How Not To Kill With Your Vagina

Apr 30, 2013 • Crime

Woman tries to poison husband with her vagina.

This story has not been confirmed, but we’re going to ignore this for the moment because it serves as a very important anatomical lesson. According to La Razón, an Argentinian tabloid (which once upon a time enjoyed great prestige, but not so much anymore), a Brazilian woman recently attempted to murder her husband using her vagina.

According to the report, a woman from Sao José do Rio Preto put poison in her vagina and begged her husband for a round of oral. Fortunately, the plan was foiled when her husband noted that there was something amiss with her gender bits and rushed them both to the hospital.

Almost immediately after being admitted, doctors realized this wasn’t a matter of dubious personal hygiene. The woman tearfully confessed her plan and was detained by authorities.

What a plan. But just how stupid an idea was this? To find out, I hit up Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook and ultimate authority in poison.

“There are many substances which are poisonous if swallowed that can be safely touched or even rubbed on our skin,” Blum told me. “Think of laundry detergent, or glass cleaner, or countless other household supplies that we might get on our hands without any harm but wouldn’t swallow. One of the more famous poisons that doesn’t absorb through skin at all is elemental mercury. If you handle it, it simply forms into a silvery ball that rolls across your skin. But if you apply these internally, you’ve lost the amazingly protective barrier of the skin.”

The vagina is lined with a highly absorbent membrane, not the protective layer of skin that our hands and backs have.

“If I swabbed a lot of poison on myself and tried to seduce my husband into oral sex, it’s possible that he’d suck up some of the poison, but so would I internally,” Blum explains. “So that while this makes a symbolically interesting way to try to poison someone, it’s much more efficient to just spike the philandering husband’s coffee. Not that I’m recommending either!”

Header image depicts Admiral Ackbar, a character from the Star Wars franchise, who used the now-popular catchphrase “it’s a trap” in Return of the Jedi.

  • Adrian Morgan

    You know, I always thought elemental mercury *did* absorb through the skin, despite also forming a silver ball. That’s certainly what I was told when I did high school chemistry way back in the first half of the 90s.

    • Deborah Blum

      That was mostly to scare you. Those mercury balls tend to just scatter across the microscopic ridges in skin. But, obviously, better not handled – might touch your lips, for instance, swallow a little. And mercury in certain compounds – dimethyl, for instance, is really dangerous if it gets on your skin.