‘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’.