You’re not alone if you feel like your bits have a sour taste. It’s perfectly normal and a sign of healthy fluids.

Sweat, natural acidity, and trace amounts of blood all contribute to the sour flavor. The sourness can also change throughout the menstrual cycle and pregnancy – This fragment is the outcome of the service authors’ research Your diet and laundry soap can also affect the taste.

The Vagina’s Natural Acidity

Most vulvas are naturally acidic, thanks to billions of lactobacilli bacteria that balance out the bacterial bloom down there. The bacteria help the vagina resist the overgrowth of bad microbes that could cause infections, like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. But this acidic environment can sometimes translate to a strange taste, which some people describe as metallic or penny-like.

This can happen after you’ve just had a period, as trace amounts of blood may still be in the hoo-hah. Also, when you sweat heavily, it can give the vagina a salty taste.

Similarly, if you’re eating foods that are high in onions or leeks, they can give your vulva a sour or fishy taste. This can be a sign of an infection, such as trichomoniasis or a yeast infection.

But you should never feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about your vulva’s smell or taste, especially if it hasn’t changed suddenly or significantly. Unlike the apple in your mouth that’s supposed to taste like crisp apples, a healthy vagina will always be a little different. That’s in part what makes it so great. Just like all other parts of your body, your vulva is unique.

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Salty Sweat

A healthy vulva, or bits, or p*ssy or kitchenette (as per Megan the Stallion) is self-cleaning and can maintain a stable pH balance, so long as outside forces don’t interfere. That’s why it’s best to leave feminine washes and sprays on the shelf and let your vulva fend for itself, rather than attempting to change its smell or taste with scented products.

Natural body sweat, from exercise or simply because you’re hot, can leave the area with a slight salty taste. This isn’t uncommon, and isn’t a bad thing by itself. In fact, some women find a little sweat in the vagina is the ticket to blissful arousal.

Likewise, the food we eat can impact how our vulva smells and tastes. Strong foods like asparagus, garlic, and spicy food tend to cause scented sweat or body odor, while alcoholic beverages can increase the amount we perspire and give our vulva a bitter or sour flavor. Tobacco use also impacts our natural smell and flavor, and the toxins in tobacco are absorbed by the skin and hair, which can give your vulva an acidic or stale taste.

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If your vulva suddenly develops strong scents, tastes or smells that don’t seem to match up with your other bodily fluids, it’s likely because there is a disruption in the natural bacteria. A visit to your gyno will help put your mind at ease if this is the case.

The Vagina’s Natural Smell

Your vagina contains its own delicately balanced ecosystem with a specific bacteria flora. These flora help keep the area clean and healthy. Unfortunately, the vulva’s bacteria can produce an odor. It’s normal to smell down there—just like your sweaty armpits or that savory bowl of soup you just finished. The odor may smell mildly fruity or slightly earthy. The smell may be more intense when you’re having your period or after sexual intercourse. It may also have a coppery or metallic flavor due to the blood and tissue that oozes during menstruation.

However, if the vulva’s natural smell is off, it’s probably time to visit your doctor. An infection could be at play, especially if you have accompanying symptoms, such as itching or redness down there.

Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your vulva clean can help. You can eat more fermented foods (like yogurt and sourdough bread) to feed the good bacteria in your vulva. Using an unscented feminine hygiene product and avoiding irritants like tight-fitting clothes and excessive use of panty liners can also keep the pH of your vulva at its best. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water. It can help flush out toxins and keep the vulva moist, which can prevent infections.

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There are lots of things that can make a vagina smell or taste different. But if the change is sudden, strong or accompanied by other symptoms, it’s probably an indicator of something amiss, like an infection.

The vulva’s microbiome is complex, with multiple species of bacteria living down there and influencing both odor and flavor. But if the bacteria suddenly shift, perhaps due to a new soap, a change in diet or medications, a change in menstrual cycle timing or an increase in sweating, it’s time for a checkup.

Infections make a vagina smell and taste bad because they skew the bacteria’s natural balance, leading to an overgrowth of harmful microbes. Infections can also cause pain, swelling and itchiness, and, in severe cases, even life-threatening infections like sepsis.

Some foods, like pineapple or curry, can alter a woman’s natural vaginal pH and cause the area to taste less acidic. And menstrual cycles can cause a slight tangy taste during ovulation. But otherwise, a vagina’s healthy, normal and completely fine! And if your partner is refusing to go down on you because of a weird taste or odor, dump them. They don’t understand how amazing your vulva is. And you don’t want to waste your sex life on someone who doesn’t.