People With Vaginas Are Sharing Their Experiences With "Vabbing," And We Must Discuss This Right Now

·4 min read

"Vabbing" — a mix of the words "vagina" and "dabbing" — is trending on TikTok right now, and yes, it's as wild as it sounds.

TikTok screenshot of woman taking a selfie in a bathroom with the caption "vabbing at the gym for the first time"

#VabbingPerfume and #VabbingTikTok have a combined 15.9 million views on the platform.

Julia Sena / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

As you can probably guess by the name, vabbing is the practice of dabbing your vaginal secretions on the parts of your body where you'd normally apply perfume. It's supposedly a way to attract a mate.

A hand with two fingers inserted into the center of a halved grapefruit, next to a banana with lipstick kisses on the peel
Brillianata / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The so-called logic behind the phenomenon is this: Vaginal secretions contain pheromones, which are reported to play a huge role in mating for animals.

A woman holding a halved grapefruit over her pelvic region
Adene Sanchez / Getty Images/iStockphoto

There is still very little known about the role pheromones play in human attraction, but one study found that pheromones do increase female sexual desire.

There's already quite a market for pheromone perfumes that lean into this idea.

Despite the lack of scientific research around the topic, many women are now openly attesting to the power of vabbing. Although the buzz seemed to start a few weeks ago, vabbing was first popularized by sexologist Shan Boodram in 2019, who said she vabs before hitting the town.

On TikTok, many people have now posted about their experiences with vabbing, including a woman named Julia Sena, who goes by the username @jewlieah on the platform. In one clip that now has over 3.9 million views, she says, "I don't know who needs to hear this, but vabbing works."

Julia wearing a bra and panties takes a selfie in front of a bathroom mirror
Julia Sena / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

"I got offered two free drinks at the pool, and then a guy literally came back and gave me this [luxury hair kit]," she said at the end of the clip.

Julia holds an "Oribe cCamera Ready" card with "I'm yours with an Oribe purchase of $75" on it
Julia Sena / TikTok

Julia said she first heard about the practice on TikTok. "I will be honest, I tried vabbing purely out of boredom — like, what's the worst thing that could happen?" she told BuzzFeed.

Julia wearing a shoulder bag stands in front of a green lit background
Julia Sena

"Since I've been newly single, I've been trying to pick up tips and tricks in this new dating world that we're in."

Julia in a bodysuit poses in the corner of a room
Julia Sena

At the time BuzzFeed spoke with her, Julia said she had vabbed three times, with only one of the attempts proving unsuccessful. "I didn't get much interaction the second time, but to be honest, I was, like, at a coffee shop with all women."

Julia smiles as she is wearing a bodysuit and leggings poses in a room
Julia Sena

However, she recounted the last time she vabbed, which she also made a TikTok about, pictured below. "The third time, I was at the gym, sweaty," she said. "No makeup, just working out, and I've never had any men approach me at the gym like this."

Julia stirs a mug with the caption, "i did it right before the gym & then that guy hit on me while I was working out; vabbing works!"

"This man gets on the treadmill right next to me while I was doing lunges, and he asked me some question — he was just trying to break the ice and talk to me," she said.

"And so I took off my headphones and started talking to him, and then he asked me out."

Julia Sena / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

Julia also explained her process: "You 'vab' with your fingers on your wrist and on the area behind your ear — kind of like the area that you would normally put perfume," she said.

Julia wearing a body-conscious dress poses next to a wall and in front of a vase of roses
Julia Sena

She has even made a TikTok further explaining best vabbing practices.

Julia gesturing with a list of "Best Vabbing Practices," including "shower or bathe beforehand" and "wash hands before and after"
Julia Sena / TikTok / Via tiktok.com

All of the bulleted items are valid points to consider (e.g., do not vab if you're on your period, if you have a spreadable infection, etc.), so BuzzFeed spoke with Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a gynecologist at the Yale School of Medicine, to clarify the precautions someone should take if they were to vab.

Dr. Minkin standing in front of a framed hanging photo of a New York Times Science Times article

"There certainly isn't much scientific written on this topic (i.e., placing vaginal secretions around the body), but using scents for biological purposes is certainly known among many species — a likely explanation would be pheromones," she said.

Ulysses Photography

As for the risks of vabbing, Minkin said she believes the practice is safe. "Of course there are tons of bacteria in the vagina — but we are surrounded by bacteria, so I don't think placing these bacteria around the skin would be hazardous," she said.

A halved grapefruit with a slip of paper with "censored" on it over it
Dvulikaia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

However, Minkin did emphasize that people should not be touching the areas on or near their eyes. "If someone just had sex with someone who gave her an STI — such as gonorrhea or herpes — and she ended up placing her vaginal discharge on a mucous membrane (like it got near her eye, for example) — that could possibly spread it to the eye," she said.

Close-up of a woman touching her neck

"That would be a remote possibility, but theoretically possible," she added.

Wacharaphorn Phetpradub / Getty Images/EyeEm

Finally, we asked Minkin if she thinks vabbing works: "Does vabbing do anything?"

"Who knows!" she responded.

But maybe some things are better left as mysteries.

A person holding a peeled cut grapefruit
Ildar Abulkhanov / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

You can keep up with Julia on TikTok.