Vulvas and vaginas: the perfect lips – and why they don’t exist.

Vulvas and vaginas: the perfect lips – and why they don’t exist.

Long? Juicy? Small? Hairy? Put the word ‘too’ in front of these words and they become criticisms. Leave it out, though, and we see differences as things to celebrate. When it comes to vulvas and vaginas, we believe there’s no room for passing negative judgement. Every single one (including yours) is wonderful. 

So why do some women feel bad about their vulva? In 2016 there was a 45% year-on-year increase in labiaplasty operations (cosmetic surgery on the labia).

By looking at vulvas in a more real way, we want every woman to see that they are normal, and perfect. Because perfection is a perception, rather than a look, shape or smell.

The lowdown on your down below

Face it: facts can be boring. Biology lessons might have taught you the correct names for the major sex organs, but do you ever remember being told that the clitoris is key to one of the best, cost-free thrills?

Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken are two medical students breathing new life into the oldest of subject matters. Having spent a lot of time working in sexual health clinics, they realised there was a serious lack of relatable knowledge about female genitals. There was a gap to fill, if you like, so they started writing their book The Wonder Down Under.

In it, they tackle everything from hymen myths (not every girl bleeds when she loses her virginity), discharge and blood (what certain smells can indicate) and ‘typical’ labia length (answer: there isn’t one).

They talk about the Norwegian term ‘discomus’ - disco-fanny being the equally good English translation - to describe the crotch area after a busy day. Reading it is like sitting in a room with two wise friends who like a joke, but never make vaginas a laughing stock.

Straightforward talk like this encourages women to get to know the most intimate part of their body, from the pleasure of orgasm to the pain of PMS. It’s books like this that help us see that ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’ come in all forms.

The perfect lips – and why they don’t exist

If people have problems changing their perception of ‘perfection’ to include difference and imperfection, that’s not surprising. Unless you’re a gynaecologist or regularly hang out on nudist beaches, chances are you don’t face a sea of vaginas on a daily basis. Add the fact that female genitalia is not up there on the list of hot dinner-party topics and you’ve got a problem - the fact that many women deal with vagina anxiety on their own.

Bad names (fishy, flappy, loose, for example) create shame, and women bear the brunt of this by feeling low, rather than good, about the wondrous place between their legs. Self-love comes with acceptance, so it’s time we all re-examined the meaning of ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’ by looking at what’s real.

So, who’s got the best vulva of them all?

You, of course. Because it’s yours and you’ll only ever have one, so it’s time to show it some love. Putting a mirror between your legs might not sound like the best use of a spare ten minutes, but it’s the easiest way of getting familiar with all your bits.

Are your inner lips longer than your outer ones? Does your clitoris ‘button’ on the upper part of your vulva go harder when you touch it? Is the skin inside your inner lips sticky or slick?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to how you should look or feel. Getting to know your normal takes time, but it’s a great way of growing more confident in your own skin. Once you can confidently judge that you’re all right down there, you’ll notice when something changes, and whether this is OK or needs checking out by the doctor. 
Disclaimer: The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors, but it should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
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