What Does Sex Smell Like? Does It Have a Unique Scent?



Is there a scientific explanation as to why sex smells?

Sex is a very intimate and personal experience. It’s hard to talk about it because we’re all so different in our experiences and opinions.

The smell of sex can be strong, but you don’t want to offend your partner by saying that their smell is bothersome or unpleasant. What if they have an infection? 

We’ve created this guide for people curious about the smells associated with sex and how they relate to infections such as yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis (BV).

You’ll learn what these common odors mean, along with some helpful tips on how you can improve the scent sex at home.

Why Does Sex Smell?

The smell you get after sex can be different for each person. It doesn’t mean that one partner has a rank bodily fluid that’s causing the smell. Whether fingering, oral, grinding, or penetrative, sex scent sometimes just happens, and it’s normal.

In most cases, a different smell after intercourse could result from your vaginal pH, which helps maintain the healthiness and cleanliness there. Anything that goes inside will alter this balance causing change to occur with any odors coming off as well.

Suppose P-in-V (penis inside vagina) intercourse is involved. In that case, semen becomes an alkaline environment while trying not only to alter vaginal pH but also change scent temporarily depending on who’s cumming inside us.

V-to-V (vagina to vagina) intercourse can also cause vaginal odor after sex. If you are Tribbing, sharing a sex toy, or if your partner fingers your V after touching their vaginal fluids, then that is how the smell gets into yours.

Oral sex can also contribute to the unique smell after intercourse. The human mouth contains various bacteria and enzymes that can change your pH levels, causing a change in the sex smell. Poor hygiene and a lack of cleanliness can also cause sex to smell. This is because dirt, sweat, bacteria from our skin or pubic hair are all contributors in the production for this pungent aroma, especially if neither partner has showered before engaging in sexual activity.

List of Sex Smells

Fishy Smell

This could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, which occurs when the “bad” bacteria that are scarcely presented in your vagina overpopulates “good” bacteria (Lactobacillus sp.) – meaning there’s too much for your body to handle. It is accompanied by an unpleasant fishy odor and thin white discharge.

If you experience any abnormal vaginal symptoms like these, seek medical assistance right away as they may point out another sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to infection, such as chlamydia.

Metallic Smell

If you have sex during your period, not only will it smell more metallic, but there is a chance that the scent of blood might be stronger. It’s not necessarily bad, though, as some people find this quite pleasant!

Fecal Matter

When going down on a guy, the first thing you notice is that familiar poopy smell. The combination of sweat and fecal matter can sometimes be overwhelming, but luckily there are ways to make the experience much more pleasant for yourself!

If either one partners’ testicles (or taint), butt crack/asshole area smells worse than usual, we recommend at least scrubbing those regions clean before having penetrative intercourse. This way, no matter who’s on top, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises later down south during sex time.

Latex Condoms

If you use condoms, the rub of a latex scent might add to your sex smell. However, not all condoms have latex. If you’re not a fan of the smell that comes from latex, there are other choices. Female condoms use nitrile-based materials and have an odorless scent making them perfect for those with allergies or sensitive noses!


The salty fragrance may pervade a room if you break a sweat while having sex. Some people sweat more heavily than others, and their perspiration has a stronger odor. You might sense this more if you are already sweaty, such as from a workout.

Body Odor

Every time someone has sex, bodily fluids (sweat) is released and it leaves behind a distinct smell. That’s why penetrative vaginal or anal intercourse smells like sweaty armpits!

Making Sex Smell Better

First of all, it’s important to remember that everybody smells different and what smells good to one person might not be so great for another. That said, if you want to make intimacy smell better in general here are some things you can try out.

Cologne and perfume

First of all, if you’re going to be around your partner for a prolonged period of time (whether it be at home or in public) you might want to consider dousing yourself with some “proper” cologne before getting close.

That said, don’t go overboard here. Try out a few fragrances before you settle on one, and make sure you’re not drenching yourself in it either. It might smell amazing to you, but the last thing you want is for your lover to start sneezing after 5 minutes of being around you!


You can also find scented candles, incense sticks, and oil burners. These will help to make the room smell nice before intimacy begins, which might be preferable to your lover rather than you smelling cologne or perfume for prolonged periods of time.


Did you know that certain foods can cause odor issues in the bedroom? For example, garlic and onions are known to create strong smells. This is why it might be a good idea to avoid eating these types of food if you’re about to go near your lover with intimacy on your mind!

Heed hygiene advice

Make sure you shower before doing the deed. Really, you should probably shower every day anyway (or at least take a bath) but especially if your special someone is coming over or you plan on leaving the house afterward.

Showering not only gets rid of any funky vagina smells that might be lingering but also gets rid of dead skin cells and other things that can contribute to bad odors.

Be sure to wash well in the genital area, not only will this get rid of any sweaty smells that might be present, but it also helps avoid any infections that could crop up. If you want to go the extra mile you can use a mild soap or gentle shampoo on your pubic hair to make sure there are no foreign odors coming from there.

Related Questions:

Do People Smell Different During Sex?

It depends. Some people sweat more than others, and those with a noticeable odor will release an odder smell as they become more active during sex. Others who produce less sweat might actually emit a sweeter-smelling pheromone that makes them extremely attractive to the opposite or same gender.

Why Does Sex Have a Specific Smell?

There are many factors that contribute to this distinct aroma. These elements involve vaginal secretions, sweat, semen, and even the types of food that the individual consumes. How often an individual baths or showers can also determine how intense (or not) their natural “smell” is.

Can a Guy Smell When a Girl is Wet?

Yes, if he’s attracted to her. He can smell when she’s aroused because it causes a change in her natural bodily fluids. His sense of smell is more developed than hers, so he should take advantage of this fact and use his power wisely. Just be warned, playing with fire will get you burned (both figuratively and literally)!


There are many factors that determine the smell of sex. For instance, what chemicals are emitted by sweat glands and sebaceous glands can lead to different smells after intercourse depending on individual bodily fluids. The female vagina is also known for its distinct scent which may be an indication of fertility or sexual arousal in some cases.