What’s Normal

What’s Normal 2019-01-11T20:59:01+00:00

Are you worried that your labia don’t look right or work like they should?

Maybe you feel self-conscious about the size, shape, color, or length of your inner lips or worry that your whole vulva just isn’t right.

Are you worried about how your genitals look in a bathing suit, underwear, or tight pants? Do you dread the idea of being naked around anyone, let alone your sexual partner?

Have you experienced genital discomfort or pain? Perhaps you often feel frustrating irritation, chafing, and pulling of the labia. Or, maybe you think your struggles with desire and arousal are because of problems with your labia, making it impossible for you to enjoy sex.

Worst of all, you might be starting to think that you are “broken.”

silver hand mirrorNo woman wants to feel like any part of her body isn’t “normal,” especially her genitals. Whether you’re a preteen, teenager, or adult woman, hating your body is a deeply painful experience. You might be fed up with hiding and exhausted by carrying this shame. Chances are high that you blame your body for limiting your life.

No matter how much you want confidence and pleasure, you just don’t know how to feel good about your genitals.

As you’ve looked for solutions, trying to figure out how to make your labia smaller, you may have heard that female genital plastic surgery, such as labia reduction, might just be what you’re looking for. Maybe cosmetic surgery was recommended by your doctor or another health professional—or maybe even your mom.

Now, you’re likely looking for more information to make the best choice for yourself. That’s wonderful! We’re so happy that you’ve landed here on our page. At VulvaLove, we will help you learn more about vulvas, vaginas, and everything that makes yours unique.

Many women and girls question what a normal vagina looks like

To gain a better understanding of your genitals, it’s important to clarify the words used to describe them. It’s very common to use the word vagina to describe all of the female genitalia. Maybe that’s the word you like to use—everyone has different preferences.

However, medically and scientifically, vagina refers to a part of the female genitalia you can’t see from the outside. The vulva refers to everything you can see, including your labia majora and labia minora, which are sometimes called “lips” or “folds.”

Anatomy of vulva

Many women have never learned this particular terminology. Even more women have never learned what a normal vulva and vagina look like.

The truth is, there is no one “normal.” When it comes to the vulva, the only thing consistent is diversity!

There is not one size, shape, or color that a vulva should be. Some inner labia are short; some are long. Some outer labia are thin; others are puffy. And, regardless of race, some vulvas are pale, while others are dark, even purple.

Those are just a few small examples of the possible variations of different vulvas, from length and shape, to texture and configuration. Every woman is different. Every woman is unique.

It’s okay if you have never heard that before. Most women haven’t either!

In our Western culture, sexualized bodies are everywhere—in the movies and on TV, in magazines and on billboards. We all know that sex sells; it’s even used to sell toothpaste. And toothpaste, in our professional opinion, has very little to do with sex.

Although sex is everywhere, comprehensive and fact-based sex education is not. As a result, many women learn about female genitalia from images in the media. This includes mainstream porn, which, despite all of its portrayals of naked bodies, typically excludes vulvas that are not shaved, pale, flat, and “closed.” From looking at porn, it’s easy to believe that all vulvas do—or should—look “Barbie-like.” That belief is nowhere close to reality. Take it from the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD): “Society has imposed strict criteria of normalcy and beauty regarding the female body to which the vulva could not escape.”

Like many other women, you might compare yourself to those images that are portrayed as “normal” and feel it’s you who comes up short. And, you might believe that the discomfort—or even pain—that you feel is a sign that something is very wrong.

At VulvaLove, we’re here to help you change perceptions like these. You are not broken or abnormal. Through sex education that focuses on your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, it’s possible to start loving your genitals and your sexuality—all without surgery.

Learn to Love Your Vulva

different vulvas

Move cursor over image to zoom.
Permission to use image from Vagina China.

Both personally and professionally, we know what it’s like to struggle with genital shame. We understand how it feels to worry that liberated sexual expression and sexual pleasure are out of reach.

