chocolate sauce… Dr. Shepherd says she thinks food is a great way to enhance sex. And the foods’ smells no doubt play a part in that.

That said, be careful where you put them. “There are certain foods that you should be cautious of that can irritate the vaginal mucosa,” Dr. Shepherd warns. “Sometimes the sugar content in a whipped cream, syrup, or chocolate sauce might irritate the vaginal canal to create a yeast infection or an irritation on the outer part of the vagina.”

You should also be cautious of peppers and other foods that evoke spicy smells; spicy products could cause burning or irritation down below, she says. And “with any food that’s used during sex, make sure that you wash the area after to decrease any irritation of the genitals.”

Flavored condoms

Food-y scents can also come by way of lube or condoms flavored as everything from peppermint to watermelon. You can even find organically flavored lube and condom varieties these days.

If you want to try these babies out, Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, recommends skipping the economy box the first time around. “Please get a small package and see how it does for you, if it irritates or makes things feel itchy or uncomfortable,” she says. If it does, move on to a different one.


Of course, even unflavored condoms can offer up a bit of an odor—a rubbery one. If the condom brand you’re using smells a little too latex-y for your liking, you might try Okamoto 004 Almost Nothing Latex Condoms, which don’t have a strong latex smell

Oh, and if your condom’s latex scent comes with a side of itchiness and irritation right after sex, you may have a latex allergy. The good news: Non-latex condoms exist. They’re made from polyurethane or lambskin, and they’re pretty common in stores. The bad news: Polyurethane condoms may be more expensive and more easily breakable than latex ones, according to Cleveland Clinic, and lambskin condoms won’t protect you against STIs.

A fishy smell

No sex smell should be bad or fishy. If that’s what you’re smelling, reach out to your doctor, because it could be a sign of a bacterial imbalance like bacterial vaginosis, says Dr. Minkin. Your partner might want to get checked out, too, even if he’s a guy: Seminal infections can also produce a fishy odor. Another potential cause of a down-below fishy odor that both women and men can get is the STI trichomoniasis, Dr. Minkin adds. 

blog by Julez for Styles Rebel Radio

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