Your nether regions are sort of like a cavern of many wonders, which means you've probably had your fair share of questions about it over the years. Ideally, as a woman, you'd know your own body pretty well. But as you already know, that's not always the case. For example, your labia are with you every day, all day, but how much do you actually know about them? Do you know the truth about your lady lips, or are you still believing myths about the labia that you've gathered throughout the years? Because your vagina is such an important part of your every day life, it's important to distinguish between the truths and the myths about your number one gal pal.
If you're unsure of what exactly your labia's all about, or concerned about it in general, Dr. Lauren Streicher, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school, noted that you're not alone. "When I first went into practice in the '90s, I can’t think of anyone who came in and said, 'I’m concerned about my labia,'" Streicher told Refinery 29. Nowadays, with the rise in labiaplasty, and the unrealistic expectations set forward for women, Streicher said she can barely go a week without a patient asking if her labia is normal. Your labia is an important part of your body, so rather than believing those myths you've been hearing, take a scroll through the following myths about your labia that you can stop believing, and stop worrying about all together.
Myth #1: All Labias Look The Same
According to a 2008 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 37 percent of women have gotten labiaplasties for aesthetic reasons alone, despite the risks involved in the surgery. All of this because women are self-conscious that their labia doesn't look quite like everyone else's? “There are certain anatomical landmarks that characterize normal genitalia, but there is no definition of what a normal appearance is,” Dr. Leah Millheiser, assistant clinical professor at Stanford University Medical Center and director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program told Refinery 29. So the next time you're checking out your labia and feel like it doesn't look the way it should, remember that there's no 'normal' when it comes to labias.
Myth #2: The Labia Doesn't Need Stimulation
Often times, sexual partners skip the labia and go straight for the main affair. Whether that's the clitoris or the vagina probably depends on your partner, but why can't you spend a little time on your labia too? Both the inner and the outer labia can make intercourse more pleasurable, according to Women's Health. Because blood rushes to your genitals when you're turned on, it's entirely possible that your labia will become sensitive to the touch during foreplay, and can have just as much a part in your intercourse as the rest of your body.
Myth #3: All Labias Are The Same Color
According to Cosmopolitan, the surrounding area of your labia can often be different colors. In fact, the publication assured readers that it's completely normal for women to have brown, purplish, or lighter colored labias than the rest of the skin around their genitals. You can also have different shades in different areas, so don't freak out if your labia is brown, purple, pink, or paler than you think it should be.
Myth #4: Your Labia Will Stay The Same As You Age
According to Fahimeh Sasan, doctor of osteopathy, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, it's totally normal to notice changes in your labia as you grow older. Sasan told Women's Health that your labia may shrink when you go through menopause. But things may look a little skinnier down there as early as your twenties, because your subcutaneous fat starts to disappear when you exit puberty, you may notice thinning out all over your body. Including your labia.
Myth #5: Your Labia Should Be Naked
"It is very normal to have pubic hair all over the mons pubis," Vanessa Cullins, MD, vice president of External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told Yahoo. Once puberty kicks in, pubic hair will start to grow on your mons pubis (the triangular shape of fatty tissue directly below your abdomen) and your labia majora, according to Cullins. Though you may want to get rid of your pubic hair, it's certainly not a necessity. “Different people will feel like shaving or waxing during their lives, and at other times in their lives it doesn’t make a difference to them, and they won’t,” Cullins said. Either way? Your labia is perfect just the way it is.
Myth #6: Your Labia's Just Another Part Of Your Vagina
It's easy to think your labia is just another part of the vagina, but the labia is actually part of the vulva, which is the external part of the female sex organ, according to Planned Parenthood. "The vagina is actually just the tube inside that runs from the uterus and cervix to the vaginal opening. The vulva, on the other hand, is the all-in-one term for the entire external shebang: clitoris, urethral opening, inner and outer labia, vaginal opening, perineum, and anus." So the next time you refer to your vagina, remember to that your labia's actually got a special distinction all to itself.
Myth #7: Your Labia Is Ugly
“They’re not ugly,” Debby Herbenick, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout, told Yahoo. She added that there's no such thing as ugly it comes it vaginas and that they’re far from one-size-fits-all.
“They come in so many different shapes and sizes and colors," Herbenick said. As a teacher, Herbenick shows her students drawings, diagrams, and photographs of genitalia, and said that once they see how much variety there is out there, the more they become comfortable with their own bodies. “This is important, because feeling that vaginas are ugly holds people back from so many pleasurable, intimate experiences,” Herbenick said. So the next time your labia is feeling self conscious, or less than lovable because of the way it looks, just remember, you're beautiful the way you are, no matter what shape, size, or color you may be rockin' down there.