November 26, 2009

Q&A: Why Do My Vaginal Fluids Taste Sour?

In today's podcast, Dr. Debby Herbenick answers a question about vaginal taste and odor.

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Question: When I perform oral sex on my husband after having intercourse with him, I notice that the taste is very sharp. He has commented on it too. Why do my vaginal fluids taste sour?

Great question! Each woman’s vaginal scent and taste are unique to her so although it is common for vaginas to taste or smell a bit yeasty, acidic or like sour milk, a woman’s vaginal taste can change throughout her menstrual cycle or in response to her behaviors or her health.

Taking Note of Changes

It is also quite common for women to notice a change in the way that their vagina tastes or smells after they have unprotected sex with a man, as men’s and women’s sexual fluids can mix and cause scents of their own.

Women may also notice that their vaginal fluids smell or taste different just before, during or after their menstrual cycle or after they have sex. In some cases, it can be important to take note of these changes. This is because some changes can signal a health issue.

If a woman notices a very strong vaginal odor after she has intercourse with her partner, then it may signal a bacterial imbalance or infection that can be treated by a doctor.

If you have questions about your personal vaginal scent or taste, please check in with your healthcare provider who can examine you and check for any bacterial or yeast problems.

Growing Accustomed to Your Smell and Taste

It may just be that your vaginal fluids have a sour or sharp taste to them. If the taste bothers you or your husband, you could try keeping a glass of water on hand to rinse your or his mouth or you could keep a damp washcloth nearby and briefly dab his penis prior to performing oral sex on him after his penis has been inside your vagina. Or you could sprinkle a little bit of flavored body dust on his penis prior to going down on him.

Then again, you may get used to the taste over time, as it becomes familiar. You may even decide that it’s a taste that you come to enjoy. If you’re curious, you might try touching your finger to your vaginal at different points during your menstrual cycle to see if or how your taste changes over time.

More Information

To learn more about normal variations in vaginal scent and taste, as well as those that may signal health concerns, check out The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health.