What Is a Yoni Egg—And Why You Shouldn't Put One in Your Vagina

Sorry, this egg-shaped stone can't improve your sex life.

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Yoni eggs have a history dating back centuries. The egg-shaped gems are typically made of quartz or jade but can also be made from other stone materials. Fans of these eggs claim they provide numerous reproductive and sexual health benefits.

The online store on Goop, a lifestyle website owned by Gwyneth Paltrow, is one of many places that sell yoni eggs. Per their online store, Goop claimed these eggs could "harness the power of energy work," provide a form of crystal healing and be a part of a Kegel-like practice. However, controversy surrounds these claims.

In a September 2018 article, the Los Angeles Times described a lawsuit detailing numerous other health claims Goop had made about yoni eggs. The article explained that many of the original claims were not backed by "competent and reliable scientific evidence," and customers who bought the yoni eggs on Goop's online store between January 12 and August 31, 2017, were eligible for a refund from Goop.

Due to the popularity of these "eggs," we had to ask, what yoni eggs are, what they supposedly do, and if they are safe to use (short answer: no).

What Is a Yoni Egg?

Yoni eggs are small gemstones that some claim have a pelvic floor, sexual satisfaction, and reproductive health benefits. They can be made from various stones and vary in size. For example, the rose quartz eggs sold in Goop's store are 1.7 inches long and 1.2 inches wide, and the jade eggs are 1.57 inches long and 1.18 inches wide. Additionally, the ones sold on Goop contain a pre-drilled hole where you can tie a string (Goop recommended unwaxed dental string), so the egg is easier to remove.

Per Merriam-Webster, the term yoni originates in Sanskrit and is symbolic of female genitalia. This depiction of female genitalia has meaning in Hinduism as "a sign of generative power, and that symbolizes the goddess Shakti."

History of Yoni Eggs

Yoni eggs are traditionally believed to be of Chinese origin and used in ancient Chinese sexual health practices. However, a study published in 2019 in the journal Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery that looked at four major Chinese art and archeology collections didn't find evidence of these practices. The researchers examined more than 5000 jade objects in online databases. No vaginal jade eggs were identified, leading researchers to conclude that yoni eggs were likely not used in ancient Chinese culture.

What Does a Yoni Egg Do?

Per the book, The Yoni Egg: Reveal and Release the Sacred Feminine Within, there are numerous claims regarding what these eggs can do. Examples of purported health benefits include:

  • Improved sex life
  • Help with urinary incontinence
  • Toning of the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles
  • Increased vaginal sensitivity
  • Childbirth preparation and recovery
  • Numerous additional mental and sexual health claims

Goop claims using a jade egg can help strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor, and their website provides instructions for how to use the eggs. Goop suggested beginning with a 10 to 15-minute session of squeezing and releasing the egg. Goop then explained that if this is comfortable and enjoyable, you can work to build up your practice.

However, having the egg inside of you, especially for long periods, may be harmful.

Jennifer Gunter, MD, a San Francisco-based OB-GYN and author of The Vagina Bible, said that leaving a weight inside your vagina all day long isn't a healthy training method. "You want to contract and relax, not have [your muscles] contract continually," said Dr. Jennifer Gunter. "Contracting constantly is like doing half of a bicep curl and not finishing it—that's not how you work on a muscle."

And as far as the other so-called benefits go, Dr. Jennifer Gunter said there's no truth to them simply because "there's no such thing as magic."

Dr. Jennifer Gunter said that some individuals might feel short-term benefits from these eggs because of the placebo effect. "But this is a potentially harmful placebo—both from a possible risk of infection and from how this practitioner recommends you use them," said Dr. Jennifer Gunter.

Are Yoni Eggs Safe?

Female health experts explained to Health that you should exercise caution with yoni eggs. Walking around with one clenched in your vagina is one addition to the list of things you shouldn't do to try and improve your vaginal health.

Dr. Jennifer Gunter said that using a jade egg can be harmful. "The stones are really porous, so I'm not sure how it could be cleaned or sterilized between uses," Dr. Jennifer Gunter told Health.

Dangerous bacteria (like the kind that cause toxic shock syndrome or bacterial vaginosis) could get lodged in the nooks and crannies and then get reintroduced into the vagina every time the egg is used, said Dr. Jennifer Gunter. "That's especially an issue when one of the recommended ways to use it is sleeping with it in. We don't recommend that tampons or menstrual cups be left in for longer than 12 hours, and those are either disposable or cleanable."

Lauren Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever also expressed concerns.

Dr. Lauren Streicher worried that one of these slippery stones could actually get stuck in your vagina and that you could potentially scratch your vaginal wall trying to retrieve it. (She's seen this happen to clients with sex toys.)

Since the eggs are made of natural materials, it can lead to false security about their safety. "Many people have this idea that if it's natural, it must be good, useful, and not harmful," Dr. Lauren Streicher said. "To which I always say, arsenic is natural, but that's certainly harmful."

What Are Alternatives to Yoni Eggs?

There are plenty of effective ways to address the problems this egg supposedly solves, such as urinary incontinence or sexual well-being.

If you're having sexual issues, Dr. Lauren Streicher recommended honing in on the root cause and exploring relevant solutions.

For example, if you're struggling to reach orgasm, Dr. Lauren Streicher recommended taking some time to get to know your body through masturbation. "Find out where your clitoris is and how to stimulate it. Or invest in a good vibrator, which has been scientifically proven to address this challenge," Dr. Lauren Streicher said.

A study published in 2018 in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy reviewed the current literature on genital vibration for sexual function. The authors concluded that research supports genital vibration as an evidence-based treatment for those who struggle to reach orgasm.

And, if you want to strengthen your pelvic floor, Dr. Jennifer Gunter recommended sticking with exercises that have been proven to work, like Kegels. You could also buy a device like the Elvie Trainer, specifically designed for pelvic floor training and made from safe, cleanable materials.

Most importantly, it's crucial to realize there's no cure-all for your problems, said Dr. Lauren Streicher. And even if there were, it likely wouldn't come in the form of a product promoted by a celebrity. "Just the fact that they're famous doesn't mean they have some insider knowledge," Dr. Lauren Streicher said.

However, while magical cure-alls don't exist for most health concerns, you can take steps to address your health issues—and a healthcare provider can help.

A Quick Review

Instead of relying on a yoni egg to fix everything, seek help from a healthcare provider. Especially since, as Dr. Lauren Streicher said, the questionable benefits of the product are not worth the potential harm.

If you are experiencing genital or sexual health concerns, know that there are options to address these concerns. A healthcare provider can help you determine a treatment plan that is both safe and meets your unique needs.

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