Despite the lack of scientific research around the topic, many women are now openly attesting to the power of vabbing. Although the buzz seemed to start a few weeks ago, vabbing was first popularized by sexologist Shan Boodram in 2019, who said she vabs before hitting the town.
On TikTok, many people have now posted about their experiences with vabbing, including a woman named Julia Sena, who goes by the username @jewlieah on the platform. In one clip that now has over 3.9 million views, she says, "I don't know who needs to hear this, but vabbing works."
"I got offered two free drinks at the pool, and then a guy literally came back and gave me this [luxury hair kit]," she said at the end of the clip.
Julia said she first heard about the practice on TikTok. "I will be honest, I tried vabbing purely out of boredom — like, what's the worst thing that could happen?" she told BuzzFeed.
"Since I've been newly single, I've been trying to pick up tips and tricks in this new dating world that we're in."
At the time BuzzFeed spoke with her, Julia said she had vabbed three times, with only one of the attempts proving unsuccessful. "I didn't get much interaction the second time, but to be honest, I was, like, at a coffee shop with all women."
However, she recounted the last time she vabbed, which she also made a TikTok about, pictured below. "The third time, I was at the gym, sweaty," she said. "No makeup, just working out, and I've never had any men approach me at the gym like this."
Julia also explained her process: "You 'vab' with your fingers on your wrist and on the area behind your ear — kind of like the area that you would normally put perfume," she said.
She has even made a TikTok further explaining best vabbing practices.
All of the bulleted items are valid points to consider (e.g., do not vab if you're on your period, if you have a spreadable infection, etc.), so BuzzFeed spoke with Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a gynecologist at the Yale School of Medicine, to clarify the precautions someone should take if they were to vab.
As for the risks of vabbing, Minkin said she believes the practice is safe. "Of course there are tons of bacteria in the vagina — but we are surrounded by bacteria, so I don't think placing these bacteria around the skin would be hazardous," she said.
However, Minkin did emphasize that people should not be touching the areas on or near their eyes. "If someone just had sex with someone who gave her an STI — such as gonorrhea or herpes — and she ended up placing her vaginal discharge on a mucous membrane (like it got near her eye, for example) — that could possibly spread it to the eye," she said.
Finally, we asked Minkin if she thinks vabbing works: "Does vabbing do anything?"
"Who knows!" she responded.
But maybe some things are better left as mysteries.