10 Reasons Your “Ugly Vagina” Is Normal and Gorgeous

Dear Em & Lo,

A male acquaintance recently started a conversation about “ugly” vaginas with my friends and me. He said that some vaginas resemble “kebabs” and that a lot of guys are really put off sex when they get a hot girl naked and find that her vagina isn’t as “neat” as they imagined it would be. It made me feel really self-conscious about my own, even though I never have been before.

Anyways, as I have never really seen many vaginas before, I decided to Google “ugly vaginas.” I was curious about what an ugly vagina actually is, and whether mine was one of them. Oh my god! I was shocked. What I thought was normal is actually “kebab-like”!!!! There were images of “beautiful” and “ugly” vaginas. The Vagina Institute in particular compares the two. The “beautiful” ones have plump outer labia and you can’t see the inner labia poking out from them…but the ugly ones are just like mine, when you can see the inner lips slightly.

It has made me feel so self-conscious. I hate to think of my ex and future partners being turned off by my vagina, especially as I try to keep it neat by trimming and waxing! Now I feel like growing a bush to try and hide my lips!! The horrible things is, I think when I was younger my vagina was more beautiful (I’ve seen the pictures of me running around naked on the beach as a child)…at least it looked more like the beautiful vagina pictures. It looked more like a little bottom than an adult vagina. Do you think that I have made it look worse by having lots of sex or something? Or is it just where I am older (I am 22 now). Can you have surgery on your vagina? I really want my inner lips to be made smaller. Is it possible?

–“Ugly” Betty

Dear U.B.,

Oh man. Where do we start? We could write an entire book on this topic. And it would involve a lot of ranting and swear words. Let’s try for the abridged version.

First of all, the bad news: We hate to say it, but yes, there are plenty of guys out there who, like your pal, use terms like “roast beef” or “kebab” to describe what they consider to be “ugly vaginas.” (Ignoramuses! The correct terminology for external female genitalia is vulvas, not vaginas, so we’ll be using that from here on out.) We wish we didn’t live in the kind of world where sexist idiots come up with insulting names for female anatomy, but damn it, we do, and much as we’d like to lie to you and tell you that all guys are just happy to get access to any vulva, no matter what it looks like, we can’t.

These same guys will probably tell you (if you ply them with enough drinks) that a so-called “ugly vagina”, where the inner lips protrude beyond the outer lips, looks that way because the woman has had too much sex. And this is why they find “imperfect” genitalia a turn-off — it makes them think the vagina has too much “mileage.”

First of all, what the double-standard fuck? But second, they’re flat-out wrong. Sex does not make your labia “grow.” Let’s say that one more time: The size and shape of a woman’s labia has nothing to do with the number of notches on her bedpost.

But now the good news: Just because some guys think this way, doesn’t mean they all do. Nor does it mean you have to put up with it. Say no to vulva prejudice! Here are ten things you should know that may help you fight the good fight.

1. Even though seedy quack operations like the Vagina “Institute” (no link for them, they’re assholes) will tell you that vulvas like yours are “abnormal,” they’re not. There’s no such thing as abnormal when it comes to labes. (Okay, maybe if you could play hackysack with your inner labia, that would be a bit abnormal.) Labia come in all shapes and sizes. Most women’s aren’t symmetrical, and it’s incredibly common for a woman’s inner labia to protrude beyond the outer labia. (It’s for this reason that we always use the terms “inner labia” and “outer labia” rather than “labia majora” and “labia minora,” which falsely represent the scale).

2. You know the only place where the vast majority of vulvas do look “perfect” (i.e. the same)? Porn. And it’s for the same reason that most of the ladies in porn have big boobs: It’s a job requirement, so if they weren’t born that way, they go under the knife to get that way. It stands to reason, therefore, that guys who watch a ton of porn are more likely to have strong (and wrong) opinions about your labia. Check out this Australian (NSFW!) report on how porn is responsible for the rise in labiaplasty operations.

3. Yes, you can have surgery on labia. And NO, YOU SHOULD NOT EVEN CONSIDER DOING THIS. If you don’t believe us, Dr. Kate says the same thing. Your labia are full of nerve endings. Every day we are inundated with letters from women saying they can’t orgasm–and you want to lessen your chances?!! Labiaplasty (that’s the “technical” term) to trim your inner lips definitely won’t make sex feel better for you, and it definitely could make sex less pleasurable or even painful.

4. The more a guy is into you, the less likely he is to give a shit what your vulva looks like. Sure, there are some guys out there who have an unbending aesthetic preference, love be damned, just as there are some women out there who can’t imagine sticking it out with a guy who’s less than average-sized. But just as most women will overlook a man’s size if they’re in love with the man attached to that penis, so too will most men learn to love your labia. Hey, it’s not the worst thing in the world to hold off on getting naked with a guy until you’re sure he likes you for more than just your genitals.

5. Some of our best friends have classic “ugly” vaginas. And you know what? Anecdotally speaking, they may enjoy sex a little more. Like we said, the inner labia are chock-full of nerve endings, and they encase the clitoral head, which means that during intercourse, there’s a whole lot more friction going on. Friction = stimulation = Big Os for her. So there, you vulva fascists.

6. You know what we think is ugly? That plucked-chicken look a vulva gets a few weeks after a full Brazilian (or sometimes even a few days after). Sure, maybe that makes us vulva fascists, too, but we’re just saying is all: Back before people started taking it all off down there, nobody stressed out about their “ugly vagina”, so far as we know. We don’t think you should opt for re-growth to “hide” your vagina–you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of–but you should know that nobody’s adult vulva looks like a little girl’s, with or without pubic hair. So stop trying!

