viva la vulva

by – Kai, lead somatic sexologist

The vulva! Variations in size and colour are all normal, no vulva is the same. I would like to have a healthy discussion about the vulva. When writing this blog article I  realised that photos speak for themselves. So most of this blog is about the appearance, shape, colour and length of the vulva through photos and videos. I also discuss vulva anatomy and  labiaplasty.

Check out this amazing photographic wall of vulva’s. Do you have a favourite vulva? If you are a vulva owner maybe it is your own. If you don’t own a vulva maybe its your partners.

Vulva Collage

By Gynodiversity[1], CC0,

Vulva anatomy naturally consists of the outer lips (labia majora), the inner lips (labia minora), the pubic mound (mons pubis) and external external opening of the vagina, clitoris and urethra. See labelled vulva here and not labelled vulva here. Most importantly all the structures that you see are responsible for different types of pleasure/sensations and arousal. The vulva is highly erogenous. The vulva plays a significant role during love making. Vulva structures become engorged/swollen and appear reddened/darker from increased blood flow. This is an important visual cue for partners to indicate arousal – see aroused vulva here.

Some woman are not happy about their vulva s appearance and seek cosmetic  surgery (labiaplasty) to change them. Over the last few years their has been a trend/movement for woman that would like to surgically alter/design their vulva’s. A couple of reasons for this  include, ladies comparing their vulva’s to pornographic vulva’s (remember vulva images are often edited cut/softened/pasted). Some woman want to have a vulva that looks tight and tucked. Other reasons may include a shame response to their own vulva. A previous partners reaction to their vulva’s appearance that has caused a shame response. A few ladies also have extremely large vulva/lips that are uncomfortable to live with – that may or may not include functional impairment. Some feel having a large vulva is embarrassing for them, see large labia here.

What is labiaplasty? Its plastic surgery/reduction/shaping of the vulva’s various parts. You can check out the surgical procedure here for yourself NSFW. The content of the video informs woman about what happens during labiaplasty. As well as the extent of reduction that occurs/removal of erogenous tissue.

Personally, and professionally as a somatic sexologist and sex educator I embrace all forms of genitals. When clients come to me to discuss labiaplasty I will always support whatever decision they come to. Every woman has a right to sexual freedom. However, as a professional sex educator I feel everyone woman has the right to be informed/and equipped with correct knowledge before making a decision about surgical procedures that will affect their genitals. That knowledge includes self exploration/education of their own genitals (genital mapping) and what parts of the vulva feel like,  and being able to distinguish erogenous zones. Education about vulva’s and vulva appearances (which I offer here in this article). Some questions a vulva owner might want to consider before a labiaplasty: you wont truly know the extent too how much genital pleasure is affected until the procedure is done. Once tissue is removed you cant replace it – although just like foreskin restoration I would suggest you might be able to stretch and expand skin to restore. The usual risks of surgery such as infection and bleeding. Scarring can occur and contribute to painful sex and loss of sensation.

If your curious, or even unsure about your vulva’s appearance I highly recommend you have a look at the Large Labia Project. This project covers a vast amount of information about the labia. It also has a collage of vulva s that woman have submitted. I think its a beautiful site and everyone should check it out to educate themselves about the vulva. Also you can can make an appointment with me if you would like to do some exploration (genital mapping/moulding) of your own vulva in a private and safe space where you can learn more hands on if that’s something that you would like to do.