- Some TikTok users say that “vaping,” or wearing their vaginal secretions as perfume, helps them attract potential partners.
- An evolutionary biologist who studies pheromones says there is no definitive proof that cleaning works.
- If anything, the act of removal could induce a placebo effect, the scientist told Insider.
Some TikTok users wear their vaginal secretions as the DIY fragrance after hearing the trick can boost sexual attraction.
The trend, called “vabbing,” became TikTok fodder after each user Mandy Lee shared a now deleted video approving the practice. It earned more than 1 million views and comments from longtime fans who recommended it for date nights and job interviews.
It’s not the first time vabbing has hit the headlines. In August 2019, Refinery29 published an expert from sexologist Shan Boodramhis book “The Desire Game” where she recommended vabbing and shared her personal experience, saying she’s been doing it for 15 years. Boodram later talked about the technique on the late-night show “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” and podcasts “Talking It Out with Mike & Bryan.”
Since then, perfumes who promise to enhance a person’s pheromones, chemical signals common to a particular species, have come to market. But there is no scientific evidence that scents or pheromone-powered scents work for humans, Tristram Wyattan evolutionary biologist who studies the scents and pheromones of various animals, told Insider.
Scientists have yet to find pheromones in humans, let alone in their vaginas
Studies that detect pheromones of other mammals show that it is “very likely” that humans also emit pheromone signals, but no researchers have yet found evidence of this in humans, Wyatt said.
Wyatt believes it’s due to limited research because pheromones don’t have a specific medical use.
Pheromones found in lobsters, mice, and insects have a variety of uses, and not all are sex-related. In rabbits, for example, pheromones allow babies to find their mothers’ nipples and animal feed.
When it comes to mammals, finding these pheromones and their uses is difficult because they release more varied scents than other animals, Wyatt said. Since people smell differently before and after puberty, this could signal the existence of a sex-related pheromone.
But, he warned, there is no research, which keeps human pheromones a mystery – and practices like scanning an unproven myth.
There could be a placebo effect that boosts confidence with the ‘spread’
If you want to vab, Wyatt doesn’t see a problem with that.
He said it’s possible the practice has a placebo. Since someone takes the time to put on their vaginal juices, this new act could stick in their head as they move out into the world and persuade them to act in ways that potential mates might find attractive.
“I can’t see it doing any harm, and if it gives you a little bit of confidence, then why not? The other thing is that in our current state of knowledge, we just don’t know,” Wyatt said.