‘Who The Hell Still Uses Douche?’: A Frisky Investigation

Every time I pass by any so-called “feminine hygiene” section, in addition to tampons and pads and Vagisil and whatever, I notice that they still sell douche. Like, several different kinds of it, lined up on the bottom row. And every time, I think to myself, Seriously. Who the fuck is still buying douche? And also why are there all these products for feminine hygiene and nothing around to keep balls smelling like a fresh meadow or island breeze or whathaveyou? It’s not like balls smell like a fucking rose garden or anything.

I mean, sure. When I was a kid, TV was flush with gauzy ads depicting intimate mother-daughter conversations about “not-so-fresh feelings” — “you know, DOWN THERE.” The solution to said vague feelings of “unfreshness” was always douche. Like Massengill–with Effectal!

To this day, I still have no idea what the fuck “Effectal” is supposed to be, but I did eventually have a conversation about douche with my mom. It went like this:

Me: “Mom, what the hell is douche for?”
The Blessed Mother: “It gives you yeast infections. Do not use.”

These days though? Everyone knows that douche is really, really bad for you. Like, it causes yeast infections. It puts you at a greater risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, STIs and cervical cancer — and, irony of ironies — bacterial vaginosis, which can actually cause foul odor in the vagina.

We also all know that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and that the best way to keep clean is to wash the vulva with water and maybe some gentle, unscented soap. If there is a serious odor problem, that’s your vag’s way of telling you that something is wrong and that you should go to the doctor to check it out.

We learn this in health class. We learn this in teen magazines and later on in women’s magazines. We learn this from even the most brief Google search. I actually have these facts so memorized that I didn’t even have to Google them to find out. And so, I have to wonder…


Now, I’m not talking about the kind of douching that is occasionally medically necessary, usually after gender corrective surgery. I’m talking about regular old non-medically necessary douching. For freshness purposes.

Back when calling someone’s douche outdated was fightin’ words.

None of us here at The Frisky have ever douched, nor have any of us ever encountered any douchers in the wild. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20-40% of women age 15-44 douche, and about half of those women report doing so once a week. The practice, they say, is most popular in teenagers and among African-American and Latino women.

However, according to another study, done in 2006, only 12% of women douche. Which is still a lot. That’s like, one in ten women. That study also says that 90% of these women plan to continue douching in perpetuity.

It’s all a mystery. Amazon reviews are of no help. Like, most of the reviews for douches on Amazon are pretty sarcastic. The few real ones I found offered little insight:

I wanted something to use after those lovely time of month times and something that didnt smell too strong or leave me feeling unclean. This product is perfect. Feels good and smells great.

great way to keep yourself fresh and clean for the man you love its better to be clean and fresh than sweaty and smelly

great product would recommend this to anyone needing this kind of product. what a great fresh feeling. a must buy

Most of them were along those lines. Lots of talk of freshness, which left me feeling mostly confused. I mean, I’ve never thought to myself By golly! I just do not feel fresh!” But it’s hard not to wonder to oneself, do I only not think this to myself because I’ve never experienced the sort of freshness that comes from squirting some weird crap into my ladyparts? What do they even mean by “fresh?” Like minty fresh? Is it cold? Am I supposed to feel cold?

I searched through Reddit to see if there was any kind of “I Douche! AMA!” but no. I did eventually find a forum of douche-loyalists though, and they had some pretty interesting things to say:

Since I was a girl in the 50’s I have douched regularly.

I remember the first time I had a douche. My friend Jen and I were about 13 years and had just had our first period. One day at Jen’s house she asked me whether I have tried to be douched by my mom – I hadn’t. We went to the bathroom, where she showed me her mother’s red bulb, which she filled with tapwater. We sat down on the floor, took down our pants and Jen let the nozzle slide inside her. I was scared because of my virginity (very important those days), but Jen said it would go in without any problems. After her I tried; and sure enough I slipped it in and felt for the first time the sensation of water running inside my body.

Also, like you, I still like douching, especially after sex. Additionally, I admit that I find douching to be just plain enjoyable, both for the sensations involved and for the erotic response it produces for my husband when he joins me in the shower when I use it. My experience in this area is quite similar to Clarice’s description of sharing with her husband, even to the extent that shower sex occasionally results.

I’ve been using a bulb style douche since I started. I also have a folding syringe that I usually use for a cleanup after my periods. I enjoy both.

still douching & love it ! thanks to this site i have found the joy and pleasure of letting my b/f help. i always thought he was turned on by my douching just by the way he tells me how fresh & clean i feel when he enters me. he also loves the smell. it makes me feel so sexy ! been a summers eve ultra girl for ever but use a folding syringe now to. thanks to mom for showing me how to be a woman !!

As I posted elsewhere, I still douche every other day, with the only consequence was a yeast infection 3 years ago (the only one I ever had in my life).
The infection was caused by an infected lover.

I am sick and tired of the “woman-ists” efforts to prohibit douching.

Face it Girls- form time-to-time, we have odor and need to do something about it.

Wow. I don’t think I ever thought of douching as a sexytime thing. I mean, sure, Rule 34 and everything, but I have to say that this is not one that occurred to me.

From what I can tell, there are a few major reasons why women still use douche. Some still think it can be used as a birth control, which it definitely cannot. Other women think they need to use it after menstruation to clean themselves out. This is also unnecessary, and you should probably just clean yourself with water instead of wasting your money on a thing that is going to cause a yeast infection.

The final reason, and probably the most common, is the fact that women are still taught to be paranoid about the way they smell “you know — DOWN THERE.” That’s some bullshit. As long as you wash properly, and don’t have anything seriously wrong with you–“you know–DOWN THERE,” you’re going to be fine. I mean, you’re not going to smell like a pine tree or whatever, you’re going to smell like a person, with genitals. If there’s a seriously bad smell, then that’s something you want to get checked out, and not by Dr. Massengill.

Still, I’m kind of curious. Not curious enough to actually try a douche and risk a yeast infection, because gross–but if there are any douche loyalists out there who can manage to properly explain to me the actual difference between fresh and unfresh, I am all ears.