Don’t Do It!

November 5, 2011

in the generous life

(I apologize for the gross-out factor of this post.  I just think that this is a serious issue for women and I want to encourage healthy choices.)

© Martinao | Dreamstime.comlabiaplasty – cosmetic surgery on the female genitals, the most common procedure is the reduction (often near removal) of the labia minora or inner lips.

My husband and I both love science, especially the field of biology.  We read a wide range of material (because we enjoy learning), but make a point of studying human sexuality (as it plays into the marriage relationship).  So, it’s not unusual for my husband to send me links to articles or documentaries about different sexual issues/concepts.

The other night, Paul mentioned that there was a documentary on labiaplasty and asked if I would I be willing to watch it with him.  So later that night we grabbed some hot tea, curled up together, and watched the show (I won’t link to it because it had some new age woo-woo stuff, clinical nudity and referenced some behaviors that are seriously at odds with the Word).

I was horrified. 
I was sickened (yes, I covered my eyes a couple of times). 
I was deeply grieved.

I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole to have tea with the Mad Hatter.  I watched with sadness as one young women went through the procedure and others struggled with their self image – all over a bit of tissue that most people will not see (and that is a lovely bit of God’s handiwork).

Please realize that a woman’s inner labia show past the outer labia in a normal range of ¼” to 2″ (7mm to 50mm) and much of what is there is irregular in shape or lacking in symmetry (I repeat, this is normal).  The effect of porn and current cultural mores have many women thinking that this is somehow disgusting and they are seeking surgery to remove significant amounts of their inner labia (current standards in porn show most women with little or no inner labia showing, likely having had labiaplasty).

Honestly, gals, please don’t do this. There are risks (scarring, chronic pain, obstetric risks or reduced sexual pleasure) and it will be decades before we know if there are significant long-term problems. For the vast majority of women there is really no need for this surgery.  The inner labia are there for a reason (God really did know what He was doing).  They are protective of your internal sexual organs and they have significant nerve endings (the kind that give you pleasure in sex).  Do you really want to risk your health and sexuality, all for a porn-created standard of genital beauty?

Please love the body you are in.  Respect it and know that you are beautifully designed.

(for the brave in heart) Here is an photo of a panel of vulvas (castings of the external female sex organs, the vagina is actually the internal “tube” where the penis fits).  There are 40 vulvas in this piece and you can see the incredible variation.  They represent just a portion of what is normal.

Image credit © Martinao | Dreamstime.com

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Here is The Generous Husband’s post on the same topic. – Love Her, Love Her Lady Bits

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For those in the USA, don’t forget to turn you clocks back an hour tonight (woo-hoo! an extra hour!) for daylight savings time.

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Be generous to yourself!  Lori <><

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

africanwoman November 5, 2011 at 2:11 am

Its funny how westerners want to remoce the labia! In our culture (shona of Zimbabwe) we are encouraged to lenghten the labia by gently pulling in our teenage years. Our men love the long labia and beleieve me, the longer they r the more pleasure we get!
Food for thought!

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Mel November 5, 2011 at 2:46 am

I was reading your post and the world’s view of sex and how a person should look is warped. I remember reading a young woman, thought she was wrong as she was growing pubic hair, as all the images she had seen had no pubic hair,

Normal is how God made us, we should relish in the God given differences he had made in all of us.

MEL

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J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) November 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

It fascinates me that in a society that presumably honors diversity, we continue to have a single ideal of what a woman should look like — based on unrealistic standards that no woman meets. Thankfully, there are plenty of husbands who like the look of their wife’s vulva. Thanks for covering such a sensitive topic, Lori. You did so beautifully.

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kori_k November 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

I have to say that though I think it is horrible that women would actually go through with this surgery. I have to say though that I do understand why women would think about it. I have a great man who loves my body.however, I am open with everyone including my clients (open as in discussion) this includes males. I dont know how many times i have heard from men that they like the “perfect little package”. Bare, trimmed and no “curtains”. It infuriates me when i hear this. I agree maintenance is a must and to a degree keeping it a certain way for ur man is thoughtful. However past the hair the “curtain” comment we have no control over. As there is differences in penis’s, so is there in womens genitals. Just in passing i have heard men in discussion like this and in passing it tends to make me feel bad about my own genitelia. I had a kid so i no longer have a perfect package. I love my son and would not give him up for nothing. So my stretch marks, baby fat, hips and [longer] inner labia, shows my ability to reproduce the way god had planned.

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invisible November 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

i can honestly say i was one of those girls who thought i was wierd for getting hair down there.. it wasn’t until my cousin a year younger than me and a boy went through puberty that i learned it was normal and got ok with it.

i really appreciate this article though b/c even though i had never considered that kind of surgery i was always very self concious about “down there” it helps to know that it’s normal to be the way i am thanks :)

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Melinda November 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

As a women who has lost my inner labia to a horrific skin disorder, this makes me sick. I would give anything to have my complete female parts…I can’t imagine submitting to having them removed. So sad.

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Hollywood November 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

You have no idea how much I needed to read this. And also the Generous Husband’s post on the same topic.

