The authors assessed the frequency, characteristics, and motivational antecedents of vaginal douching practices among 125 White and 155 Black female college students. Overall, 40% of the students had ever douched and half of those women currently douche. Black women were most likely to be encouraged to douche by their mothers, whereas White women were more influenced by television advertisements. Among the sexually active women, being Black, using oral contraceptives, using spermicides, and being encouraged to douche by their mothers or by the media were independently associated with ever having douched. These associations were present among both Black and White women and were stronger when current douching was compared with never having douched. Women who were discouraged from douching by a physician or nurse were more likely to have stopped the practice. Douching is common, even among educated young women; nurses' and physicians' advice to stop douching appears to have a salutary effect. © 2002 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.