Labiaplasty: A Disturbing New Trend in Cosmetic Surgery

| June 24, 2013 | 6 Comments

Labiaplasty: To get the vagina you never knew you wanted

What Is Labiaplasty and Why to Girls Do It?

Labiaplasty – In a recent discussion, someone raised an interesting point. Women, for the most part, are more comfortable removing their tops than they are with removing their bottoms. So naturally this got me thinking… what is it about the vulva that makes it so difficult to expose? Why are women so self-conscious about their vaginas? (Yes, I know “vagina” is not the same as “vulva” in medical terms. However many women still use “vagina” to reference both their entire genitals and / or just their vaginal canal.)

So I began talking to friends and people from the sex positive community, with the hopes of understanding this issue better.

This line of questioning had quickly lead me to learn about an alarming and growing trend – Labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty Explained:

Apparently, the demand for this somewhat new procedure has been growing at a rapid pace. But what could be fueling this demand?

After researching online, I was horrified to read some of the many blogs and articles that came up. More and more teenage girls are going under the knife and getting their labia altered. Since this procedure is not covered by most insurances, there are girls out there who are performing a type of female vaginal mutilation on themselves! Just the mere thought of a young girl feeling so unhappy with her body that she would be willing to take a knife to herself is something that I can’t seem to let go of.

great wall vagina vulva james mccartney labia

Great Wall of Vagina by James McCartney

We are constantly bombarded by images of what “the perfect body” is and the all famous or infamous “How To Look Good Naked” diets. Everywhere you look you see images of this new societal depiction of the perfect abs, breasts, butts, penises and vulvas. What happened to the beauty of diversity? We are not all born with the same bodies and appearance, and that is a good thing!

three graces peter paul rubens labiaplasty labia vagina body image

The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens

During the late 16th century and into the early 17th century people found large women to be the ideal. One of the greatest artists to depict the beauty of the female form during that period is Peter Paul Rubens. Today the symbol of the perfect woman is Barbie…. and she does not even have a vagina!!!

I am not one to believe that there should be any standard for what is considered beautiful. The shift from large, feminine and voluptuous to childlike and malnourished is so dramatic. To the point where natural beauty has become somewhat of an oxymoron. It seems like more and more women are starting to believe that it costs a ton of money and countless hours in recovery rooms and gyms to look naturally beautiful.

This blog post will provide an overview of what the labiaplasty procedure involves, its complications and statistics. In the next post, I will look into why labiaplasty has suddenly become a trendy cosmetic surgical procedure for women.

Labiaplasty Procedural Overview

Labiaplasty Anatomical Diagram of the Vulva

Anatomical Diagram of the Vulva


Labiaplasty, sometimes referred to as vaginal rejuvenation, is a purely aesthetic procedure that involves trimming outer skin that surrounds the vagina, known as the labia minora. The first published surgery occurred in 1983, with documented procedural updates in 1998 and 2005. Initially, physicians performed the procedure to create uniformity in cases of congenital disfigurement and as a part of sexual reassignment surgery.

It was not long before women saw labiaplasty as a method of reconstructing their pre-baby appearance. Some patients combine the procedure with other vaginal surgeries like internal tightening. According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), patients pay an average of $2,342 United States dollars (USD) for a procedure rarely covered by insurance.

While some women pursue the surgery for medical reasons, such as frequent pain and discomfort from larger labia, it seems that most women do it for cosmetic reasons. They are simply unhappy with the way their labia looks, ie their length, protrusion, color, asymmetry etc. The labia minora actually vary greatly in appearance. They range in color from pink to dark brown, can be wrinkled or not, symmetrical or not, etc. They range in length from .7 to 3.9 inches and labia on one side can be longer than the other. Though labia may seem like extra skin one can do without, they actually serve a variety of purposes, including increased sexual sensation. They puff up when a woman is aroused and are actually said to ease penetration. If there is a problem with labia “getting in the way” during sex, as some women claim, it may mean that she is not aroused enough yet for penetration.

