The popularity of elective vaginal surgery is on the rise. The impact these procedures have on women, both positive and negative is only just beginning to be researched. The reasons why women claim to “need” such surgeries are to feel more confident with their bodies, to eliminate physical discomfort, and potentially increase sexual pleasure. Research points to other reasons, though. The increase in access to pornography that idolizes certain body types, recent pubic grooming trends, and the change in society’s stance on plastic surgery may have more to do with it than any reason a patient might present. Society’s pressure to look a certain way has negative consequences for girls and women today and in the future. Keywords: hymenoplasty, labiaplasty, vaginoplasty, vaginal rejuvenation,
Elective Vaginal Surgery
The first published description of an aesthetic vaginal labiaplasty was presented in 1983, and since then, requests for procedures like it have increased dramatically. