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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Photo: Getty Images / Design by Jo Imperio

The online store on Goop, a lifestyle website owned by Gwyneth Paltrow, sells yoni eggs, despite the controversy. As of 2022, they list both a Jade and Rose Quartz option. Goop claims these eggs "harness the power of energy work", can be used as a form of crystal healing, and be a part of a Kegel-like practice.

However, in a September 2018 article, the Los Angeles Times described a lawsuit describing numerous other health claims the site 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 between January 12 and August 31, 2017, were eligible for a refund.

Due to the popularity of these "eggs," we had to ask, what are yoni eggs and what do they actually do? 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.

What a Yoni Egg Is

Per Merriam-Webster, yoni has its origins in Sanskrit and is defined as "a stylized representation of the female genitalia that in Hinduism is a sign of generative power and that symbolizes the goddess Shakti".

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 looked at four major Chinese art and archeology collections, examining 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.

"Many people have this idea that if it's natural it must be good, useful, and not harmful," 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, said to Health. "To which I always say, arsenic is natural, but that's certainly harmful."

What a Yoni Egg Does

While Goop claimed using a jade egg will help strengthen your pelvic floor, Dr. Jennifer Gunter, MD, a San Francisco-based ob-gyn and author of The Vagina Bible, said that leaving a weight inside of 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. 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. Gunter said there's no truth to them, simply because "there's no such thing as magic." Granted, Dr. Gunter believed that some individuals may 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 is recommending you use them," said Dr. Gunter.

Safety of Yoni Eggs

Dr. Gunter warned 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. Gunter said to Health. Nasty 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. 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."

Dr. Streicher also worries 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. (Dr. Streicher's seen this happen to clients with sex toys.)

Alternatives to Yoni Eggs

There are plenty of effective ways to address the problems this jade egg supposedly solves.

If you're having sexual issues, Dr. Streicher recommends honing in on the root cause and exploring relevant solutions to it. For example, if you're struggling to reach orgasm, Dr. Streicher advises 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. Streicher says.

If you want to strengthen your pelvic floor, Dr. Gunter recommended sticking with exercises that have been proven to work, like Kegels. You could also buy a device like the Elvie Trainer ($199, on amazon.com), which is specifically designed for pelvic floor training and is made from safe, cleanable materials.

Most importantly, it's crucial to realize there's no cure-all for your problems, said Dr. Streicher. And even if there was, 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. Streicher said.

A Quick Review

A better solution is to seek help from a healthcare provider, rather than rely on a yoni egg to fix everything. Especially since, as Dr. Streicher said, the questionable benefits of the product are just not worth the potential harm. So, if you are experiencing genital health concerns, reach out to a healthcare provider for advice.

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