Category Archives: Blog

Study of vagina sizes reveals that diversity is the norm

A study of vagina sizes was recently done by a team of Swiss researchers to determine the measurements of  a “normal vulva”. The study was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and it was based on data relating to 657 women between the ages of 15 and 84. The data was obtained by measuring patients’ clitoris, perineum, labia majora and labia minora.

While the aim of the study was to determine what is “normal” and average, the study found that there range of shapes and sizes is so wide that it is pointless to try and determine the norm.

Based on the measurements, the average labia minora size was found to be around 4.3 cm, but lengths ranged from between 5 mm and 10 cm long, which reflected a huge variation of 9.5 cm. There was also a big difference between the participants’ labia majora. The average was 8 cm long, but they ranged from 1.2 cm to 18 cm. With regard to the clitoris, the average was close to 7 mm long but they ranged from 0.5 mm to 3.4 cm in length.

The study ultimately confirms that there is no single way to define a “normal vagina”, as the range of diversity in vulva shapes and sizes out there is huge.

Clare xo

What is labia puffing and is labia puffing safe?

labia puffingIt seems that there are new products and procedures on the market every day which are aimed at profiting from womens’ insecurities with their vulvas (or helping them to address their insecurities, depending on how you see things). The latest craze is called labia puffing. So what exactly what is labia puffing, and is labia puffing safe? I did some research to learn more about what it involves. Here’s what I managed to find out…

Labia puffing is a non-surgical treatment which involves injecting fat (from another part of the body), or dermal fillers, into the labia. The treatment is done to boost volume or remove wrinkles. Think of it as a botox treatment for the labia.

The procedure takes around half an hour. Many women are undergoing it as an alternative to surgical measures such as labiaplasty surgery, as it is less expensive and is perceived to be less invasive.

If a woman’s own fat is being used for the injection, this is usually taken from the abdomen or thigh area.

Given that labia puffing is a very new treatment, very little is known about its potential risks or adverse long-term effects on the body. For instance, there is limited information on whether it can lead to a loss of sensitivity in the nerve endings in the long-term. For this reason, my advice would be to wait until more is known about the procedure before taking the leap and going through with it.

Artist does vulva prints to spread labia positivity

Lee, an artist and educator, has created a project called Unfold Project on Instagram. It is a bodyprinting project which involves the creation of vulva prints.

The artist is based in Michigan and is travelling to different parts of the US to create unique artworks by making impressions of womens’ vulvas.

The project is a beautiful way to celebrate diversity. It is also a way for women who have gone through trauma or abuse to confront some of those feelings through the print session.

Anybody with a vagina who is located in the cities that the artist is visiting, can participate in the project. If you are interested, get in contact with the artist through a direct message on Instagram to express interest in participating. vulva prints

Woman Born without a Vaginal Opening

This heartbreaking video tells the story of Kaylee, a young woman who was born without a vaginal opening. She suffers from a rare condition known as Mayer-Rokitansky-KĂĽster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, which affects the reproductive system and causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped. As a result of the condition, she doesn’t have a uterus or a cervix.

Fortunately, there is hope. Kaylee is planning to undergo reconstructive surgery to create a vaginal opening and allow her to have sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, despite her condition, her medical insurance is not covering the cost of it ($15 000) as they consider it a cosmetic surgery. They do the same when it comes to most labiaplasty surgeries.

Kaylee is also planning to have children through a surrogate mother. Her boyfriend, who is featured on the video, is amazingly supportive and non-judgmental.

Watch the video here:

Wishing Kaylee everything of the best with her reconstructive surgery and her life after surgery.

Do the labia shrink with menopause?

I read online that it is possible to have the labia shrink with menopause. I have large inner lips and would hate to see them shrink. I’m so against that happening that I asked my doctor about it (she’s very easy to talk to) and she told me there are ways to prevent the changes in the vulva and vagina that can occur with menopause. For the vulva, to prevent atrophy of the tissues and any shrinking of the lips, you can do a daily press-and-release massage of all parts of the vulva. My doctor gave me a link for a booklet online that explains it all (written by a female doctor who owns a sex toy shop).

The vulva can undergo physiological changes throughout a woman’s lifetime, and hormonal changes that come about during puberty, during pregnancy and during menopause are often a catalyst for those changes.

With regard to maintaining vaginal health throughout your lifetime, the most important thing is to keep the vulva clean. This does not mean scrubbing the vulva or using harsh cleaning products – it is largely a self-cleaning organ, and all it needs is a gentle wash with water from time to time.

It is very rare for the vaginal tissue to atrophy, and not much is required in the way of physical exercises to keep it healthy. Many women do kegel exercises to keep the muscles of the vulva healthy and strong, and this can have multiple benefits including reducing the feeling of “looseness” for you and your partner during sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse itself is a form of exercise that can help to keep the vagina healthy (as is the case with masturbation).

I have not looked in any detail into the benefits of vaginal massage, but as far as I know, it can’t do any harm, and as with other forms of massage, it is likely to lead to some benefits when it comes to maintaining and improving circulation.

Clare xo

My Pussy, My Choice: Vagina-Themed Fashion Line by Namilia

Namilia, a Berlin-based fashion brand made up of the duo Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl, launched a Spring / Summer 2018 vagina-themed fashion line at New York Fashion Week. It features unusual and eye-catching pieces, many of which are embellished with images or designs depicting vulvas.

