Femimint Hygiene: Vagina Mints

| Mon Oct. 12, 2009 11:22 AM EDT

I recently got a press release from the makers of Linger, an "internal feminine flavoring" that promises to keep your vagina in mint condition. Think of it as an Altoid for your lady parts or, as its website explains, "A small, naturally sweetened flavoring, free of artificial dyes, which was created to flavor the secretions of a woman when she is sexually aroused." What...the...?!

So where did the idea for this curiously wrong mint come from? Linger's website (a little NSFW) offers up a wondrous, romantic tale about the supposed discoverer of femimint hygiene, an unnamed woman who was seduced in India by a man with skin "the color of caramel." He quelled her fears of tasting bad "down there" with a mysterious, Eastern mint. "When I returned to the States, I brought the tingly sweet tasting mint with me," she writes. I've requested an interview with this mysterious entrepreneur, but have yet to speak with her. However, Linger's PR guy did send me a sample—made in exotic New Jersey. But that was just my first taste of disappointment.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

My tin of Linger looked a lot like one of those tins of mints that are given away at trade shows. And guess what? 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."