How do I tell the guy I'm seeing that he smells bad "down there"?
April 6, 2010 1:57 PM   Subscribe

How do I tell the guy I'm seeing that he smells bad "down there"? (NSFW, if it's not obvious.)

I'm a girl, I've been seeing a guy casually for about 5 months. Sex with him is easily the best sex that I've ever had. Aside from the fact that we get along really well, I feel 100% comfortable with him and telling him what my needs are (something that's always been an issue for me). He always makes sure my needs are met, and I enjoy making sure that his are too. We try new things and we've been having loads of fun. I trust him completely in bed, this is the first time in my 29 years that I've been able to say that.

Seriously - Best! Sex! Ever! I'm screaming it from my rooftop over here!

There is, of course, one problem - his genitals STINK. Not just a little "musty" after walking around on a warm afternoon, but "UGH, WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!" stinky. I don't know if it's a hygiene issue, or if it's an STD issue, or what. (We always use protection.) He is a heavy guy, I don't know how much this factors into it if at all. I tend to date big guys anyway, and I've never encountered this before. He is circumcised. I am not squeamish about things of a bodily nature-we are all human, and humans smell and sweat and all those other great things! I've been with my share of guys, and this out of the ordinary.

My question: How should I bring this up to him? I can't continue to pretend like it's not a problem for me. Is it possible he doesn't realize how bad it is? If you were in his position, how would you like the subject to be brought up? The very last thing I want to do is make him self-conscious or offend him in any way, so I'm trying to figure out how to bring the subject up.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Could be jock itch. Tell him to see a dermatologist.
posted by dfriedman at 2:04 PM on April 6, 2010

The very last thing I want to do is make him self-conscious or offend him in any way, so I'm trying to figure out how to bring the subject up.

Also, if talking with your partner about common fungal infections (or whatever it is) is that big a problem you have bigger problems than bad smells.

Just tell him. If he reacts poorly, then, probably don't want to be dating him.
posted by dfriedman at 2:05 PM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

take a sexy shower together - you wash him up - show your appreciation after. if after 2 or 3 showers he doesn't get the hint, bring it up directly. if the shower doesn't fix the problem, bring it up immediately, as it could be a health and safety issue.
posted by nadawi at 2:06 PM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

I'm guessing the male in question might need a wand-style shower head (or, alternately, might need to pull down the wand-style shower head he already has, and use it where those things are meant to be used.) Getting clean directly between the legs can be a little challenge to slim dudes, and therefore just has to scale up from there when there's more body mass in the way.

I'm not sure there's going to be an easy way to bring it up, but keep it light--just say "Hey, forgive my awkward honesty here, but you're a little strong in the scent department. Maybe we could resolve that together?" And if an administered shower doesn't resolve it, well, at least you've eliminated the simplest resolution. As a guy I freely admit I'd feel pretty sheepish if told this, but I'd much rather be told than not.
posted by Phyltre at 2:10 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

I tend to favor the cushioned direct approach: 'honey, sex with you is easily the best sex that I've ever had, seriously - Best! Sex! Ever! I'm screaming it from my rooftop over here! and I want more. But I've noticed that you smell a bit funny down there. Do you think it might be jock itch? Maybe you should see a dermatologist? Please take care of it asap, because I want to shag your brains out. Again and again. And then some more.'

I'm not a guy, but I think if someone said that to me I'd focus a lot more on the promise of lots of shagging than the embarrassment about the smelly bits. Good luck...
posted by widdershins at 2:14 PM on April 6, 2010 [17 favorites]

Agreeing with the above that this could be a health concern, and that being the case, I do think you need to bring this up - soon. The trick is, of course, phrasing it so that you aren't suggesting that he is stinky and repulsive. Try something like, "BF, lately I've noticed an unfamiliar scent when I... (fill in your particular smell-noting activity), and I'm wondering if maybe we should do some research/see a doctor just to be sure this isn't a sign of something that could be affecting your health." This way, it's clear that you are bringing it up out of concern for him and also that you aren't suggesting he is a dirty dude. (Assuming that his general hygiene is not an issue, of course. If it's otherwise fine, this is even more of a sign that there could be a health problem involved). Good luck!
posted by lucky25 at 2:16 PM on April 6, 2010

I realize that this is more delicate than just plain old coming out with it, even if (as you say) you both really enjoy making sure that you meet each other's needs.

Do you ever shower or bathe together? Maybe you could do that a few times, just for fun, and soap each other up. As you do it, say things like, "Ooh, I love a nice clean smell -- nothing fancy, but it's just so nice!" or maybe asking what soap he uses and/or going shopping for something together and a nice store. (This is perhaps more serious than your relationship calls for, but I don't particularly make distinctions.)

Or you could even start it out by referencing yourself. "Hey, what are the things that make oral sex really good for you? Do I smell okay down there? I can't exactly reach to check, ha ha..." and then moving to him.

