OK, vagina-havers, listen up: There are only a handful of approved objects and substances safe to stick in there, so you’re best off ignoring the latest vag snake oil du jour and getting on with your life. (Having said that, I could totally see Gwyneth Paltrow peddling actual snake oil on Goop as a natural lubricant.)
The most recent addition to the family of completely useless and sometimes dangerous vagina products — which include vaginal steaming, labia lipstick and jade eggs—comes in the form of ground-up wasp nests. This all-natural treatment allegedly rejuvenates and tightens you down there using the healing powers of tree tumors caused by wasp nests, known by the even less appealing name of “oak galls.”
If you’re not sufficiently grossed out yet, allow me to elaborate. Oak galls are formed when a wasp lays eggs in the leaf buds of a tree, providing a place for the larva to develop. And at some stage, some genius decided to grind these deformities up and pop them in a vagina to see what happened.
According to gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, who frequently takes down Paltrow’s asinine products and methods on her blog, oak galls are not only pointless, but they have the potential to harm you. One of the goals of this “treatment” is to achieve tightening and drying of the vagina. Wait, drying? Don’t we have an entire industry of lube manufacturers dedicated to creating wet vaginas? This exists for a reason. Intentionally drying vaginal mucosa can cause abrasions and pain during sex, which could even increase the risk of HIV transmission.
As Gunter rightly points out, even though most women won’t be rushing onto Etsy to order this product (hint: if you have to order a medicinal product from an arts and crafts website, don’t), the fact that it’s touting dry and tight vaginas as the ideal sets this unattainable and harmful standard for everyone.