Why do my labia look like this?!

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Let's just be clear about one thing: everything you see in porn is fake. It's as real as reality TV or your friend's Instagram feed of her two-year-old triplets who never cry or require diaper changes. Yeah, that's not what's happening.

But today let's talk about your labia. Those are the beautiful furls of skin that surround your clit and your vagina, and they probably don't look like a porn star's.

Why not? Well, here are three reasons.

a) You're not a child (but if you are, good on you for learning about your body. Don't let anyone tell you you're not perfect.)

b) You haven't had surgery to get your labia trimmed. (You can if you want. I'm a feminist and that means staying out of other women's business. Just don't prune your parts unless you really, really want to for you. Not for anyone else! If he doesn't love you the way God made you; he doesn't love you.)

c) No one sat at a high-end computer and photoshopped you real genitals into something that looks like the lips of a nice, mass-produced Hawaiian roll hot dog bun. And I do love a Hawaiian roll but...not in a sexy way.

I looked at my vulva (that's everything you see on the outside) when I was about fourteen. I was horrified. It all looked so complicated and asymmetrical. Maybe you've had the same experience. Maybe you haven't looked (and nothing you're reading here is making you feel any better about looking).

But what I saw at fourteen was beautiful and normal and probably doesn't look like anyone else's body. Like snowflakes and faces, labia are all different. Darker. Lighter. Longer. Curlier. Cuter.

If you are born with cute porn-star labia--some women are--be glad that you can cross angsting over this socially-constructed beauty standard off your list.

What to see how normal your brand of special is? Check out the Great Wall of Vagina, an art installation made from casts of real vaginas. Wow! Wow! Wow! I love them all. It's in my DNA : )

And if you look and you think, Can we not get some quality control around here? then I want you to buy yourself and your beautiful labia a bouquet of flowers. Sit with it for a while. Appreciate. Notice how all the flowers and none of the flowers are wrong. Then love yourself like that.

Karelia Stetz-Waters is a contemporary lesbian romance writer with a passion for happy endings and women's bodies. Here dream is to entertain readers while teaching them the pleasure-secrets that lesbian know best. (Hint: Straight girls, these tips are for you. You can take them to the bedroom tonight!) Order Karelia's work on Amazon or learn more at Kareliastetzwaters.com.

If your labia--or anything else--cause you pain during intercourse, talk to a doctor. This article from SELF talks about the occasions when a woman may need labiaplasty for medical reasons.

If you're reading this sex-focused blog because something's not going right in your sexual life, don't stay silent. If you are seeking contraceptive advice, sexual health information, or feel you may be a victim of assault, abuse, or at risk for suicide, there is help out there. If you are queer or questioning, whether you are an adult or a youth, there are hundreds of resources. I care about you. Be well.

-- Karelia