Thank you.

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Julie Sibert November 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Thank Lori so much for writing this post! It grieves my heart as well that some women are so self-conscious about this (either because of what they have been led to believe or because of what someone has told them) that they would go to the extreme of having surgery done.

So grateful you posted on this. The panel of vulvas is so helpful as well… if every woman could see this, they would realize how normal they really are.

THANKS!

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IAAMM November 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Great Post! Honestly, I never knew that women had such surgery. Call me naive, but what’s the purpose? It’s not like these women are constantly gazing down there with a mirror…right? I suppose posing publicly in the nude or impressing a lover requires such undertakings…go figure???!!

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Pattypro November 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Well done, Lori.

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Kathleen November 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

THANK YOU! Well done, the both of you! (I subscribe to your husband’s posts as well, I highly recommend them!)
It is a good reminder that we come in a variety of shapes! I used to think mine was deformed somehow as well. My husband and I talked about it, and he said he loves my lady bits, ha! :)

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Angela November 7, 2011 at 4:33 am

Would love a follow up article on male circumcision. Many parents make that cosmetic decision based on American culture for their sons at birth.

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ruthstrom09 November 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

I am really shocked at the judgment coming from Lori and all of you. Have you ever considered that anyone would want this surgery for any reason other than poor self-image or because of the “porn industry”??!!?? I recently had this procedure and it’s the best thing I ever did for myself. Before my labiaplasty, making love to my husband, wearing jeans, jogging and even riding a bike was painful for me; my labia would get pinched and pulled. Also, the size of my labia caused a build up of schmegma, much like an uncircumcised man experiences; this resulted in my clitoris constantly being irritated and raw. Since the procedure, I have had none of these problems and I am so relieved to be pain free. It didn’t have anything to do with how I looked “down there”, as both myself and my husband didn’t have a problem with that. I am a healthy, fit, happy wife and woman, just as I was before and I’m so happy that I can make love to my husband more often now because I don’t have to wait for the schmegma irritation to heal or be worried about my labia getting caught. This procedure was such a blessing to me, to know that I didn’t have to continue living with genital pain and raw skin was such a miracle to me. I hope this gives you all a positive perspective on labiaplasty, because it does help those that really need it.

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The Generous Wife November 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm

@ruthstrom09 That’s why I said “For the vast majority of women there is really no need for this surgery.” Most women don’t need it, but a few do. What you describe is understandable and reasonable. It reduced problems and pain for you.

What I am describing is a growing attitude that says that perfectly normal labia are somehow wrong and disgusting. That is no basis for surgery.

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Naomi November 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I hadn’t really thought about my lady bits in terms of appearance before, but I had been wondering if I should be concerned about my young daughter because she looks different than I (and I feared that she may have a problem “down there”). Now that I realize the diversity in appearance, it doesn’t worry me. BTW, I am not ashamed to say that I do prefer very well-groomed and trimmed pubic hair and have had a French bikini wax (similar to a Brazillian, but with a narrow strip or triangle of hair). Have you ever posted any comments or research on bikini waxing options?

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Pearl November 6, 2013 at 8:52 am

It’s so important to talk about the false beauty standards with our daughters or young girls in our lives. Hollywood and the porn industry are not real life. Yet, it’s so hard to not be influenced if we don’t have other people speaking truth in our life. The skin you are in is beautiful. God’s design is perfect. That satiny curtain of the inner labia is amazing, no matter what shape, length, size. For some reason, a whale’s tail just came to mind. The markings and shape of each whale’s tail is unique and is a way of identifying individual whales. It would be sad if all the tails were uniform and we couldn’t identify individuals. Thanks for broaching this topic, Lori!

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EJ September 28, 2014 at 12:54 am

“I was horrified.”
“I was sickened (yes, I covered my eyes a couple of times).”
“I was deeply grieved.”

I assume you’re equally appalled at infant male circumcision, if not more so because the boy doesn’t even have a say in what happens to his fold of skin–his parents can just choose for him to have it removed due to their own cosmetic preferences.

“Honestly, gals, please don’t do this. There are risks (scarring, chronic pain, obstetric risks or reduced sexual pleasure) and it will be decades before we know if there are significant long-term problems. For the vast majority of women there is really no need for this surgery. The inner labia are there for a reason (God really did know what He was doing). They are protective of your internal sexual organs and they have significant nerve endings (the kind that give you pleasure in sex). Do you really want to risk your health and sexuality, all for a porn-created standard of genital beauty?”

The exact same paragraph, swapping the genders, can be said about the male foreskin.

America has MUCH more of a hangup over natural male genitals than natural female genitals–that is undeniable.

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Lori - The Generous Wife September 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

I have a problem with male circumcision too. It does not routinely causes long-term problems (an unknown for labiaplasty), but I would agree there is no need for the surgery and it’s done on boys without their personal permission.

As a parent, I do understand that we make many decisions for our children that have long lasting repercussions. I don’t have the right to tell others what to do with their children, but I can speak up about my beliefs and hopefully influence others.

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