The Long and the Short of Labia

I hear from women all the time about how they worry about whether their vulvas are “normal”. They’ve somehow gotten the idea that everyone must look the same down there. Perfectly sized labial folds and demure little clitorises. I spend a lot of time reminding them that everyone is indeed, unique. Clitorises can be small or large (bigger than a thumb at times), but the real worry most women have is that their labia is too long, too wrinkly or uneven or too “scrotal” like. Which isn’t surprising as the labia minora and majora (inner and outer) are our exact physiological counterparts to men’s scrotums. Some women are even unhappy with the color of their labial skin with varying hues from light pink to plum. 

the long and the short of labiaYes, there are doctors doing cosmetic surgery of women’s vulva’s and vaginas by  tightening, tucking and trimming. But from all the feedback I have been privy to, these procedures are not to be taken lightly. They can be extremely painful and sometimes lead to problems with sensation. I’ve heard from plenty of women who have been unhappy with their results as well. These surgeries are for the most part completely unnecessary, and bank on women’s insecurities. The motive for having these surgeries lie mostly in the insecurity women feel about their bodies. They somehow feel so overtly “different” from what everyone else out there has, that they feel the need to conform by seeing a surgeon. They don’t want to turn a partner off by having long labia.

However, I’ve found that for every man that likes a tight looking vulva, there are plenty of men who love long labia. And having talked to many average guys, most of them don’t really care either what their partner’s labia looks like or they simply learn to love however their partner looks.

If you are looking for some proof of the variety of vulvas out there, I suggest you check out the book, Femalia. The entire book shows close up, color photos of women’s vulvas in all their beauty.


 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

© Copyright Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk