One day when I was around twelve years old I decided to ask my mom if the skin hanging on my vulva was normal. I had always wondered why mine were so long but I never thought something was wrong with me. When I showed them to her, her reaction was something I was not expecting. She said, “if this wasn’t hurting you, I’d take you to the emergency room right now.” Of course, this reaction had me thinking something was wrong with the way I looked, that the ‘loose’ skin shouldn’t be there. She took me to three different doctors, all of them would tell me “it’s normal.” I believe after the first or second doctor my mom told me, “I’m taking you to see someone else for another opinion because that just doesn’t look normal to me.” At twelve years old, hearing that I didn’t look ‘normal’ and opening my legs up to these strangers (by strangers I mean doctors), damaged me. Yes, doctor’s told me that the skin was normal, but I needed a better explanation. Why couldn’t at least one of these doctor’s tell me that vulva’s with long inner labia were more common than I thought and that about half, maybe more or less, of the women they see in their office have labia’s just like mine. I went years feeling so embarrassed and ashamed of my vulva. I would try to tuck my labia in, I would cry myself to sleep, and I became anxious and overwhelmed by all these feelings. Come high school and all those feelings intensified. The first guy I slept with had a disgusted look on his face when he first touched me. I was so confused and embarrassed, I didn’t know how to react. All I wanted to do was hide myself as much as I could. All these horrible experiences led me to consider labiaplasty. My mom actually showed me pictures of women who received labiaplasties around the same time she was taking me to see all those doctor’s, so that had always been on my mind. But the more research I did on the matter, helped me learn that my labia’s are completely normal. I read what other doctor’s had to say, both male and female, I read stories from other women with similar experiences, and I found accounts like this one: The Vulva Gallery. The size and shape of our labia are all totally different and unique to every person. I have nothing to be ashamed of and I absolutely love my vulva. I’m proud to say that I feel like I have nothing to hide when I’m in bed with my partner and it is the most amazing feeling in the world. I've given birth to two beautiful girls and I love seeing how my labia changed after each birth. I read another post on here where someone said that her mom told her that her vulva was a “blooming rose”. I thought that was the most beautiful thing ever and I will one day tell my children the same thing.
R. - 22 years old