Monday, 7 March 2016

Where Have All of the Labia Gone?

When I was a teenager I thought I had a weird vagina.

In this day and age vaginas are everywhere. It’s easier than ever to access porn thanks to the internet. Whether they’re in a picture, gif or video, vaginas can be found all over the place. But as a teenager, no matter how many different vaginas I saw, they all looked exactly the same and nothing like my own.

Frankly, where have all of the labia gone!?

Back when I was thirteen I didn’t know what labia was (if you’re not familiar, they’re the outer and inner lips that surround the entrance to the vagina) all I knew was that the women in porn and my science text books didn’t have what I have.

And that made me feel like a freak.

Was I not normal?

Was something wrong with me? 

Many years later it turns out that the answer is no. Labia minora (inner lips) and labia majora (outer lips) are a completely normal part of the vagina and I wish this was something that I knew earlier in life so I didn’t have to feel so self-conscious about it.

Even though I now know what a normal vagina looks like and that they all look very different, I’m well aware that there are so many girls out there who feel the same way I did. Labiaplasty – a surgery removing the labia minora – is on the rise with girls as young as fourteen going to their GP asking for the procedure because they don’t think that their vagina looks normal.

The main reason for the increasing popularity of labiaplasties seems to be because teenage girls and young women don’t know what “normal” looks like. Talking about sex is becoming less taboo but it seems that talking about our vaginas is still off topic. Instead girls are relying on porn and text books (seriously sex ed?) to see images of other vaginas which are far from reliable sources.

Many porn stars have had labiaplasty so that the vagina entrance is more visible, so seeing an image of what a natural vagina looks like is hard to come by. With no sex education on the matter is it any wonder that more teenage girls are growing up thinking that there is something wrong with the way that their vagina looks?

Sadly another factor that comes into it is boys. Because teenage boys are also not given any sort of education on what women’s genitalia actually looks like they’re also seeing their first vaginas in porn. I’ve heard of girl’s with completely normal looking labia being referred to as having “hanging ham” or “beef curtains” by their sexual partners. If this has ever happened to you take comfort in knowing that this is down to sheer ignorance on your partner’s behalf. Oh and also? They’re an asshole.

For the record, all vaginas look completely different. The labia minora can be tucked in or stick out, it can be darker or lighter than the rest of the vulva, they can be straight or wavy, thin or thick, wrinkled or smooth, and like boobs one can also be bigger than the other. In length labia can be anything from 0-4 inches long.

I’d really recommend getting a hand mirror and taking a look down there. Find out what is normal for you. I promise that whatever you’re looking at is a completely healthy and ordinary vagina.

There are some brilliant websites out there that are doing fantastic work in educating women everywhere about the diversity of labia. I’d really recommend checking out Love Your Labia and The Great Wall of Vagina for a more accurate viewing of all of the different types of vaginas out there.

I wanted to speak up today because it seems like, once again, society has far too much to say about our bodies. The vagina is just another body part that’s being used to make us women feel inferior. Your vagina doesn’t belong to society or to your partner, it belongs to you. By talking about what looks normal for us we’re raising awareness and busting harmful stereotypes on what a “pretty vagina” should look like.

Remember, if a guy ever tries to shame you about any part of your body then he’s an asshole. No matter what your vagina looks like there will be someone out there who loves it and won’t want to change it to make it a more appealing hole for them to have sex with.

Take a look at your vagina, take a look at other people’s vaginas, if you feel comfortable bring up the topic with someone you trust and know that there’s nothing wrong in doing so. Your vagina belongs to you and I think it’s about time that we all showed our bits a little more love.


  1. This is so brilliant. Thank you. I notice in myself (I am 51 and a mum of 4 teenagers - 3 girls and 1 boy) that I am feeling very shy about sharing it - but you are so right, this is SO IMPORTANT. So I am going to share on twitter and Facebook - I shouldn't feel this is brave - after all- you wrote it - so it is the least I can do - as you are right.

    1. I'm so glad you feel brave enough to share it Anne! It's funny how talking about our vaginas is still seen as so taboo!

  2. Great article, Jess. And a great site too.


No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.