We Ask, You Answer: Do You Like Your Vagina, Aesthetically Speaking?

THE DISTAIN OF ONES VULVA IS MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

 

I don’t remember the first time I heard someone discuss the aesthetic of vaginas, but I distinctly remember hearing whispers of “meat curtains” and “loose vaginas” in the hallways at my high school. Whether it was a boy spreading nasty rumors about a girl, or a girl using those rumors as fuel to dismiss a girl she disliked, people were talking about vaginas, and it was negative. 

I became so intrigued by what it meant to have an “ugly vagina” that I started secretly looking at porn to dissect whether mine looked “normal” or not. Obviously, this was the wrong place to find answers. Most of the vaginas I saw didn’t have a trace of hair and were overly bleached. I remember thinking, “Nevermind vaginas, now I have to worry about my non-bleached butthole!” 

In my early 20s, as a way to understand what all the fuss was about, my close friends and I showed each other our vaginas. “I have an innie,” my friend shared proudly. “And it looks like you have a half outie,” she continued, looking at mine, as though I was supposed to know what that meant. Once home, I grabbed my MAC cosmetic compact and further analysed my inner and outer labia. I felt like I could now put my vagina into a category that made sense to me: “A half outie,” I said proudly. 

Still, I feared having an “ugly vagina,” and it followed me around for years. I would often ask my boyfriends if my “half outie” equated to having “meat curtains.” “Omg! No!” they would say. Trust me, you don’t have meat curtains!” they’d respond. I’d feel relief momentarily, but it wasn’t until nude photos of soccer star Hope Solo were leaked that I finally really felt relieved. I remember telling the friend who showed me the photo of Hope’s vagina, that I was relieved mine didn’t look like hers— something which deeply shames me now. I had to insult another woman’s vagina to accept my own. Fucked up, I know.

But I can’t be the only one who has had these thoughts—I know I’m not the only one! In a recent episode of Goop’s new Netflix show, they talk female arousal, and showed 10+ images of different looking vulvas*. Some labias were dark, some were light, some long, some short. It was fascinating! It reminded me of a bachelorette party I was at once with 12 other women, where we all ended up naked, somehow, after being severely overserved at a club. And yes, we ended up showing each other our vaginas. And to my surprise, they were all so different.

Seeing these vaginas over the years, all different shaped vulvas, whether it was in person or on the internet, has allowed me to slowly embrace my own. But I mean, how often do most women really get to stare at someone else’s labia? Not often. Let alone their own! So how does one learn to accept their own vulva, when you have no other reference of comparison? I mean, labiaplasty, the plastic surgery alteration of your labia folds, has increased 45% worldwide since 2015! It makes me wonder, if we saw more vulvas in the flesh—of different colors, shapes, and sizes—would those numbers decrease? Would we learn to accept our own, or even feel comfortable looking at our own?

So tell me, have you looked at your vagina? Do you like your vulva, aesthetically speaking? Comment down below!

 

*ps did you know that vaginas are just the opening of the vulva, and a vulva is actually the entire thing (aka genitals) outside of your body. This includes the clitoris, the outer labia, the inner labia, the vaginal opening and your pee hole! Even with this information, I still call mine a vagina but it’s important to be informed on these things. Check this graph for more info.

LET'S TALK: Do You Like Your Vagina, Aesthetically Speaking?

22 Comments

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

    1. SAME! And then on GOOP I was honestly floored when they started showing pictures. Honestly, I’ve felt odd at times looking at mine, especially in a mirror.

  1. Love this article. I remember to being self conscious in high school. but since working as a nurse and seeing hundreds of naked bodies my perception has changed. I have an appreciation for the human body and think everyone and their parts are uniquely beautiful, my vagina included!

    1. I don’t like my vagina, it’s ugly. Maybe it’s the flaps or the wrinkles but I think vaginas in general are ugly and I don’t like looking at them. I feel bad for even thinking this. Yet in the same breath, I think it’s perfect and precious. I stare at my vagina often because I give myself Brazilian waxes, I hate the ingrown hairs and different colors. I’ve never considered surgery because I don’t really care. However, I’m pregnant and am mentally preparing the potential destruction of my vagina. I would certainly consider plastic surgery in a few months.

