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Wise Guys: Do Men Care What Labia Look Like?

Wed, Oct 13, 2010

Advice, Wise Guys

photo by robbie_jim

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What is the general consensus on women with big labia, or longer inner labia, or dark labia? Does it really matter? With the rise in labiaplasty surgery and all the adult men’s mags only showing only “neat and tidy” vulvas, it’s hard to figure out if this is just some manufactured porn ideal or a vast preference among men…?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

daniel_100Gay Single Guy (Daniel): If this is anything like the reference for cut versus uncut men (which would be the only way I could relate to this question, frankly), I’d have to say it’s probably just personal preference and if most of the men’s porn rags have neat and tidy, then that might just be the preference of the magazine editors. Big, dark, longer inner, whatever, it’s probably safe to say that a general consensus among men is CLEAN labia. After that, I’m sure it’s not a deal breaker.

mark_luczak_100Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): Cosmetically, a woman should feel completely comfortable with herself — confidence in oneself and one’s appearance is key. While I’ll certainly allow for any number of healthy avenues (diet, working out) toward as much visual improvement as one desires, being compelled explicitly by the “ideals” portayed in media and advertising and yes, porn, to go so far as to surgically alter oneself just to achieve this “perfection” seems a little overboard (and labiaplasty itself seems even an especially drastic thing to do).

As far as the male consensus, let me just say that if everything looked exactly the same, think how boring that would be. Those adult magazines simply don’t do justice to the great “variety” that is out there! Anyway, everyone being different in their own way is what makes us all special (not to go all Mr. Rogers). But seriously, if a guy is with someone he wants to be with for who she is as a complete person, how her labia look doesn’t really matter — he’s just thrilled to get to be intimate with her, and all her parts.

james_glazebrook_100Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): I’m not a fan of plastic surgery, but I concede that not everyone is blessed with the same perfect proportions as me — that is, a big enough head to comfortably support some seriously outsized features.

So I understand why someone would get his or her nose done. After all, it’s out there for all to see, at all times. As for people whose face is the secret to their success, the pressure to have photogenic features has meant that movie stars stretching back to Marilyn Monroe have been getting their faces “fixed.”

The same is true for porn stars and their most valuable assets, their professional pussies. Either the big, long and dark labia are all being nipped and tucked, or they aren’t making it off the casting couch. But whether they’re being physically cut, or simply being cut in the editing suite, “imperfect” labia aren’t finding their way into pornography.

While this may be creating some impossible standards among men (and women) who can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, for the rest of us it should be liberating. If your genitals aren’t frequently exposed to countless viewers, as long as they work, it doesn’t much matter what they look like. If you trust someone enough to let them down there, you should trust them not to put some alien porn ideal before your feelings or, more importantly, their chances of getting laid.

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Most Likely To; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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105 Responses to “Wise Guys: Do Men Care What Labia Look Like?”

  1. Handyman Says:

    I think all labias are beautiful.

  2. Chelsea B Says:

    So basically you are all saying that it does matter, you’re just being nice about it. So no long dark inner labia, they AREN’T preferred. If it’s what it in porn, it’s what in. Those are the facts, as you’ve stated. Great…I’m not going to get surgery and thankfully I’m in a long term relationship with someone who loves me. But if I were single, I’d still be self conscious after reading this article.

  3. Candice Says:

    I tend to think this obsession with the appearance of genitals is pretty much a modern and American thing. I am still bemused by it. People are struggling to make ends meet and find their soul mate and they care about the appearance of labia? Being of mixed race, I am exactly what is portrayed by some articles in the media as unattractive, yet have never had any negative feedback. In contrast, 100% of partners have found me fascinating and attractive. It’s about attraction and chemistry – genitals are not meant to look pretty, but to be functional and feel good. When everyone is happy and excited they will not worry about genital fashions or fads. Have confidence in yourself and worry about important things like values, fitness, health, personal development and grooming. BTW – we all know porn is a big fabrication of someone’s imagination – the real world is heaps more exciting and wonderful! Don’t let porn take away your self confidence or enjoyment of the real world! hrummph!!!!

  4. Judy Says:

    Amen to that Candice! When I think back to my teen years I could never have imagined that in addition to clothes, make-up, hair etc.,there would be a time that one’s most private area would be subject to scrutiny. Jesus, I am so glad that I grew up when I did when the world was less pornified.

  5. Hlynn Says:

    Agree with Chelsea B. Usually, the guys who post here are like ‘nope, that’s crazy,’ so I was surprised to read this piece about the beauty of an organ I do not even see in my day to day life. So basically, if you don’t have a porn body, guys will think you’re gross. Thanks.