Potential Complications After A Labiaplasty Procedure:

Potential complications and aftereffects include desensitizing of the clitoris and / or vagina, infection, bleeding, pain, hematoma, sexual dysfunction, changes in pigmentation, excess scar tissue buildup and permanent scarring. Asymmetrical labia can occur when an inexperienced physician performs the surgery. In rare cases, the vagina tightens up and causes problems with sexual intercourse or childbirth. What are the long-term effects? Physicians don’t know yet! There have been no substantial findings or research to determine its long-term effects. In 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautioned against labiaplasty and other vaginal cosmetic surgeries due to their dangerous risks and lack of documented procedures. ACOG also stated that they do not consider labiaplasty a routine, accepted procedure and expressed concern over surgeons advertising it as such. Based on the information provided at the 2013 ASAPS meeting in New York City, larger numbers of women and young girls are willing to brave the risks for a more “appealing” vagina.

Labiaplasty Patient Statistics

As of 2013, some physicians report a 500 percent increase in labiaplasty requests. It has apparently become the most common female genital cosmetic procedure. According to industry data, approximately 3,500 procedures occurred in 2012. This marked a 64 percent increase over surgeries performed in 2011. The fact that more women in their 20s and teenage girls are requesting labiaplasty procedures continues to baffle psychologists. Preliminary data reveals multiple factors currently influencing younger generations.

Botched Labiaplasty Procedures:

Just that subtitle sounds scary, doesn’t it? There are two other important things to note about labiaplasty. One, it’s lucrative. Since it’s not typically covered by medical insurance, surgeons can pocket a couple thousand dollars after a relatively quick procedure. And two, it’s mostly unregulated. There is no special certification, no educational courses or licenses needed to perform labiaplasty. Thus there are inexperienced surgeons and even gynecologists attempting what looks like a simple procedure. However, this area has arteries, and these skin flaps contain a lot of nerve endings so there are many ways to screw it up. As a result a number of surgeries are actually done for the purpose of fixing botched attempts at labiaplasty.

Click here for Labiaplasty Part 2: What’s Fueling the Labiaplasty Trend?

This article about Labiaplasty – the new disturbing trend cosmetic surgery was published by – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA

Labiaplasty Resources:

Kirsten O’Regan’s investigation into labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation surgery

2013 Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)

ASAPS Surgeon Fees Per Procedure

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Category: Naked News, Feminism and Women's Issues, Body Image Blogs, Sex Positive, Social Activism

About the Author ()

Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudie and co-founder of Young Naturists America.
  • Balazs de Berzsenyi

    All vulvas are beautiful just the way they are! They are all different, that’s what makes them beautiful, the infinite variety! There is no need of any kind of interference, nature has done its job!

  • Rob Suntan

    We are nudists, but we hear many women talking about long labias. I know of a couple of women who want to get it done because they do not like the way it looks themselves and they are comfortable as nudists, they say it gets in the way during intercourse

  • Justus Nudists

    They haven’t even figured out on how to actually improve the other lips yet…. leave people’s bodies alone, they are perfectly fine as they are.

  • Felicity’s Blog

    That’s interesting Rob Suntan because the idea of labia getting in the way of intercourse is considered a common misconception. Labia minora are supposed to become moist in arousal and actually facilitate penetration. If they truly do cause discomfort it may be a sign that the woman is not aroused enough yet. Labia can also increase sexual stimulation as they have lots of nerve endings. This is why women in Africa actually stretch their labia to make them longer! Anyway I really hope those women do their research before undergoing such a procedure. I’d be surprised if a nudist woman would want to do it for cosmetic reasons at all.

  • Gary Kopp

    Wow disturbing is right! This highlights the need for body acceptance wide spread. And I’m feel sorry for any man pushing his wife or girlfriend into having this procedure. Because he is not a real man.

    • MrSandy

      @Gary Kopp Agreed. It would be interesting to know whether there are any statistics on whose idea it is, his or hers. But, as with much (but not all) body enhancement, it strikes me that there is a psych piece to this, so I bet it’s usually her idea, not his.