It's a recipe you would never search for yourself, but there's something about a woman making yogurt from her own vaginal secretions that would make anyone question three things: the taste, the process, and most importantly, why?
Scientist and PhD student Cecilia Westbrook of the University of Wisconsin said she had always wondered whether she could use bacteria and organisms found in the vagina to make yogurt that would keep her healthy, according to Vice's Motherboard.
Her friend Janet Jay wrote the post for the news site, noting that the final product (eaten with blueberries) tasted sour and tangy, and even left a tingling feeling on Westbrook's tongue — similar to Indian yogurt.
"But Westbrook didn’t make her yogurt just for the sake of some amazing jokes. And she certainly didn’t make it because she was hungry. She knew enough about the chemistry of the vagina to think that eating a batch of yogurt made from her ladyjuices would be good for her. Seriously."
While the post gives some pretty graphic details (for example, her second batch was tart and tasted like spoiled milk, proof that "eating yogurt made from vaginal secretions isn't quite the same as eating actual pussy"), it also included commentary from microbiologist Larry Forney, who says eating vaginal bacteria is generally a bad idea.
The main bacteria among the hundreds of types in the vagina is called lactobacillus, which is the same bacteria people may use in some fermented foods like cheese and yogurt. This bacteria also lives in our digestive, urinary and genital systems overall, and are considered friendly.
But Forney notes because all women have different types of bacteria, using vaginal secretion means you're taking everything, and "what you're using in your yogurt is no longer dominated by lactobacilli but other bacteria, some of which could be pathogenic," he said to Vice.
Yogurt, well, probiotics to be more specific, are commonly recommended to treat health problems like yeast infections and UTIs. Some people have even inserted yogurt into their vaginas to treat yeast infections — the author in this xoJane piece says the treatment half worked, but the real cure was a probiotic pill. Health experts recommend eating yogurt with probiotics to blast away any bad bacteria in your body, along with preventing these health problems from happening in the first place, according to Everyday Health.
And even if Westbrook's experiment isn't the best dinnertime discussion, don't let her findings freak you out — we won't let it, anyway. As Jezebel notes, many went online to call out the student as "mentally ill" or compared her to an anti-vaxxer, but as the site notes, Westbrook did her research on vaginal flora as opposed to just picking up a spoon and going for it. Ah, science!
"Of course the feminist in me wants to say something about how there’s a beauty in connecting your body to your food and exploring the power that your vagina has," she says. "Part of that is kind of a mystical hippie thing, but part of it is also just getting comfortable with your own body, especially in a culture that is so uncomfortable with women’s bodies.”