What causes reduced clitoral sensation?

Dear Clare, A year ago, I underwent a wedge labiaplasty procedure as I felt much larger than average down there (partly due to having PCOS I think). My clitoris and clitoral hood/body was largely left untouched; a small area of redundant skin from either side of the clitoral body was sewn to the very bottom edges of my hood (using absorbable stitches), but this was not a cause for concern at the time as there was no bleeding, bruising, numbness etc. I think the main issue was that I experienced a lot of swelling of my labia and the clitoris/clitoral hood and body a few days after my wedge procedure, which lasted for roughly 6 months in total. This was worsened by sitz/salt baths, which I was advised to take regularly (for 2 months or so) to help close my labia wounds, and I ended up having to take Ibuprofen alongside these to reduce swelling. I am still able to get aroused and I do enjoy clitoral stimulation when I’m in the mood, but it takes me longer to become aroused than it did a few years ago (without the aid of porn), and I find the clitoris less sensitive to touch. I am able to orgasm whenever I masturbate/have sex, but my clitoral orgasms are less intense than they once were; before surgery, my clitoris was extremely sensitive to the slightest touch. My labia is no longer sensitive, but this was expected from my surgery; I purposely avoided having a hood reduction, however, to prevent loss of sexual pleasure knowing how pivotal the clitoris is to this. I think it is unlikely that I experienced clitoral nerve damage during the surgery, but I am concerned that the extreme swelling afterwards caused my clitoris to become less sensitive? Some other factors to note are that I came off birth control before the surgery to reduce my risk of clotting and I haven’t gone back on it yet, so I’m not sure if the pregnancy-like symptoms of birth control could have impacted upon my reduced clitoral sensation/sexual function (combined with my PCOS symptoms). I’ve also been stimulating my clitoris a lot more than I used to and I masturbate most days; I wonder whether I have been masturbating ‘too much’ and should take a break from clitoral stimulation for a while to see if this helps? What causes reduced clitoral sensation? Are there any lubricants or oils that could help to boost clitoral sensitivity, or even any dietary changes that could be made? Thanks a lot Clare!

There are a number of factors that can cause a loss of clitoral sensation, and it is difficult for me to pinpoint only one of them and to tell you that it is the cause.

Reduced blood flow to the area, which can be caused by different factors including a medical condition, aging or stress, can cause reduced clitoral sensation and lower arousal levels. Nerve damage from your labiaplasty surgery also can’t be ruled out, even if the surgery did not include a hoodectomy.

Lower levels of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, caused by aging, could also be the cause. If the issue is hormonal, the solution may lie in hormone replacement therapy. I suggest that you speak to your gynecologist about getting your hormone levels tested, which will either confirm that the problem is hormonal or rule hormones out as the problem.

I hope that you are able to get to the bottom of the problem and find a solution.

Clare xo

I am disgusted by my labia

disgusted by my labiaHi Clare, I’ve been coming back to this blog for years now, I am disgusted by my labia and I have felt this way for as long as I remember. I have had sex before but it was completely dark and with someone I didn’t care about and did not let him touch me, it was more to “get it over with” I’m 21 now, this happened last December. I currently have a boyfriend who is so caring and knows I am insecure. I have done things to him but have not let him do anything to or see me. I want to be able to have sex with him and not be so self conscious but I don’t know how to accept myself. I am not self conscious about anything else, I am very accepting of every other aspect of my body, scars, acne you name it but I just can’t work out how to get over this. I know my labia are normal but I just find them so unattractive and gross, I struggle with hygiene and I feel like I just can’t keep them clean unless I shower like 4 times a day. I’m not sure what answer I’m looking for but just wanted to share. Thank you for what you do 🙂

Thank you for sharing.

It sounds like you’re in a very difficult place. You know that your labia are normal, and yet you can’t help feeling like they are unattractive and dirty.

