Jen Phillips, at Mother Jones, wrote a great essay on a new product called Linger, an “internal feminine flavoring.”   Literally, a breath mint for your vagina.  How literally?  Literally.

Here’s a couple screen shots from the website:

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The company is, of course, trying to convince women that their vaginas need a breath mint.  The mint “improves the length and quality of oral sex” because the person performing it is disgusted by the taste of you.  Otherwise, why would a mint help?

And that’s problematic enough, but at least the product is actually a real product designed for vaginas, right?  Right?

Nope.

Phillips, curious, ordered some.  Suspiciously, the tin of vagina mints looked a lot like tins of, well, mints:

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“And guess what?” she writes, “That’s what it is.”

A little digging revealed that Linger is made/distributed by a company called Admints, which just happens to make trade show mints.  And the Linger samples just happen to have have the exact same shape, taste, and ingredients as Admint’s sample mints. So how does Linger manage to pass off breath mints as vaginal Tic Tacs in $7.99 packs?  Despite the salacious creation story and testimonials on its site (“It gets a little warm as it starts to dissolve which took just under an hour. Then, it is SO good!!”), the mint is labeled “for novelty use only.”  This is a common practice in the sex-products industry, explains Charlie Glickman, the education program manager at Good Vibrations.  It gives manufacturers some cover if something goes awry, he explains. “They could say, ‘It’s just a novelty toy. You weren’t actually expecting to use this were you?’”  And if you actually do expect to use Linger to “flavor the woman in a manner that is safe and effective,” be warned: its primary ingredient is sugar, which is not safe for the vagina.  It messes up the pH and can lead to a really painful yeast infection, a condition that definitely doesn’t make someone want to “linger.”

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Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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