Sex Toys to Avoid: Vaginal Tightening Creams

Vaginal tightening creams, which are also often marketed as “virginity” creams, rely on the fear that if a woman has had “too much” sex (how much is too much exactly?) or has had one or more babies that her vagina gets stretched out and therefore is not as pleasurable for her partner during intercourse. This is basically poppycock, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Vaginal tightening creams, at best, feed on fears and insecurities that continue a culture of shame around sexuality and women’s bodies. At worst they can cause infections and allergic reactions.

Some vaginal creams don’t actually contain anything that would tighten the vagina in any way. They’re basically snake oils meant to feed your insecurities just like penis enlargement or breast enlargement pills. They don’t work. They may have things you’re allergic to, but in general they’re relatively harmless.

Other shrinking creams contain ingredients that will numb the vagina making it so that the woman doesn’t become fully aroused and therefore her vagina may not inflate to it’s normal size when it is aroused and she may not lubricate as much. With less lubrication, more friction will result which can feel tighter, but also more uncomfortable. Numbing is never a good idea when it comes to sex play because if something hurts it could be serious, but also because the best part of sex is feeling it.

The worst shrinking creams contain aluminum, the same active ingredient as in your antiperspirant. These work by limiting vaginal lubrication and often actually cause some allergic reactions that cause swelling of the vagina. So basically, to create the feeling of tightness the vagina is swollen and dry. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a fun sexy time for anyone involved. Especially when you take into account that the aluminum in antiperspirants has been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and chemicals are more easily absorbed into the body through the vagina than the armpit.

The vagina is a delicate ecosystem and when you introduce foreign products into it you may mess with that balance and cause infections. Any one of these types of tightening creams could do this depending on how sensitive your vagina is.

In other words, my personal opinion is that women should not use such “shrinking” creams. But what should you do if you really do feel like you’ve become a bit “loose” down there? After all, child birth can – at least in some cases – wreak havoc on one’s genitals.

The vagina is a muscular canal so in order to get it into shape one must exercise just like any other muscle in the body. This is why the notion of vaginas getting stretched out is poppycock. They are meant to stretch and flex, that is what they are designed to do. Having sex often can actually increase overall muscular health so there’s no such thing as “too much sex.” Not using your muscles or going through vaginal birth can deteriorate your pelvic muscles which is why all women should do their Kegel exercises regularly.

Don’t know how to do Kegel exercises? Check out Kate’s helpful guide.

Finally, women who have questions or concerns about their vaginal health or tone should check in with a healthcare provider.

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About Garnet Joyce

Garnet Joyce

Queer sex educator starting a new adventure with her wife and two cats.