It started when I was about 16 years old. I shaved my pubic hair, because I saw porn as an example. Shortly after, I realized that my vulva didn’t look like the ones I saw in porn. At that age I didn’t care much. I was more worried about the fact that shaving gave my skin a lot of irritation and ingrown hairs. I tried shaving, waxing, sugaring, epilation, IPL, creams… everything resulted in red bumps and scarring.
I started to get sexually active, but didn’t let anyone touch my vulva. I read on Internet that some girls could get orgasms from penetration on the inside of their vagina from a so-called g-spot. Since I could only get an orgasm from clitoral stimulation, it felt like something else was “wrong” with my vagina. The way women are sexualized in media really made me feel like I could never be good enough in bed.
In the years that followed, the hate towards my vulva grew. I still had not seen real vulvas, so Internet was my only source. There were days that I looked for hours to pictures and stories of long labia. I knew that I wasn’t the only one with insecurities about it, but it didn’t make me feel more confident about the way mine looked. At some point, it started taking over my life. With every woman I would see in real life, I would imagine how her vulva would look like. Since I never heard any women talk about vulva insecurities, I thought I was the only one with an ugly vulva. If friends were talking about showering with others or going to the sauna, I would automatically assume they had a nice looking vulva.
The only one that knew about my insecurity was my boyfriend, whom I started dating since I was 18. He never said anything bad about the way it looked. I couldn’t have wished for a better guy. I feel bad for him that he had to deal with all the negative talks about my vulva. I hope for every vulva-owning person they find a partner that doesn’t judge your parts about the way it looks. I blamed porn for a long time that they didn’t show enough diversity, but I think it should already start at sex education in schools. Everyone should learn about the diversity of genitals and have it discussed.
At the age of 19 I started to get a depression. This had multiple reasons, but my negative thoughts would always end with the fact that I had an ugly and useless [vulva]. I could spend days crying in bed about how ugly it was. I was suicidal and the look of my vulva was definitely one of the reasons I wanted to die. I needed to do something about it, so I considered labiaplasty. I knew that all blogs and empowering sites about long labia were against surgery. I respect and understand that they empowered women to be confident and not to let them cut into healthy body parts. But I literally couldn’t live with it anymore. So I did it. I underwent a surgery and had my longer inner labia removed. I was confident in the first months after it. My libido grew and I felt like one of the main problems about my [vulva] was gone. I discovered more and more pleasure during sex and really wished I had done the surgery before. I wouldn’t encourage others to do it, but I really think that everyone should decide for themselves. My psychological condition was unhealthy, so I had no other choice.
However, years after the surgery, the negative thoughts about my vulva are still there. The scarring of my labia never healed very nice, so they look very wrinkly. Since my clitoral hood has always been big and wrinkly too, the focus on my vulva is now on my clitoral hood. It is way too big and it looks like a mini-penis to me. I still don’t feel feminine and skin irritation from hair-removal is still there. I am a bisexual person, but I could never share a bed with other people, since I think I will gross them out with my naked appearance. I would never dare to be nude around other people anyway.
After the surgery I remember I had a check-up with my labiaplasty doctor and he said: “now your vulva anatomy looks normal again”. I was surprised. Even a labiaplasty doctor that sees natural(!) vulvas coming in everyday, is saying what the standard for the appearance should be. That is just wrong. I really wish that the world changes it's mind over how vulva’s look, so no one has to be insecure about it. I hope that with my story I can inspire people. I only read empowering stories that were against labiaplasty. I don’t want to be the “weak” person that underwent a surgery. I want to show everyone that it’s your own choice if it affects your health. But the surgery didn’t make my vulva more beautiful. I think it is still very ugly and I will never get over it. Maybe once it is drawn and uploaded in between all the other vulvas, I can embrace it by seeing all of the diversity. If anyone wants to talk anonymous with me, I would love to. In my darkest times I wished I could have talked to people that shared the same insecurities.
E. - 22 years old