Pubic hair is back.

Your ugly vagina is normal and gorgeous.

What, you don’t like your bits and twinkles?

Have you seen the documentary film, The Perfect Vagina? It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

I sat through the entire thing feeling squeamish, legs crossed tight, one hand over my eyes and a little curious about the look of my own undercarriage. Why all the tension and peculiar interest?

The film is about vaginal cosmetic surgery, and according to this film, it’s growing in popularity. So what is it about the vagina that’s causing a ruckus? Ladies and gentlemen, meet the labia minora.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

According to WikipediaThe labia minora (singular: labium minus), also known as the inner labia, inner lips, or nymphae, are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora (outer labia, or outer lips). Inner lips vary widely in size, colour, and shape from woman to woman.

Labiaplasty (930,000 Google search results), also known as vaginal rejuvenation, labia minora contouring, labial reshaping, female genital surgery or labial reduction, is the surgical procedure of reducing the length of the inner labia or inner flaps.

(I have also learned of a  procedure called vaginoplasty that tightens the vagina and muscles surrounding it.)

There is one profound question one cannot help but to ask: Why?

As if we need another item on our already massive list of things to stress over, or another body part to obsess about. Why is it now a big deal if our inner flappage is a bit longer than the outer bits?

According to the film, women who want this surgery are seeking a more ‘youthful’ appearance and/or want to balance out the appearance of their labia minora with the surrounding tissue.

Some women have claimed to be embarrassed of the length of their labia minora. Some say they’ve been ridiculed or teased by family members or partners. Others claim the length has caused them to have problems doing certain activities or from wearing certain clothing articles. Others say that it has caused (psychological) difficulties in the bedroom.

The influence/pressure for wanting a more ‘balanced and youthful’ appearance is said to come from the aesthetic vah-jay-jays featured in pornographic magazines and films or the skilful yet deceitful technique known as beauty magazine airbrushing.

Some also blame plastic surgeons for developing such a procedure and the women who have the money to pay for it (the average cost ranges between 5,000-10,000 USD).

Photo credit: Flickr Commons

I also can’t help but to ponder, when did waxing and shaving become a part of our beauty routine?

According to sex researcher Dr. Debra Herbenick, young women’s pubic hair has been steadily disappearing over the past decade and that younger women tend to shave it off while older women choose to wax.

What happened to good old-fashioned ‘maintenance’ where we left a bit of the forest intact? Trees do look naked without leaves. Is a bit of pubic hair just not sexy anymore?

Anyways, I tried to find some statistics about large labia minora cases (also known as labia hypertrophy) and unsurprisingly could not find any solid numbers. In all honesty, I’m sure this number is huge.

But, just because your labia minora peaks out from your labia majora, does it really mean you have a problem?

According to the documentary the typical size of the labia minora ranges from two to ten centimetres (0.8 to 3.9 inches).

Supporting this range, a study by the Department of Gynaeology in the UK in 2004 shared the length of the labia minor of women between ages 18-50 to be 0.78 to 3.9 inches.

The fact of the matter is, the labia minora comes in varying symmetry, sizes and colours and are influenced by things such as genetics, childbirth, hormones and age.

What are the risks of the surgery?

I’ve read that some of the risks can include temporary numbness, bleeding, pigmentation changes, pain, decreased feeling in that area, asymmetry between the inner and outer labia, excess scar tissue buildup (that can appear as lumps), hematoma (broken blood vessels or blood clot), puckering of the skin and sexual dysfunction.

It is also important to note that there has not been any substantial findings or research as to the long-term consequences of such a surgery.

If you really love me, don’t you also love my dangles and bobs?  

What exactly is the idea of the perfect vagina anyway? Not too tight? Not too baggy? Or in the words of this film “hairless, neat, pink and tucked-in”? If you ask me, the perfect vagina is a myth.

I asked ten random guys ages 25-35, if they thought the size of the labia minora matters. Here are their responses:

Photo credit: Wikipedia (A variation of female pubic hair on a mature female.)

1. “It does not matter. What’s important to me are a woman’s curves.”
2. “I don’t think this matters. I don’t think men are that fussy.”
3. “For me it doesn’t matter at all. I actually think it’s quite sexy if you can see them.”
4. “I think it’s a total misunderstanding that any female would get this surgery. I think it’s a total minority of guys that would wish this for a woman. This part of the body is like the ears, it’s a part you cannot judge by prettiness and it doesn’t make sense to me to alter it. This type of surgery, if done just for looks, is a waste of money. Genetically we are coded to be turned on by a woman’s vagina pretty much however it looks.”
5. “All labia minora are created equal.”
6. “I for one, don’t care at all.”
7. “I’d much prefer that she is comfortable with herself versus being neurotically insecure enough to get surgery.”
8. “I don’t think vaginas were meant to look ‘pretty’.”
9. “Couldn’t give a damn.”
10. “I’m sure a guy is just happy to be there.”

