If you have never asked yourself this question, then great. But if you feel that your vulva has some irregularity, do not think that it can be something abnormal. Like the breasts, the shape of the eyes or the colour of the nipples, the vulvas can be very different. Each vulva is unique and specific to each person, so there is not necessarily a “normal” or standard shape, but the idea prevails that it should be small, pink, and with discreet inner lips and well protected under the outer lips . This image, which is associated with the “perfect” vulva, has created many complexes and has led some women to resort to aesthetic interventions to beautify their appearance.
To combat this idea, many voices have been raised that precisely want to claim the variety of this part of the female anatomy and break taboos, false beliefs and prejudices. One of the best known is @the.vulva.gallery , an Instagram profile created by the Dutch illustrator Hilde Atalanta, whose goal is to show or “celebrate”-as she explicitly indicates in her profile – the diversity of this part of the female anatomy. The account has 780,000 followers and collects more than 1,300 different illustrations, which the author has made from real photographs, and it is not the only initiative of its kind. In fact, VOGUE magazine dedicated an article to show the work of many artists who, through their profiles, claim the presence and detailed knowledge of this female organ: @thisisavulva, @joelizaharrison, @naqvi_sarah, @curatedbygirls, @gab. lissot… “For them, it is a way of fighting against past stigmas surrounding female sexuality,” the author commented.
All of them show that reality is very different: there are women who have longer inner lips than outer ones, asymmetries between them or variations in the colour of the skin and mucous membranes that can range from dark brown to pink. The inner lips can also protrude over the outer ones, and the folds of skin that cover the vulva are sometimes thick and sometimes thin, so the outer or inner lips can be left uncovered and more or less exposed to the outside, like the clitoris, which can protrude or be almost hidden. It is also common for the inner lips to be darker or have a different tone than the outer ones, and all these possibilities fall within what is considered normal and natural. Nevertheless,
In addition to claiming the variety, these accounts also show the ignorance that, in general, many women have of their own body. Many of the women who come to her consultation confess that they have never seen their vulva or observed how they look. her genitals, something she recommends doing with a mirror in hand: “all women should do it throughout the different stages of their lives, and especially in youth, before inserting a tampon or a menstrual cup or having their first intercourse sexual with penetration, to get to know your own body and your erogenous zones better, as well as stimulate yourself”, he indicated.
In fact, it is a problem that has been dragging on for a long time, because there is a lack of good sexual education and truly useful information. “There are women who feel pain or bleed during their first sexual intercourse or when putting in their first tampon and believe that it is normal, but it is not. An incorrectly placed tampon or a bad first sexual experience can trigger vaginismus (involuntary contracture of the vaginal muscles), which, if not explained and treated, can lead to dysfunctions that could have been avoided with good sexual education and better prior self-knowledge” , he explained.
On the other hand, during menopause changes are also experienced: the lips become thinner and hydration and volume are lost, which can favour vaginal infections and also the appearance of pain during penetration, due to vaginal dryness caused by the decrease in estrogenic. For this reason, it is essential to consult any problem and carry out regular gynaecological check-ups.
Luckily, things are changing, female sexuality is in fashion and mental and social openness in this area is helping to normalize and naturalize many aspects related to women, their bodies and their sexuality, as well as making visible issues that , until very recently, it was hardly talked about in public, such as the taboos that still surround menstruation, vaginismus, the physical sequelae that pregnancy entails, silenced abortions, perinatal mourning… These are issues that are of great interest to many women, but they are hardly discussed, not even in gynaecology consultations. However, it is essential that they are discussed and consulted, because they influence our physical and emotional well-being and also our health and quality of life.
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