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Designer Vaginas: Worth the Pain?

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Before you decide to chop off part of your labia to make it prettier, British researchers would like you to consider the possible complications that might arise.

operation room labioplasty designer vaginas

Ronda Kaysen: It might come as a surprise, but slicing off part of your labia -- a procedure known as labioplasty -- can destroy nerve endings, thereby impairing sexual satisfaction and arousal. It can also cause serious complications during childbirth, complications that usually happen to women who've had genital mutilation. Think excessive bleeding, vaginal tearing, and death of the baby.

It's not clear how many women get labioplasty, but the procedure is on the rise. Most women who end up on the operating table with visions of a prettier vagina are there because they feel that their vagina doesn't look like the ones they see in the girly mags, according to both the researchers who criticize the procedure and the doctors who happily perform it.

"Lads' mags are looked at by girlfriends, and make them think more about the way they look. We live in times where we are much more open about our bodies -- and changing them -- and labioplasty is simply a part of this," Douglas McGeorge, past president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, told BBC News.

Researchers say that a woman who turns up at a doctor's office wanting her vagina examined should really be having her head examined instead.

"Quality research is needed to improve our understanding of the psychological drivers behind women's decision to sacrifice sexually sensitive tissue that contributes to erotic experiences, for a certain genital appearance that used to be an obligation only for some glamour models," Dr. Sarah Creighton, one of the authors of the study, told BBC News.

Some women say they opt for the procedure because their protruding labia make tight-fitting clothes or riding a bicycle uncomfortable, claims the researchers find hard to stomach given the fact that men rarely complain about discomfort from their protruding genitals, which, we can safely assume, protrude more than even the largest of labias. Other women report that they want to reshape their nether region to please their partners.

"I do think there are women who get this procedure for reasons that are medically necessary, but I share the authors of this study's deep concern and mistrust of the motivations of those who offer the procedure and the way in which the option of labioplasty -- cleverly marketed as vaginal rejuvenation -- is offered," momlogic OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz said. "I am relieved, in fact, to see the academic community pay attention to what I believe is potentially a highly misogynist racket fueled by the mainstreaming of porn images into the culture."

Really people, these are your best bits. You should probably be nice to them.

next: 'Balloon Boy' Parents Plead Guilty in Hoax Case
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
maeby November 13, 2009, 12:44 PM

what do outer labia have to do with babies dying during child birth??

Labia is not vagina November 13, 2009, 2:11 PM

Get it through your heads ladies,Labia (vulva) is not the vagina;You sound like an immature kid speaking words she doesn’t yet understand.Also I find it odd that this article comes not long after the “My bits fell off bit” which may be better titled my “Uterus and Vagina hit the Floor” with the lady saying “oh I’m so happy with my 30 year old virgin vagina” [really,vulva].

maeby November 13, 2009, 2:59 PM

i understood the uterus falling out post to mean that her actual VAGINA was tighter and thus was “virginy”.

KatrinKrilove November 29, 2009, 6:27 PM

Dear Author !
In my opinion you are not right. I can prove it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

Logical December 11, 2009, 2:14 PM

This type of skin is like the foreskin of men. It is considered to be “useless” and therefore expendable. As more research is done, it is discovered that slicing off any part of your genitals is going to have consequences, no matter how “useless” others claim. If a woman decides that she want’s her labia to look different, and she understands the risks associated with potential sensitivity loss, and complications of the surgery, then who are we to tell her she can’t do it? If we forced her to, then it wouldn’t be appropriate in the least. However, using this same logic, we have to start second-guessing ourselves as male babies certainly don’t understand the potential risks of having the surgery and they can’t consent to having the tip of their genitals removed. Especially when research has proven that the benefit is aesthetics only. The only medical benefit might be fewer infections, but we certainly don’t start cutting girls because they might get a yeast infection. So I guess I would be more likely to say, “Research the pros and cons and then do whatever you choose to do to your genitals, but leave others, including your children’s, alone.”

bubust December 25, 2009, 1:19 AM

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

RenegadeMom February 20, 2010, 8:32 PM

If I have to live with my vagina post 4 kids then so does their dad. He helped create this mess so he can spend eternity with it. Besides his junk isnt what it used to be either and he didnt push anyone out.

No “vaginal rejuvenation” here thank you very much.

Anonymous March 19, 2010, 4:41 AM

errrrrrr dirty

rugbymom May 18, 2010, 1:07 PM



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