Everything You Need to Know About Labiaplasty

More and more women and girls want to change the way their vagina looks. Why is this? And is it really necessary?

The internet can be really unhelpful sometimes.

Just like ears, and noses and penises, labia come in all different shapes and sizes. While that’s the straight-up truth, we’re often lead to believe (by porn especially), that vaginas should be uniformly ‘neat’ and labia-less. As a result, more and more women and girls are turning to labiaplasty – a serious surgery that changes the appearance of your vulva (the external, visible bit of your vagina) to look more ‘pornstar-perfect’. If you’re worried about what your vajayjay looks like and have been considering labiaplasty, read on.

Got beef with your bits?

Back in the day, there was no such thing as the ideal vag. People just got on with what they had. But with the rise of porn and societal pressure to look a certain way, we’ve become obsessed with having Babie-style vaginas. In real life, most vaginas are either fatter, more dangly or more wrinkly than what you see in porn. And this is totally normal. Annoyingly, it’s also really normal to compare our bodies, and that’s why we start to worry there’s something wrong with us when there really, truly isn’t. A few other things that can affect the way you feel about your lady bits are:

  • Nasty comments from sexual partners. This is a form of body shaming that shouldn’t be tolerated. If a sexual partner makes hurtful comments, they don’t deserve the privilege of seeing you naked. If a sexual partner goes as far as sharing naked photos of you, this is considered revenge porn – an illegal act with major consequences. 
  • Comments and jokes. Whether it’s friends at school making fly-by comments about ‘beef curtains’, or a meme you’ve seen on social media, these things can all feed into our perception of what is normal.   
  • Visual representation of the vulva. If porno fannies and those flapless vagina diagrams in your science book are the only vaginas you’ve ever seen, you’re bound to have a narrow-minded view of what vaginas look like.

So what exactly is labiaplasty?

Sadly, some girls are so embarrassed by the way their vagina looks, they avoid having sex, going for smear tests and wearing bikinis. If this sounds familiar, you might have looked up labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty is serious surgery that’s expensive and more than a bit uncomfortable. It involves surgically reducing the size of the labia minora (the inner flaps) and on occasion ‘plumping up’ the labia majora (the outer flaps) with fillers. There are several risks involved with the surgery and there’s no guarantee you’ll be happy with the end result. Many women who have had the procedure done say they didn’t feel any more body-confident afterwards.

Do I need labiaplasty?

The overwhelmingly likely answer to this question is no. A very small minority of women and girls will have a medical reason for labiaplasty. In these cases, the labia can be abnormally big to the point that exercise, sex and physical activity is painful. The other reason for labiaplasty is to remove vaginal lumps which are considered abnormal and potentially dangerous. In these rare cases, the NHS will cover the costs of the surgery. Unless you are experiencing these symptoms, you do not need labiaplasty.

Learn to love your vag

The most constructive thing to do if you feel unhappy about your vag, is learn to love it. To do this you might want to:

  • Have a good look at a variety of vaginas. By diversifying the pool of vaginas you’re looking at, you’ll begin to understand how amazingly different they can look. Rather than asking randomers if you can look at their nether regions, take a look at The Great Wall of Vaginas – a sculpture made from plaster casts of 400, very different vulvas.  
  • Masturbate. Get to know your vag. Bond with it and show it some love. After all, vaginas are pretty amazing things that deserve love and respect.
  • Try talking to your partner about your insecurities. If your partner is supportive, they will be able to reassure you there’s nothing to worry about. They’re probably just chuffed you want to have sex with them in the first place.
  • Try not to compare yourself to what you see online and read our article on Is My Vagina Normal?
  • Go to your GP. If you’re seriously concerned there is something wrong with your vagina, ask to see a female GP. She’ll be able to tell you whether or not you have anything to worry about. If she tells you all’s in working order, that could be just what you need to feel more confident about the way you look.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


labia| sex| vagina

By Olivia Capadose

Updated on 13-May-2019