The only way to get over your insecurities is to confront them head-on. The first step is understanding where they come from. You may be able to figure this out by identifying when you first felt this way and what may have triggered the feeling. For example, did someone make a negative comment when you were younger, or did you see or read something that implied that more prominent labia are unattractive? Any of these events may have caused subconscious trauma which causes you to feel this way.

Once you have identified the original source of your insecurity, you will have the difficult task of working through it.

Talking to a professional who you trust and feel comfortable with (such as a therapist or counselor) in a safe environment, would be a good idea. That person will be able to help you to navigate the process of identifying the source of your insecurity and working through it. The process is difficult, but it will be worth it when you come out on the other side having healed and feeling better about yourself.

With regard to you feeling like your vagina is dirty and showering many times a day, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. The body ensures that a balanced environment with a specific PH level is maintained, which is necessary for it to remain healthy and hygienic. Too much washing (especially scrubbing down there, and using soap / cleaning products) can disturb the delicate balance in that environment and lead to infections. One shower a day should be sufficient.

Clare xo

I have a monster vagina

i have a monster vaginaive been bouncing the idea of a submission for awhile because ive been incredibly embarrassed with my labias for years now (im 20 years old btw). i know it might be stupid but I just want to know if im imagining that i have a monster vagina haha. when the labias are pulled they are quite long and I just feel so ashamed, like how will that be sexy? is my labias normal

I’m sorry that you feel shame when it comes to your vulva.

You are not alone in feeling this way, as society puts pressure on women to look a certain way and conform to unrealistic standards of beauty. The only people benefiting from this are cosmetic surgeons who charge a lot of money to mutilate womens’ vulvas.

Your labia are perfectly normal, and you have nothing to be concerned or ashamed about. Please spend some time browsing the submissions on the Labia Project to get an idea of the variety that exists among women who are all “normal”.

Clare xo

Too much flesh in the lady department

too much flesh in the lady department hanging labia flesh pinching labiaI’ve never been so insecure about these things but as I’ve matured I’ve become more aware of things. I feel I have a bit too much flesh in the lady department. I don’t like having so much. My husband says I should love it and it’s a good thing.. but he has to say that.

Thank you for sharing.

The labia can undergo changes throughout a woman’s lifetime, and you may have become more aware of things down there due to changes that have occurred over time. Having more prominent labia minora is a normal variation, and is part of what makes you unique and special.

It’s wonderful that you have a husband who appreciates your body as it is. The more important thing is for you to accept and embrace your body. Hopefully finding the Labia Project community was the first major step in your journey towards self-acceptance, or at least, gave you some perspective in terms of the range of normal variations in labia.

Clare xo

How can I learn to love my long labia?

how can i learn to love my labiaI am 18 and I have had a love hate relationship with my labia since I discovered they where on the larger side. My boyfriend says he loves my vagina but Im afraid that he only says that because he doesnt want to hurt my feelings. How can I learn to love my long labia?

Thank you for being brave enough to share.

The first piece of news that I need to share with you is that your labia are, in fact, not “on the larger side”. As with many things in life, size is relative, and you are comparing yourself with a very small proportion of women who have smaller labia than yours. Please have a look at this post about a scientific study that was done to determine womens’ “normal” genital dimensions. The results revealed that the range of “normal” labia sizes is huge, and yours definitely fall within normal range.

With regard to your question about how you can learn to love your long labia, there is no easy answer, as every person is different and what works for one person may not work for another. The method described in this article may be a good starting point, and talking about the issue with someone understanding may also help.

