When it comes to body insecurities, one of the big worries women tend to have is their labia – the lips that announce the opening of the vagina. There probably isn't a women in the world who hasn't questioned at some point whether the shape and colour of their vagina lips are too long, too short, too fleshy, too dark, too light, too wrinkly, too all-of-these?
To promote the labia positivity that we're so passionate about, and prove that being kind about your own labia is the fastest way to feel confident about your body, we asked 10 women to reveal how they feel about theirs.
“I have one lip that’s longer than the other, that sticks out like a little tongue. I love it. It’s unique, it’s my vagina, and I think it’s perfect. Fourteen-year-old me would say there was ‘too much’ labia, that it was all supposed to be tucked in. I think maybe that stems back to the whole Barbie thing, where everything is so perfect - too perfect - and compact. Women have been under scrutiny for the tightness of our vaginas, the shape of our vaginas and the fluids they produce throughout history, and it’s *impossible* to get it right. So I don’t. Some labias are innies and some are outies. Ultimately they are like belly buttons (but better). There’s no right or wrong in any of that.”
“I was always a little self conscious of my labia as I didn't have a solid comparison. I was never sure if it was the right shape or size until it came up in conversation once and my bestie announced she'd seen mine on many occasions and thought it to be "neat". After the confirmation that I was "normal" I haven't really given it a second thought. I have a "it-functions-and-I have-all-my-limbs" kind of attitude!”
“I used to be far more self-conscious about my lady lips when I was a teen, however since blossoming into a much more self-assured young woman, they really don’t bother me as much. I never dared look down there when I was younger for fear of what I might find, but I decided one day to do what loads of ‘sexperts’ recommend by taking a mirror and just having a gander. I was quite pleasantly surprised and couldn’t help but wonder what I had been so freaked out about all this time. They aren’t 100% symmetrical, but neither are my eyebrows when I’ve haphazardly drawn them on in the morning on the bus to work. I’ve just learnt to love them over time - I’m way more confident in the bedroom too now as I don’t squirm and cringe when someone gets a little close and personal down there.”
"I have learnt to love my lettuce. It’s an outie and I used to be seriously self-conscious about the way it looked until I saw one of my best friend’s labias when I was about 14. Hers was also an outie, but she had not one shred of self-consciousness about it. She was totally and utterly confident in her naked body (like, loved getting starkers in the swimming pool changing rooms when we were all trying to master the knicker trick). I saw how her confidence only enhanced her beauty and how empowering it was not to give a f*ck. It made me see her labia as proud, so that day I decided I was going to give mine the same love and respect that she gave hers. Now I whip my clothes off in the changing rooms with pride because I love my labia, and I don’t care who knows it.”
“My labia isn’t symmetrical – one side is different to the other – and they certainly aren’t all tucked in, but you know what, I really don’t care and I accept my labia exactly the way it is. Eyes, noses, feet and breasts vary from woman to woman and so do vaginas. No two labias are the same so worrying about whether mine is ‘normal’ or attractive is not the best use of my time. My boyfriend loves my labia but if I was with a guy who didn’t, I’d tell him to jog on and I’d find one who does!”
“I was generally very self conscious of my body growing up due to weight struggles. So the cherry on top of that anxiety was my vagina. I don’t have sisters and my friends weren't the type to chat 'fannys', so I never knew if my labia was “'normal” or not. It sounds bad to say it, but it actually took me to become sexually active and realise that the guy didn't even pass comment on it to make me realise that it’s just a body part. It's only now that friends are having kids that I think about how amazing it is that our bodies can produce human beings and that it shouldn't matter what it looks like. I feel like no one questions confidence and honestly if I could speak to my younger self I would tell her to get over it and concentrate on more important issues. I have a friend who is so self conscious of her vagina that she is a 30 year old virgin who has never had a smear test. I think this is labia insecurity out of control and it goes to show that maybe we do need to talk more openly about our vaginas.”
“I’m happy with my labia. Me and my friends have never been scared to strip off and talk about our bodies especially after a drink, or on a night out in the girl’s toilet. One friend described mine as "tidy" and she’s always said that hers is "meaty" which makes us laugh. As a whole, I’m confident and proud of it. Nothing positive will come from feeling ashamed of any part of your body, so you’ve got to love the labia you have.”
“I don't really notice them. My boyfriend calls them my 'meat flaps' because apparently they're the fattest part of my body. HA. I don't think they're significantly big tbh. I like stretching them about though...It's fun!”
“I went to boarding school and grew up living with 13 other girls in my house. Nudity was never really a problem for us and we all went through puberty together so I never really gave my lady lips a second thought. I think they’re pretty normal. Throughout my teenage years I had a string of boyfriends who accepted them as they were however, I have recently become single and am enjoying being able to let my lady lips pucker up to anyone.”
“As a teenager, my perception of vaginas was seriously warped. My only reference point to what a labia “should” look like was the one peddled by porn and the sex industry – a wildly unrealistic aesthetic that so wasn’t the reality for me. In comparison, I thought mine was ugly. The turning point for me was when I had a big sleepover with my friends and we did a vagina ‘”show and tell”. Out of 20 girls, only a couple had the neat, tucked in labia that I thought was standard – the rest were all kinds of shapes and sizes. From this, I learnt that every woman is different and having a "perfect labia" is another unattainable goal for women. It might have taken ten years, but I’m now happy and comfortable with my labia – designer vaginas can go to hell.”
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