  6. Chelsea B Says:

    I’m not a teenager and it would be unfair to say that after teen years, you grow out of being self conscious because we all know that it not true. Seriously, admit it to yourself.

    And I think we all know from experience, if you are naked in front of a guy, and he sees you have longer inner labia hes not going to say “ew, get dressed and leave. RIGHT NOW” No. He’s going to be glad your naked and hoping you’re not thinking about his extra stomach hair or the way one of his balls is bigger than the other. Big deal. No one cares. But it doesn’t make me any less self conscious. That’s how humans are.

  7. figleaf Says:

    First let’s talk about labia since that’s the main question: I think it’s a good idea to think of labia the same way you think of, say, ears, scrotums, tongues, or elbows — maybe in isolation you could say some are super-duper cute and others are unsightly. But a lot like elbows or scrotums how they look doesn’t really really matter because who sees them in isolation?

    Now let’s talk about labias in porn, since that’s the context of the question. At the end of the day a heck of a lot that happens in porn has at least as much to do with production and distribution as it does with what’s actually erotic.

    The sometimes grotesque positions would be one: there has to be a clear line of sight for the camera. “Money shots” would be another big one: wiping semen off skin takes a 10th the time it takes to squeeze it out of one’s orifices. Which takes us to the next oddity: while you’ll see plenty of semen (and, even more commonly, fake semen) you almost never see natural lubrication. People in porn evidently go through a lot of towels, in part, because the alternative is paying a lot more for laundry, upholstery cleaner, and rental damage deposits. (How erotic is that?!?!?)

    Tiny labia are another possible fallout: biggest “soft-core” porn companies pay a lot of attention to markets like hotel pay-per-view, and nations or states that are willing to tolerate porn as long as it doesn’t go “too far.” And one big measure — best exemplified by Australia’s domineering Classification Board — is “discreet genital detail.” By which they mean literal or no visible labia minora.

    With a result that, for instance, visible labia are photoshopped over or even right out of existence. Or, even better, unaroused models with very small labia are preferentially hired, and therefore are preferentially viewed.

    The problem with these shortcuts, time-savers, and censorship avoiding techniques is that without countervailing real-world sex education a lot of viewers end up believing that’s not just what people are supposed to do (money shots? seriously?) but also how they’re supposed to look (tiny labia? seriously?)

    Anyway, for really stupid reasons porn shortcuts end up having very real consequences. It’s definitely worth pushing back on this and other porn-induced cliches: It doesn’t feel as good when real men ejaculate outside their partner’s bodies. I’m pretty sure “reverse jackhammer” positions don’t feel good for anybody in real life. And, especially, real women get aroused during sex and real women don’t have airbrushed labia.


  8. Bill Says:

    Ladies, rest assured that the variations of that beautiful flower you’re sporting are not a subject for scrutiny with any but the most inexperienced and juvenile men.

    Personally, I’ve experienced a good deal of variety in the feminine form and the only time I’ve ever been turned off was when there was a lack of hygiene, and that was a deal breaker.

    As to the labias, those magnificent folds of pink or brown flesh, that create such visual excitement and immediate hunger…trust me, thrust them forward, arch your back and present them proudly. Any good man will take that as a cue to french kiss them deeply, to savor the feeling of them slipping between his lips and tongue and he will linger there for quite a long time.

  9. Shewolf68 Says:

    Thanks Bill…Wow…now I’m horny @ work!

    btw… seems like a moot point to ask a gay man about labia preference? I mean come on…

  10. Baby Bubbles Says:

    Not sure I understand Chelsea B’s comment. No one in the article was saying labia need to look good, but instead were celebrating the difference. I hope that was in response to comments that were deleted by Em & Lo and not a misreading..

  11. love vulva Says:

    Not exactly.. What is of much more importance down there is your PRESENCE of pubic hair ; regardless of amount, PERIOD.. i.e. DO NOT REMOVE ANY OF THE HAIR ON YOUR VULVA.. It is all beautiful & mainly designates that you ARE a woman vs. a girl..

  12. James Says:

    Wise Guys schmize guys
    I say give figleaf his or her own column!

  13. emandlo Says:

    Figleaf IS one of our rotating Wise Guys, plus we regularly feature him in our “Comments of the Week” because he is so sharp. Do a search for “figleaf” on our site to see many of his stellar contributions.

  14. Dannie Says:

    I like not having hair on my vulva because the sensations are better during sex. My active sexuality is directly connected to the fact that I am a woman and not a girl. Ergo, the pubic hair comment loses logic. Plus, this is supposed to be an article about things that would otherwise require surgery to physically alter; save the pubic hair debate for another article. I don’t want people telling me what to do with my own body hair any more than I want to be told what to do with any other aspect of my appearance. Pubic hair is not relevant here, and the debate itself is far more than tedious anymore.

