It’s like a chimney sweep, but for your vagina—or a cotton candy wand at the funfair. Just insert it, give it a whirl, and watch it amass the goods. In a viral TikTok earlier this month on the @awkwardessentials account, a woman describes it as “a cum sponge, on a stick."
She's referring, of course, to the new vaginal health product by Awkward Essentials, Dripstick, which has garnered a massive amount of attention on social media. “After you have sex, you put it in, give it a little spin—or don’t, if you want, it’s up to you," the woman in the TikTok says. "Pull it out, and it soaks up all the semen that is left in the vaginal canal.”
Our initial reaction was one of sussed-out intrigue. Is that really necessary? What makes it different from a de-shelled tampon? Marketing? Who TF is making this? You can put a top hat on a tampon, but that doesn’t make it a dancer. Still, the video amassed over 2 million views and 29,000 comments that run the gamut of everything we’re wondering (or would eventually), including “What side of TikTok is this?” and “I feel so bad for straight ppl sometimes”; “Wouldn’t it just push it up further?” and “HOW DOES THE ALGORITHM KNOW WHAT I NEED ATM.”
Of course, the problem of what to do about "the drip" has plagued women for time eternal:
But until now, there's never been a mainstream product dedicated to a solution. Unlike the men who recently tried to sell a period glove for removing tampons and pads called “Pinky” (shoppable in the 9th level of the inferno; bye forever), Dripstick was created by a woman with a vagina, for other people with vaginas.
“Listen, I love my husband but the mess after sex was not the business,” explains founder Frances Tang, who launched Dripstick as the flagship product of Awkward Essentials in 2019. “Every time he finished I’d ninja roll off the bed, penguin walk/run to the bathroom, and sit there wiping an endless gush of his stuff. So, I invented the Dripstick.”
Unlike cotton tampons, Dripstick is actually made out of a medical grade sponge “to absorb those thicc liquids fast.” It may look like a tampon, but it’s a totally different beast.
Dripstick (20 pack), $25 at Awkward Essentials
What say we, the leaking? Currently, there are nearly 1,000 Dripstick reviews on the website singing its praises. Many were written by married or partnered customers, and overall, there's a wealth of pleasant surprise about its efficacy and usefulness:
That’s a lot of hype. But to see if Dripstick passes the actual-cool-with-medical-professionals test, we asked Dr. Sherry Ross—women’s health expert, author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period., and co-founder of URJA Intimates skincare—about how effective, safe, and necessary the product is from a gyno’s perspective. “Using the Dripstick would seem to be a personal choice,” she says, “If the after fluids of sex is a problem or disruption for you, using the Dripstick could be a useful solution.”
On average, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, people with penises expel 1.25 to 5 milliliters of semen each time they ejaculate—a heaping teaspoon. That may not sound like much, but as many of us have experienced, it's actually a lot of jizz. And if you happen to be the person receiving it into or onto your body, you can’t pee it out, obviously (although peeing post-sex will reduce your chances of getting a urinary tract infection). We asked Ross whether Dripstick might serve as a natural means for reducing the likelihood of developing a bacterial infection. “My only concern would be removing the post sex fluids with the Dripstick may also remove healthy bacteria that protects the vagina from infections,” explains Ross, “Anything that’s introduced inside the vagina can disrupt the delicate pH balance of [it], increasing your risk of a vaginal infection. The vagina is pretty equipped to take care of the post sex fluids on its own.”
That’s also part of what makes things like vaginal douching a big no, says Ross. “We never recommend douching for the same reason: that it can remove healthy bacteria to protect the vagina from infection. Cleaning the outside of the vagina, the vulva, is something you can do with a gentle wash and warm water. I am all about self-care when it comes to taking care of the vulva and vagina but cautious to recommend products that could lead to vaginal infections.”
Still, Tang is on to something in the larger discussion of vaginal health—that much is clear. “We’ve invented a product, created a new category and are talking about it in a way that many brands won’t,” she told Medium, “Our society still looks at hygiene, bodily functions and fluids with shame and embarrassment. Porn has skewed our understanding of what real sex looks like and for many has become an unhealthy substitute for the true sex education missing from American classrooms.” Awkward Essentials customers are encouraged to use the hashtag #AWKTALK on social media, and Tang also calls herself “Captain Awkward” in a gesture of relatability that, if we’re honest, gives us a bit of ghostly whiplash of the 2013 adorkable era. But the reality is that these sexual health conversations are hard to have, and if embracing their awkwardness makes them easier to have? Well, that’s great.
TL;DR: According to our gyno, Dripstick is a safe, “personal choice” that could certainly help you if cum dumping/leaking is an ongoing issue, but don't overdo it, lest you risk messing with the healthy bacteria that your vagina needs. Don’t douche; do start convos about these sorts of post-sex questions; and remember: Your vagina is smart, and knows how to recalibrate itself after sex.
Do you absolutely need a Dripstick? Of course not; a shower goes a long way. But if your vagina feels like the Hoover Dam of cum receptacles (and you’re sick of Kegeling out sperm), maybe give it a try. If you’re Dripstick curious but non-committal, Awkward Essentials sells sample packs for just $4.
Looking for other ways to stay fresh? Here are a few other bathroom staples we like to keep on hand (and vagina):
A scentless body wash that still has personality
The packaging on unscented body washes always look kind of meh, but not with Maude. The brand's pH-balanced, all-over (and yes, intimate) body wash comes in packaging that rivals even the fanciest of status-symbol hand soaps. It’s vegan, cruelty-free, is vitamin-enriched, and foams up nicely (but not too much) on your body. Maude also makes sleek organic and silicone lubes, and a series of vibrators that look like postmodern sculptures, so stay a while.
Wash no. 0, $22 at Maude
A washcloth that gets softer with each use
When was the last time you replaced your washcloths? Or just got one dedicated to your cooch? Turkish cotton is made from extra long fibers, which makes for “exceptionally soft, absorbent, durable fabric that dries quickly,” and this one actually gets softer and more absorbent with each wash. Just don’t rub too hard down there. Treat your vagina like the baby duck from the Dawn commercials.
Turkish cotton washcloth, $5 at Public Goods
Do it like the ancient Greeks
Masters of a Fun Time, the ancient Greeks have given us so much to love. Bacchanals! EVOO! The practice of rubbing a deceased sponge on our nethers! They’re so much better for the environment than faux sponges, too.
Natural sea sponge, $8 at Package Free
Build up strength against impending UTIs
People always talk about cranberry juice as a natural antioxidant and defense against urinary tract infections, but have you heard of D-Mannose? Not making any sweeping medical claims here, but “as a dietary supplement, [it’s] often touted as a natural way to treat and prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection (cystitis),” explains Verywell Health, and medical studies have also found it to be effective.
Zazzee D-Mannose 180 Vegan Capsules, $19.97 at Amazon
Wishing you a healthy, horny summer.
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