The risque line was inspired The Indiscreet Jewels, a novel first published anonymously in 1748. It portrays Louis XV as the sultan Mangogul of the Congo who owns a magic ring that makes women’s genitals (“jewels”) talk.

The fashion line is bold and unapologetic, and the message that it portrays, in a celebration of female empowerment and womanhood, is: “I can be whatever, I can wear whatever and I can do whatever I want to”. 

Check out this video of the fashion line being worn by models at New York Fashion Week…

What do you think of the message on which the fashion line is based? Would you be bold enough to wear some of these pieces from the vagina-themed fashion line out in public?

Link between spinning and labiaplasty surgery?

I came across an article on the Huffington Post which suggests that there is a correlation between the increased popularity in spinning and labiaplasty surgery. The article quotes a US plastic surgeon who says that he has experienced an increased demand for the procedure by women who experience discomfort from spinning, cycling and other physical exercises.

The submissions that I receive on the Labia Project also reveal that many women consider undergoing labiaplasty surgery in order to reduce discomfort caused by physical exercises.

While undergoing the surgery is ultimately a matter of personal choice, I don’t advise undergoing surgery except as a last resort. The procedure is irreversible, often does not meet womens’ expectations, and can lead to regrets later in life. A decision to undergo the procedure should therefore not be taken lightly, and should be taken after extensive research and self-reflection.

There are ways to manage and reduce labia discomfort caused by physical activities. Padded underwear / shorts and emollients (moisturizers) can assist in reducing chafing and discomfort. My reply to this submission contains some additional tips for reducing labia discomfort.

Becoming Sexually Conscious: Explore Your Desire

“…[T]he sexual norms we inherit bear little resemblance to what people actually do. I think it would be great if everyone told the truth—for one moment—about their actual sexual practices and relationships, affairs, and arrangements, fantasies and desires. The diversity would amaze us all.” Staci Haines, “Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma.”

In my workshop on Empowered Sexuality for Women, I give my class participants a list of sexual activities to begin to explore the edges of their desires. A list is a great—and very safe way—to begin to explore desire. And it is just a starting point. Below, I’ll share additional ideas for moving beyond the list to explore sexual desire further.

Exploring the edges of sexual desire can be scary—evoking all sorts of complex feelings, especially if sex has involved abuse or shame. But when we are in charge of this exploration, we’re in the driver’s seat—meaning, we are fully at choice. As such, we can quit if something doesn’t feel right, or we can choose to continue and allow the full range of feelings we experience. As long as we are not re-experiencing shame as we explore, finding out what turns us on can be richly pleasurable and highly empowering.

Something we must have before we explore is a solid grounding in self-acceptance, particularly of our bodies and our sexuality. These days, so many women struggle with body image because we live in a culture that trains women that their value comes from being pleasing to others—and the range of what culture defines as pleasing is shockingly narrow, defined by the fashion and porn industries. Thus, it can be hard for a woman to feel excited about exploring desire and turn-ons, if she does not feel as if she fits culture’s image of what’s pleasing. What can help a woman break free of culturally imposed limitations is accepting that beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and colors, and that includes breasts and genitals. If you struggle with accepting that your labia is perfect as it is, look through the Labia Library and take in the range of sizes, colors, and shapes of labia. You’ll be amazed—and hopefully will recognize how absurd it is to measure yourself against the unreality of fashion and porn, both of which promote the most narrow vision possible of “beauty.”

The following are three additional ways I have encouraged client and class participants to explore the realm of their desires:

First, I encourage people to ask friends what turns them on. The truth is, a lot of people are relieved to talk about sex once someone else raises the subject. You both might learn something—and open your friendship in a way that fosters greater connection. From attending workshops through The Human Awareness Institute, I’ve developed a group of friends who are comfortable talking about sex. It is incredible—normalizing—positive—and really fun to be able to talk openly with friends about something we usually keep hidden.

Second, I encourage people–especially women–to read erotica. Many women find erotica to be a fabulous way to stoke desire and to evoke the imagination, a powerful source of desire for women. A few good starters include three annual series: Best Women’s Erotica, Best American Erotica and Best Lesbian Erotica. The website, literotica.com is also a good site, with offerings far beyond erotica.

Finally, some erotic DVDs can be both instructive and a turn-on. In particular, the Alexander Institute produces DVDs that are both erotic and educational. The videos are explicit—and—are far more satisfying than pornography, especially for women. Specific DVDs I can recommend include:

  • The Modern Kama Sutra, An Erotic Workshop for Lovers
    • Vol. I: Sensual Secrets to Amazing Sex
    • Vol. II: Pleasuring Her First
    • Vol. III: Sexual Positions for Great Sex
  • Woman to Woman Erotic Touch for Great Sex
  • The Art of Advanced Oral Sex
  • Advanced Sex Toys for Great Sex

Watched alone or with a partner, erotic videos can be a great way to open your desire and spice up your sex life!

Knowing what turns us on doesn’t mean we have to do everything that sparks our desire—that’s an entirely different conversation. But knowing allows us to choose—and to normalize feeling turned on. For anyone who has experienced shame around pleasure as a result of sex abuse, religious or family messaging, allowing desire without shame is fabulous. Happy explorations!

Jane Steckbeck, Clinical Sexologist and Certified Sex Coach