7. And you know what? We’re kind of glad that nobody’s adult vulva looks like a little girl’s. Who wants their vulva to look like a 7-year-old’s? Or a little mini tushy on a kid? That’s some fucked up shit!

8. Next time you’re feeling self-conscious about a body part, do NOT Google it. The Web is overrun with horny 13-year-olds who have unlimited access to porn and very limited knowledge of real women.

9. Libraries are supposed to be “neat.” Office cubicles are supposed to be “neat.” A lawyer’s side part is supposed to be “neat.” Your labia are not.

10. If, like us, you wish we didn’t live in this kind of world, then start changing it, one man at a time: Educate your guy friends. Don’t sleep with men who make you feel self-conscious about your vulva. Do sleep with men who feel self-conscious about their penises. Better yet, find the kind of guy who likes longer inner labia — there are plenty! — and reward him. Educate your female friends. Love your vulva.

Yes, we just lit a patchouli-scented candle.

Em & Lo

Now that you love your vadge, here are 
10 Easy Ways to Keep Your Vagina Healthy

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192 Comments on "10 Reasons Your “Ugly Vagina” Is Normal and Gorgeous"

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3 days 20 hours ago

woman’s inner labia to protrude beyond the outer labia. (It’s for this reason that we always use the terms “inner labia” and “outer labia” rather than “labia majora” and “labia minora,” which falsely represent the scale). WTF a labia majora is the outer part of the vagina. the labia minora is lips full stop.whether they stay hidden in the outer wall(labia majora, or they show ) they are two totally different parts,,your lips ” are your labia minora,whether they show or not.

1 month 29 days ago

As a 29 year old guy who’s been with a decent amount of women, I can honestly say no vagina is ugly. They are all different, unique and beautiful.

Do I have a preference? Sure, I prefer there are outer lips sticking out as it reminds me I am with an adult woman and not a pre-pubescent teenager.

This whole “neat” or “roast beef” thing is just immature and stupid. If a guy mentions that, I say run as he has issues of his own.

Lets face it, The lips have to be big enough that you notice them or else it’s just like “Where’s the rest of it?”

1 year 2 months ago

Oh and btw,FYI. The only time i have EVER gotten off while actually having sex was with a guy who has what society says is a very small penis. So size ain’t everything guys, just saying.

1 year 2 months ago

Ok, so I am 22. I have rather large lips too, have always been that way. I hate it. Ive actually cried. And then I had kids. They didn’t really change, at all. Ive wanted surgery as long as ive known its been out, but my husband tells me im crazy for even thinking that way. Yet he is one of those men who watch ALOT of porn, and to be honest I truly hate him for it, so we are splitting up. Anyways, I want surgery because I hate the way I look down there. I’ve made him understand that if he wants oral, I get it too. The End. But it makes me wonder if it grosses him out, I’ve only just started to let him go down on me cause of my embarrassment. He tells me I’m dumb for wanting a boob job and some work down there, yet he is consistently ruining our marriage by watching porn with girls that have naturally larg boobs and *supposedly naturally small lips. WTF do I do? Leave his hypocritical @$$ for someone else, or just stick with it feeling absolutely miserable about my self???

2 months 20 days ago

I realize this post is a year old BUT i just read it and have a responce i hope Divinity reads.I am a LOT older than you but I have similar issues while i like the way my lips etc… look i want a boob lift and tummy tuck REALLY BAD.My husband (He is several years YOUNGER than me)also tells me im crazy and our sex like is good!! I have tried to explaine that it is a self image thing with me of what i used to look like you know tight firm everything.Im still slim with natural DDD boobs that are not as high or firm (DAMN AGING)as they used to be and i have a tummy pooch(I HATE POOCH MOST OF ALL) After watching some porn(MY IDEA) by myselfand with him later.He was surprised i brought porn into the room as i used to find it offensive there’s that low self -esteem again. I have decided i still look pretty good and focus on the pleasure of whats going on and not that he sees my pooch or droop..Sure most of the porn stars (female as well as male)look good but some just have UGLY PARTS!!!! So Divinity if you truly hate him go find happiness for yourself(If you havent already) but if there is hope watch the porn with him ask him which ps turns him on or off and you to will see they all are NOT good bodied beauties.

1 year 5 months ago


Don’t listen to Dexter. He’s just an older guy still trying to get into the pants of young women, and he’s playing on your insecurities. For God’s sakes, he even recommended that if you are in your mid-teens (MID-TEENS!) to find a much older man! WTH? Stay with the young men while you can–the older man is automatically better myth is just that, a myth.

I don’t know your exact age, but to give you some perspective, I have large, protruding inner labia, more than the 3cm you say you have. I had three lovers in my late teens to mid-twenties (the same age as I). All three of them were absolutely enthralled with my pussy. None of them were put off in the slightest. Just the opposite, actually. I know that for two of them, mine were the first large ones they had ever encountered, and all three went crazy for them.

If you’re really worried, wait for someone you love, who loves you (yes, the old love thing is still alive and well and still makes a difference). And the guy you had sex with, who said it was amazing? Believe him! Light’s off or not, he knows what you have, and how he felt.

1 month 29 days ago

Just gotta say I loved your post Anna, I really dig your self confidence and your don’t give a shit attitude. Huge turn on for us guys. Nothing better than a woman is proud of what she’s got and isn’t afraid to show it.

I def would be one of those guys that was “enthralled” with those lips for sure.

Ladies, stop being so sensitive and kick these jack asses to the curb that aren’t happy with what you got because I am sure there’s plenty of other guys that would go ape shit for you.

just my two cents.

Em & Lo
1 month 29 days ago

And Mike, we dig your attitude!