Iman and David Bowie, 1991
Email Submission: [This is a follow up submission from a contributor in early May 13 - Emma]
"Hi Emma! Basically, the insecurities for my labia started when I was only ten years old (so the misconception of women with big labias being sluts is obviously false). Growing up, I didn’t think there was something wrong with me. But then one day, my aunt walked in on me changing. She saw my labia and said "Hm, maybe you should talk to your mom about getting those cut off" (and here goes my 10 year old innocence saying "Why??") that’s when I started getting obsessed with how they look.
By thirteen, I thought those lips were “Dead”. Hell, I thought “Cut Off” from my aunt as actually meaning take scissors and cut them off. So I decided to pinch them with my nails, (insert 50 billion swear words here) and that hurt, so I knew I couldn’t easily get rid of them.
It was only when I was 16 that I started getting sexually active. And unfortunately from age 16 - 18 was when I heard all the nasty comments. I’ve had 4 guys that I fooled around with and 2 guys that I had actual penetration. The first time I let someone in, he mentioned they look like “Dumbo Ears”. We laughed about it. But it really actually hurt. Other guys have said, “Uhm. Wow. They’re kinda… Long” (obviously * roll eyes*). Finally, I felt like getting surgery. For many nights I’ve cried over the sad things men have said.
Then, this one guy gave me a boost. I told him about my “Problem” and thankfully he said : (his own words)
'First and foremost, any guy that can’t handle the fact that you have longer labia doesn’t deserve to see, touch, feel, taste, suck, or play with those beautiful labia. What one guy says that isn’t mature enough to understand that not every vagina looks the exact same shouldn’t effect the way you let someone else in. I know my words won’t help because we all have insecurities that a few words in a paragraph won’t cure, but there are men out there that either won’t care what your pussy looks like or love what it looks like because it’s yours. They want you, not your vagina. Your vagina is the added bonus that very few men have had the pleasure to see let alone be inside.
Unfortunately there are people, especially young men who’ve only seen one or two vagina’s before in person and tons and tons in porn, won’t know what to do and might not know that what you have are beautiful pussy lips. Because of lack of education or exploration, these guys need to have their hand held through the process. So you need to tell them ahead of time that you are insecure with the way your vagina looks because you have larger labia. If they know ahead of time, there will be less assumptions and probably a lot more pleasure. If they can’t handle it, then that gives them an out right then and there and you don’t have to proceed.
I can’t tell you that a labiaplasty is good or bad. Some women have had them and it’s changed their sex life because of confidence. But with time, you will become more confident even without the labiaplasty.
I don’t know what your ex is saying about you, but you can’t let it effect you or you need to stand up to him and talk to him about it, and why what he is saying isn’t okay. He doesn’t have the right to effect your confidence like he is. Be proud of your beautiful vagina, his words are only that, words. If you don’t listen to them, or know that his opinion doesn’t matter, then you will be in a better place.’
That’s when I decided to look at my labias, and REALLY look at them. How far they stretched. Are they wrinkly? What colour was on the inside. They didn’t cause discomfort, it was all psychological. Those lips are mine.
So here I am today, a few words from a guy helped me see that we all are different. Plus, I feel like I have the most intense orgasms ever. Just lip and clit stimulation makes me go insanely wild. I would say during sex, I orgasm 2-3 times because it’s easily attainable. I feel like if I cut the lips, I’m going to miss out on some of the best sex of my life.
That’s basically my long story! For me, it isn’t discomfort. It was what society and men wanted me to do, wanted me to look like. I guess it was mean of me to say men have only said negative things, because even my loving aunt was poorly educated on the different labia sizes and different types of vulvas. It’s crazy, because I challenge most girls to forget the media, cosmo, porn, everything. Would they love their labia? It’s a long process to answer that question, but for me, my answer is yes!”
Thanks so much for writing again, sharing your pain and your journey to acceptance and love for your vulva. Personally I feel that I can appreciate your prior anguish so much better, and I would love to give you a hug right about now. A virtual one will have to do. Seeing how one idiotic, ignorant and insensitive event led to another will, I am sure, resonate with a good many of the girls and women who read it. What you’ve written here will be really empowering to a lot of people, and I am so glad that you have taken the time to tell more of your story and how you’ve grown. Talk about hitting the jackpot - beautiful, smart, caring and the most gorgeous of vulva ever! :)That letter from your boyfriend sure had a profound impact on you, and he deserves a hug too. He’s probably right about educating guys, especially younger guys, with limited exposure to what real women actually look like. As much as it’s not our responsibility to cater for other people’s ignorance, in the end it’s in our best interests to act as educators. And being honest in any relationship, especially a sexual one, is always a very good idea. It still doesn’t mean you’re not being honest with a total arsehole, but with genuine guys being able to talk about insecurities up front will build even more intimacy.As I mentioned to you, you should be so proud of yourself for doing this, but also for embracing your beautiful, perfect vulva. That photo, shaped liked a diamond, is the best visual analogy, because your vulva are like the most precious and most desired of all gemstones. Perfect and sparkling.With much love,Emma
<3 <3 <3
Elle France August 28th, 1989
“La mode 89-90 des createurs”
Model: Rosumba Williams
Photographer: Gilles Bensimon
1. Geisha – which means artistic performer – have their roots in female entertainers dating as far back in Japan as the seventh century.
2. The highest concentration of modern-day geisha in the country today live Kyoto, mainly the Gion district.
3. Tokyo’s former pleasure district Asakusa was once home to around 1,000 geisha – a number that is believed to have dwindled to under 50 in recent years
4. Geisha traditionally live in an “okiya” – geisha house – in areas known as “hanamachi” – which translates as flower city.
5. Apprentice geisha known as “maiko” train in not only entertainment and formal arts but also in social skills – to enable them to build up a support network required to survive as a geisha.