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Is Your Vulva Good Enough?

June 16, 2011

Well, of course it is. But some women are feeling insecure about the way they look. You know. Down there.

I really can’t say it better than Chela Davison did at Beams and Struts when she wrote that article (honestly I tried to find just one quote, but I couldn’t narrow it down. The entire article is powerful and vitally important to you as a woman. Go read the whole thing).

It makes me wholly sad to think that there are women out there who lament their very womanhood. A vulva is, arguably more than anything else, the essence of being a woman. And to regret the appearance of one’s own ultimate female body part is heartbreaking. This is one of those times when I feel our Victorian tendencies to keep our bodies and sexualities hidden cause more damage than they do good. After all, if we all saw a variety of vulvas every day, their differences would become a spectrum of normal. Which is, of course, the intent with this website and SOAM – to recreate a spectrum of normal.

A couple of weeks ago someone left me a link on SOAM’s Facebook wall and I followed it down the rabbit hole to this article. I was a little excited because I originally saw that picture (below) of the different vulvas in the article I linked in the first paragraph, but didn’t know where it came from (and I kind of want a large print of it to hang in my house. Is that weird?). And it’s not easy to find such an image online. Or maybe it is, but I was hoping to avoid that rabbit hole if you know what I mean. But we need to know that variety IS normal and I suspect pornography isn’t the place to give us an accurate idea of the spectrum of normal in terms of vaginal beauty.

I’m not saying you should compare yours to your friends (although maybe I should be saying that) and I’m certainly not saying we should just drop modesty altogether (although maybe I should be saying that) but I am saying that there is something absolutely wrong with the idea that we could scorn something that we really have no way of accurately comparing to a wide variety of others to see where it fits in terms of beauty. We have enough to struggle with in what’s readily visible to the world – our faces and figures and a host of other bits and pieces – that I cannot fathom why we’d even open the door to worrying about what our vulvas look like.

And that spectrum of normal? Quite diverse, actually. See?

So how about you? Do you have concerns over what your vulva looks like? Or are you happy with it no matter what?

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19 Responses to “Is Your Vulva Good Enough?”

  1. David Says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I never realized women have the same problem as a lot of men. Oh how I wish I had a perfect penis! Long and straight and just thick enough. I really think most men including myself don’t care how a vulva looks we just want to make love to our wives. I don’t want some doctor to cut on my wife’s vulva or my penis for anything, what if they make a mistake??? Then what would we have? As for the porn…just plain evil nothing good in it, so don’t waste your time thinking you should be like a porn star… just plain silly.

  2. David Says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    If someone doesn’t appreciate how you are let them just go. They are not worth your time and effort.

  3. Col Says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    When I was young and still going through puberty, I noticed my vulva lips were getting huge and turning brown and I thought it wasn’t normal. Of course growing up, and researching, I realize now they’re completely normal and I love them! It boggles my mind that many women think there’s something wrong with their vulva, or that its ugly. Women come in all shapes and sizes, just like all our breasts are different, so are our vulvas!
    I found men are much less picky about vulvas than they might be about breasts or women about penis size. As long as it has a hole for them to stick it in, I don’t think they care too much how it looks, they’re all sexy :)

  4. Improving my Home « Z E B R A B E L L Y . C O M Says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    [...] to hang up on the wall. Er. Well, you know what I mean. I am half-tempted to get a bigass print of vulvas to hang up there. But that might discourage the potential guests and render the futon [...]

  5. Selene Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    The only thing I don’t like about that poster is the stark lack of hair.

  6. Michelle Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Kinda off-topic, but to David… I’ve always found that “perfect straight” penis to be useless, and long ones to be painful. Give me a nice average one with a good g-spot curve and I’m a happy girl!

  7. Deb Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I’ve been thinking about getting a waxing but wont cause I dont want the lady to talk about my valva later lol Guess only me, my hub, and doc will know what I look like =)

  8. Jana Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    These are adult women, right? I’m curious why all these pictures show no pubic hair?

    And yes, of course, if your vulva is healthy and feels good and makes love and births babies or any combination of the above–of course it’s wonderful!

  9. Steve Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    My wife and I look at this site and SOAM together. Nice site. One thing I hate about our society is that there is an imagined standard of beauty or normalcy and that, if you’re outside it, you are deformed, ugly, or in need of plastic surgery. There is no “normal.” There is no perfect nose, no perfect breasts, no perfect penis and certainly no perfect labia. I don’t get why people buy into it. Sad.