  2. It wasn’t really something I thought about until after I had my daughter. One friend of mine (who had given birth just a couple months earlier) warned me to “not look down there” afterwards. Of course I did, and wasn’t mortified, but definitely surprised by how much it had changed. …but really I shouldn’t have been. My tummy and my hips changed. My breasts too. So OF COURSE my vagina was gonna change after giving birth. It’s all part of the beauty and miracle of being a woman and the honour of being able to give birth.

  3. I was so concerned with pubic hair, how to remove it, how to prevent ingrowns, etc, I didn’t realize the size and shape of labia mattered until college. I was at a strip club and a woman I was with told me liked when vaginas looked like “that” and pointed out a dancer. I was confused. “What do you mean?” She explained that everything was tucked away, she had an innie. I remember feeling relieved because that woman’s vulva resembled mine. But because of prematurely gray pubic hair and the ingrown hairs and blemishes that come from removing it, I still struggle with the way my vagina looks.

    1. Hi Donna! Thank you SO much for sharing. I didn’t know pubic hair could turn gray, which is why I’m so grateful you took the time to share this. I’m SURE someone reading this will feel relieved by your words. I wrote a piece a few months back about learning to accept my pubic hair. While I don’t have greys, I understand that even that part is a journey. Thanks again so much for sharing! xx alex

  4. I really, really love my little pink kitten. I don’t think I ever even knew there were so many different types until I started watching more lesbian produced porn. I never worried about what I looked like, I think the only stress I had in that regard was “do I smell normal and is all that moisture/discharge/lady goop normal” (why didn’t my mom or 2 older sisters ever talk about THAT!?). I don’t think I knew for sure how pretty my kitty is until my husband started going down on me. Our first 6 months of dating he never did, and I was desperate. So when I was drunk and had “courage” I confronted him and he said he just wasn’t that into it. I told hik that wasn’t really an option, especially since I was blowing him almost every morning. So he started, and after a couple months of us both getting comfortable, he couldn’t get enough! I asked him about it, and he told me his first and most recent girlfrienda had vagina’s he didn’t think were pretty, couldn’t “find” the beauty. And with me, he talks about how pretty mine is. Maybe for him it was maturing in order to appreciate. For me, it was my husband who kinda made me fall in love with myself

    1. SO proud of you for saying there wasn’t another option. I know many people (myself included at times) who find it hard to voice their needs so clearly in the bedroom. That’s amazing! xx Alex

    2. Totally relate! Especially with the smell and lady goop! Something we definitely need to talk about more.

  5. I’m so interested in seeing more! I remember when I was 18 at my first pap the female OB/GYN offered me a mirror- I said no, I was embarrassed. I wish I hadn’t been. Why was I so scared?

  6. I remember seeing a friends perfect labia when I was 12ish and realizing mine looked different. Then hearing a stand up about labia that’s longer and how it’s like getting lost in curtains. Ever since, I’ve always felt like what I’ve had wasn’t right since a really young age. At this point, I’ve accepted my body though, and I wouldn’t change it.

    1. That’s really the problem.. the jokes are what increases unnecessary internalized fears around this. Thank you for sharing! I’m glad you’ve embraced it as I have too 🙂

  7. I really struggle with mine. Even reading about other women who love theirs makes me a little upset. I’m happy for them, I just wish I had that feeling too. I have so much shame around everything down there I have definitely considered labiaplasty. Sometimes I appreciate it, but a lot of times I just wish it was different.

    1. Thank you sooooo much for being so honest! I totally understand because I was quite surprised to read so many comments of people loving their vaginas– which obviously is amazing but I definitely did have a moment of “fuck was it just me?!?”. At the end of the day, there is also no shame in getting labiaplasty. It’s just like any other cosmetic surgery, if it makes you feel better, great! I think the important thing is that we have these conversations so that we know we’re not alone, because trust me, you’re not! I received quite a few DMs from other women expressing the same response you’re having! xx Alex

  8. Yep I am pretty content with my labia situation. I am always impressed by the amount of variety out there. I was always more self conscious of pubic hair, and smells and even the fatty tissue protecting the pubic bone. My colleges girlfriends and I used to call it the “chubby mons” since we learned it was called the moms pubis. Anyways, ya I’m happy with it.

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