Doctors warn against viral TikTok trend ‘vabbing’; here’s what it means and why you mustn’t do it
There are many bizarre trends that have originated from TikTok, and many of them involve tips and tricks to attract people romantically and sexually. Sometimes, it involves makeup hacks like the recent ‘siren eyes’, and at other times, it claims that bodily fluids can do the trick.
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As preposterous as it sounds, one such trend has emerged from the video-sharing app that has prompted feverish discussions and debates on social media. It is called ‘vabbing’, a portmanteau of the words ‘vagina’ and ‘dabbing’. And this trend presents itself exactly how it sounds: dabbing vaginal secretion on other parts of the body, so as to attract potential romantic encounters and situations.
According to an Independent report, the ludicrous practice has around 13 million views on the platform, which goes on to show the kind of interest it has garnered; although many have rightfully labelled it as ‘disgusting’. Per the outlet, one TikTok user — @jewlieah — who ‘vabbed’, explained that she took her natural ‘scent’ from her vagina and dabbed it on her wrists, along with the back of her ears. “Put it on surfaces that don’t touch other things, and don’t rub your wrists on other people,” she was quoted as saying.
The concept of vabbing is that genital fluid (vaginal secretion) is used as a perfume to attract people. Claims are being made that it works based on the science of pheromones, which are chemical substances secreted on the outside by an individual, and received by another individual of the same species.
Interestingly, while animals are known to produce pheromones, their existence in human beings has been long debated. We reached out to gynaecologists to understand more about vabbing and if there is any scientific truth to the claims made by TikTokers.
Dr Uma Vaidyanathan of Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh rubbished such claims and explained that vaginal fluids are secreted by the vaginal lining, and are acidic in nature. They protect the vagina and the mouth of the uterus from potential attack from the outside, such as any kind of infection. “All of us have microbes all over the body, including the vagina. Which is why, we also tell people not to use vaginal washes,” she said of the importance of the natural protective layer inside the vagina and the need to keep it safe from anything foreign.
“So, please leave the orifices as they are,” she added, explaining that the fluids exist for a reason, but it does not involve using them as fragrances. “The concept of pheromones exists in animals! But, we are an evolved species. All of these [trends] have no scientific basis at all. If one maintains their personal hygiene, they will anyway come across as confident and that will attract people,” the doctor told this outlet.
Agreeing with her, Dr Swati Rai, a gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon in Noida’s Aaradhya Neuro and Gynae Clinic and at Cloudnine Hospital said vaginal discharge is common. But, in order to ‘vab’, one has to insert their finger inside the vagina and it can increase the risk of an infection down there.
“Vaginal fluid is acidic; we do not know [what it can do when dabbed on the skin], because nothing of this sort had ever been done before. We also do not know what kind of long-term reaction it can lead to — it is a risk. [Vabbing] is not healthy. It should also be known that the normal vaginal fluid is odourless and watery (depending on the period day). Only if there is some kind of infection, will there be odour,” she concluded.
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