I got an email this morning that falls squarely into the category of “be careful what you wish for.”

In the quoted email that follows, I’ve replaced their brand name with the equally descriptive and honest (which is to say, not so much) label “Oriental Tightening Powder”. Their actual brand name is a trendy-sounding three-syllable neologism suggesting vaginal rejuvenation, for which name they claim registered trademark status on their website despite its complete absence from the searchable U.S. Patents And Trademarks Office database. The email, verbatim but for the re-branding effort:

Subject: Want to review *Oriental Tightening Powder* for our Blog?

Hey Bacchus,

We are approaching bloggers like you who have a presence in the sex blog community to ask if they would be interested in trying *Oriental Tightening Powder*, an all natural Kegel Treatment. This all natural product, when dissolved in warm water and used as a douche, acts to tighten the muscles and the tissues along the vaginal wall and in so doing, delivers a new kind of sexual experience.

We would love to know what you think about *Oriental Tightening Powder*.

If you would like to try our product, please respond with your mailing address and we will send you a free sample of *Oriental Tightening Powder*, as well as some extras for future use. All we request is that you share your opinion of *Oriental Tightening Powder* by reviewing it on your blog and by sending a testimonial to us at [email] (*please note that your initials will be used unless you request otherwise). We will gladly link to your blog on our website in exchange for your opinion!

Thank you in advance for your consideration. If you have any questions or if I can be of assistance please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Sadie Smyth

OK, Sadie Smythe, I’ll be happy to “share my opinion” of your product. I don’t even need the “free” sample!

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Dear Sadie:

I am sorry to inform you that I would make a poor test subject for your Oriental Tightening Powder, as I am a dude. Accordingly, I either do not have a vaginal wall or, if I do, it is already so tight that I cannot readily find it when exploring with my fingers. (Trust me, I checked.)

I do have a girlfriend, but her vagina does not require any rejuvenating, thankyouverymuch. I’m also somewhat concerned that she’d kick my ass if I offered her a vaginal rejuvenating product. I suspect she’d kick my ass a second time (with added emphasis) when she discovered I was offering her a mystery capsule I got for free off the internets. Then, when she discovers that the plan is for her to dissolve this mystery capsule in warm water and douche with it, I can only imagine that she’d offer to kick my ass one more weary time.

An even more disturbing possibility: She might “suggest” that I revert to your original plan and try the product myself. I’m not confident my disabling status as a vagina-free dude would even slow her down. She’s a creative person, so I’d worry about whatever alternative application methods she might propose. All in all, I’d much prefer not to go there.

More to the point, any educated personal already suspects from your sales pitch that you’re flogging a product containing alum, which is of dubious utility and safety in this application. I’ll let Violet Blue handle this part, by quoting from her Unsafe Sex Products page:

Widely available “shrink creams”, “sure grip”, “tighten up” and “feel like a virgin again” claim to make the vagina smaller or tighter. The key ingredient in these creams is alum. Alum absorbs water out of the outer layer of the skin; as more water is absorbed, the cells begin to swell, closing the ducts that water would normally flow through. No study has been done on the effect of these creams on the cervix, which is what they eventually end up getting rubbed on during penetration, but I’ll wager it’s not good. I kind of want to make the manufacturers snort a thick rail of alum, so they can study the effects on their own mucous membranes. What I really hate about these “shrink” creams is the fact that they’re trading on female insecurities about the vagina not being tight, pretty or good enough for their male partner — like we need any negative reinforcement from our pussy-phobic culture about how we look, feel or smell down there.

Upon going to your website, I was not reassured by your actual claims about product ingredients. You claim that it contains “Goal Nuts”, supposedly used as a healing aid by mothers, post-childbirth, among the indigenous peoples of the plains of Sudan. However, Google has not heard of Goal Nuts. And if Google has not heard of them, I’m skeptical about whether they even exist as an item of commerce. The odds of you actually having managed to obtain some — without them having zillions of Google hits like every other useful product known to man — strike me as vanishingly small.

Fascinatingly, your product also is said to contain a common spice, Nigella Sativa. There’s a Wikipedia page for that, from which you appear to have “borrowed” the nice flower image for your own web page. If you’re looking up your own ingredients in the Wikipedia, I’m guessing that’s as close as you’ve ever been to the stuff.

While at your website, however, I took the opportunity to examine your product claims and price offerings. I was thrilled to discover that the free sample you offered me is available to everyone! Of course, I presume you would not be charging me the $4.50 shipping-and-handling fee that you charge everybody else, for what is certain to be a capsule in an envelope with a forty-two cent stamp on it.

I was a little bit surprised by your product pricing (for the non-free samples, if anybody is ever dumb enough to buy them). Ten dollars a tablet? That seems extreme, for common drugstore alum. My mom used to buy that stuff when she was making pickles, and it had to be cheap because we were poor. I’m pretty sure you could find a better supplier, decimate your price, and sell lots more while still making obscene profits. (Although, I guess you’re already doing pretty well making four bucks on every “free” sample you send out.)

In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity to express my opinion of your product. I always appreciate the chance to share my views about ripoff mystery pills that are marketed by preying on the sexual insecurities of others. Please save yourself the cost of a stamp by taking “my” free sample and shoving it directly up your own ass. Repeat as needed.

Thanks again —

Bacchus

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Back to you, gentle reader. Just in case you’re unclear on why I chose the “Oriental Tightening Powder” phrasing, this “product” is just the most current version of an ancient ripoff that used to appear in the back page ads of porn magazines, and the ads always had an “Oriental” theme. Violet Blue has this to say about that:

The marketing text runs, “China Shrink Cream is formulated to tighten the vaginal walls. China Shrink Cream is to help with loose vagina due to multiple child birth and frigidity.” I also want to throw up every time I see the packaging on these creams, as they are often called “oriental” or “China Shrink Cream”, playing off of racist stereotypes and exotifying Asian “sexual mystery”, much the same way the porn industry fetishizes skin color and markets (I think racist) negative stereotypes about black male sexuality with its “interracial” videos.