Because we’ve been there, we also know how few resources are available for women struggling with low genital self-esteem and lack of sexual desire or arousal. You may have tried to talk to your doctor, mother, sisters, and friends, only to find less than satisfying answers. Or, under the weight of this shame, you may feel like it’s impossible to talk to anyone about your vulva and vagina. You are not alone.

At VulvaLove, we offer a safe place for you to share and alleviate that shame. We’re committed to spreading the word about genital diversity and providing comprehensive sex education based on validation, empathy, and extensive research and experience. With help, you can learn to love your body and yourself.

As we work together, we won’t blame or judge you for what you didn’t know about vulvas, vaginas, and sexuality. How could you know what no one taught you? As your coaches and support team, we’re here to help you learn.

In addition to the information shared throughout our website, we offer:

  • Fact-based sex ed for adults, adolescents, and girls, including courses, classes, talks, and trainings
  • One-on-one coaching to improve self-esteem and increase sexual health and awareness
  • Illuminating resources, including art and videos
  • Podcasts (to come)
  • Blogs and vlogs (to come)
  • Research and writings

As we’ve said before and will say again: Knowledge is power. With holistic, fact-based sex education, you can finally find the answers you’ve been searching for.

As you learn about vulva diversity and how unique your genitals are, you can also discover how to find pleasure in all of your body. And we don’t just mean sexual pleasure; research shows that improving genital self-esteem improves overall self-esteem. By viewing yourself with loving positivity, you can enjoy the pleasure of self-compassion, self-assurance, and self-care.

You deserve to make informed, empowered choices about your body. You deserve to find joy in your genitals.

You may still have questions and doubts about loving your vulva…

How can I learn to love something I’ve hated my whole life?

We understand getting to know your genitals can seem difficult and overwhelming. We’ve been through it ourselves. Our personal experience has shown us that pleasure and self-acceptance are possible.

We’re committed to helping you overcome self-criticism and shame. Through our decades of experience as sex educators and sexuality experts, we’ve helped countless women and girls understand their vulvas and appreciate their labia.

Finding relief and pleasure starts with you. If you have a genuine desire to look at and understand yourself in a different way, we’re here to support and guide you.

My labia get in my way, regardless of what you say. Labia reduction is my only option.

We strongly believe you have the right to make your own informed, individual, and personal choice about what’s best for your body. It’s not our job to convince you of anything. It’s our job to educate you, so you can make that informed decision.

For example, we teach you how the inner labia are a part of pleasurable sex. They contribute to sexual arousal and protect the clitoris from overstimulation and pressure. Treated with tenderness and care, the inner labia can become a source of wonderful pleasure rather than pain and frustration.

We’ve created a detailed, extensively researched guide explaining genital diversity and plastic surgery, “The Designer Vagina Problem: Everything You Need to Know About Labiaplasty (and How to Love Your Vulva Without Cosmetic Surgery).” If you are considering labia reduction, we strongly encourage you to read it. It is so important to be educated when considering a permanent surgical procedure performed on very sensitive and important sexual tissue.

No one else’s vulva looks like mine. I really am different—in a bad way.

Even though you may not have seen them, there are a lot of women and girls who look just like you. They’re perfect, and so are you.

We encourage you to look at a real variety of vulva—not just at popular depictions or porn. Mainstream images are so often trimmed, edited, and pixelated. The models and actresses you see have likely been chosen for their particular size, shape, and color. They don’t represent every woman. In fact, they don’t represent most!

Check out our Additional Resources page to compare yourself to images that reflect the true variety of female genitalia. You’ll see that yes, you are different—just like you’re supposed to be.

Deepen Your Awareness and Your Pleasure

We invite you to continue exploring our website to learn more about genital diversity, sexual intimacy, and sexual pleasure.

Under our Education tab, you can find out more about learning from us. If you’re interested in scheduling a one-on-one coaching session, learn more on our Trainings page or click here to schedule an appointment. We offer sessions in person and through video.

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