You know that saying about how no two snowflakes are alike? Well, the expression could refer to vaginas including the labia (lips) and clitoris just as easily. And it’s absolutely true. There’s no one right way for a vagina to look. There’s no such thing as a perfect vagina. If anyone should know, it’s an OBGYN who’s been seeing patients for nearly three decades.
The labia, or lips, which are where most of the issues are for the majority of female patients, vary from person to person, just as our two eyes are not identical, and neither are our ears, or our breasts. In fact, even the separate parts of one vagina are not exactly the same. Our two lips are not identical, nor are they symmetrical to each other. The clitoris is actually referred to as a phallus, just like a penis is. That’s where the similarities stop, though. The normal size for a clitoris is 5 mm in length. And its main—really its only, function—is to give pleasure, with its 8,000 highly-sensitive nerve endings. However, size doesn’t have anything to do with pleasure. No two clitorises look the same, just as the vaginas in which they reside are all different, too. Some are thinner, wider, shorter, or longer than others. This is completely normal. Different is normal. The only qualities that make a vagina “perfect” are good health and confidence.
Much as women have always compared their bodies and breasts to models and movie stars, now it’s the vagina that’s up for inspection. I hear comments like: “My lips are too big,” “too bumpy,” “too dark,” “too uneven,” “too in the way.” Or my boyfriend or girlfriend tells me my labia are: “not pretty” or “not sexy.”
Social media allows all of us to compare ourselves to others in every way possible these days, including, yes, our vaginas. So I wasn’t all that surprised when one of my 17-year-old patients asked me if I thought her lips were abnormally large. She went on to say her boyfriend told her that her lips were too big compared to others he’d seen. And who were these others? When I asked her, it turned out they were the women on the porn sites he visited. I wasn’t at all shocked to hear this, either, and neither should you be. Believe me, he’s the norm, not the exception.
As a result of social media and easy accessibility to porn sites, some women have been made to feel vagina insecurity. And I’m not just seeing this in patients, either, although it’s definitely something that comes up regularly in my examining room. It’s everywhere.
More and more, my patients are asking me what the perfect vagina looks like and how they can get one. Women of all ages, including adolescents, are now aware of cosmetic genital procedures that vow to make the vagina beautiful, even “perfect”. I get many inquiries about these alterations and what they can and can’t do.
The Abnormal V
While a wide range of variety is the norm when it comes to vaginas, there are women out there who do have abnormal labia. But, again, this has nothing to do with aesthetics. For most, there’s no denying that something isn’t quite right. The most common symptom is the need to fold up their labia and push them into their vaginas, in order to reduce the appearance of excess tissue, or a bulge, in their underwear or bathing suits. Other symptoms include labial pain, swelling, irritation, poor hygiene, and interference with athletics or sexual activity. Oversized or enlarged labia can impact athletics, such as running, bicycling, horseback riding, and swimming. Surgical procedures are available to improve these symptoms, as well as the appearance of the vagina. Discussing your concerns with your healthcare provider is a good place to start if you have any concerns.
In the majority of cases, your vagina and all its part is truly perfect and beautiful just the way it is…just like you!
The Perfect Vagina is an excerpt from my future publication of the Vagina Dialogues, If these Lips Could Talk, Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.