How (and Why) to Have Sex with the Lights On

photo via flickr

Last week a reader named Candi posted the following comment about her sexual insecurities in response to our article “10 Reasons Your ‘Ugly Vagina’ Is Normal and Gorgeous”:

I’m so glad to find this site, but I’m still a bit insecure when it comes to my vulva. Reading through all these comments about long and short inner labia make me feel even more of a freak, because one side of my inner labia is short and pink while the other is long and dark. It’s so uneven. Thank goodness I married a man who loves me for me (stretch marks and all), though we still make love with the lights out per my request.

Which made us think four things:

  1. This woman has an awesome husband.
  2. This woman needs a hug.
  3. This woman has no idea how normal she is — uneven labia with mismatched colors are incredibly common.
  4. This woman is missing out by never leaving the lights on.

We would tell her all this, except we kind of already did, in our original article that she responded to. What we think she needs instead is to hear all of this from you, kind and wise readers. We figure, the more people who tell this woman that she is normal and has nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, the better she’s going to feel in bed.

Will you do it? We know you’re up to the challenge! Leave your advice on why and how she should have sex with the lights on in the comments section below.



  1. But how much time in an average lovemaking session does one even spend looking at labia? Surely if one were uncomfortable about a certain body part being looked at, one could say, ‘don’t look at it’, to one’s understanding longtime partner. And then you would get to look at him – which is a lovely lovely thing to do with the lights on.

  2. Can I share something really personal? I learned how erect penises are “supposed” to look from a very rough sketch in a “sex education” book I stumbled across.

    My penis didn’t look like that. At all! At ALL!

    I realized then and there that I was a deformed freak! Unlike the image, which stuck straight out like a spar on a sailboat my penis curved up. And up! Mine had veins. And the tube of the urethra wasn’t buried inside the penis, it ran along the underside.

    I was so freaked out, for so long, that no woman could ever stand the horror that was my penis.

    So freaked out that when my first partner asked if she could touch it I broke down and confessed my shame. She was sorrowful as I but said she loved me anyway and wanted to “try” touching it anyway.

    I said ok. But only in the dark. And when the time came I was so anxious… terrified!… that I nearly cried.

    She touched it, and didn’t run screaming from the room.

    Neither of us had ever seen a real erection. Except mine.

    It wasn’t till I became partners with a woman who’d had sex with other men that…

    I was actually perfectly normal.

    Just like your labia are perfectly normal.

    I’ll go one step further: I’m a straight male so my penis just… doesn’t seem terribly attractive to me. Normal or not. Sounds like you’re a straight woman, right? And so it’s unlikely you’re really set up to appreciate your own vulva either.

    Even if your partner didn’t love you, adore you, lust after you, and care madly and passionately about you he’d still probably have a favorable bias towards your party-colored labia that… you may never share. And for this reason too you’re not the best person to judge whether you’re a “freak” or not. Any more than poor teenaged me was the best judge of my own parts.

    Last point: as I (eventually) found out, it’s way better to get it over with and find out than fearing to the point of tears for years on end. And as with me you’re almost certainly going to find out that, as Em & Lo say above, you’re perfectly normal.

    Good luck!


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