There we have it.

Perhaps we should stop reading/watching so much porn, stop perusing beauty magazines and comparing our vaginas. We could also save ourselves a lot of pain and/or money by bringing pubic hair back.

Making love, looking good, feeling great about who you are doesn’t involve being what someone else thinks you ‘should’ be. Of course, it’s a person’s own choice to have this type of surgery or not, but no matter what, a little more self-love couldn’t hurt.

It’s not always easy, but a little bit goes a hell of a long way.

 

*This article has also been published on Elephant Journal.

 

 *****

Read more: 

>> The imperfect perfect penis.

 

{We heart your bits & twinkles.}

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Tanya Lee Markul
Co-Founder and Chief Editor of Rebelle Society (you are here). She’s convinced that she once swam the depths of the deepest ocean and in the next round, grew over two hundred feet tall. In this life, she’s a vulnerable creation in process. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism & a Master’s in Business. In 2009, surrendering to the good fight within, she became a certified teacher of yoga. Now a full-time devoted student to the sacred art of self-discovery and creative expression, she spends her days on her yoga mat, in wellness experimentation and tilling the fertile soil of Rebelle Society, sharing bouts of black sheepish rebellion, self-acceptance and the beauty of darkness and well-being. Tanya is the creator of ThugUnicorn.com and Yoga.Write.Now.org. She is also the co-founder and Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness. Get to know her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and at Yogacentralen.dk. Sign-up for her free and almost monthly Newsie and contact her via email: tanya@rebellesociety.com.

