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#LetsTalkAboutSex : Passion Dust, Pussy Glitter, or why we can’t leave vaginas alone

By Alex Williams, YWWAV Summer Intern – A new product called Passion Dust has been making the rounds on the internet. Passion Dust is a cosmetic glitter “adult novelty product” that comes in capsules that are inserted into the vagina an hour before sex. They contain starch-based edible glitter, acacia (gum arabic) powder, Zea mays starch (corn starch), and vegetable stearate, and the capsule itself is made of gelatin.

The capsules are supposed to melt from body heat while the glitter mixes with vaginal fluids to allegedly make sex more enjoyable for both people. In addition to making the person’s vaginal discharge sparkle, the Passion Dust is also supposed to make the vaginal fluid taste “sweet like candy but not overly sweet”, according to the website. Each individual capsule costs about $7, with sets ranging in price from $12 to $20.  

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Image from PrettyWomanInc.com

To be honest, I thought this was a joke when I first saw it, but this product was featured on several major news outlet this summer, and as of the writing of this piece, the website says they’re currently out of stock so the owner can catch up on backorders.

Lola-Butterflie Von-Kerius, owner of Pretty Woman Inc., the company that makes Passion Dust, swears that they are healthy to use, contain FDA approved products, and won’t cause any irritation or negative health effects. However, doctors disagree with those claims.

The general consensus among gynecologists that weighed in on the product is that at best, someone might experience no side effects or just mild irritation from using Passion Dust, similar to a reaction to a new laundry detergent. At worst, the cosmetic glitter used to create the sparkle could cause yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or could have a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effect when it interacts with the delicate environment of the vagina. Health-wise, these just aren’t a good idea.

Beyond health concerns, there is also a toxic social environment that tells women their natural bodies are undesirable that fostered the development of this and other products designed to make vaginas look, smell, or taste ‘better’. For decades women have been marketed products to change their bodies in some way to please their assumed male partners. The subtext of such products in a patriarchal misogynistic context is that vaginas are disgusting and unhygienic in their natural state and need to be altered in some way to be (more) appealing.

Sadly, in this context, the purpose of most products marketed towards women’s health, wellness and ‘freshness’ are not health based, their purpose is to make vaginas ‘more appealing’ via hair removal, changing its scent or look, often with little regard to natural vaginal health. Products like vaginal douches have been shown to negatively impact the pH levels in vaginas, making them more susceptible to irritation and yeast infections, but there are still women who still swear by them because both them and their partners have been convinced that a vagina that looks or smells like it should naturally is a bad thing. Passion Dust wants to take it a step further by visually altering both the composition fluids in people’s vaginas as well as the taste of vaginal fluids with only anecdotal, short term “experience based” evidence to support.

The Passion Dust website even says, “your lover [will] feel that your Yara (water-lady or little butterfly) is what all vaginas are supposed to look, feel and taste like; soft, sweet and magical!” The biggest question one should have when seeing a product like this is why do we think this is what vaginas are supposed to look, feel, and taste like, and who benefits from this line of thinking?

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Hopefully Passion Dust will stay out of stock forever, and the people who use it don’t suffer any negative health effects. As a society, we should use the creation of this sort of product to start a larger conversation about bodies and the ways in which girls and women are taught that they’re not enough. This October, we’ll have the opportunity here in New Orleans with the #LetsTalkAboutSex Conference is coming to New Orleans!

SisterSong the National Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective is celebrating 20 years of amplifying the voices of Indigenous women and women of color, and we are celebrating this milestone by hosting our third national Let’s Talk About Sex! conference October 5-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year, our theme is “Resist. Reclaim. Redefine.” We must resist the systems of oppressions that plague our daily lives, reclaim our human right to bodily autonomy, and redefine our futures.

Our first Let’s Talk About Sex! conference was held in 2007 in Chicago, IL, and in 2011 we took over South Beach in Miami, FL. This year we are making our way to the Big Easy!
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Let’s Talk About Sex! 
is the largest reproductive justice conference and will feature panelists, speakers, activists, entertainers, and leaders throughout various social justice movements and across sectors who are unapologetic about standing up for our reproductive and sexual freedom. We will also have pre-conference institutes and workshops that will inform, educate, tantalize, and inspire us to take action!

 

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