Caffeine won’t give you stronger orgasms, and Mucinex won’t get you pregnant.
By Brianne Hogan
Maybe TikTok is your go-to place for cleaning and cooking hacks, but you shouldn’t rely on it to help improve your sex life. According to Dr. Claudia Pastides, MBBS, general practitioner and director of medical accuracy at Flo, there’s not only a lot of information on social media that’s completely wrong, it’s also potentially dangerous.
“For example, 36% of women wrongly believe that you should regularly wash the inside of your vagina, which is not needed, as the vagina is self-cleaning,” she tells Lifehacker. “Washing inside the vagina can disrupt the natural pH and ultimately lead to vaginal infections and discomfort.”
While discussions of sexual health are crucial, it’s even more important to receive information that’s factual, helpful, and backed by research. We asked Pastides and other medical experts to debunk the most popular sexual myths on TikTok.
TikTok Myth #1: Garlic, yogurt, and other home remedies can treat vaginal infections
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about the best way to treat a vaginal yeast infection. Dr. Irina Ilyich, gynecologist and medical advisor, says a lot of home remedies end up doing more harm than good.
“While some people may swear by inserting a garlic clove into their vagina or adding vinegar to their bathtub, there’s no scientific proof supporting that home remedies such as yogurt or garlic can help treat a yeast infection,” she tells Lifehacker. “If you are unsure of the best way to treat a yeast infection, it’s best to visit a medical professional so they can do an examination and swab test. Pelvic exams aren’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but they are the best way to get the right diagnosis and get started on the path to a full recovery.“
TikTok Myth #2: Mucinex D can help boost your fertility
“Medicine that helps with the mucus in your respiratory tract is not shown to have the same effect on the mucus in your cervix,” Dr. Allison Rodgers tells Lifehacker. “While there is a case report about sperm motility from 1982, there’s no credible, reliable research showing that there is an increased chance of pregnancy with Mucinex.”
The thought comes from the fact that cervical mucus needs to change consistency to be like egg whites during the fertile window. But Rodgers says that change happens from high estrogen levels—not Mucinex.
There are, however, things you can do to increase your chances of conceiving naturally, she says, suggesting women who wish to get pregnant take folic acid and prenatal supplements and reduce toxins such as nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and cannabis, as well as eating healthy.
“This means choosing wholesome foods, such as leafy greens, fresh fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, which are incredibly beneficial for your fertility,” Rodgers explains. Managing your stress can also help, as stress can cause hormonal shifts and irregular cycles. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help combat stress.”
TikTok Myth #3: Yoni pearls will detox your vagina
First things first: your vagina doesn’t need to be detoxed or cleansed.
“It is a self-cleaning system that works perfectly well, especially if you are not trying to improve it by inserting any ‘improving agents,’” Ilyich says.
Yoni pearls, usually advertised as a vaginal detox or vaginal cleanse, contain multiple herbs in ‘pearl’ form. According to the manufacturer, it’s recommended to use them by inserting them into the vagina.
“The efficacy and safety of these products have not been evaluated and confirmed by FDA-approved research,” Ilyich explains. “There is no scientific evidence that these pearls might be helpful. Moreover, studies showed that using intravaginal products for controlling odor, lubricating the vagina, preparing for sex, cleansing the vagina, enhancing sexual pleasure, and preventing STIs were associated with injuries, bleeding, infections, and unhealthy changes in the vaginal microbiome.”
But if you’re having difficulty conceiving, Rodgers recommends making an appointment with your OB-GYN to run fertility tests, determine if you need to make lifestyle changes, and prescribe treatment, if necessary.
TikTok Myth #4: Caffeine makes orgasms stronger
“This idea that caffeine can increase orgasm intensity probably comes from a trend on TikTok, where some people claim that because caffeine stimulates the production of nitric oxide, it may cause blood vessels to dilate and as a consequence bring more blood to the tissues,” Dr. Claudia P. Mosca, OB-GYN and medical advisor at Flo, explains. “They claim this could increase genital sensation and lead to orgasms being stronger. Something similar to the action of Sildenafil, a drug used for erectile dysfunction.”
Mosca points out that caffeine can have the opposite effect of constricting the blood vessels, depending on the amount. “And, in some concentrations, caffeine can cause high blood pressure in some people, as it acts differently from person to person.”
When talking about orgasms, says Mosca, there isn’t a magic trick that will do it every time. “Creating a good sexual experience depends on many factors, and for people with vulvas, finding what works and exploring different stimulation in the whole area—clitoris, vulva, vagina perineum, and anus—alone or with a partner is key to having great sexual experiences.”
TikTok Myth #5: “Kitty” cocktails will make you taste better during oral sex
Sorry, no pineapple juice or inventive “kitty” cocktails will make you taste any different “down there,” Mosca says.
“Every vagina has its own natural and totally normal taste, but there’s no data to show increasing your intake of sweet fruits will alter the taste or smell of your vagina,” she clarifies. “There’s no evidence to suggest you can change the smell or taste of your vagina based on what you consume. Also, there isn’t any need to do so. A healthy vagina’s scent and taste is not overpowering, and if it is, there might be an underlying infection that needs medical attention.”