The beauty and plastic surgery industries are after our faces, breasts, butts, and every anatomical square inch they can lay their greedy hands upon. With the exception of injuries, diseases, or other disfiguring medical issues, there is absolutely no reason to poke and prod your bod. It's 100% perfect and functional exactly as it stands.
We're deeply saddened to see the pleasure organs fall into this marketing scheme that convinces humans to shell out thousands of dollars and go dangerously under the knife, all in the name of achieving a fictional beauty standard. If you're considering skin bleaching, plastic surgery, or any other disruptive procedure to “fix” your labia, let us persuade you: please don't.
If you won't listen to us, we hope you'll listen to the expertise of two sexuality professionals – Laura Deitsch, a licensed, clinical professional counselor and sexologist who operates Crescent Counseling, and Linnea Marie, a sex educator and owner of The X at ExxxiteMe.com
We've enlisted these sexperts to tell us
why all labia are wonderful, purposeful and capable of enhancing your pleasure. Chopping them up or distorting them with chemicals can actually detract
from your sexual experience and orgasms. Scary stuff, right?
Go figure, folks. The reason why you're even wondering whether your body parts are pretty enough lies in the images and messages on TV, social media, and in old-fashioned porn stereotypes.
“The media, porn, and of course advertising for things like labiaplasty all give the impression that a certain aesthetic of labia is what's right,” says Deitsch. “Labia, like snowflakes, are individual and unique. There's no right way or wrong way for a labia to look or feel. People need to understand that just because plastic surgery procedures exist, that doesn't make them necessary or valid.”
Though social media sex-ed warriors are doing their darndest to promote a positive message for labia owners, Instagram has been shutting down sex education pages as of late. What's left over are bogus beauty standards set by misinformed or money-hungry influencers.
“We can log on to social media and see some kind of shame-filled meme about how something should look or feel,” explains Linnea Marie. “A person’s labia might not look like the one they see in porn or like their friends because all labia look different; that’s one of the beautiful, unique and magical things about them.”
Linnea Marie makes sure to emphasize that we can't simply blame the commercialized Instagram world. As any sex educator will attest, the American school system hardly ever provides a proper course in sexual anatomy and function. Many of us are simply ignorant to the amazing bodies with which we're born.
“Education about the labia in school or home almost never happens, so it's important to educate,” she continues. “Speaking positively and being inclusive is important when we think and talk about our bits. If we feel badly, feel embarrassed, or confused about them, we are less likely to discuss important topics regarding them like pleasure, appearance, or possible problems.”
It certainly doesn't help that we've been trained to associate proper anatomical terminology with curse words. Seriously, can you believe the F-bomb and medical terms like “vagina” and “clitoris” are often in the same category and deemed inappropriate for children?
“Teaching proper terminology will also keep the positivity going,” explains Linnea Marie. “Instead of pet names, we can own the body part and empower others when we talk about it.”
What's really terrifying is that most vulva owners have no idea that their labia contribute greatly to their reproductive health, sexual pleasure and even orgasm. Can you imagine slicing off your long lips, only to find out that you can't climax as strongly or as satisfyingly as before – and your medical provider didn't warn you? Talk about worst fears!
“In terms of function, labia help to protect the vaginal opening as well as the urethral opening from foreign objects as well as bacterial or other kinds of infections. They're like a soft door,” explains Deitsch. “Labia have nerve endings and for some folks can be stimulated and produce a pleasant sensation.”
If you're still stressing over your long-hanging lips or your barely-there shorties, or recalling negative talk forced upon you by a mean-spirited ex, you can always talk to a trusted gynecologist. There isn't a feminist, sex-positive gyno in the world who will tell you to change a healthy, fully-functioning body part.
“Labia come in all sorts of lengths and thicknesses” echoes Linnea Marie. “I tell people that it’s their own unique flower and to be proud of that.”
We implore you to take a peek at the #labia tag on Instagram – which is, surprisingly and yet thankfully, still full of gorgeous, all-natural labia images and art work – and see for yourself.
Similarly, don't fret if your labia smell like – well – labia, and grow a full bush like the rest of your pubic area. Your genitals were made to create pleasure and possibly human life, if you so choose.
“The inner and outer labia lips can hold the natural scent and the scent can range in smell to very noticeable to almost non-existent. They aren't supposed to smell like rainbows,” Linnea Marie explains. “The labia can be a hairy dang thing; trimming or shaving has been around for awhile now, but it’s a personal preference whether you keep yours or not.”
Both Deitsch and Linnea Marie (and us at Dame, of course) recommend experimenting with your labia as you might with your clitoris. Try to focus on the labia alone to get a feel for how they react to different textures, vibrations or tapping and gliding patterns.
“For some folks, the feeling of gliding an object across them creates a pleasant sensation,” says Deitsch.
“Ever had a good labia massage? Sheesh!” Linnea Marie chimes in. “The pleasure that comes from indirectly stimulating the clitoris is amazing. The desire for more can send someone into bliss.”
If all this labia talk has you pumped to proclaim the awesomeness of this undervalued sexy part, you're far from alone. While you're not obligated to literally shout from the rooftops, there's likely a private group – physically nearby or online – full of other vulva owners who are eager to share in your joyful self-love.
“I participated in a vulva/labia casting before and it was one of the most exhilarating activities I've ever done,” recalls Linnea Marie. “All different. All shapes and sizes. I wanted to display them all over a wall. They looked so cool!”
Your labia – and entire yonic area – is no different from your eyes or breasts or the lips on your face. There is absolutely no need to conform to a completely fabricated beauty standard. Likewise, your partner should also love your body without asking you to alter it. If they don't, you've got two options: dismantle their misinformed notions and teach them exactly what you've learned here; or consider that you may be better off without someone who puts your body down.
“Just like our faces, and the rest of our bodies, labia come in all different shapes and sizes,” concludes Deitsch. “Unless there is some sort of cancerous growth, infection, rash or other medical condition, all labia are perfectly healthy and beautiful.”