From sitting over a pot of boiling water to steam the vagina, to sticking jade eggs you-know-where, “wellness” trends involving the genitals don’t seem to want to die. Now, there’s another one to add to that list: “perineum sunning.”
Yes, you heard that right. In recent months, the new “self-care” method—aka “butthole sunning”—has started to gain momentum, mostly thanks to a few social media influencers whose photos and videos have gone viral.
Apparently, an Instagram video by user @ra_of_earth came first in October, showing three completely nude men lying down on their backs, butts to the sky, to soak up some rays.
“In a mere 30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole, you will receive more energy from this electric node than you would in an entire day being outside with your clothes on,” he said in the video.
Then came another backside sun worshipper, @metaphysicalmeagen, who shared a photo of herself perineum sunning later in October.
“Perineum sunning is an ancient Taoist practice that originated in the Far East,” she wrote in the Instagram post, explaining that in the religion, the perineum (or Hui Yin) is called the “Gate of Life and Death” and “is a gateway where energy enters & exits the body.”
According to Meagan, the benefits of perineum sunning are extensive. She says it “strengthens the organs,” “sustains health & longevity,” “aids in a healthy libido & balanced sexual energy,” and can promote “better sleep,” among other things.
“My experience with perineum sunning has been profound,” she claims. “I have been practicing this for a few months now. I start my day with 5 minutes of perineum sunning & feel energized for hours. I no longer rely on coffee for energy to start my day because I am getting my energy from the sun. I also am experiencing better sleep and require less sleep due to boost of overall energy.”
So, just a super-quick clarification: Your perineum is the super-thin area of skin and tissue between your vagina (or, in men, the penis) and the anus—and no, you definitely shouldn’t be exposing it to sun light, according to those with actual medical degrees.
“As a dermatologist, I cannot recommend any sun exposure without sun protection,” Nazanin Saedi, MD, Director, Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center, tells Health.com. “These areas just like other areas of the body do need sun protection and clothing tends to provide that.”
David E. Bank, MD, founder of Mount Kisco’s The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, takes it a step further: “It’s actually dangerous,” he explains. “This skin is particularly sensitive.” Over time, it could result in an increased risk of skin cancer, he adds.
Both physicians point out that there is no scientific evidence to support this behavior promotes and sort of wellbeing—which can be attained through other safer options like “relaxing, meditation, and mindfulness,” says Dr. Saedi.
And if you’re truly worried about your vitamin D intake, you may want to consider taking a vitamin—not totally exposing yourself to the sun. “The recommended amount of vitamin D is easy to get from a healthy diet or supplements,” Anna Karp, DO, a dermatologist at NYU Langone Health, tells Health.
Overall though, definitely keep your bottoms on when you’re out in the sun—for your sake, and honestly, the sake of others.