Is It Safe to Put Food in Your Vagina?

Food is a treat to eat and even bring into the bedroom, but proceed with caution before introducing it to your vulva, penis, or anus.

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Nov 30 2018, 8:50pm

Boris Jovanovic via Stocksy

Chocolate-covered strawberries, whipped cream, oysters, and condom-covered bananas aren’t all aphrodisiacs, but they are all associated with sex. From American Pie to our favorite pop songs, the conflation of food and sex in pop culture is pervasive, but is sex that incorporates food actually safe for the bodies involved?

In Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake,” she sings, “It's not even my birthday, but he wanna lick the icing off." It’s highly likely that she was using icing as a euphemism, but what if she wasn’t? According to gynecologist and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, it’s not a good idea to lick icing—or most food, for that matter—off of anybody’s vulva. Other surface areas of the body without orifices, however, are fair game so long as allergies to specific foods aren’t an issue.

“As a traditional medical gynecologist, I am not an advocate of putting food in the vagina,” Dr. Dweck tells Broadly. “There is risk of infection in doing so, because any substance can potentially alter the pH of the vagina, or might be contaminated in some way, and lead to an infection.”

According to Dr. Dweck, one of the main risks of inserting food into the vagina is contact dermatitis, a rash which results in irritation and burning, but is not an infection. Still, UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis can occur as a result of introducing food to the vulva if bacteria colonizes near the urethra, or if the vagina can’t correct its altered pH level naturally after it’s introduced to something that sets it off balance, like various foods.

There are some substances that are technically food that most vaginas aren’t averse to. “Coconut oil is a wonderful lubricant,” says Dr. Dweck. “For some people, [it] may pose a pH issue and cause an infection, but for most, it does not.” (Just be careful not to use coconut oil with latex condoms, because it’s likely to degrade them.) Coconut oil also makes for a great massage oil, which is much more than can be said of strawberries or bananas, and will add a subtle tropical taste to your oral play.

Aloe vera is another natural, edible lube—just make sure it’s 100 percent aloe vera and patch test it on your skin before putting it on or in any orifices to be sure it’s edible and that it doesn’t include other ingredients your vagina may find irritating.

Dr. Dweck says that putting a condom on a cucumber or banana is certainly safer than inserting them without one, but still doesn’t advocate for their insertion into the vagina. “Could there be salmonella on these things? Pesticides? You just don't know,” she says. “There are so many more appropriate objects that could be used for sexual play or enhancement—why not resort to one designated for this?”

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Dr. Dweck reminded me that vulvas and vaginas have varying sensitivity levels, meaning that just because some people’s vaginas react fine to various lubes and foods doesn’t mean yours will, and vice versa.

When it comes to sexual food play, different rules apply for different body parts and sexual organs. While the anus deals with plenty of bacteria naturally, Dr. Dweck doesn’t advocate inserting food there, either, because the food likely won’t have a string or platform attached to it keeping it from getting lost or stuck. Those interested in sexual food play involving the penis are in a bit more luck. Dr. Dweck says that there is “no issue with food on [the] penis since it’s external skin—although some men may be sensitive to certain items.” However, she warns that people should avoid rubbing or inserting any food in or on the urethra, so you may want to keep messy foods that could easily make their way over there, or worse, in there out of the bedroom. Dr. Dweck advocates for the use of common sense when it comes to what foods you apply on a penis (you might want to avoid the sting of hot sauce on your genitals, for example).

As a doctor, when it comes to food and sexual play, Dr. Dweck recognizes that she mostly sees worst-case scenarios—some that have ended with patients who required surgery. "The people who come in to my office are the ones who've had a problem because they've engaged with [food play],” she explains. “The women who are at home enjoying themselves and using their common sense to do what they think is fun? They're not coming in here with a problem.” If you do try sexual food play, do your best to belong to the latter group.