36 Comments

  • Richard La Rosa
    Richard La Rosa commented on August 24, 2012 Reply
    Smashing article and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been ranting for years about the disappearance of pubic hair on women — even wrote a college paper on the subject and read it aloud to the class (well worth the silence and stunned looks on the faces of my fellow students and my embarrassment at the memory). Pubic hair is a great hairy badge of womanhood, in my opinion. By all means, cultivate your gardening skills with regular trimming, but please leave something there to prove that you ARE a woman. I cannot stress how confusing it is to my poor male psyche to be presented with a smooth nether region. It’s a turn-off for me. I want — no, I need — my lover to resemble a woman, not a little girl. But, that’s just my preference. I’m not saying it’s wrong to shave and that every woman should burn their razors in protest and proudly flaunt their furriness. However, I strongly oppose the mandate to make the shaved beaver the new normal. There is no normal. There is no ideal. The flora around Plato’s cave changes with the seasons. Can we finally give the whole “standard of beauty” paradigm the boot? Probably not…but, it’s good to know there are people willing to buck the status quo.
    • Andrea Balt
      Andrea Balt commented on August 29, 2012 Reply
      Hahaha! That was great Richard. I could quote a couple sentences out of that comment alone. You know what would be fun? Expanding that comment into a short piece as a masculine reply or follow up on this one. Either way, thanks for adding & confirming the reasonable male perspective. We’ll continue to practice our gardening skills and keep our razors close, we’ve already burned too many bras.
      • Richard La Rosa
        Richard commented on April 5, 2013 Reply
        Didn’t I already write a “penis response” elsewhere? Yes, it was in response to the other Rebelle pussy piece (the longer genius piece from Tanya). Let me think on how I can develop that…
  • Rachelle Smith Stokes
    Rachelle Smith Stokes commented on September 27, 2012 Reply
    I can’t believe it. People make fun of anything. I mean, seriously, your Family makes fun of your Vagina?! Whose looking that closely!? I also agree, I don’t do the whole scorching the earth deal.Tried it, and my body didn’t like it. Not everything on the body is pretty and neat. It’s a body, shizz happens ya know? All I’m saying is, if whoever is down there and doesn’t like what they see, no nooky for them. Next!
    • Merel van Haastert commented on March 29, 2014 Reply
      Rachelle, I was tripping over that ‘family making fun’ too. I mean I didn’t know that families went that close up, so to speak. Really, can’t imaging any of my family members commenting on my vagina…. Same, it has never crossed my mind to ask them to comment on it either! And I hear you on your last sentence: words to live by!!!
  • luminousvelocity@yahoo.com commented on February 8, 2013 Reply
    I find these trends in “Body Modification” highly disturbing. We are getting sold an ideal on what others would like us to believe is a necessary measure of perfection. We men are sold the idea of Penile Enhancement, and now for the women we love they are sold “Labiaplasty” and other temporary mods that show a need for affection and recognitions. If you have 10,000 to spend on cosmetic surgery, you could easily spend it on something else more long lasting and emotionally fulfilling. And that it seems is the core of matter as people are very insecure creatures within themselves, often learning and nurturing deep faults that only resonate within. My favorite comment from the above is that “We guys are just happy to be there”. It’s a funny statement and the truth. On that level it’s not about looks but feeling. We don’t use our eyes to have sex, we use our bodies of which our eyes and sight are just a component. Ladies we love as you are, so please remember this despite our faults – and have fun above all else.
  • Holly E. Mullin commented on February 11, 2013 Reply
    For millennia men and women have lived with and loved women’s bodies in all their beautiful and interesting expressions. If men didn’t love the way a woman’s body looked and found it incredibly sexual, the human race would’ve died out hundreds of years ago. They love it! Hallelujah! Aha!
  • Kerry Dennehy commented on February 21, 2013 Reply
    I love the title of this article. It reads like one of the last entries in Howard Hughes’ diary.
  • Dawn Marie Richards commented on May 6, 2013 Reply
    brilliant and sooo true. thank you.
  • Brianna commented on May 24, 2013 Reply
    I have seen pictures of labia minora that were quite long…and I can totally understand that woman’s difficulties and desire for reduction…but let me tell you no one is going to get NEAR my flower with a scalpel. And to me and with me the labia showing is a sexy thing as mine totally blooms if I have great sex…and hides when I don’t…
  • shannon commented on May 26, 2013 Reply
    i just dont understand, i am a single women of 26 who has had more then one partner, and i have gone through fazes of shaving, not shaving, waxing, not waxing. but i have never had a complaint, and also the length of my labia has never been talked about either. and i dont think that any man would. i think that most men would just be happy that a women is getting naked in the same room as they are.
    • jack housman commented on January 6, 2014 Reply
      AMEN! A gentleman (remember them, guys?) doesn’t criticize a lady that way. How she chooses to manage (or not) her decoration is her business. Real men (and women) understand that and appreciate her choice. Just be glad you’re allowed to get that close in the first place, people.
  • Lynn Paterson commented on May 27, 2013 Reply
    It certainly bears out my experience of giving tantra massage to men over the years as my body went through surgery and aging – most men are just delighted to be around someone who likes being nude and enjoys sexuality. I think that the drive for perfection in appearance comes from a woman’s own insecurities.
    • Merel van Haastert commented on March 29, 2014 Reply
      Lynn, I love your comment on being around someone who likes being nude and enjoys sexuality. Don’t you just wish that kind of freedom on for everyone?! I don’t agree with you that it comes from women’s own insecurities. I think it comes from a society, a world, that is buying into the illusion that everything can and should be shaped, that the invidual is the only creator, and if you ‘fail’ at creating your (material) perfection is in entirely that individuals fault. But mostly I think our world is still so afraid of the power women hold (why our world is that afraid, is another point), it turns on woman by ‘atacking’ every part of us, every part, in a very minute fashion.
  • Len Avarfon commented on June 29, 2013 Reply
    Sorry, but the less pubic hair, the more oral a lady will receive from me. It is a personal preference. Some guys like a big bush. Some don’t. Let’s not vilify personal preferences.
    • Tallulah commented on November 6, 2014 Reply
      It is not vilifying preferences, there is a difference between a preference and a social stigma. Also, if hair is a problem with oral sex, you are not doing it right.