Please stay in contact and let me know how your journey goes 🙂

Clare xo

I have a bad looking vagina

hi. tanks for the safe space you give to share this delicate topic. i am a 20 something year old girl from southern europe (sorry for my bad english) and i recently discovered that i have a bad looking vagina. nobody ever told me so. but i always felt some extra skin down there. so recently i looked down there with a mirror and found out i have a vagina that looks very different from a porn star one. which is fine, of course. but also i think i have seen only maybe one foto of a vulva that looks similar to mine (and she got a labioplasty). i think also i have a hooded clitoris, because i seem to have a lot of skin there too, not only on my big asymmetrical brown labia. also i am vary hairy. i tried to shave a little bit to show it better but i failed. the weird thing is that from the clitoris seems to depart two “cord” that continue on the labia. the hood and the labia seem fused together and the labia get big, thick and of a weird shape. anyways…. i don’t really think much of it and i hope it will not affect any part of my life because it does not seem a big deal to me, but i am very aware. i am pretty confident of everything else. also i chose not to shave much down there and if i don’t spread the legs like on a doctor appointment i don’t think it will be very visible. to a future guy i can say i don’t like being touched or else so he will notice it but will not think much of it seeing i act normal. because i am fully functional woman anyways. but i will admit that i am open to the possibility of a labioplasty in my future, i am active and i move a lot and sometimes the labia are itchy and it feels like my long labia get in the way with self hygene. or maybe i am just fine. i don’t know. i have not developed a strong idea about my vulva yet. i feel better after having shared my little story. i am not sure of wanting my photo public. please dont’t. i have to think more about it. but for the story i am ok thanks.

Thank you for sharing. I have not published your photo as per your request to keep it private.

Based on your photo, I can assure you that you are perfectly normal. While it is possible to identify certain broad vulva types (such as innies vs outies), the reality is that no two vulvas are exactly alike, and each one is unique. This is why you have not found others on the internet that look like yours. This does not mean that you are abnormal in any way.

It’s clear that you are experiencing serous insecurities, and I’m so glad that you have found this resource and been brave enough to open up about how you have been feeling. You are not alone in feeling this way, and it is possible to overcome your insecurities. The key is to confront them, as uncomfortable as this will be, and to educate yourself so that your self-image is not shaped by misconceptions about what is normal.

It is also very helpful to be able to confide in someone you are comfortable with. This could be a family member, a friend or a counselor / therapist. The important thing is for you to trust the person and be comfortable sharing this area of your life with them. You are, of course, welcome to write to me anytime to you need to talk.

Clare xo

Love affair with my labia

love affair with my labiaHi Clare, [name edited out – I never publish names of submitters] here, I am 23 and my love affair with my labia began when I was 13. I’m not sure how much of this you want to include in the post, so I’ll leave it up to you. I’d been masturbating since I was 10 or 11, but at 13 I went off to summer camp and that really broadened my horizons about how labia could look. I’d previously only seen my sisters’, briefly at that, and since we all looked the same I just figured that was how everyone looked. I’ve spent the last ten years being delighted about how wrong I was, though for a brief period there (14-15, always tough years), I hated the way my lips looked compared to girls with pornstar perfect pussies. It took my first real girlfriend to show me the glory of my pussy.

Thank you for sharing your lovely story and beautiful picture. It’s so great to hear that you have developed such a positive outlook!

Clare xo

People think long labia means lot of mileage

long labia means lots of mileageHello! I’m 21 years old and have had large and dark-ish labia all my life. My inner labia and clit have always been large and visible ever since I was born. I’ve never gotten a bad comment about it in real life, but on the internet I have seen people making fun of vaginas like mine. I am really insecure about it, especially because people think that long labia means lots of mileage. My vagina has looked like this since I was a virgin. I hope one day I can learn to love it and find partner who loves it too.

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and picture.

Because the internet is so accessible, it is a place which has many bigots and idiots who are able to freely spew misinformation and hurtful comments. Their voices on the internet may appear to be loud and to represent thee views of people generally, but the reality is that this is not so. There are misinformed people out there, but their views do not represent the views of people generally.

One of the important aims of this blog is to correct the misinformation and to educate. This is not an easy task, as the Labia Project is one blog in a huge sea of information on the internet. Fortunately, it reaches many thousands of visitors every month, and I often receive submissions from people who are grateful for the positive impact that it has had on their lives.

