Vabbing, a condensed term for “vaginal dabbing,” involves the application of vaginal secretions as a fragrance to pulse points such as the wrists and behind the ears. This bizarre trend has gained widespread attention on TikTok, igniting a wave of curiosity, intrigue, disgust, and spirited debates.
The Origins of Vabbing
While vabbing exploded in popularity in 2022 thanks to TikTok (along with various viral pheromone perfumes & colognes), the origins of this unconventional practice date back much further.
The use of vaginal secretions as a perfume was first discussed in a 1996 book titled “Vaginal Fluids of the Human Female: Prostaglandins, Physiological Implications and Applications” by John A. Speyrer. The book theorized that vaginal fluids contain female pheromones that can attract potential mates.
In the early 2000s, vabbing received some media attention when sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox spoke about a similar technique in her book “Supersex: One Year, One Woman, One Man…Can It Work?” She recommended using vaginal secretions behind the ears and wrists before going out.
The term “vabbing” itself can be traced back to a 2014 Jezebel article titled “Have You Ever Tried Vabbing?”. The author interviewed Shan Boodram, a sexologist and author of “The Game of Desire,” who claimed she had been vabbing for 15 years with great success.
The TikTok Vabbing Craze
In 2022, vabbing exploded on TikTok after user Mandy Lee posted a video swearing by the seduction technique. Her original video gained over 1 million views before being deleted, but the trend continued to spread.
The #vabbing hashtag currently has over 230 million views on TikTok.
Scores of videos detail supposed success stories of vabbing helping users attract partners and get free drinks at bars. Other TikTokers post tutorials on proper vabbing techniques and tips. Supporters cite pheromones, confidence boosts, and placebos as reasons why vabbing works.
The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Vabbing
The entire premise of vabbing rests on the debated science of human pheromones. Pheromones are chemical compounds that trigger instinctual responses and behaviors in animals. They play a huge role in animal mating behaviors.
Small amounts of compounds like androstadienone and estratetraenol have been isolated from human secretions. The important thing to keep in mind, is that while the science is still debated, there is very limited formal research into the topic, which often leads to inconclusive results. That’s why you often see arguments on both sides of spectrum from “pheromones don’t work” to evidence showing they do, in fact have physiological/emotional reactions.
The vast amount of social research, personal testing, and results from 1000’s of pheromone product users over the years points to having fairly significant effects on human interactions, especially when it comes to attraction.
Tristram Wyatt, an Oxford University pheromone researcher, told Insider there’s no definitive scientific proof vabbing works. He said any effects could be attributed to placebo. The boldness of vabbing may simply boost confidence to interact flirtatiously.
Without concrete evidence, vabbing remains theoretical when it comes to actually attracting mates via biochemical secretions. There is however evidence of “copulins” producing physiological responses from men, increasing testosterone levels by up to 150%. Copulins are produced in higher quantity when women are about to experience menstruation. While this is not technically a pheromone, it has proven to have “pheromone-like” effects.
Purported Benefits of Vabbing
Increased Confidence – Many TikTokers report feeling sexier and more empowered when vabbing, regardless of results. The placebo effect of thinking they smell irresistible increases confidence. This can translate into greater flirtation success.
Natural Attraction – Some vabbing fans view it as harnessing one’s natural feminine energy and pheromones. They prefer relying on their own bodies over artificial fragrances.
Free and Convenient – Vaginal fluids are free and available anytime. Vabbing provides an affordable and accessible alternative to expensive perfumes.
No Risks – Assuming proper hygiene, vabbing carries little downside. With no dangers, some view it as a fun experiment.
Sexual Empowerment – Vabbing allows women to celebrate and leverage their sexuality on their own terms. Fans frame it as a feminist act of reclaiming the vagina’s power.
Placebo Effect – Even if pheromones are a myth, believing in vabbing’s effects may elicit real confidence and behavioral changes. The placebo effect could contribute to success.
Health Considerations of Vabbing
Despite fan testimonies, experts raise some health considerations regarding vabbing:
- Infection Risks – Doctors warn inserting fingers into the vagina risks introducing bacteria and causing infections, especially with long nails. Proper hand washing hygiene before and after vabbing is crucial.
- pH Disruption – Frequent vabbing could disrupt the vagina’s delicate pH levels and bacterial balance, increasing infection risks. Over-vabbing may be counterproductive for vaginal health.
- Spreading STIs – Vabbing when positive for an STI could spread infections. Open wounds are also susceptible. Refraining from vabbing during outbreaks is recommended.
- Allergic Reactions – Secretions could trigger allergic reactions in partners. Discontinue vabbing if any irritation occurs.
