Posted in Genitals: A User's Guide, Uncategorized

By Design

Ever heard the term ‘designer vagina’?  This generally refers to a certain type of cosmetic surgery, not to the vagina itself but to the ‘inner lips’ (or labia minora) of the vulva.  Surgery here involves removing tissue from and reshaping the appearance of the labia minora- in other words to ‘trim’ it.   Many people with vulvas have a labia minora that protrudes so that it appears visible – therefore however large this is it is likely to be ‘normal’.  Additionally, in young people biological changes occur during puberty that can change the appearance of the inner labia.  For this reason it is often recommended by the NHS that those under 18 do  not get this type of surgery.  However, there seem to cases of children having labiaplasties.  According to one report over 200 people received labiaplasty procedures funded by the NHS in 2015-2016.  We know that people with visible labia are more likely to think that their genitals look ‘abnormal’ than those without, even though both are equally common (Lykkebo et al, 2017). Some accounts have blamed this on the prevalence of seeing only vulva with neat and invisible labia minora.  Whatever the cause, the desire to have this type of surgery seems increasingly common with a 45% rise seen in labiaplasty numbers worldwide between 2015 and 2016.

 

 

 

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’.