Posted on: January 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm
Last updated: July 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Maybe you recognize Gwyneth Paltrow from her role in The Avengers and Iron Man movies, or perhaps you were a fan of some of her earlier work like Shakespear in Love or Sliding Doors. There’s a good chance, however, that you’re more familiar with her current project… Goop.

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Over the last decade, the actress has grown a veritable wellness empire with her highly controversial lifestyle brand, Goop. According to the brand’s website, they “operate from a place of curiosity and nonjudgment, and we start hard conversations, crack open taboos, and look for connection and resonance everywhere we can find it. We don’t mind being the tip of the spear—in short, we go first so you don’t have to.” [1].

And go there they have. From vaginal jade eggs to so-called “sex dust”, to a 15 thousand dollar dildo, Gwyn has dug down into the deepest, darkest, and most bewildering corners of the wellness industry in the name of “empowering women by questioning the status quo” [2].

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Even after being slapped with a 145 thousand dollar fine from the state of California for making unsubstantiated claims that their jade eggs could “balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control”, Gwyn was undeterred, and the company continued to sell the product [3]. Gwyn’s latest offering is no less bizarre. For a price of 75 U.S. dollars, the brand is now offering a candle that supposedly smells like the actress’s vagina. Or at least, they were- the product has already sold out [4].

The Scent of a Woman?

Are you curious about what Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina smells like? Apparently, the candle is “a mix of geranium, citrusy bergamot, cedar absolutes, Damask rose and ambrette seed” [5].

If you’re reading this and thinking “hang on a second- my vagina does not smell like citrus”, you’re not alone. In fact, the reality is that unless Paltrow is truly some kind of Goddess-like wood nymph, hers probably doesn’t either.

So what is a vagina supposed to smell like? Much like the diverse women attached to them, vaginas can be a variety of odors, and one vagina can smell different from one day to the next. The following is a list of possible odors you might detect coming from your nether-regions, from the natural and normal to the medically concerning:

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Tangy or fermented. Just like your gut, your vagina has its own microbiome that is home to different bacteria and yeast, which is a good thing. According to Christine Masterson, MD, ob-gyn and chief of the women and children’s service line at Summit Medical Group, “The acidic pH naturally found in the vagina might make it a little sour-smelling, sometimes a little musty,”. This is completely normal, but the smell should not be overwhelming [6].

Coppery. If your vagina smells like a penny, you have no reason to be concerned. Most women report this smell during their period, and not surprisingly, it’s because of the blood that is traveling through your vaginal canal. Blood contains iron, which is the reason for the coppery smell [7].

Less frequently, you might notice that smell when you’re not menstruating, which could be a sign of vaginal bleeding. If this is the case, you should speak with your doctor [8].

Sweet. No, your vagina is not going to smell like freshly baked cookies, but rather a strong, earthy, molasses-like smell. Bacteria is the culprit here again, and you probably have nothing to worry about. If, however, the smell is accompanied by burning, itching, or feelings of dryness, you could have a yeast infection and you should talk to your doctor [9].

Fishy. If you notice a smell reminiscent of rotting fish, it could for a couple of reasons. One cause could be bacterial vaginosis. This occurs when there is an overgrowth of the bacteria that is naturally found in your vagina and could be caused by unprotected sex or frequent douching. The smell could also be a result of a sexually-transmitted infection called Trichomoniasis. If you notice a change in the color or consistency of your discharge, an itchy vagina or a burning sensation when you pee, this could be the reason. It is very curable, and your doctor can prescribe a round of antibiotics to treat it [10].

Candle Controversy

So does the candle named “This Smells Like My Vagina” actually smell like Gwyneth Paltrow’s – or anyone else’s – vagina? The answer is a resounding no. Your vagina can smell like a variety of things, but oranges and cedar are not one of them.

While Goop has not succeeded in creating a candle that smells like an actual woman’s hoo-ha, they have accomplished what they set out to do- generate a lot of noise and controversy (a.k.a.- publicity) and sell a whole bunch of overpriced candles. If your curiosity has gotten the better of you, you can put yourself on a waiting list for when the second batch of candles is ready, but we recommend saving your money and sticking with Yankee Candle. Or better yet, make your own non-toxic scented candle at home.

Read More: Woman Burned From Vaginal Steaming. Is it Worth the Hype?

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Brittany Hambleton
Team Writer
Brittany is a freelance writer and editor with a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition and a writer’s certificate from the University of Western Ontario. She enjoyed a stint as a personal trainer and is an avid runner. Brittany loves to combine running and traveling, and has run numerous races across North America and Europe. She also loves chocolate more than anything else… the darker, the better!

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