The twenty-first picture in the vulva art project series is called Hair on Vulva. It was inspired by this submission from a clinical sexologist who remarked that most of the vulvas on the Labia Project are either shaved or waxed, and was unsure of whether her generation of women (55 and older) would be able to relate. The picture features two women from the waist down, with natural unshaved pubic hair.
The reply from the clinical sexologist who sent through this submission: I support women doing what makes them feel good and sincerely hope that women who are waxing and shaving do so for their own pleasure – not to follow a trend or make themselves more attractive to partners. Much of my work is helping women (I generally work with women 40-70+) accept themselves exactly as they are – from this, true empowerment arises. As I said, I really like what you’re doing here. Our vulvas are all unique and each one beautiful. Giving women the opportunity to see their normalcy in the sea of diverse vulvas is simply lovely. Thanks for your work.
Thanks for your reply 🙂
Keep an eye out for the next post in the Vulva Art Project – it will be a picture of a naturally hairy vulva (inspired by the concern raised in your submission regarding most submitters removing their pubic hair).
Watch this video of labiaplasty surgery featuring the personal journey of Lyndsay, a 19 year old labiaplasty patient in the UK. Lyndsay struggled for years with the insecurities that millions of women go through regarding the appearance of their vulvas, and she ultimately went through with the surgery.
At the end of the video, Lyndsey gets interviewed after the surgery has been completed, and she says that she feels a lot happier about her body and is pleased that she went through with the procedure.
There are, however, many women who experience regrets after undergoing the surgery, and labiaplasty stories do not always have fairytale endings. This site also features posts by women with deep regrets about getting a labiaplasty.
I aim to present a balanced picture on this site which is why I include content about the success stories as well as the horror stories.
Warning: the video features some graphic images of labiaplasty surgery taking place.
Forgive me if I haven’t looked into your site deeply enough to answer my question/concern. I’m a clinical sexologist and educator in Eugene, OR and am presenting a class this evening, “Reclaiming Our Power: Rocking Midlife Transition,” for women who want to be empowered sexually through and beyond menopause. I wanted to refer class participants to the Labia Project — I love what you’re doing. Then I noticed every labia was waxed or shaved (on the first three pages—a cursory look, I admit).
It made me wonder if my generation (I’m 55 and occasionally wax) will relate and whether the waxing is done for viewing or out of shame over having hair on our vulvas. Does your site have labia representations from unwaxed women? Is the waxing simply for better viewing?
Thanks for any information you can provide.
Thanks for getting in touch and for your words of encouragement regarding the site.
The Labia Project is submission-driven, which means that the pictures that you see in the Submissions section of the site are only of those women who decide to make submissions. The pictures may therefore not be exactly representative of the extent of waxing and shaving among women out there (but they are probably not far off, as a wide spectrum of women make submissions).
Waxing and shaving also appears to be more prevalent among younger women between 18 and 35, and a reasonable proportion of the submissions to the site are from women in this age range.
Some submitters who keep their pubic hair shaved or waxed say that they do so for hygiene reasons (which is based on a misconception because pubic hair is not unhygienic and in fact serves an important purpose). Others say that it makes them feel sexier to have their vulvas bare.
Ultimately, I think that one of the main reasons for women waxing or shaving is that this is in fashion – the trend, in recent years, has been to wax or shave, and many women feel like this is the only acceptable and attractive way to groom their vulvas.
I am in my 30s and I feel a LOT of shame about my vulva, specifically my labia and the asymmetry and the dangling and the discomfort. I am against the idea of surgery and would never consider it, but still the insecurity and shame persists.
I recently shaved my bikini line out of some sense that the quantity of hair was “masculine.” The regrowth caused painful razor burn and worse, caused painful prickling of my labia. Now I know that full growth hair protects me.
Thank you for creating this wonderful non-judgmental resource for women with shame like mine!
Thank you for sharing your story and for your words of encouragement and support.
Vulva shame is an increasingly common phenomenon among women. The media is partially to blame for this, as it presents a skewed picture of beauty and of what is normal. The other major factor which is to blame for this, is the massive amount of misinformation out there and the lack of education and knowledge about the human physiology.
This site aims to break the stereotypes out there, spread education, and promote self-acceptance. Messages of support like yours are what drive me to keep the site going.
It never once occurred to me to feel self-conscious about my labia. I have never had any comments or complaints about it. Honestly, I had no idea there was so much variety until I found this site.
Most women don’t realize how much variety is out there, as their only point of reference is their own vulva (and sometimes that of direct family members such as their mother or sisters).
There’s beauty in variety, and being unique and different is what makes every woman special 🙂
When my puberty hit my labia started to grow. For a year I assumed I was having higher testosterone / male hormones and that I was growing a scrotum. Then I anxiously told my mom about my little theory, which she laughed off and told me about what labia were. I felt silly but -oh- so reassured. Now, here’s a picture of my beautiful scrotum, hehe!
I feel like my vagina looks old and used. I am only 25 years old and I have had 3 sexual partners in my life. Is there something I can do to make it look more youthful without undergoing surgery? Any exercises or herbal remedies?
Thank you for getting in contact.
I assume that you are referring to the appearance of your labia majora which has some visible wrinkles (but which looks healthy from where I’m sitting).
There are no exercises which are likely to make a difference to the appearance of your vulva. Kegels (exercises of the muscle below the bladder) can help to make your vagina feel tighter, but they do not have an impact on aesthetic appearance. I’m also not aware of any herbal remedies that actually work when it comes to altering the appearance of your vulva.
If you are very self-conscious about the wrinkes of the skin, you might want to consider allowing your pubic hair to grow out (even if you keep it trimmed neatly) to conceal the wrinkles or make them less visible.
My vag has a dangly bit that sometimes falls out and rubs on my underwear when I walk and especially during sports. I find it really uncomfortable but idk what to do. I think everything else is fine to my understanding.
You are probably referring to your labia minora (inner vaginal lips) as the “dangly bit”, but I can’t say for sure without a more detailed description or a picture of what you are referring to. If it is your labia minora, it is not at all unusual to have labia minora that protrude at least one inch out of the labia majora (outer vaginal lips) – roughly half of all women have labia minora that protrude from the labia majora.
You should read my reply to this post which contains some useful tips that should help to reduce or even get rid of the discomfort that you experience from your labia minora rubbing on your underwear during physica; activities.
I am 26 years old and “white”, but my labia is purplish brown. My sisters used to tease me about my vagina as it got darker over time. Mine was “thick” and larger than theirs and they would say that it was dirty and that I should scrub it to make it clean and pink like theirs. Same parents. It bothered me that they would tease me about it. I’m married now and my husband’s accepting attitude helped me to realize that there is nothing wrong with mine. Like flowers, we are all different down there. Color changing ones are mystical. Ladies, don’t think anything of it. Protect it, take care of it. Love yourself the way you are.
Thank you for your submission.
Being teased and ostracized during childhood about something as personal as your genital anatomy can affect you deeply.
I’m so happy to hear about your husband’s mature attitude and your realization that there is nothing wrong with your vulva.