The vulva basically consists of 3 areas- the inner lips labia minora , outer lips labia majora and the clitoris, complete with clitoral hood. At puberty, the flush of hormones, as well as expanding the breasts and facial lips, causes the inner labia and clitoral hood to swell, extend and darken in colour, in preparation for adult sexuality. As with every other part of the body, the exact end-result is highly variable. Some women experience little change to their pubic area, with the inner labia remaining naturally very discretely hidden, though this is rare. Some gain fatty tissue to the outer labia, cushioning the area and hiding the inner labia. Some develop longer, chunkier and more easily seen inner labia.
Why I photographed 100 vulvas
Women with large labia share how they feel about their vaginas
No part of a woman's body is exempt from unrealistically high standards - and that includes the vagina. Thanks to porn films showing generally hairless women with 'perfect' rosebud labia, both men and women alike have adopted an expectation that this is what every vagina should look like. But in the same way our faces look different, so do our genitals - and it's completely natural to do so. The rise in labiaplasty surgery - an operation to reshape or shorten the lips of the vulva - is worrying confirmation that, for young people especially, the aesthetic of their vagina is a source of low self-esteem. As reported by the Victoria Derbyshire Show last year, more than girls under the age of 18 underwent the procedure on the NHS in - of whom were reportedly under In order to tackle this concerning issue, it's vital that we understand exactly what is and isn't normal when it comes to the vagina. The topic came up in a recent thread on Reddit , when people who would describe themselves as having large labia were asked how they feel about them, and whether they're self conscious about how they look.
Meet The Woman Who Posted A Picture Of Her Labia Online To Normalise Our Attitudes Towards Anatomy
It can help with body image anxiety. Now, her latest work puts vulvas and vaginas in the spotlight thanks to her new book Womanhood: The Bare Reality and forthcoming Channel 4 documentary: Vaginas. And when women share intimate photos and deeply personal experiences relating to their vaginas, the result is a tender yet taboo-exploding message of women reclaiming their womanhood. I think a part of me was shying away from that intimacy because I would have to address my own related experiences. The correct language and understanding of female genitalia is so important to me: the vulva is the whole external package, the vagina is a muscular tube which leads from the cervix the neck of the womb down to the vulva.
Women's genitals are as diverse as our faces, as you can see in the Labia Library photo gallery. We are accustomed to some faces being accepted as "beautiful", and know that the standard varies across time and culture. We may be less familiar with the idea that similar judgements are made about the vulva. The vulva includes the inner lips labia minora and outer lips labia majora , the clitoris, and the vaginal opening.