I think that it's probably best to focus on the positive, especially couching extra washing or clean-underwear-buying as things he can do that will easily make you happy.
posted by Madamina at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2010

It's probably a fungal infection of some kind. It's easily treated.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:18 PM on April 6, 2010

"The very last thing I want to do is make him self-conscious or offend him in any way"

Say that, and bring it up in context. (In bed, perhaps after sex) Tell him that he's the best sex you've ever had and you love his penis and want it in your mouth all the damn time. Tell him you feel like you can be honest with him because you feel so comfortable with him. Tell him there's a smell, and it's a bit of a deterrent for you, and you want to keep having unrestrained, passionate sex. You can frame it as a health concern, that it makes you wonder if maybe something is wrong, is it an infection of some sort or does he just need to scrub a little longer in the shower? Ask him if he's noticed anything. Maybe you could suggest he cleans up before you have sex (you'll do the same) and see if it goes away.

In any case, tricking him into showering with you and the like is just beating around the bush. (pun intended) Say it politely and directly.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

There is no such thing as a guy you want to date who wouldn't willingly wash up so he could enjoy sexy time with you.

however, my unsolicited opinion is that unclean junk alludes to...well, a guy you don't wanna date, and not just for your hygiene, although you do realize this is probably fungal and can or already has been transmitted to you, right?
posted by TomMelee at 2:25 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are guys who will not willingly wash up to enjoy sexy time with you. An ex of mine used to recount getting in the shower just so she could coax a mutual acquaintance in there, and then failing. Granted, he is probably an outlier, as he decided against underwear because he'd "eventually have to wash it."

Having said that, I will throw in my vote for mutual showering and possibly even fun activities involving the hair trimmer.
posted by adipocere at 2:29 PM on April 6, 2010

"I'm sort of a picky girl, so I like things super clean. You'll get a lot more blow jobs that way."

Pretend its you and not him.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:36 PM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm going to go take a shower and do some extra cleaning, because I'm hoping to get extra lucky, if you know what I mean.

I installed a hand-held shower attachment in my bathroom, and it makes me more confident about how nice I smell, and taste. Can we put one in your bathroom. I promise to demonstrate on you.

Going down on you is so much nicer when you've just really cleaned up your man-parts. Repeat this as needed; what gets rewarded gets repeated.

You have a pretty strong natural smell; let's go shower together, then have some fun.
posted by theora55 at 3:06 PM on April 6, 2010

How do you tell him? Try this:

"You're awesome, but your cock stinks."

Seriously, if the sex really is that good and you two are as close as you think you are, he shouldn't mind. If anything he'll just apologize and spend a little extra time when he's scrubbing his junk in the shower.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 3:21 PM on April 6, 2010

"I'm sort of a picky girl, so I like things super clean. You'll get a lot more blow jobs that way."

Pretend its you and not him.

That's the direction I'd go in, and throw in some 'let's brush our teeth first' kind of thing to muddy the water a bit, take a shower together, the whole song and dance.

I don't know, it's all well and good to say everyone should be super-honest with their sex partners and that's the mark of a good relationship, but I don't think it is. Sometimes being a good partner means having the sensitivity to deliver a nice, big, well-placed lie.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:53 PM on April 6, 2010

Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure this exact question was asked before. I'm also pretty sure the best answer I saw was something like, "I'd go down on you more if you smelled better down there."
posted by chairface at 4:08 PM on April 6, 2010

"I feel a little awkward bringing this up, but lately your genitals have been smelling kind of strong, and I was wondering if maybe you might need to try a different soap or something?"

I'd definitely use "lately" in the conversation; you don't want to give him the impression that you've been repulsed by his dick for five months and just haven't wanted to say anything. And suggesting a "different soap" lays the blame on his toiletries rather than his hygiene habits, while still getting the message across. If he has any sense at all, he will not only try changing his soap, he'll also start scrubbing his junk up extra carefully as well.

If that doesn't take care of the problem, then I'd say, "I'm still noticing that odor. I've heard that sometimes that can be caused by a fungus, and I think it would be a good idea if you saw a doctor about it."
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:18 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't pussyfoot around it and suggest a different soap, because that probably won't fix the problem; as others have said, if it smells really gaggably bad and not just sweaty, it's probably a fungal infection.

Also, don't just tell him his cock stinks. It's kind of rude and anyway, if you were the kind of person who could pull this off, you wouldn't be doing this AskMe.

I don't think you need to tantalise him with BJs either.

What I suggest is bringing it up in a direct but light-hearted way. Next time you're foreplaying, breathe in and tell him you think it smells kind of "funky" around his junk. Be casual, a little jokey. "Oh it does?" Sniff again. "Totally, it's like something's alive down there dude."

Pro-tip: you may need to suggest he clipper his pubes too, they can be a magnet for bad junkal odorage.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:50 PM on April 6, 2010

I am a big guy. I would be very surprised if the issue is hygiene issue, because most big guys are pretty sensitive to the smell issue. However, I like the suggestion of showering together to check it out. My guess would be UTI. Big guys are more likely than most guys to get a non-STD UTI, and there is often a strong odor associated with that.
posted by hworth at 5:37 PM on April 6, 2010

Jeez. Enough already.

Start going down on him then lift up and say with a smile in your voice

"Whoa! Shower now Mister!"

He'll be the cleanest quickest ever.

posted by DrtyBlvd at 6:02 AM on April 7, 2010

It sounds like it's jock itch. If he is bigger then there that area isn't getting to much fresh air. Jock itch stinks like hell on a plate and a shower doesn't do much to alleviate it. It won't just clear up on it's own, he needs to treat it. This guy I know told me all about this...yeah thats it.
posted by WickedPissah at 10:27 AM on April 7, 2010

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