It’s tough to decide how to feel about Vagisil’s new animated commercial about dry vaginas. The spot features four women telling tales of painful sex and aging genitals over brunch. One is too ashamed to even say the word vagina; one likes to overshare; one says she’s not into sex since she had a kid; and one recounts a harrowing experience with lube. In case you didn’t pick up on the easy reference point, the ad is called “No Sex in the City.” Because these four women are in the desert, talking about dehydrated vaginas.
On the plus side, it’s nice to see an ad for a vaginal product directly addressing the organ onto which the product is applied instead of leaning on images of women euphemistically leaping about in flowing scarves. A frank discussion about dry sex as painful sex (one of the women graphically describes her vagina as “like sandpaper”) is a good thing.
On the down side—what even is the product being sold here? Vagisil calls it an “internal moisturizing gel,” which sounds an awful lot like lube. But two ladies in the commercial recommend against lube; one declines to explain exactly what went wrong when she tried it, just hinting that it “did not go well—a long and very messy story.” According to the Vagisil site, the gel uses hyaluronic acid, a moisturizing ingredient in many anti-aging skin creams, to keep a vagina moisturized for three days at a time with one application. No word on whether it’s enough to totally preclude the need for lube on Day 3, or whether it’s comfortable to have a completely lubed-up vagina at all times.
The commercial also oozes a heavy flow of vagina puns. One woman calls the genitals of elderly women “granginas” and suggests her friends use their “ivaginations” to solve the dryness issue. Someone uses the word vagician and jokes that her friend’s adequately lubed vagina is “the most vagical place on Earth.”
She also contends that every woman needs a “vagine regime”—and therein lies my main reason for side-eyeing this ad. Everyone does not need a vagine regime; the vagina is a self-cleaning, self-lubing organ that does not generally need regular maintenance products from the drugstore. Like most ads for over-the-counter vaginal creams, sprays, and washes, this one is designed to convince women there’s a problem with their vaginas, that just about every person with a vagina has that problem, and that they all use X lotion or cleansing product to solve it. Dry sex is a problem easily solved with lube, during sex; there’s no need for most women to use a twice-weekly vaginal moisturizer for their entire lives.
“The first time [dry vagina] happened to me, I thought my vagina was broken,” one lady says in the video. If you’re reading this, dry vagina character, please take note: IT WASN’T! No matter what Vagisil and Issa Rae’s delightful rap say, there’s no such thing as a broken pussy.