  10. Ellen Mary Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Too many surgeons, not enough $$$. Wake up sisters! It is not enough to have a cesarean rate approaching 50%, hysterectomies, D&Es, ablations, tubals, etc, now they want 2 perfect our vulvas? I am a liberated mujer who doesn’t have porn in my bedroom so I don’t even know what my vulva is ‘supposed’ to look like! I know enough to keep my money & my genetalia intact tho! I know it is supposed to have hair on it , but most women have forgotten that too! Sisters wake up & stop gettin played! New century same old story!!!

  11. Jordan Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Wondering, if those are representative of normal –where is the hair?

  12. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I assume the hair had to be shaved to make the molds of the vulvas. And I feel the intent of the poster is to show the vulva shapes themselves so the lack of hair doesn’t bother me even though I prefer to not shave myself as I think it makes me more womanly.

  13. Brit Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    To address the “lack of hair” concerns, I would assume this was an artistic project and that the women were required to be hairless for the picture because it allowed the focus to be on the vulva itself. I am part of the generation that shaves completely so this looks normal to me, but my mother does not understand that. It is just a trend (which kind of sucks because now guys my age and younger assume you are shaved and get turned off when you don’t!) UGH! Just another “ideal” women have to deal with.

    I grew up despising my vulva and began to look into “labiaplasty” five years ago. I am not one to just let something bother me when we have the technology to fix it. It was a personal decision I made and I had the surgery in October of last year. To be honest it is much “better” looking to me now but I am still not happy with it. As a girl who always watched porn with my friends I feel like I was almost brainwashed with the “ideal” vulva and will accept nothing less. Porn is dangerous stuff to men AND women! I wish that we could embrace the beauty in the differences between us and stop focusing on one ideal look.

  14. Denise Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I plan on getting a labiaplasty after I give birth to my 4th child. I look different and frankly my inner lips have gotten to the point where its uncomfortable for me to even sit these days. I guess I look “normal”, but I am not a fan of being uncomfortable either.

  15. Dee Says:
    July 5th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful post. I have recently come to love my vulva. It’s definitely one of my favorite body parts. It’s what makes me a woman! I love it’s uniqueness and so does my man. My outer lips have little dimples on them and one of my inner lips is slightly longer than the other. And it’s beautiful. ANDD I love, love, LOVE that there’s finally somewhere that I can openly celebrate my womanhood!

  16. Souler Says:
    September 3rd, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Interesting article and photo. I’d like to express my opinion. I think there’s so much more beauty in the word vagina. I love the word vagina and all that it symbolizes and represents. Not so much vulva. It sounds more obscure, scientifc and a lot like a Swedish car company. I know of no woman who has referred to her vagina as her vulva.

    I’d also like to say that I have spent countless years thinking, dreaming, admiring, loving and being in awe of vaginas. Whatever moments of pleasure there are to be had on this earth, pretty much every single one of them has been spent between the arms and legs of a woman. I have never beheld a vagina without having to pause at the sheer beauty and majesty of it.

    So I am rather surprised to hear that some women are so critical of their vaginas and can’t grasp the beauty they are in possession of. They should not blame men, porno, society or anything else for their lack of self-worth. The problem lies in their heads, not their vaginas. Celebrate your sensuality and sexuality. Celebrate who you are and what you have. I certainly do.

    Shaved or trimmed, short or extended lips, beauty is beauty. I love vagina. I love women. Now, if I can only find a woman somewhere out there who could fall in love with a middle-aged teacher who makes only $40K a year. But that’s another story for another time.

  17. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Well, the word “vagina” means “sheath” as in, a place for a sword to go. So that turns some women off. Because our vaginas are more than just for men to use.

    Also, in terms of anatomy, the vagina and vulva really are two different things. The vulva is the entire area, the vagina is just a part of it. This picture doesn’t show vaginas, it shows vulvas.

    All that said, I feel each woman should call hers what she feels most comfortable with, including nicknames, as long as she DOES know the basic anatomy. And I will say that “vagina” is a more fun word to say than “vulva”.

  18. Johanne Says:
    December 12th, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I have always wanted to get plastic surgery, to make it look more “normal”. My inner lips are very big, and that used to bother me. But now, after I started searching for the perfect vulva I realized that there is no perfect vulva. Or, as I like to say, every vulva IS PERFECT. I know, there are some guys out there who’s been watching too much porn, and has a picture in their head of what’s perfect and not, but screw them, they’re not worth it! :D Be proud of your vulva, be proud to be a woman! :D :D

  19. Amy Says:
    December 29th, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I have spent so much time in my life disliking and worrying about my vulva. On a very bad day I feel as if I do not deserve to call myself a woman or wear sexy underwear :( I know that I am in the realm of “normal,” but some days I do not feel very normal. I am trying to accept myself, though!

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