Yoni egg and love eggWhat are yoni eggs?
Sometimes called yoni or love eggs, these egg-shaped gemstones are marketed for vaginal insertion. It’s a trend that surged in popularity in 2017 when Gwyneth Paltrow touted the benefits — in a post that has since been removed — on her website Goop.
But do these eggs actually do anything?
Read on to learn more about the purported benefits, risks, tips for safer use, and more.How are they supposed to work?
The “prescribed” use of a yoni egg, according to proponents, is pretty simple.
You insert the rock into your vagina for anywhere from a few minutes to overnight — ideally, every day. If you’ve heard people talk about the benefits of healing crystals, the spiritual benefits of yoni eggs will sound familiar.
“In ancient medicine, crystals and gemstones were thought to be imbued with a distinct frequency with unique energetic, healing properties,” explains Alexis Maze, founder of a sex toy company specializes in crystal dildos and yoni eggs.
The belief is that, once vaginally inserted, the body is able to harness the energy intrinsic to the stone.
Additionally, because the body must “grip” the egg to keep it inside the vagina, sellers claim jade egg use also strengthens vaginal muscles.What are the purported benefits?
Yoni egg enthusiasts claim the benefits are physical and spiritual.
On the physical front, it’s thought that inserting a jade egg causes your body to do an involuntary Kegel, ultimately strengthening the pelvic floor.
This is a group of muscles that support the vaginal floor, uterus, and rectum, explains Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University.
A stronger pelvic floor is associated with:
- more intense orgasm
- stronger internal grip during penetrative sex
- reduced symptoms of incontinence
- reducing the risk of or treating uterine prolapse
- reducing the risk of leakage and promoting healing after vaginal childbirth
Goop also claimed that regular jade egg use can help balance your hormones and quell symptoms associated with PMS.
Spiritually, Maze (who, again, sells yoni eggs) says, “When inside you, yoni eggs work as little energy healers to help women transform stored trauma, spiritually renew their womb space and hearts, increase [their] sexual energy, and help one connect to themselves and feminine energy.Is there any research supporting this?
Nope! There hasn’t been any scientific research on the risks or benefits associated with using jade eggs.
“It’s a hoax… a very expensive hoax,” says Streicher. “Using a jade egg isn’t going to restore your hormones, cure incontinence, make sex more pleasurable, or help heal someone’s trauma.”
As far as pelvic floor training goes, Streicher say jade eggs completely miss the mark. “Proper pelvic floor training involves contracting and relaxing those muscles.”
Continuously contracting the pelvic floor muscles, which jade egg insertion requires, can actually create tension in the pelvic floor.
Some symptoms that accompany pelvic floor tension:
- constipation or bowel strain
- pain in the pelvic region
- pain during vaginal penetration
- muscle spasms in the pelvic floor
- lower back and abdominal pain
Streicher says any reported benefits from users are the result of the placebo effect. “Thinking you’re doing something to improve your sex life can be enough to improve your sex life. [But] there are safer, better ways to improve your sex life.”Were they actually used in ancient practices?
Sellers of the product claim jade eggs have a rich history of use.
For example, one brand writes, “It is estimated that women have been practicing with stone eggs for over 5,000 years. Empresses and concubines of the Royal Palace of China used eggs carved out of jade to access sexual power.”
The problem? There’s absolutely no evidence that jade eggs were ever used vaginally in ancient Chinese culture.
“I am a gynecologist originally trained in China and I can testify that this [claim] is absolutely false,” says Dr. Renjie Chang, OB-GYN and founder of NeuEve, a sexual health startup. “No Chinese medicine books or historical records ever mentioned this.”
In one 2019 study, a team of researchers reviewed more than 5,000 jade objects from Chinese art and archeology collections to explore the merits behind this claim.
They didn’t find a single vaginal egg, ultimately concluding that the claim is a “modern marketing myth.”
From a consumer standpoint, false marketing can be frustrating.
But in this case, it’s also a matter of cultural appropriation, which can be legitimately harmful.
Not only does this claim perpetuate false stereotypes of Chinese medicine, it disrespects and diminishes Chinese culture.Are there any other ethical considerations?
