I stumbled across your website and I read a few of your submissions. I thought your site was quite weird when I first found it but it actually made me feel better about my vulva.
I just found out about The Labia Project from an article I was reading and decided to check it out. Wow! I’m amazed that there are so many women who have the same insecurities as I do. I want to personally thank you for creating a place where women can openly express their thoughts and feelings without being judged. I have struggled with this for a long time. After reading the submissions and comments, I can now say that I love my “flower”. I hope my photo’s help someone who is struggling. We are all beautiful in our own unique way.
Thank you for your lovely submission and message of support 🙂 Hopefully it will help others who are going through the same struggle as the one you went through. I’m so happy to hear that you have managed to work through your insecurities and have reached a point where you love your vulva!
I’ve always been insecure about my labia and when I was younger I wrote your blog quite a few times being super positive about having large lips but lately I am struggling extremely badly with myself. After 7 years today I finally contacted a doctor for labiaplasty and I’m distraught about it because I’m emptying my savings to get this done. I have a boyfriend and he does not know about how big mine are, I’m very good at keeping them out of view and making excuses but it’s becoming obvious and I need to get the access skin snipped off so I can be happy within my life and with myself. I’m sorry if I used the wrong terms I’m just all over the place right now. I don’t know what to do I just want to cry as silly as it sounds. I’m so depressed about the way I look down there and I’m just unhappy in life because of them.
Thank you for being brave enough to open up about what you are going through, and I’m sorry to hear about your struggle.
Firstly, please know that you are not alone. The fact that this project exists, and the posts on it by hundreds of women, shows how many women out there have insecurities about the size of their labia.
Secondly, having a labiaplasty is a huge step and a labiaplasty is an irreversible procedure. While some women undergo the procedure due to their labia causing physical pain or discomfort and affecting their ability to perform various activities in their daily lives, far too many women get labiaplasty surgery for purely cosmetic reasons, and to improve their self-esteem and self-image.
Very often, those women could have come to terms with their labia and embraced their bodies through counselling and education, and there are many women out there who are dissatisfied with the results of their labiaplasty surgery. Do a google search for the term “botched labiaplasty” and you will see just how common it is for women to regret getting the surgery.
Before you go through the huge step of getting surgery, please see a counsellor or psychologist to discuss your concerns about how you perceive your vulva – talking about things often helps to put them into perspective. If you still decide to go through with the surgery after having spoken to professional, at least you will know that you have first tried to work through your insecurities and that you are doing the surgery as a last resort.
I’ve always had a problem with pigmentation in my genital areas, namely around my vaginal lips and um, anus. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind (well, he’s never commented on it) but I find it pretty unattractive, and would love to have those areas the same skin-tone as the rest of my body. Do you know of any effective skin lightening products that are safe for the bikini line, around the vagina, anus, and buttocks?
I’ve tried one commercial brand (it’s called FreshUp) and have been using it regularly for almost 2 months, but I haven’t seen any signs of improvement when the site promised visible results in 7 days. There goes $40!
As you will see from many of the posts on this site, one of the messages that I aim to spread is that it is normal to have darker skin on and around the vulva, and there is no reason to feel self-conscious about this or to resort to cosmetic treatments to change this.
While I don’t know of any skin lightening products that are safe for the bikini line or vulva, I know that home skin lightening / bleaching products can also be dangerous, as they contain hydroquinone which can burn or irritate sensitive skin such as skin around the vulva and anus.
If you are going to go through with skin lightening / bleaching, I recommend doing so at a spa which specializes in those treatments, as that way, you have less chance of burning or damaging your skin.
I find your project fantastic though the real need for it is another sad sign of how things are getting so wrong in our societies regarding nature and natural bodies. I just wanted to draw everyone’s attention that there are societies where large labia are traditionally desired. Cutting the labia is just sexual mutilation and I am very angry that the psychological pressure of the current porn culture we live in has led women to that extreme act on their own bodies.
Thanks for your message and your words of support.
Cultural factors play a big part in perceptions of beauty, including when it comes to vulvas. The idea that vulvas should be “neat” and “tucked in” is particularly dominant in Western societies. This website aims to challenge those ideas and to change perceptions.
I’m 23 years old and I suffer from folliculitis on my vagina. It looks terrible and makes me very embarrassed. It comes and goes at different times of the year for no apparent reason. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
Folliculitis (an infection of the hair follicles) can be very uncomfortable and even painful, and some women are predisposed to the condition while others don’t experience it at all in their lifetimes.
Here are some tips which may help to reduce folliculitis:
- Keep the vulva clean and dry (sleeping without any underwear on can help with this)
- Gently exfoliate the labia majora in the bath or shower on a regular basis to remove dead skin
- Avoid any irritations such as underwear and clothing that chafes the vulva area
I hope this helps!
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.