  • Jenny commented on July 11, 2013 Reply
    Another fantastic article Tanya! One side of my labia minora is larger than the other and I’ve had some insecurity about it… Until amazing men went down on me, said things like “you have a beautiful love muscle. The way it looks, smells, tastes, perfect.” I’m pretty sure any “real” unselfconscious, enlightened, loving man is as one said “just happy to be there” no matter what a woman’s strange perfect flower looks like. And as for the trend towards making vaginas look prepubescent, I’m not 11 years old, and if you want to fuck an 11 year old, or some sterile Barbie doll creature, I don’t want to fuck you. Brava to you mamita for keepin it real and sharing with us! Feeling empowered. :)
  • Johnny Gamboa commented on July 21, 2013 Reply
    Bless you.
  • Lix Velvet commented on July 31, 2013 Reply
    Thank you for this article. As an Old Skool woman and a lifelong Rebel I’ve been mystified by these ideas/trends that women should shave all their pubic hair and should perhaps chop off their inner labia. What?! Actually pubic hair serves several functions relating to sex. First off, pubic hair reduces friction, thus makes penetration easier, why would you want to shave it?! Secondly it helps to hold copulins, a type body odor that creates sexual arousal in partners. Again, why would you want to shave it?! Third, I personally don’t want any partners who are turned on by pre-pubescent girls, that seems creepy to me. Again, why shave and end up looking like a ten year old?! As for the labia trimming; we are way too crazy in this country with our ideas of homogeny…..Thanks for printing this and I’m wishing peace to everyone :)
    • Karen commented on June 12, 2015 Reply
      You’re stupid & disgusting!I suppose you love licking on urine,fecal,and period mensturatin that gets trap in follicle pubic hair.Gross!!!!
  • Cat commented on August 26, 2013 Reply
    I have a huge bush in the cooler months and not so much in the warmer. It looks brilliant to me either way. I delivered three healthy children via it
  • Joshua commented on September 15, 2013 Reply
    It’s about time there was a more varied opinion here. Most guys I know ( and no I’m not a pig, child molester or chauvinist) prefer no hair or very little around a woman lovely entrance. Most woman from the ages of 20 to 40 I have known sexually and personally prefer it completely gone if not a little there just for style. The beautiful and intelligent, feminine and proud woman I am seeing now prefers to have herself completely shaved. She states that she likes to feel herself smooth and loves the look of her vagina and does not want to cover it up. So no ladies, if a guy prefers it shaved, he’s not into little girls, perhaps give it a go and you might be surprised how much attention you get from him down there. If it’s not your thing, that’s ok too. Live and let live without judging another’s preference :-)
  • Nancy commented on November 1, 2013 Reply
    Whether you like the hairless trend or not, it has definitely led to women’s newfound insecurity about their inner lips as well as the labioplasty industry. Before the hairless trend women frankly weren’t as aware of how it looked down there. Nor their partners probably. Plus you might want to leave at least some fuzz as hair aids in preventing infections by keeping bacteria from getting up there. The vag is more vulnerable to problems bare. Guys, sure you would rather deal with hair than infections. And if you care about the woman you wouldn’t want her suffering them. But I doubt you are a molestor either way, to be fair. :)
    • Emily Robbins (@Bklynsheep) commented on November 14, 2013 Reply
      Amen, Nancy. The past two years I’ve been with a man who prefers bare or “landing strip,” and this is the first time in my life I’ve ever considered altering my pubic hair. I thought it might feel sexy on my part to be smoother and sleeker, too; heck, I enjoy my own legs more when they’re shaved. So I hedge-trimmed; he didn’t notice the difference. I drastically, pre-shave-worthy trimmed…and promptly got a UTI that took two courses of Macrobid to conquer. So hair’s back, to stay; he doesn’t get a vote.
  • Clea commented on November 25, 2013 Reply
    I just have to comment, because this drives me insane: please look up the definition of “vagina”. Then please look up the definition of “vulva” and realize that throughout this (great) article, “vagina” should have been replaced with “vulva”. Can we please begin using the proper terminology for female genitals?
  • Gretchen Icenogle commented on June 18, 2014 Reply
    Amen. Beyond the benefits Lix mentions of tending our gardens gently, there’s been a significant and dangerous rise in skin infections among women who wax. Some have even been life threatening. I kid you not: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/3/e29.long Go bare at your own risk!
  • Ryan commented on September 24, 2014 Reply
    PREACH. This was a magnificent read.
  • Anjana Love-Dixon
    Anjana Love Dixon commented on September 30, 2014 Reply
    This article never gets old.
  • Cheri commented on February 6, 2015 Reply
    As a woman with an incredibly unremarkable vagina, I found it semi refreshing. I waited in vane for years to grow hair anywhere but my head. All to no avail, it never really happened for me. Then once I had to have a complete hysterectomy, I started growing a beard. At first I was mortified then I realized that this silver fu manchu is part of my authentic self and I will rock it. In another month it will be long enough to put into two small rubber bands with some thin ribbons and beads. I still fix my hair and wear my make up when I feel like it. Otherwise I pull my hair into a bun and bluntly look like an old man. I really don’t care anymore, it is what it is.
  • Mike commented on March 28, 2015 Reply
    good post. I found this because I am having a little insomnia and was checking out pubic hair designs for the wife. She shaves bare from time to time which is ok (its her body) but I like it better with hair. I like hearts, flame design etc, it makes it fun. And I wouldn’t mind a big bush ether. Like stated above. I am just happy to be a part of it. As far as the labioplasty surgery, why would anyone want to do that. Being different is one of the things that is beautiful.
    • Mike commented on March 28, 2015 Reply
      had to add — Just looked at some before and after pictures of the surgery, since i haven’t seen that many. And to me the natural looks so much better and inviting in all the pictures i could find. Keep your lips and save your money!
  • Hudler Cee commented on May 23, 2015 Reply
    Love this. I shaved until my ex-husband and I separated and since then have only done casual maintenance. I have had no issues getting sexual partners, include those who want to give oral happily, and I am now married to someone who loves ALL of me. When I shave I personally feel naked, dare I say pre-pubescent. I don’t like it. I’m struggling with shaving anywhere on my body at all, it’s a fight in my mind over what is really just a matter of social stigma vs. why would we be born with something we were meant to remove?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>