Labiaplasty and Our Twisted Relationship With Our Beautiful Genitals

I’ve been thinking about labiaplasty lately. Not for myself. Just pondering the rising trend in women seeking out labiaplasty to make their genitals look less genital-esque.

Having knives and stitches between my legs is territory I hope I never have to explore. I don’t want anyone cutting on my beautiful sacred spot, my happy button’s gentle realm. Not there, the fount of so much pleasure, the source of ecstatic relief that has proven an infinitely more reliable friend than the toys and men who’ve dallied there. Toys break, men get dismissed, but my pussy is forever. I don’t know who I’d be without it.

True, I don’t have any deformities or anomalies that might make me want to undergo the knife. I understand how difficult it is for people who look really unusual. I have never borne a big-ass baby that came down the pike tearing all the tissue on its way out or medical conditions that altered my sexual function or made my lips look like a flabby pastrami sandwich. There are so many valid reasons why a woman might choose to get a cosmetic fix for a vagina that makes new loverss ask, “Um, is everything ok down there?” I understand and sympathize with that plight.

But the increase in labiaplasties in the recent years is alarming health professionals because most requests come from women with perfectly normal anatomies. In the past year, there’s been a 40% rise in demand for the surgery. Most of those operations have nothing to do with health issues, biological anomalies or tissue tears after giving birth. Women, including many very young ones, are doing it because they have never been happy with the way their vaginas looked. They’ve come to think that an ideal vagina looks like a tidy designer purse instead of an intriguing assortment of crazy little lips, some of which may hang down below the outside ones because, well, that’s how many women are built.

Most people point to the usual culprits whenever a sex attitude shifts like this. Oh, it’s all that damn porn, and all those shaved naked ladies, they say. Or, hoo-boy, that darned Internet and its culture of cry-babies, where anyone who is worried about something can hook up with and eventually form a support group about their problems.

Unlike the experts in that article. I don’t think the Internet or porn, much less support groups, are convincing women their equipment is ugly. I think women are raised to believe their equipment is ugly. I see the trend towards labiaplasty as the inevitable product of a sexist society which teaches women that their genitals are gross and stinky organs. Already inculcated with the idea that their pussies are ugly, when they see impossibly cute little bodies on the Internet or in porn, of course they’re going to think, “oh wow, that’s how it’s supposed to look when it’s pretty!” followed by “omg, my vagina doesn’t look cute! it must be disgusting!” And then they google labiaplasty and realize there is a solution to their self-hatred: they can surgically minimize their natural-born lady-parts and look like a tidy porn star instead of a raw woman.

It’s patently ridiculous to blame sex-positive culture for adults feeling so ill-at-ease with their own genitals that they spend billions and billions of dollars a year to modify them, grow them, shrink them, chop them up, cut them down, and everything else. The shame and lack of self-love that drives people to plastic surgeons to get bigger dicks and smaller pussies definitely did not start with the Internet. They are rooted in a sex-negative, genital-hating culture that makes women feel insecure about having vaginas in the first place. It doesn’t derive from the sex-positive side of life, where people are encouraged to cherish the bodies they have and to accept diversity as a norm. Which is why I think women aren’t having the surgery because they are swayed by the Internet. I think the Internet is just showing them a path out of their pre-conceived fears and feelings of inadequacy that were instilled by sex-negative culture. I think their real goal is to make their pussy less embarrassing to THEMSELVES. Because, frankly, most heterosexual men and most lesbians are just happy to see one, regardless of its individual look.

What’s particularly disturbing to me is that all labiaplasties carry life-changing risks, including a risk of chronic pain to the area, the risk of infections, and permanent decreases in sensitivity and sexual pleasure. When a cosmetic surgery can cause you to lose pleasure in life, you really need to think twice about what’s driving you: do you really think you’ll be happier with a plastic pussy that doesn’t work as well as the one you were born with? Probably not.

The day women stop clamoring for breast implants and vaginal trims is the day they accept what sex-positive people have said all along: cherish the body you have. Love it inside and out. Be kind to your genitals. And, most of all, learn to thrive on diversity, because being different is what being human is all about.