“It looks like a gaping wound,” “It’s ugly,” “It’s too fat,” “Somethings just not right,” “ Too dangly,” “Not like the one’s on porn,” “It’s the wrong colour,” “It looks loose,” “Smelly,” “Dirty,” “I’m too scared to look,” “I think it’s damaged from masturbation,” “Not tucked in nicely,” “Too wet,” “It’s uneven,” “I thought of cutting that part off before I showed you so you wouldn’t see it.”
These are words that I’ve heard from women in Bodysex workshops or individual Coaching sessions, and I’ve tended to think that I’m immune from these thoughts. However this week I saw my vulva “style” in the “before” pics for labia plasty surgery and I can’t stop thinking about it. If someone like me feels bothered by it, I can’t imagine how a teenage girl would feel. I don’t have what in todays society you’d call a “porn pussy.” I have longer inner lips than outer causing them to “peak” out. At any given moment my vulva looks like a flower that’s just beginning to bloom, but when I’m really turned on it’s in full bloom – open to the sun. It’s beautiful. I know it is. I really do. And yet here I am terrified to admit this. My fear makes me realize just how deeply entrenched the cultural shame is, over how we think our bodies are “supposed” to look.
It’s my hope that by sharing this slideshow we can all gain an understanding in the wide range of normal in regards to vulva styles. We birth from our vulva – it’s sacred, special, unique and has evolved to be this way over thousands of years. Our children need to know this. We all need to know this. Give your vulva a hug today.
For more information check out this fantastic video: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/video/2016/sep/23/vagina-dispatches-part-one-what-vulvas-look-like
* Art by Betty Dodson. Special thanks to all the women who gave permission for me to share their beautiful vulva pics.
** For people reading this who have chosen to undergo labia plasty for medical, emotional or cosmetic reasons my intent is not to shame you. I realize there are times when this surgery is necessary for the physical and emotional well being of the person. It’s my intent rather to support and educate people on the wide range of normal in regards to labia so that unnecessary surgeries may be prevented.