Posted in Genitals: A User's Guide

Luscious Lips

‘Labia Minora’ is latin for ‘smaller lips’.  It’s the word used to describe the flaps of tissue that sit inside the larger labia majora (‘large lips’) and surround the innermost structures of the vulva – like the clitoris and the vagina.

Exactly what an individual’s labia minora look like in terms of shape and size vary hugely.  Some have fairly minimal tissue, which doesn’t tend to be visible unless the labia majora are spread (i.e. legs akimbo!).  Some people have much larger amounts of tissue.  When people talk about having cosmetic surgery to the vulva, they often call it a ‘designer vagina’.  However, it is surgery to the labia minora (a ‘labiaplasty’ or ‘vulval surgery’) that they are in fact referring to, not surgery to the vagina itself.   Some people feel that this type of surgery is almost always unnecessary and related to unfounded fears that people have about larger labia minoras being ‘abnormal’.

Posted in Genitals: A User's Guide

Getting Technical

This week, artist Laura Dodsworth’s latest piece hit the news. This is a collection of photographs of 100 vulvas. One of the reasons this is great is that it taps into and challenges taboos around vulval genitalia. One of the misconceptions very publicly elicited was the language and terms use- Dodsworth correctly uses ‘vulva’ to refer to the externally visible parts of this type of genitalia:

That ignorance around this exists became very evident, very quickly. One twitterer tried to ‘correct’ it. I’m doing so, he used the term ‘vagina’ which, although a common mistake, refers to the passage between the cervix (entrance of the womb) and outside of the body. These bits can be photographed, but it’s rather tricky and involves specialist equipment!

Professional and amateur vulva and vagina owners alike were swift to correct him. I really recommend reading this link, with popcorn.