sex

'I used to tell men mine was odd-looking.' Porn made me hate my vagina.

Vaginas in porn all look the same. At least the porn I've ingested only features one type of vagina, and it is a hairless, neat, almost Barbie doll-like vagina.

I'm sure, if you went looking for it, you'd find some diversity, but why on earth should you have to go searching for it?  

I can distinctly remember feeling annoyed that porn had managed to give me a whole new body insecurity, as if I didn't have enough already. Suddenly my vagina didn't seem up to par; actually, it seemed almost deformed.  

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Video via Mamamia.

Realistically, I've always known vaginas come in different shapes and sizes.

I was raised amongst a gaggle of female cousins, and we spent our childhoods showering and bathing side by side. I was aware that not everyone's looked the same from an early age. 

But it had never mattered to me until suddenly, it just did.  

It was somewhere between my late teens and early 20s, when I'd started watching porn, that I became insecure about my vagina. It just didn't seem up to scratch.

Firstly, it was never smooth, even when it was hairless. It was bumpy, red in some areas and usually peppered with the odd angry ingrown hair. 

Secondly, it wasn't all one perfect colour. My skin darkened in some sections and was lighter in others. 

Thirdly, it seemed like it had a different layout to the vaginas I saw in porn. 

I've since learned that when people comment on the appearance of a vagina, they are usually actually referencing a women's labia. Interestingly, according to Healthline, there are eight common labia shapes, asymmetrical inner lips, curved outer lips, prominent inner lips, prominent outer lips, long, dangling inner lips, long, dangling outer lips, small, open outer lips and small, closed outer lips. 

Still, you only seem to see one type in pornography.  

Not seeing my vagina or labia, in this case, mirrored back at me in porn made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Before I slept with men, I used to tell them that my vagina was a bit "odd-looking".

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Comfortingly, none of them cared, nor did any of them agree with my assessment. As one ex-lover once said to me, "There's no such thing as a bad vagina". And I'm inclined to agree with him.  

Still, in the depths of my insecurity, I even found myself reading up on Labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure that would give me the kind of vagina I saw in porn. Perhaps that sounds crazy to you, but the procedure is probably more common than we realise. In Australia, it's hard to know how many women get the surgery because it's done through private healthcare, so there's less public data available, but I do know that Labiaplasty is the most common form of female genital cosmetic surgery.  

I know it might seem simplistic to blame porn for that, but I do. 

Where else do we see vaginas? I mean, they are censored in 99 per cent of television shows and movies, even on HBO. So, I imagine for most women, the first time they see a vagina other than their own up close, is in porn.

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So when they are met with vaginas that look nothing like their own, it is hard not to get a complex about it.  

You only have to go online to realise that plenty of women are very insecure about the way their vaginas and labia look. There are forums dedicated to these issues, with hundreds, sometimes thousands of women sharing how they don't feel good about their vaginas and why?

Because porn tells them, there is an ideal type of vagina, and they don't have it. 

Interestingly, while vagina insecurity is still not commonly discussed, every woman I've ever spoken to has always had their own story or insecurity to share.  

Thankfully, I've become more comfortable with myself and my vagina as I've got older. I've come to appreciate it and love it, and I feel even good about it. But, my heart still aches for the younger version of myself that thought something was wrong with her, not because she was crazy but because the world was telling her that physically, she was lacking.

I have learned over time all vaginas are lovely, worthy and sexy, and all would look incredibly fabulous in a porno.

For more from Mary Rose, follow her on Instagram here.

Feature Image: Instagram @maryrosem.  

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