  15. Black Iris Says:

    Thank you figleaf!!!! Very interesting insight into porn.

    I think Candice has a point. The guys are saying that we should be proud of what we have and not get surgery, but it does sound like something you would tell a person when you didn’t want them to feel bad. Try reading the column aloud to your wife or girlfriend and see if she lets you between her legs tonight.

    I guess the answer is, some guys do care and maybe porn is making a difference to them. I’m with Judy – I’m glad this kind of pressure wasn’t around when I was young.

  16. sasa Says:

    Not sure what Chelsea and Hlynn read but it sounds to me like the guys are saying that labias that are clean, fresh, warm, wet, ready and willing to be touched, tasted, celebrated, explored and enjoyed that belong to a welcoming secure, self confident and sexy woman who is right there with them are all beautiful. Men may like looking at picture perfect in porn but in reality they know there is a lot more to the real deal than looks alone.

  17. davidd Says:

    As long as they do what they are meant to do, Who Cares!

  18. maggie Says:

    As a fan of porn, a woman’s nabia in porn are
    usually quite unattractive. As someone who has decided to get pierced down there and searching through sites, I have realized that we have a much variety in looks down there then men do. As someone who vacations naked a couple weeks a year, it doesn’t matter.
    We’re all naked…we all look…we usually don’t care. some look better than the rest..some stand out quite a bit…
    But in the end, Like a guy, if you don’t know how to use it, you’re useless.

    Guys are much more sensitive about their size then men. It would take an awfully unfortunate labia for a man to think twice about having sex with you. I have never heard a guy said “you know, I’d totally do her but her labia is pretty gross.”

    Ladies, don’t worry. The person with the vagina makes the rules.

  19. MW Says:

    Figleaf is correct on all counts, but more importantly, I can remember being MUCH more turned off by women who were bizarrely self-conscious about their equipment or thought their own genitals were “gross” than I ever have been about any minor visual differences they had. Confidence and sex drive are far more important to a guy’s positive experience with you than the specifics of whether or not you look like some kind of idealized porn “norm”.

  20. jerry Says:

    how about ladies – do you care how mans penis looks like? Would you rather enjoy shaved or all matural?

  21. Skylark Says:

    To answer Jerry’s penis and Men’s pubic hair question. Its not how big the wand is but how they use it (If they get you off in other words.) And yes of course the man will get off too one way or another.

    Now, for the pubic hair question. To me I like “pubies” trimmed closely to the skin not shaved off just to reduce shaving irritation, and if the man does shave instead of just a close trim. Im sorry for him but there’s a risk of ingrown hair and rough stubble that will irritate the woman’s delicate flower (the pussy if you don’t mind my bluntness.)

  22. anna Says:

    I`m 39, have a beautiful body and love sex. My labia is kind of long i guess, but i have never had any complaints. Who cares? As i said i have a longish labia and have been told I have a beautiful vagina. I enjoy sleeping with men and women. I personally couldnt care less what a womans labia looks like as long as she takes care of personal hygiene. The full package is what counts. Men love real women and real vaginas. They’re so happy that theyre getting laid and so happy that you are into them, they could care less about the size of your labia

  23. Chocolat Says:

    Labia, smabia. All looks are intriguing to connoisseurs of sensuality, I think… As for penises, visually all intrigue me but my personal preference for tasting: uncircumsized.

  24. Jeffrey Says:

    It’s alot like being offered a ride in the rain by someone in a Porsche over someone in a Honda. I’d be too happy to be out of the rain to complain about the type of car. When a woman trusts me enough, and wants me enough to allow me there, I’m not concerned about hair or no hair, long labia or tiny, moist or dripping wet, dark or pink, I’m just happy to be there.

    Of course, as a man, I have preferences, but that’s back to a blue Honda or a red Porsche. Either way, I’m more thankful she allowed me to drive, and wanted to be along for the ride.

  25. Christina Says:

    WOW BILL, You sure know how to write. Dam! haha
    Well I hope that any women who are reading this article do not question their beauty. I have never met a man who ever said anything except “That was awesome” or “Lets do that again” . :)
    We are all different, and that is real life!

  26. Christina Says:

    OH and JERRY, a little “man”scaping is preferred. Just a little..

  27. paula Says:

    wow, im impressed. i also use to be concern about my long labia and i have never felt comfortable standing naked in front of a guy, becouse i m so ashamed of how my labia looked like but after reading all these comments, i have gain confidence and i well not be ashamed anymore.

