Dear Dr. Kate: Are My Labia Normal?

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

My inner labia hangs down lower than my outer labia. I’ve always been self-conscious about this. You don’t see it very often in porn. How common (or freakishly uncommon) is this? And what do you think about labiaplasty to tidy them up?

— Hanging Out

Dear Hanging Out,

Actually, most women’s labia minora (inner lips) extend beyond the outer lips. It’s also common to have one labia that’s longer than the other — like our boobs and feet, we don’t always have the same sizes of our matched sets. So why don’t we see this reflected in porn? For the same reasons that most women have stretch marks and cellulite but you’ll never see them on a model: ads and porn are simply not meant to reflect reality. So please don’t have a doctor take a knife to your lady parts in pursuit of some ideal. Labiaplasty puts you at risk of bleeding, infection, scarring, and chronic pain…not the things you want to associate with your genitals. And there’s no need to take that risk when there’s nothing wrong with you.

— Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. 

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18 Comments on "Dear Dr. Kate: Are My Labia Normal?"

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swagga girl

WOW!!!!! this has helped me soo much i am a young adult. i would like to just thank all of your post . i was hella inacure about my labia and now after reading this i know a guy has to accept me for who i am not for what i have. the surgey is not worth it after all and its all because of this website i decided not to doo the surgrey 🙂

blah blah

blah…that’s really not true. most women swear that size is not important – the majority of women consistently choose ‘character’ – ‘good sense of humour’ ‘trustworthiness’ over looks. but it seems like you’re just looking to vent against women so i don’t suppose you are much interested in reality.


Yes,isn’t funny how women are apologists and ego stroke amongst themselves when it comes to their bodies..yet these same women will take off the kid gloves when it comes to critiqing the male body and spew their poison and scorn upon the opposite sex.Double standards,hypocrisy and misandry.Everything they accuse men of being they are 10 times guilty of worse


@SS I was thinking the same thing lol hilarious!

@Dr. P. Rapoport: “NSFW” isn’t “presumptuous and narrow,” it is a commonly used courtesy to warn people who may be looking at a website in a work environment where viewing nudity would be, at best, frowned-upon, and in the worst case, cause for dismissal. I don’t make assumptions about what “everyone’s” work is, but I do make the assumption that some of the people reading this blog are in traditional work environments. If “NSFW” is a lazy euphemism, what would you suggest as an alternative? “This Picture Contains Nudity Which Is Perfectly Natural And Okay To Display If You Work… Read more »
Dr. P. Rapoport

Unmentioned here is Joani Blank’s ground-breaking book “Femalia,” containing many photos of vulvas. No one looking at it would conclude that there is such a thing as a typical vulva.

Dr. P. Rapoport

Wonderful, Dr. Kate and Mademoiselle L. Thank you.

But (to others), can we get rid of the euphemism “NSFW”? I resent remarks making assumptions about what everyone’s work is. That abbreviation is a lazy euphemism and usually represents a judgement made by the writer that should not be made.

If some sort of nudity is the only thing that qualifies as NSFW, then this country is in a lot worse situation than anyone knows. The label is presumptuous and narrow.

If “labia” is the plural (as it is), then “labium” is the singular. “Labium majorum” or “minorum,” of course.