Behind Closed Doors: Let's Talk About... Smegma

July 14, 2017 | Posted in Editorial Features by colette-callaway

AH, smegma. The one word everyone hates more than "moist." The word everyone refuses to associate themselves with. The word that has you yelling "WHY, GOD, WHY" when you think you find it in your genital region. Well, friends, I'm here to help you recalibrate your relationship with the concept of smegma for two reasons: 

1) Everyone has smegma. (Yes, everyone.)

2) You need it if you don't want your foreskin/clit to chafe and fall off.

Ok, so now that we can collectively understand that smegma plays a role in our lives, it's time we try to better understand it. What IS smegma? How does one get it, and how does one get rid of it? Why does it sometimes smell funny? Why do people call it ball cheese??? Is this punishment for masturbating? (For the love of god, no.) 

Here is a simple equation: 

Shedding skin cells + normal body oils = smegma.

As you can see, smegma is simply a slightly slick combo of regular ol' skin cells and regular ol' sebum. That's what everyone has, including you circumcised fellas, and it serves an important lubrication purpose that makes sure things don't adhere to things they shouldn't. Sometimes it's clear, sometimes it's white, sometimes it just depends on how hydrated you are. Life is funny.

Smegma only becomes smelly, however, when you don't wash it off frequently enough, as moisture-loving bacteria start to break down the oils. Now that I think about it, it's kind of like fermenting, so calling it "ball cheese" is not correct. Cheese is curdled with enzymes, guys. Anyway. 

The solution to the #smellysmeg is simple: Every day or every other day (ish), carefully wash your junk. Penis-havers, this means getting under your foreskin. Vulva-havers, this means getting the nooks and crannies around your clit and labia minora. You don't even need to use soap - warm water and a little friction are more than enough.

And since I'm on the topic of normal body fluids that are scandalized, it's also normal for vaginas to produce white discharge. So long as it's not furiously itchy, ALARMINGLY smelly, or a strange greenish color, it's just part of your cycle - and yes, it does often come out during sex, which is also normal. 

Have a great rest of your day, folks. 

Tagged in: behind closed doors , sex education , sexual health , smegma ,