health

'I had a labiaplasty and I’m terribly sorry to my vagina.'

Ten years ago, I saw a documentary about labiaplasty, and became mildly obsessed with having a ‘designer vagina’.

The few people I shared my plans with thought I was mad, even the surgeon said he wouldn’t recommend the surgery – but not enough to turn down my thousands of dollars, of course.

If you don’t know what a labiaplasty is – technically it’s where you change the size and/or shape of your inner labia. If you want to be crass about it, which I do (because it is), it’s where you cut off the ‘extra’ and toss it away – like you would the offcuts of some pastry if you were baking a pie. Seriously – Google it. Or don’t. Definitely not while you’re eating lunch and it’s probably NSFW just FYI.

Learn a little more about your lady bits with this Mamamia video. Post continues below.

Video via MMC

Since then, I’ve had some time to reflect. It’s dawned on me that what I essentially signed myself up (and paid handsomely) for was female genital mutilation, and I’m ashamed. These days, as a mother of a young daughter with another on the way, it makes me shudder to think of them doing the same thing – or ever believing they’re not 100 per cent perfect as they are.

The whole thing has made me wonder what the hell my problem was with my vagina in the first place. It’s always served me well, never caught an STI (and I probably deserved one) and aside from throwing its doors open to a few too many undeserving penises – it’s never led me astray.

In the years since my ‘chop’, I’ve done a deep dive to work out how I got there. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

If I’m honest, I DO have a bit of a problem with vaginas.

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I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I think the world would be a better place if visible camel toe was banned. I once came up with a segment for a TV show called ‘excuse me, I can see your vagina in those pants’, and still have no idea why it didn’t land. Does this make me the world’s worst feminist, or do other people feel that way too? Why can’t I just acknowledge a flying V and move on?

I convinced myself I was doing it for me, but really I was doing it for men.

There’s a few reasons women have labiaplasty. One is comfort (it’s a sensitive area, and you can ‘catch’ yourself if there’s anything extra down there which is bloody painful). The other (and I believe this is the main one) is appearance. I’d seen many a ‘Barbie panel’ and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t gonna get me one. The net result wasn’t actually more confidence in the bedroom though, just some lost sensitivity… and I’m still waiting for my vagina-of-the-year award.

Mamamia Out Loud discuss why women feel self conscious about their vaginas. Post continues below.

I wish I’d watched more porn, sooner.

Porn gets a bad rap – and I’m certainly not OK with the way some women in particular are treated in the sex industry, as well as porn’s impact as the main form of sex education for young people. Those aside, porn is actually like a wondrous catalogue of genitals – showing that all shapes, sizes and colours are out there… and that’s a good thing to know, because it normalises what YOU have, and knowing you ‘fit in’ is never a bad thing.

My vagina doesn’t deserve to be tortured.

It’s been waxed, plucked and squashed into stifling lycra more times than it can count. As the gatekeeper to my ovaries, it’s facilitated bringing one (soon to be two) beautiful babies into the world, and brings me pleasure aplenty when I’m not completely exhausted and let my poor husband near it. It deserves a medal, not a scalpel.

So, dear vagina, vulva and co – I’m terribly sorry. You were perfect then and still are now – and I promise to do a better job of taking care of you from now on.

This writer is known to Mamamia but has chosen to keep their identity private. The feature image used is a stock photo.

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