It wasn’t that long ago that I was having a conversation with an “enlightened” guy friend about the labia. He asks me, “What kind of situation do you have going on there?” Perplexed, I said, “Um…I have one. I’m not sure what you mean?”
He went on to explain what kind of labias are most attractive (his preference is referred to colloquially as “The Barbie” – two guesses what that one looks like) and which ones are borderline disgusting (everything else).
I tried to swallow, cough, and do anything but choke on my horror, but then I may have gotten a little feisty. “It’s bad enough I have to pour hot wax on the thing, now I have to worry about size, shape, and color? Are you kidding me?”
Well, it seems I showed up late to this party. A recent report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found a 39% increase in labiaplasty surgery in 2016. It involves trimming or lifting the labia or injecting fat or filler into the area. The surgery runs between $2,500 – 6,000, usually is not covered by surgery and has an excruciating recovery period. Girls as young as 15 are trying to have the surgery due to social pressures to have a “normal” and pretty downstairs for entertaining. Now, some people do need the surgery for actual medical reasons, but those surgeries are the minority according to recent reporting.
With all this in mind, let’s review and debunk some myths about the lovely labia.
Myth #1: The labia is part of the vagina
No. It’s actually part of the vulva. The vulva is the external part of the sex organs for women. In fact, the vulva is the whole enchilada and includes the clitoris, labia minora and majora, vaginal opening, urethral opening, perineum, and the anus. The vagina is just the internal “tube” where intercourse happens.
Myth #2: There’s no sexual reason for the labia
I call BS. Both the inner and outer labia can be stimulated during sex. Blood rushes to your genitals when you are turned on, so it becomes more sensitive along with everything else though sensitivity varies from woman to woman. It is also the gatekeeper of sorts for all the really sensitive parts, so a little teasing there really amps the anticipation of what’s to come.
Myth #3: All labias are the same
There’s no “normal.” They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Like every snowflake, every labia is different and unique in its own right.
Myth #4: The labia is eternal and does not change
Wrong again! It can get skinnier in your twenties after that puberty pudge goes bye-bye, and it can also shrink during menopause due to the decrease in estrogen.
Myth #5: Your labia is ugly
Hush your mouth! While “she” may not be getting entered in a beauty pageant, many women let fear of a too big, oddly shaped, oddly colored, or too think labia stop them from pleasurable experiences because they are self-conscious about their labias (or other body parts). Love all your body, where it is now, and how it is now. If someone doesn’t want to get down on your business because your labia is not their idea of porn-perfect, toss them out with last night’s takeout. Your labia is gorgeous. She protects some of your favorite stuff and deserves respect.
Need to learn more? Hit the library, the Labia Library.
Leave it to those amazing Aussies to help you learn more about your down under. Women’s Health Victoria, a not-for-profit organization, created the Labia Library, a website where ladies (and gentlemen for that matter) can get advice, facts, diagrams, and pictures. This site is pretty graphic, so you may want to wait until you’re at home to check it out. Its primary goal is to empower women and educate everyone that every labia is beautiful and normal.
Photo courtesy of Shape