- Malodorous Discharge – Vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis cause foul-smelling discharge unsuitable for vabbing. Seek medical treatment instead.
Doctors emphasize avoiding vabbing inside the vagina. External dabbing of secretions discharged onto underwear poses minimal risks with clean hands.
The Vabbing Process Step-By-Step
For women intrigued enough to attempt vabbing, here is a step-by-step guide:
- Clean Hands – Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water before vabbing to avoid introducing germs into the vagina. Trim nails short.
- Collect Secretions – Wipe vaginal discharge from the external vulva or underwear using fingers. Inserting fingers is not necessary or recommended.
- Apply Sparingly – Lightly dab secretions onto pulse points on the wrists, behind ears, and neck. Less is more, as you don’t want it dripping.
- Let Dry – Give the areas a minute to fully dry before touching anything. Don’t apply moist secretions onto clothes or skin.
- Enjoy the Night – Head out feeling confident and empowered! Take note of any reactions from others.
- Wash Hands Again – Clean hands thoroughly after vabbing to prevent spreading germs and bacteria.
Only attempt vabbing if you are healthy, comfortable, and fully understand the risks. Never vab if you suspect a vaginal infection.
The Psychology Behind the Trend
Beyond questionable science, vabbing reveals some interesting psychological and sociological insights:
Part of vabbing’s appeal stems from breaking taboos around vaginal secretions. Historically, vaginal fluids were seen as unclean or inappropriate. Vabbing defies these ingrained stigmas, thrilling practitioners with racy rebellion. According to sex therapists, leaning into our repressed desires and urges can be liberating.
Similarly, vabbing provides a sense of sexual empowerment for some women. They feel pride in embracing their bodies on their own terms. The vagina remains woefully misunderstood, so vabbing represents claiming ownership of feminine sexuality.
Critics argue vabbing feeds into a culture of seeking attention and validation through sexuality. Posting vabbing videos drives social media clicks and engagement. While fans see it as fun self-expression, others view it as irresponsible oversharing.
Gender Role Conformity
Some sociologists blast vabbing as conforming to outdated gender roles that women must cater to men’s desires. They argue vabbing frames the vagina as a tool for seduction, rather than for women’s own pleasure.
Even if vabbing doesn’t work, believing it does may elicit real physiological and psychological changes. The placebo effect of smelling one’s natural scent could boost confidence, alter hormones, and incite flirtatious behavior.
However, skeptics also warn believing vabbing works could backfire via the nocebo effect. Feeling nervous or inhibited by the expectation it will work could lead to anxiety and failure.
Some vabbing fans speculate it helps create biochemical bonds with partners, similar to kissing exchanges of saliva. However, research does not confirm vaginal fluids foster relationships when absorbed through skin.
On a primal level, vabbing uses scent to brand potential mates with a woman’s signature aroma. Smell plays an important role in attraction. So while vabbing’s effects are uncertain, branding via scent association may not be total pseudoscience.
The Vabbing Controversy
Given its taboo nature and shaky science, it’s no surprise vabbing elicits extensive controversy.
- Propagates flawed ideology around vaginal pheromones
- Risks infections and vaginal health
- Reduces women’s bodies into seduction tools
- Perpetuates toxic masculinity and gender roles
- Encourages irresponsible oversharing for attention
- Harnesses feminine power and sexuality
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem
- Represents sexual liberation and empowerment
- Provides affordable natural fragrance alternative
- Placebo effect could have real impacts on success
The debate rages on TikTok comments and Twitter threads. Some beg vabbing fans to reconsider, while devotees accuse detractors of slut-shaming. Polarizing takes fill media think pieces discussing the trend through various lenses.
The Future of Vabbing
Despite criticism, vabbing appears likely to persist thanks to the internet’s endless curiosity around taboo trends. However, its fate may depend on the following factors:
- Scientific research – Studies conclusively proving or disproving vabbing’s efficacy could impact adoption.
- Influencers – If major internet voices denounce vabbing for health/ideology reasons, popularity may wane.
- Virality – Trends fade quickly online. If vabbing stops spreading via shock value, it may peter out.
- New trends – Emergence of novel viral crazes could push vabbing aside in the relentless social media cycle.
- Backlash – Continued criticism and stigma may discourage practice due to social or ethical concerns.
For now, vabbing remains a polarizing and eyebrow-raising phenomenon. Time will tell if science, society, or the churn of the internet leaves this unconventional trend behind.
While I personally hope for the latter, there is actually a much better solution, especially if you’re a woman looking to dramatically enhance your sex appeal… and that is using pheromone perfumes for women.
Thank you for reading.
- Joe Masters
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