I Got My Vagina Steamed Just Like Gwyneth Paltrow

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What It's Like To Get Your Vagina Steamed As Recommended By Gwyneth Paltrow

It was definitely... HOT.

"We also thread eyebrows." 

It turns out that this is the last thing you want to hear while sitting in a Korean salon dressed like Winnie The Pooh with your vagina poised precariously over the hole of a chair through which steam from water riddled with herbs wafts its way up to your most delicate regions.

I'd been putting off the endeavor of having my vagina steamed for a long time and for good reason.

I'm like Andy Rooney when it comes to "vagina washing", which isn't to say that the phrase itself turns me into a white-haired crotchety old man. And as for the act of vaginal cleansing itself, yeah, I basically channel the guy's spirit (RIP, Andy, RIP).

But I don't only believe women should leave their vaginas unwashed because I'm a contrarian.

I believe you should keep soap, tinctures, powders, and creams away from your vagina because your reproductive system not designed to house them.

Your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven, only truly more effective. It has a healthy little ecosystem of bacteria all of its own up in there, and when you introduce foreign chemical substances, you disrupt its natural balance.

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Think of it this way. Every time you put something inside your vagina, it's like you're releasing a raptor into a modern jungle. There's bound to be problems and also A LOT of discomfort and/or death.

Vaginal steaming, to me, falls into the category of things we do to our vaginas that are just as bad as loosing raptors on them.

For hundreds of years, women around the world have steamed their vaginas to tighten their vaginas, both in order to prevent men from thinking they were too promiscuous, as well as to make them "healthier." 

But it was only after Gwyneth Paltrow's luxury blog Goop advised women to steam their nethers that we in the modern US of A decided en masse to give it a try.

Turns out I walk by a vagina steaming place in Koreatown in Manhattan every week on my way to and from therapy.

I tried not to read that much into this fact, however entertaining it might be. The place is called Witch Pin, two words that when paired are guaranteed to make your vagina shudder. In addition to vaginal steaming — or as they call it, "mugwort feminine therapy" — the salon also offers acupuncture (hence the name), waxing, and, as I was offered, eyebrow threading. 

It would appear that steaming the ladies only brings in so much business...

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I was worried about how awkward the interaction would be with the technician at the spa, but it turns out this was unwarranted.

"Mugwort?" I inquired when I walked in without an appoint.

I was immediately escorted down a narrow hall to a room much like your average doctor's waiting room, only in which none of the women present were wearing pants.

Instead, hairdresser's capes were draped around our necks as we sat in elevated chairs over the aforementioned bowls of steaming hot, mugwort-infused water.

Nobody made eye contact or small talk. The two women in the room with me had magazines, but I apparently missed the part of the process during which those were offered. Thankfully, a TV was on playing an episode of The Big Bang Theory, so I did have something I could awkwardly look at. 

As I sat, I felt hot and uncomfortable, and not just in the region of my body being cleansed.

Soon my whole body was raining sweat. The water itself was just a couple of degrees away from being totally unbearable and I found myself shifting to get away from the steam as it bit at my clitoris.

In Chinese and Korean medicine, mugwort is often used to help pregnant women reposition breech babies. It is also considered to have potent anti-inflammatory properties that are thought to be good for your womb. Whether or not the mugwort helped my womb I cannot say, because it was steaming up my vagina and there is, you know, a cervix separating my womb from enjoying those particular medicinal effects. 

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I knew when the actual steaming of my vagina was complete because a woman came by to remove the pan of water from underneath my chair and then never returned to the room. I toddled off to put on my pants, awkwardly tipped the technician (something I later learned you don't need to do) and got on the train back to my home.

I did feel energized and peppy, but I think that's because I had finally escaped the steam, not because of the time I'd spent sitting over it.

I haven't experienced a noticeable effect in either my womb or vagina since, but I'm thinking maybe you have to make it part of your regular self-maintenance routine before you can expect that.

Sadly, as I can hardly be bothered to shave my legs, I don't think vaginal steaming is going to make it onto my list of things that must happen to my body in order to keep it acceptable in polite society.

Like many things women do to our bodies in the pursuit of beauty and health, the real benefit I found from this experience was getting the full half-hour I took for myself.

I didn't have my phone buzzing or a boss breathing down my neck.

I simply got to follow the antics of Sheldon and the gang while stifling the vaguely unsettling notion that my clitoris was on fire.

Not my ideal version of "me-time", but frankly, I'll take what I can get. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.