I really hope that with time, you will be able to overcome your insecurities and find a loving partner who accepts you just as you are – perfectly normal, and positively beautiful <3

Clare xo

It’s normal to have big labia and dark lips

normal to have big labiaHi!! I have been following this page for years. I used to compare my vagina to every post and think my “labia” looked WAYYYY bigger than others but honestly GUYS DO NOT CARE!!! LADIES EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL !! It’s all about self love. If a guy doesn’t like you for who you are, are you really going to accept that relationship? What if a guy didn’t like you because of, for example, your personality.. but you loved your personality? Are you going to sit there and feel upset?? No!!! The first step is loving the way you look!! Everyone is beautiful and I have been in a position where I would compare and absolutely hated the way I looked. I was at the point where I didn’t even hookup with a guy because I was too nervous of what they thought.. is it too wrinkly? Is it too dark? Are my lips too big??? I’m 21 now and can honestly tell you it starts with your perspective. I was given this body and Im not going to be insecure of my vagina because ITS NORMAL. It’s normal to have big labia, dark lips, etc… Love all you ladies! All of you have beautiful vulvas EMBRACE IT!!!

What a beautiful submission! It’s so wonderful to hear that you have reached a point where you accept and embrace your body as it is <3

Clare xo

Protruding vulva

protruding vulvaFirstly, I’m so glad I found this page. I used to scroll through ‘real self’ to find images that would reassure me that my vulva was normal yet everyone on that website wanted theirs to change. Here I’ve learnt that actually not everyone with a visible / protruding vulva wants it altered. I’m 22 and I have always had one labia minora longer than the other, yet over the last year or so it has started to hang lower than my outer labia. At the same time, over the last 12 months excess skin has appeared next to my clitoris- separate from the hood. This is constantly visible which I’ve never had before and I’ve struggled coming to terms with it. (It’s also starting to happen on the other side). I used to have the implant (implanon) and I noticed the changes a few months after I took the implant out and changed to the combined pill. Is there any chance that an increase in oestrogen levels could have caused the excess growth? I also entered into a serious relationship at the same time I noticed the difference and wondered if because I was having sex more than once a day it could have affected the skin sounding my vulva. I ask myself these questions everyday and often blame taking the pill or the way I have sex on this new altered appearance. Are my lifestyle changes purely coincidental or the cause of this new excess skin? My boyfriend says it’s normal and it doesn’t seem to bother him but it really affects me. Not only in appearance but also comfort. I have a longer SUPER SENSITIVE left Labia which means that it’s constantly rubbing on clothes and I can feel it from the moment I get out of bed to the moment I get back in. Sitting down, walking or running I can feel it, while it isn’t painful it is uncomfortable and reminds me that it’s there and it’s not attractive. Most of my friends have very tucked up vaginas and I’m constantly wondering if they have to go through the same discomfort as myself and others with protruding labia. I’ll consider surgery depending on whether the excess skin continues to grow or my labia get longer. Right now it’s manageable but I’m at breaking point. I just hate how uncomfortable I always am!! This website has been incredible and i appreciate the chance to share my thoughts. I’ve come to realise that all vulvas are beautiful in their own right, and it’s so sad that we all have these complexes. Xxx

Thank you for sharing your story and picture.

It is normal for the vulva to undergo changes throughout a woman’s lifetime, and labia growth can happen at different points and for different reasons. Very often, these changes happen during puberty or pregnancy, but they can also happen due to changes in hormone levels. Changes in medication which alters hormonal levels can contribute to these changes, so changes in estrogen levels might account for the changes that you have experienced.

Sexual intercourse, even if very frequent, does not result in permanent changes to the vulva or its anatomy, so having sex more than once a day with your boyfriend would not be the cause of this.

With regard to the sensitivity which is causing discomfort, my advice is to experiment with different types of underwear, as the fabric used in the underwear that you are wearing my be causing excessive chafing / rubbing which may be contributing to the sensitivity. You may wish to try underwear made of thinner, more elastic fabric.

Please don’t rush into a decision to undergo surgery. Based on your picture, there is nothing abnormal or unattractive about your vulva, and surgery should not be easily resorted to and can sometimes cause problems later in life. Please see this recent submission which describes some of the problems that may be caused.

I hope this helps.

Clare xo