We talk labia, penis size, public relationships, consensual non-monogamy and more with Taylor Nolan. Taylor is a psychotherapist who appeared on ABC’s The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise. She hosts her own podcast and is recognized on social media for being outspoken and vulnerable on issues around intersectional feminism, animal rescue, and mental and sexual health.
Here are a few notes on our discussion of labia…
Why are we so obsessed with the way our labia looks?
Because we have very few opportunities to see real naked bodies, we tend to draw our expectations from porn. But porn, as we know, is not generally representative of the general population. The bodies depicted tend to reflect one specific standard and oftentimes don’t along with what we see in ourselves. When it comes to how we view our labia, we may want to thicken, shorten, lengthen, or lighten ours to match what we see in porn. These unrealistic expectations are only intensified by the fact that we don’t tend to talk about our labia with our friends and this silence around our genitals can reinforce feelings of shame.
How can I get over thinking my lips are ugly?
If you don’t love your labia, that’s okay. You don’t have to love everything about your body at every moment in time. It might be useful to consider where these negative messages and feelings come from:
Were you told that it was “dirty” when you were young? If so, do you know otherwise now? The vagina, for example, is like a self cleaning oven.
Were you shamed for touching yourself as a child or teenager? Can you reframe these messages to enjoy your body and derive pleasure from masturbation? Can you consider the health benefits of masturbation? These include stress reduction, lower anxiety, improved mood, a better night’s sleep and heightened sexual functioning.
The more pleasure you learn to derive from your body and the more you allow your body to perform for you in functional ways (e.g. dance, sport, self expression), the more likely you’ll be to develop a neutral or positive attitude toward it.
An ex said they were long and I can’t get it out of my head. I’m always wondering what my BF is thinking…
If your partner is shaming you for your labia or any part of your body, they might want to consider how they feel about their own body – and how they might work on their self-esteem in general. Oftentimes when we’re critical of others, it’s because we’re avoiding confronting our own self-criticism.
Is labiaplasty a valid option?
Note on labiaplasty: This is a personal choice. I do know one woman who found that her labia got in the way of comfortable intercourse (especially post menopause) and she found many clothes uncomfortable. She therefore opted to have a labiaplasty to reduce the length of her lips and is happy with the results. I also know others who feel pressured to alter their labia by unrealistic portrayals of beauty.
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