Embarrassed about the appearance of my vagina

I have been feeling self concious about my inner labia since I was 11, I am 16 now. Porn has made me feel embarrassed about the appearance of my vagina and I dread at the thought of ever having a sexual partner looking at them. I dislike how they chafe or get pressed against my inner thighs and vagina when I sit. It makes me feel irritated when I do notice the sensation of them. They also appear to make my clitoral hood larger! Is it normal to have darker genitals than the rest of your body? Is it safe to bleach your genitals? What can be done to reduce the size of my inner labia?

I am sorry to read about your discomfort with your labia. Unfortunately, pornography distorts reality because it represents one narrow version of all the labia (and penises) out there. In truth, our entire vulvas and labia come in all sizes, shapes and colors. It is perfectly normal to have genitals that are darker shades than your skin tone. After viewing many labia over the years, it is clear that variety is the norm, not the shiny, waxed, bleached and smallish labia seen in porn.

My concern for you is that you are stressing over a future partner’s imagined reaction to your labia—when a future partner may love and adore your vulva and labia just as they are. He or she may not want a porn-star vulva! As important, if you go into a relationship thinking there’s something wrong with you, your lack of self confidence—not what your labia look like—is what will turn off a partner. But if you go into a relationship thinking your vulva and labia are badass beautiful, your partners will most likely agree and love your confidence. However, if you lack confidence, you will give your power to the other person by basing how you feel on whether he or she gives you their approval. Ask yourself honestly, would you want to be with someone who doesn’t accept you fully? Would you want to start a relationship feeling “less than?”

If your labia feel uncomfortable, wearing skirts or looser clothing can help. While some women opt to do labiaplasty to reduce the size of their labia, it is not a procedure I’d recommend due to the risk of complications and potential for diminished function. Just do a quick google search for “botched labiaplasty” and you may feel different about this risky surgery.

As for bleaching genitals, there are products on the market for doing so, but I do not recommend bleaching. While some bleaching products have fewer toxic ingredients than others, your genital tissues are fragile, mucous membranes can be burned by chemicals, and you and may have a negative reaction to the chemicals in bleaching products.

I hope that you can reach a place of accepting your labia and celebrating them just as they are. Remember, porn stars are bleached, waxed, some achieve the look through surgery—and none of it is accurate for how most women really look.


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