Does your partner’s body odor freak you out? Body odor is a topic of conversation that can be considered taboo or even controversial and it’s only because people carry their shame and judgment behind it.
Before you scrunch your nose and prepare to look down on someone, remember that we’re all human beings with glands and pores that allow things like odors to be expelled from our bodies. Whether it’s a natural scent that signifies that everything’s up to code or a foul one waving a red flag.
Scents like strong fishy ones are usually associated and stereotyped with those in possession of a vagina but it honestly doesn’t stop there. Some men and penis carriers have this issue too. That’s right! If you’ve ever thought “My boyfriend smells like fish down there” then you’re not delusional because it is a very common issue that just isn’t spoken about a lot.
In this article, we’ll cover some possible reasons why your boyfriend’s private areas smell public, as well as some solutions to this problem.
Reasons For A Fishy Smell Below
1. Bacteria and Hyperhidrosis
Before we jump to the worst-case scenario, we should consider the normal bacteria that live on the skin, such as staphylococcus epidermidis. It feeds on perspiration aka sweat and farts (Yes, I said fart) out what we smell on the outside. This may seem extremely bizarre but it is a natural activity that can cause some issues especially when your diet is not the healthiest.
The more foods we eat that are high in sodium, oil, sugar, or fat, the more waste our body secrets, giving our microscopic neighbors more to eat and fart out. This creates a more potent scent when we perspire. Maybe your boyfriend needs to swap the soda for more water and the pizza and fries for a hearty chicken salad instead.
Hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, is a condition that causes one to sweat excessively. Men and penis carriers are substantially more vulnerable to this due to the rubbing of their testicles against their skin which causes friction and more sweating. Besides the healthy bacteria that live on the skin, extra sweat can attract fungus and cause more bacteria to grow, causing a foul smell.
💡 This situation is bad on its own but can get worst if the individual doesn't practice proper hygiene.
2. Smegma (Dick Cheese)
Leave it to human beings to impolitely nickname a medical/hygienic issue. Smegma can occur in men and penis carriers who are uncircumcised. When dead skin cells, oils, and fluids build up beneath the foreskin, they can gather into a thick, white substance with a very strong sour or fishy odor and have the appearance of cheese, hence the nickname.
Not to add to the unfiltered image in your mind, but the substance usually appears near the head of the penis, leading to swelling, redness, discomfort, and even embarrassment.
Smegma also leads to another condition called Balanitis if it isn’t cared for immediately. At this stage, infection is developed causing the cheese-like substance to turn into a discharge. Other symptoms include itching, pain, and the foreskin appearing tight in that area.
It is a horrific problem that can be the cause of your boyfriend’s groin smelling like fish. The good news is, that the only thing that prevents smegma and balanitis from occurring is practicing proper hygiene.
We get it, life happens and sometimes you skip a shower or two but even using wipes and making sure to get under any folds and creases helps a ton. Warm soap and water get the job done efficiently for uncircumcised and circumcised penises as well as vulvas, so there is no need for fancy products that are usually packed with fragrance and chemicals with names you can’t even pronounce.
3. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
This one is probably one of the first things we think of when a fishy smell enters the chat for a sexually active person. Some common STIs that feature a foul smell are chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Both are serious infections that spread through having unprotected sex or any genital contact with an infected person. A few symptoms of both include painful urination, swelling, and cloudy or colored discharge from the penis which is what usually emanates the foul smell. The best and most accurate solution to your boyfriend possibly having an STI is to see a doctor immediately.
Yeast and urinary tract infections that more commonly occur in vagina carriers can also occur in men and penis carriers and tend to exhibit foul odor as a symptom as well. They are also caused by having unprotected sex but also through conditions like diabetes, kidney stones, or swollen and infected prostate. Antibiotics tend to be the best form of treatment for these infections unless surgery is needed in a case of dangerous progression.
4. Trimethylaminuria (TMAU)
This may sound incredulous but there’s a medical condition of this name that causes someone’s natural bodily fluids (like sweat, semen, pee, vaginal discharge, and even breath) to exhibit a foul fishy smell. Due to this, TMAU has adopted the nickname “fish odor syndrome”. To give you a further understanding of this problem, it’s important to know how it occurs.
There is a strong chemical called trimethylaminuria that is produced in the gut and breaks down certain foods. When it is unable to function as it should, it builds up, enters bodily fluids, and extracts a strong, foul scent when liquid waste is released from the body.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why this happens but it consists of a faulty gene called FM03 that may have been inherited from one or both parents. If you’re thinking to yourself “My boyfriend smells like fish down there” it may be a long shot but also not impossible that he could have this condition.
Although it is rare, having your boyfriend get tested for an official diagnosis would be the first step to a long-term solution.
5. Yeast Infection
Yes, men and penis carriers get these as well. Yeast infections happen by an overgrowth of a common fungus that lives on the skin. Just as it affects the vulva, it also affects the area of the penis and testicles.
Some common symptoms include itching, swelling, redness, and penal discharge that has a foul or fishy smell that can get overbearing. Just like balanitis, the penal discharge tends to look like thin cottage cheese, hence it adopting other names, such as Candida balanitis or balanitis thrush.
As a solution, some antifungal medications are recommended. They’re usually topical but there is also the option of taking them orally.
Some of the main causes of a yeast infection are:
- consecutively taking antibiotics
- having a weak immune system
- being overweight
- having diabetes
- poor physical hygiene
- use of steroids
- sensitivity to soaps, perfumes, colognes, and certain chemicals
Solutions And Prevention
As mentioned in some or all of these causes for your boyfriend’s fishy-smelling groin, good hygiene is the key to solving the problem (mainly the less serious ones) as well as preventing them from occurring in the first place.
No one is responsible for ensuring that the other person takes good care of themselves but it would help to have healthy discussions about personal hygiene, especially in intimate relationships where someone else is most likely going to be affected.
Private areas (like the crotch) that are mostly constricted by clothing tend to be more susceptible to odor, so it’s detrimental for everyone to pay more attention down there daily. Some ways for both men and women (and other gender identifiers) to implement healthy hygienic practices include:
- Showering every day (twice if needed).
- Use non-toxic and eco-friendly body wipes (especially after sex, masturbation, and bathroom usage). It’s not typical for men to wipe their penises after peeing but if doing so can prevent the growth and spread of bacteria that cause fish-smelling infections, then it’s worth a try.
- Use safe deodorizing products (Comfy Boys is a great option).
- Wear breathable, cotton underwear.
- Use condoms and other available contraceptives.
- Get frequent check-ups.
Other solutions for problems that have gotten to the point of infection include immediate doctors visits for diagnoses and medications that will help the specific issue. It goes without saying that to prevent foul-smelling problems surrounding STDs and STIs is simply to practice safe sex which also includes both partners getting frequent check-ups.
To reiterate, men and penis carriers do smell in their nether regions just as women and vulva carriers do. In some cases, they develop a strong fishy smell that can be the result of poor hygiene and medical issues like smegma, trimethylaminuria, yeast infections, and some sexually transmitted infections.
Even though some or most of these conditions are rare and are commonly known to occur in people with vaginas, it is more than possible for a penis to have the same experiences. So if you’re wondering why your boyfriend smells like fish down there, consider having discussions about his hygiene practices and making urgent doctors visits to rule out possible infections and diseases.