  28. Ellen Says:

    It seems from some of the comments that the only thing the original writers could have said that would be OK would be to say, “No matter what women look like, they are all equally beautiful to every man.” And that’s just not true. People DO have preferences. If you set yourself up to believe that they don’t, then you’re going to fall harder when you’re faced with reality.

    I have non-porn-star labia. I would never insist that every man on the planet pretend that mine are gorgeous. What IS important to me is that I not be judged on labia looks alone. I’m a package deal–body, mind, soul. When someone loves me, he loves all of me–and yes, that means in spite of some physical flaws. It doesn’t mean the physical flaws (I have acne, for example) aren’t there. It means they’re not my defining feature.

    If someone really feels they can’t be confident in front a man who doesn’t think their labia are porn-star quality… I’m not sure I even know where to begin with that, because somehow I doubt the insecurity ends with the labia question.

    Is it OK to NOT be physically beautiful? Can one still find love and happiness? My life says yes.

  29. Kelly Says:

    well, I have an opposite “problem” (if it can be defined as a problem)…I have small labia minora (so small, they are only visible if you spread the outer lips)…this seems to be what most women say that they want, but to me , I feel like mine should be at least a little bigger…I wonder sometimes if I look like a “little girl” because I shave also and that’s pretty much what it looks like!…so guys, do any of you think men get turned off by that look? I mean, I look at porn with my boyfriend sometimes, and all of the women who he thinks are sexy have the longer labia that sticks out!!…UGH!

  30. Candice Says:

    Perhaps we should differentiate with what a man might say when viewing porn and what he might feel when involved in real sex. My observation is that a preference might be expressed when viewing many pornographic images, but that any thought of being picky over labia size just disappears when things are getting exciting. It’s like a lady might compare male models, but not feel that her portly darling with thinning hair is anything but totally the answer to her dreams!

  31. brett Says:

    Nah,i love a woman for who she is,not what she has.Ive NEVER in my entire life heard another guy complain,joke about or berate a woman’s ladybits down there.Im sure it has happened before though but most likely by a very clueless,insensitive and uneducated albeit miniscule number of guys out there.:)

  32. danny d Says:

    I definitely get way more turned on by women with small inner labias. If all a woman was, was a vagina… I’d want her to have a perfect symmetrical pink little tiny vagina, because that would be all I’d ever see. In the real world it’s not that important at all. Like other people have said it’s the whole package. I’ve never met a vulva I didn’t enjoy kissing and having sex with, but I do have my favorites. Women can’t get mad or upset or hurt by that either because if a guy had a 2 inch penis he would definitely not be her favorite.

  33. mdg Says:

    Seriously…..? Lol… meat curtins are fucking disgusting. A woman should have a nice closed innie slit. Anything else is grotesque, and she should get it addressed.

  34. Gangsta Says:

    I donts like pussys that look like roast beef vaginas. I is talking the kind thats looking like a sandwitch. That shits gross get it fixed. IF you shit all to big on one side and the other is shorter that is gross get it fixed. Also if you clit to small you kids going to have small penises. I will dump you just for that. All these problems I have seen in white girls the sistas are perfict. Probably why the white man is geneticly inferiour.

  35. gangsta = racist Says:

    Its okay Gangsta everyone knows dat most of da brothas can’t live up 2 da myth…thats prolly why your mad about your small black penis.

  36. jrf Says:

    to mdg: That’s a disgusting thing to say. You even used the word “should”..but you don’t get to decide how someone’s body should look. There are variations. It is what it is. Work on your own attitude instead of suggesting surgery to people.

  37. EvenSteven Says:

    1.) Porn is a product, it is subject to heavy Photoshop, digital alteration, and CGI. I work in advertising/design, you’d be surprised at the minor details that are edited for the viewing pleasure of the consumer and to create a constant state of illusion for the buyer. There’s obvious stuff like editing out flub on bikini models, but I’ve even had to go in and edit cuticles, even out nail length, ad a hit of green to a blue eye, add a hint of gold to a brown eye. It gets silly folks.

    2.) NEVER heard of a man having a problem with the look of a woman’s genitalia with whom he was sexually active. Never heard a complaint or an off-color comment or an expectation that it look like his favorite porn stars.

  38. Julia Says:

    I also have an issue with my big labia. Personally, I dont think it’s ugly or unagreeable, but many of you you have stated that you have never heard people joke or talk shit about big vag lips, which is bullshit. Ive seen many examples if people putting down women with large labia. Not just boys my age (who have only ever seen the “porn version” of a vagina) but older men on television etc. And this negative perception in society is what has caused me to feel insecure about my body. It just frustrates me that the boys of my generation are only familiar with the over-exposed porn vagina, and now my body will be considered abnormal, ugly and unacceptable in society. I hope this gets fixed soon.

