During sex education lessons when we were at school, we were asked to come up to the board one by one and write down a slang word we’d heard describing vaginas – or vulvas if we’re being specific. Wizard’s sleeve, beef curtains, vertical bacon sandwich, ham wallet; we got the lot. You’ll notice though, if you’re the owner of said genitalia, that these words tend to refer to your labia, and tend to be said in a derogatory way. This starts the thoughts off young: ‘Are my labia wrong somehow?’
Throw in the comments about sausages up driveways and people being ‘loose’ and you’ve got a fully-fledged complex, my friend. At Getting Freaky we’ve looked at all sorts of – frankly, f***ed up – things. In comparison this is tame, but it’s a sexual misconception that’s been touted for generations, and it’s having detrimental effects on women as a result. It only takes one glance at the badwomensanatomy subreddit to realise that plenty of adults still believe that your labia are less like body parts and more like elastic bands that lose their give with more use, becoming longer each time.
These same adults may also believe that your vaginal canal can become wider or looser with more use. Some even think that if you have sex with someone with a larger penis, you ‘mould’ to the shape of it and can no longer accommodate different shaped or sized penises. Safe to say, this is all completely untrue. Let’s look at labia in particular. There were reports in 2016 of a 39% spike in women getting labiaplasty, which could be for a number of reasons, but is no doubt rooted in some sort of idea that our labia are not ‘normal.’ Does it tie in with the idea of people keeping a ‘body count’ (with lower answers being deemed more acceptable for women)? Does it have something to with the type of vulvas we see in porn? It’s impossible to tell for sure, but we can all draw from our own experiences. For me, growing up, the message was clear: The more sexual partners you have, the more of a ‘wizard’s sleeve’ appearance you take on. Now, I’ve done a bit of shagging my time (humblebrag, much?).
Enough to know that this theory is complete bollocks, and is best left in our teen years along with those porno mags that someone mysteriously found in the woods. My own labia might have just been some anomaly, though, so I spoke to Dr. Jennifer Dhingra. She told Metro.co.uk out and out: ‘Having more sex doesn’t permanently increase the size of the labia, nor does it affect the overall shape.’ (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) You might notice a slight change during or after you have sex, however. Dr. Jennifer continues: ‘During arousal, there is increased blood flow to the genitals, and the labia (majora and minora), along with other parts of the vulva, become engorged. This increase in blood flow also allows the genitals to become lubricated.
However, these changes are not long lasting, and the genitals will return to their pre-aroused state.’ There are some reasons why your labia might look different to usual. For example, ‘conditions like thrush, allergies or some STIs can also cause swelling of the vulva and vagina, as well as symptoms like itching, discomfort, reddening and pain during sex.’ Similarly, if your Bartholin ducts, located near your labia minora, are blocked, there could be issues. Dr. Jennifer explains: ‘Sometimes these ducts can become blocked and cause localised swelling known as ‘cysts,’ which can make the labia look more swollen. If the cysts become large, they can cause discomfort and pain, and sometimes they can become infected.’ If you’re worried about a change in your labia, head to your GP rather than your cosmetic surgeon. Some people do have issues with discomfort due to their labia chafing, which again is something you should address with your GP. No one labia is normal or abnormal. As Dr. Jennifer says, they come in ‘all different shapes and sizes, and it is perfectly normal for them to be neither symmetrical nor the same colour as your skin tone.’ If a sexual partner is pulling on your labia to the point you feel they’re stretching, please ask them to cease and desist. Unless that’s your thing, of course. In a standard sexual interaction when you’re lubricated and aroused, your labia shouldn’t be in any discomfort. I’d be more worried about the lack of skill being brought to your bed than whether they might not find your parts attractive after tugging at them. There’s essentially no logic to the whole thing. If it was true, why would most of the fannies in porn look like little ladybirds? Surely if that was the case, then having a baby would see most women having to tape their lips to their inner thighs just to go about their day. Plus, people probably have more sex while actually in relationships. But then having sex with one person 300 time is somehow better than having sex with 15 people once? Show your working please, lads. It’s not easy to rid yourself of the inherent paranoia that comes just for being born in a female body. When it’s been drummed into you since day dot that your sexual organs are both highly desirable and inherently disgusting, it doesn’t just go away overnight. Try to remember if you can, though, that people that believe these dangerous things are ignorant, stupid, or both. Doctors like Jennifer are trying their best to drown out the misinformation. Don’t let a few people who never grew up or listened in sex ed beat them.
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/03/getting-freaky-labia-get-longer-sex-8299497/?ito=cbshare