How do I tell my partner she has bad breath/bad pussy odor?

Dear Love Drive,

I'm looking for a graceful approach to let my partners know about their sometimes offensive breath and pussy odor. 

With one partner it was a sudden but temporary change in their pussy odor and with another it's an occasional breath issue. 

Little help here would ya? This could literally save relationships. 

Not A Fan of Limburger


Hey NAFL,

Let's just get one thing out of the way, right off the bat (that's a baseball term for you non sporty types like me).

People are stinky

It's amazing we don't stink more than we do, or that people aren't offended more than they are.

We're humans, and our human bodies produce some spectacular odors sometimes. Some are amazing, some are whatever, and some are downright nasty.

For the most part though our bodies produce a regular amount of odor if we practice good hygiene and if we're healthy. Sometimes though, something is off balance and needs to be looked into.

Penis and pussy odor

Genitals are gonna stink sometimes. It's normal.

A girlfriend used to tell me,”Go wash your dick, it smells” every now and then before sex. So I did, because she was right, and I wanted sex. It's a blunt approach but it worked.

No one wants to be up close and personal with stinky genitals.

Well, that's not entirely true. It really depends on the kind of stink. There's normal stink, and not so normal stink.

I'm a big fan of that post yoga pussy smell. It's got a je ne sais quoi that is just delightful, but that's just me. When I like the way my partner smells, I really like my the way partner smells.

Vaginas rock!

Vaginas do all sort of crazy things I don't understand. Probably because I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV (or on the internet).

Did you know about cervical mucus? I didn't until last year. It's pretty wild.

Cervical mucus is the fluid produced by the cervix to support, nourish, and transport sperm during the menstrual cycle. It changes in quantity and consistency based on where a woman is in her cycle and can either help or prevent sperm from swimming into the cervix. It's totally badass!

Check out these photos of what cervical mucus looks like depending on where a woman is in her cycle.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's badass, and it shows how complex vaginas are, and that some smells are gonna be normal.

Not a doctor, also, not a woman

I'm neither of these things, which means I'm entirely unqualified to give my opinion as to why my partners vagina smells different or what she should do about it.

My partner has had her pussy her whole life. She probably knows how to take care of it. And if she doesn't, well, that's what the internet is for.

I'm not trying to mansplain anything to a woman, especially anything about her vagina.

And you shouldn't either.

Assume good intentions

If my partner tells me that my penis smells bad, I'm going to assume that they have the best intentions at heart and my best interests in mind.

I'm going to assume they want to get up close and personal with my gennies (that's what I call my genitals) but would strongly prefer if they didn't smell and or taste bad.

I get that. That makes sense to me. It should make sense to you.

When you tell your partner about their penis or pussy odor, you're doing it with the best of intentions, and you're doing it out of love and care for them.

Come at it from this angle and you can't fuck up.

I wanna know about it

If my penis smells bad, I wanna know about it. If your partner's genitals smell bad, they're gonna wanna know about it too.

Smell can be normal, or it can be an indicator that something is off, or that something has changed.

In both men and woman, a strong or unusual penis or pussy odor might be a sign of an infection. Sexually transmitted, yeast, bacterial, or whatever.

Here's an article about the 5 most common pussy odors and what they probably mean.

By telling your partner, you're letting them know that something has changed and it might be worth investigating why.

Hook a lover up and let them know about it!

Be the reporter on scene

State the facts. Be gentle and loving.

Honey. I noticed that your pussy smells different today and wanted to let you know. It's not as sweet as it normally is.

And then shut up. It's not a judgment, you're just sharing information.

If she asks you what it smells like, tell her.

A bit more yeasty, fishy, metallic, musty, whatever than normal. 

She might tell you that she noticed it too, or that she thought something was a bit off, or she might just thank you.

It might be awkward but do it a few times and it'll be OK. We're old enough to have sex, we should be old enough to talk about it.

Not a dentist

I'm not a dentist, but everything I said about genitals goes for breath too.

If you had bad breath every now and then, wouldn't you want to know about it?

I would. I'd brush my teeth right away, and then try to find out what the cause is. Maybe I'd call the dentist and book that cleaning I've been avoiding.

Assume good intentions, report the facts, be kind and gentle, and have the best interest of your partner at heart. With this approach, you can't go wrong.

Honey. I've noticed that your breath doesn't smell as good as it normally does. I wanted to let you know. 

Thanks honey, I'll go brush my teeth.

Simple as that. Now go clean your penis, it doesn't smell as good as it normally does.

Bold Enough To Share?

Shaun Galanos

Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He believes that talking about sex and love isn't always easy, but it doesn't have to be awkward. He lives in Montreal.