Goop was sued over the false health claims they made that were, as the prosecutor says, “not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
The lawsuit was settled for $145,000, and Goop had to refund anyone who purchased the egg from its website. If you decide to purchase a jade egg, you need to consider where the stone comes from. In order to preserve the affordable price point, some companies may not be using real jade.
Good news: All of the benefits that Goop falsely claims the jade egg offer can be found in other, proven methods, says Streicher.
If you’re experiencing incontinence or other symptoms associated with a weak pelvic floor, Streicher recommends seeking out a pelvic floor therapist.
“I also recommend people look into a device called the Attain, which is a medical device that’s been FDA-cleared for urinary and bowel incontinence.”
If your healthcare provider says Kegel exercises can help with your particular pelvic floor dysfunction, sex educator Sarah Sloane — who’s been coaching sex toy classes at Good Vibrations and Pleasure Chest since 2001 — recommends Kegel balls.
“Frankly, it’s a lot easier for some folks to do pelvic floor exercises when they have something in their vagina.”
She recommends the following Kegel ball sets:
- Smartballs from Fun Factory. “These are nonporous and have a sturdy silicone cord that helps with removal.”
- Ami Kegel Balls from Je Joue. “If gaining strength is a focus, these are great because you can ‘graduate’ to different weights as the muscles get stronger.”
If you have questions about your hormones, Streicher recommends that you see an expert trained in hormones and hormonal therapy.
The eggs themselves aren’t inherently harmful… but putting them inside your vagina, as sellers suggest, isn’t considered safe.
Doing so can increase your risk of infection, cause pelvic floor tension, and irritate or scratch the vaginal wall.What are the potential risks?
Jade is a semi-porous material, which means that bacteria can get in and stay in the toy — even after it’s cleaned.
Prolonged insertion also prevents your body’s natural secretions from properly draining.
“When you close off the vagina, you interfere with its self-cleaning ability,” says Chang. “[That] can cause unwanted materials and bacteria to accumulate.”
Sloane adds that natural stones can also chip. “Any rough spots or cracks in the egg could cause irritation, scratches or tears in the vaginal tissue.” Yikes.Are there any eggs that aren’t porous?
Although minerals like corundum, topaz, and quartz are less porous than jade, they’re still porous. In other words, these materials still aren’t recommended for vaginal use.
Some companies sell glass yoni eggs. Glass is a body-safe, nonporous material, which makes these a somewhat safer alternative to traditional stone eggs.Is there anything you can do to minimize your overall risk?
Chang reiterates, “I do not recommend using jade eggs of any types or shapes. They are not safe. There is no health benefits, only risks.”
However, if you insist on using one, she suggests the following protocols to minimize risk.
- Opt for an egg with a drilled hole and use string. This will allow you to remove the egg like a tampon, which prevents it from getting stuck and prevents you from having to see a doctor to get it removed.
- Start small. Start with the smallest size and move up one size at a time. The egg is likely too large if it’s causing pain or discomfort.
- Sterilize egg between use. Chang says that you should boil it for 30 minutes to achieve sterilization, but Maze cautions that this can cause the egg to crack. Carefully inspect the egg after boiling to ensure that there are no chips, cracks, or other weak spots.
- Use lube during insertion. This can help reduce the risk of tearing and other vaginal irritation. Stones are compatible with water- and oil- based lube.
- Don’t sleep with it. “Never use it for more than 20 minutes,” says Chang. “A longer duration increases the risk of vaginal infection.”
- Never use it during intercourse. “This can cause injuries to your vaginal canal [and] may injure your partner,” says Chang. “[It also] increases the risk of infection.”
Chang says it’s especially risky for folks who:
- are pregnant
- are menstruating
- have an IUD
- have an active vaginal infection or other pelvic condition
Experts say the lofty claims you’ve heard about jade eggs are false. And worse, Streicher says, “They might even cause potential harm.”
If you’re simply curious about how it feels, there are safer, nonporous products on the market. Considering trying a medical-grade silicone or glass sex toy instead.
But if you’re trying to address sexual dysfunction or another underlying condition, jade eggs likely aren’t the solution.You should make an appointment with a doctor or sex therapist who can help you address your specific concern.
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