Trust Me, Your Vulva Looks Normal

Thanks to perfectly symmetrical drawings in middle school textbooks and copious amounts of Internet porn, many of us have developed strange, anxiety-inducing complexes about the visual aesthetic of the vulva. There are countless online forums and threads addressing women’s concerns about whether or not their vulvas look normal.

“Why does my inner lips hang lower than my outer lips?”

“Should the inside of my lips be baby pink and not purplish?”

“Is my clitoris too long?”

“What does the typical vagina look like?”

“Why does my vagina have so much hair?”

When reading these inquiries I often find myself wondering, “Normal compared to what?”

I get the anxiety. Many vulva owners don’t have the opportunity to get up close and personal with vulvas other than their own. So they’re left to ponder the kinks, nooks, and crannies between their thighs; wondering their vulva would ever resemble beautiful pink flowers.

But let us be real: grade school sex ed and the media has failed us. Not only do many women, and men, fail to realize they are actually fretting over the vulva (the external female genitalia) and not the actual vagina, but we have been indoctrinated to believe that there is an archetypical vulva and anything that deviates from this set norm atypical.

As a result, many women with perfectly fine vulvas and vaginas are turning to cosmetic vaginoplasties and labiaplasties to achieve a more attractive shape and form. (Yes, you can get plastic surgery to change the appearance of your vulva if it truly makes you unhappy).

The truth is that vulvas are like fingerprints; each one is different and has a look, shape, and color of its own. A 2004 study revealed that labia and clitorises come in all lengths, widths, colors and dimensions. In short, the look of women’s genitals vary widely.

So, yes, it is perfectly fine that your inner labia hangs outside of your outer labia.

And, yes, your purplish lips are okay. Some women sport peach, baby pink, brown, and reddish, or skin tone hues.

Yes, some clitorises very long and others are very short. One is not necessary better than the other. (However, this study suggests length and distance may contribute to the ability to orgasm or lack there of.)

By the way, some lips are thin. Some are a plump. One may be larger than the other. It is okay that they are more like cousins than identical twins.

And finally, those little gray pubes you see sprouting up, those are okay, too.

At the end of the day, the only “normal” is your “normal.” (Barring any infections, warts, sores, or unusual discharge, of course.) But, if you’re still not convinced that your vagina is perfectly different and uniquely yours, call your gynecologist or check out The Labia Library to see for yourself (NSFW).