Doctors are warning against a new viral TikTok trend that sees single women use their vaginal discharge as perfume.
‘Vabbing’ — which involves smearing fluid behind the ears and neck — was made popular by American Tiktokker Mandy Lee whose original video racked up 1.5million views.
Proponents claim it increases the chance of attracting men, by spreading their pheromones — chemicals made by the body to attract mates in some animals.
But doctors say there is little evidence to support pheromones work the same way in humans and warn it carries serious risks of vaginal infections, including thrush and bacterial vaginosis.
This is because dirty fingers can spread the fungus and bacteria that cause the two infections.
Dr Paraskevi Dimitriadi, a private gynaecologist in London, told MailOnline it could also lead to problems with fertility.
Bacterial infections can lead pelvic inflammatory disease, where the bugs spread from the cervix to organs higher up. This can lead to scarring in the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for fertilised eggs to reach the womb.
Vabbing — a combination of the words ‘vagina’ and ‘dabbing’, the term used for applying perfume — first used as a hashtag on TikTok in June.
Videos containing the phrase have since racked up millions of views.
The viral TikTok phenomenon ‘vabbing’ sees women put a small amount of vaginal fluid behind their ears and on their necks with the hope of attracting men
Plus-size OnlyFans model Jewliah created a ‘Vabbing 101’ video in which she explains how to do the bizarre trend in a supposedly hygienic way
What is vabbing?
Vabbing is a sexual attraction technique where a woman uses her own bodily fluids as perfume in an attempt to attract a suitor.
Women are encouraged to put the fluid behind their ears, on their neck and on their wrists before stepping outside.
The term vabbing has been around since 2019, however the technique is suspected to date back centuries.
The practice is said to trigger a response based on pheromones’ but science does not back this up.
‘A human’s olfactory system is pretty weak in comparison with other mammals,’ sex expert Shan Boodram, who coined the term, said.
‘Many of us already have strong smells on our body like perfume, hair products, smell of our clothes, which would make it hard for someone to pick up on the small amounts you vab with.’
Dr Dimitriadi, from the Centre for Surgery, a private cosmetic surgery in Paddington, said the act itself is not entirely unsafe.
But ‘the question is how you collect the discharge’.
She said: ‘If you use dirty fingers inside your vagina to collect discharge you can not only potentially traumatise the tissue in your vagina and but also spread infection, potentially causing something as serious as a pelvic inflammatory disease.
‘Dirty fingers could also cause bacterial vaginosis or thrush.
‘If you have bacterial vaginosis or thrush your discharge can be malodorous and will not help you attract a partner.’
Vabbing was coined in 2019 by sex expert and author Shan Boodram who revealed she has been using the method to attract men for over a decade.
‘I am certain that every single time I employ it, it makes me feel like an enchanted goddess with a delicious secret,’ she wrote in her book, the game of desire.
A TikTok video by Mandy Lee in June reinvigorated the trend with younger audiences.
‘I swear if you vab, you will attract people, like a date, a one-night stand or you’ll just get free drinks all night,’ she said in the video, which has since been deleted by the platform.
She said: ‘Get up there, give ’em a swipe. You don’t have to be fresh out of the shower clean but relatively clean.
‘Dab, vab behind the ears, on the wrists, maybe a little on the neck.
‘I don’t know what they’re putting in pheromone perfume but it can’t replicate your own smell and your own personalised chemicals.
‘Proceed with caution — because it works.’
While her video has now been taken down, other content creators have continued to champion the technique.
Plus-size OnlyFans creator Jewliah created a ‘Vabbing 101’ video in which she explains how to do the bizarre trend in a supposedly hygienic way.
In the video, she says: ‘Disclaimer, I did not come up with vabbing. But I’ve done it for a week and its been working for me.’
The video has been viewed 2.2million times.
She tells people shower beforehand, wash their hands before and after applying the discharge and not to try it while on a period.
The content creator also instructs people not to vab if they have a sexually transmitted illness or if they have an unusual or bad smell coming from their genitals.
Women are also told to wipe down gym equipment after use if they are vabbing, and to make sure they do not allow the parts of their body they vabbed to touch surfaces.
A TikTok video by Mandy Lee in June on how to ‘vab’ — the trend of using vaginal discharge as a scent — went viral in June
But others aren’t so sure, with author and podcaster Natalie Telfer slamming ‘what the young people are doing’.
In a TikTok post, she told her 1.3million followers: ‘You might be hearing the word vabbing going around. At first I thought it was just misspelled vaping — oh no.’
Holding up a definition of the trend, she says: ‘Here is what the young people are doing. F*****g idiots.
‘Ok that’s mean but honest to God, you have to be f*****g kidding me. Come on. Like, what’s wrong with people.’
In addition to the concerns around hygiene, there are doubts as to whether vabbing could actually work to attract men.
The technique is supposed to release pheromones in a similar way to synthetic pheromone perfumes available for around £36 are marketed.
Pheromones are chemicals released by animals that affect other’s behaviours, including attracting members of the opposite.
There is little to no evidence to suggest that they have the same effect in humans or if they even exist in vaginal fluids.
Dr Dimitriadi said: We all have pheromone receptors that help us attract our sexual partners, however, this practice of vabbing is completely medically unnecessary.
‘We secrete the same pheromones throughout the glands of our body. We have pheromones in our sweat.
‘We also secrete pheromones through urine and we don’t put that on our bodies.
‘There is absolutely no need to use your vaginal discharge on other parts of your body to attract a partner.’
And experts have questioned if humans are influenced by them in the same way as animals.
Professor Erick Janssen, a neuroscientist at KU Leven in Belgium, told EuroNews: ‘I am not sure if this is a fad, or perhaps I should say vad, but I seriously question the validity of the claims involved.
‘The actual scientific literature on so-called pheromones is complex.’
Animals including cats, dogs and snakes detect pheromones with their vomeronasal organ (VNO), a sense organ just under the roof of the mouth.
Professor Janssen said: ‘Pheromones are not things we consciously smell. They are possibly “detected” by our VNO, but in addition to discussion about whether humans have a real VNO, there also is discussion, if it actually works, or is some evolutionary but now inactive left-over structure somewhere in our nose.’