  39. f Says:

    the way your labia looks, but there are not a majority, and you certainly don’t need to get naked around them. The guys (girls if one day you find out you’re gay or bi) who’ll like your pussy because playing with it is a good way to make you squirm with pleasure, regardless of its shape will show up, just chose those. Good luck, and much love!

  40. f Says:

    Oh, and I was talking to Julia.

  41. a man Says:

    if its ugly get one of those plasty deals and then youll be gold

  42. Jenn Says:

    i h8 mine

  43. Darling Says:

    I am thinking of having a labiaplasty as i too am bombarded by vaginas that are all neat! Mine is not to bad but do have longer labia inside and i am starting to feel very very insecure about it. my partner and i watch porn but now i just feel small when we watch it, feel like a mess to be honest compared to these girls. I know its porn and they have prob have had surgery but i wonder does my bf like watching because they are so neat and tidy. I feel like shit!

  44. Bettyboo Says:

    Darling – you’re bombarding yourself! You’re not getting dinky neat little shaven havens thrown at you as you walk down the street! Had I not sought out porn as an adult the number of vulvas i would have seen so far would have been 3.. my own, my mum’s (not in close up! just a relaxed, human body is normal kind of family..)and the rather alarming magazine my friend found that belonged to her dad when we were about 12.. (she was dressed as a school girl and had a pencil where pencils should not be.. it stuck with me :0/) So, as I didn’t start looking at online naked people till my early 30′s the only feedback I had about my pussy was from lover’s, who have all been complimentary so my body image for that part was and is positive whether I’m porn perfect or not :0) If you’re BF seems to like what you’ve got he’s probably watching them for the same reason you are, because he likes seeing naked people have sex, and in porn naked people only come in one,unrealistic but perfect for film, neat, tweaked and tidy form..

  45. Johnny Says:

    Here’s a little something I learned from a bona-fide porn actress: they air brush their privates.

    Now, I’d heard that before, but I thought “airbrushing” was some kind of post-production editor’s effect.

    Nope. It’s a fucking spray can that they use to paint the womens’ vaginas and bungholes right on set. When the make-up starts to wear off, the airbrush guy comes in and sprays her again, mid-scene.

    Ever see a celebrity in person? Meh. Never as hot as they are on-screen after three hours of professional make-up. The vagina is no different. Don’t assume that piglet-pink pussy you’re so jealous of is naturally that color at all.

  46. girly girl hotness Says:

    Wow…i have exes wanting me still and they could care less if my labia sticks out a lil…its like a lil touge saying ill tounge u first…hahaha

  47. Brii Says:

    Well, I’m a teen and I’v noticed that my Libias aren’t perfect. Their pink, and they are kind of long. It’s hard these days, knowing all my friends have been further then me. But honestly,I guess if a guy goes down there and doesn’t like it, it’s his problem.
    It’s just hard to think that in the moment. He could spread the word around the school…
    But whatever.

  48. Johnny Says:

    ^This is just about the only time you’ll ever hear my say this, Brii, but play it conservatively with your sexuality for now.

    You’re right about boys “spreading the word around school”, whatever that “word” may be. These are high school boys we’re talking about. They ABSOLUTELY WILL repeat whatever goes down (har har, no pun intended). If the guys you hook up with are jerks, they’ll tell everybody what you two did. If they’re nice guys, they’ll only tell their closest friends (who will then tell everybody what you did).

    There is no such thing as discretion in high school. Every detail of your sexual encounter will become everyone’s business by third period.

    If I sound anxious on your behalf, it’s because I was traumatized back in the day when the girl who deflowered me talked shit about my performance around the lunchroom table. Even the dorkiest virgins in school laughed at me. It was humiliating and scarred me for life.

    Save it for college, that’s what I say.

  49. JONATHAN . jjunjucc@yahoo.com Says:

    oh i wanna cry if i dont see any labia down there …well iam in africa but trust me women with big labia lips are far too sexy cause i love to play with them ,suck on them, tease them with ma pole etc i cant leave with out them i swear.

  50. Amy Lee Says:

    Well,I have large labia and I was hoping to get some assurance from all these men that have commented and I gotta say,I’m even more self concious. I feel as if I will end up alone because of it and I don’t want to have surgery. The only comment that has made me feel a little better was ” If a man loves you,he shouldn’t be put off why what your labia looks like. If he is,he’s obviously not worth your time.” On here it’s all about the ‘perfect’ porn star labias. Which I don’t have,unfortunately…

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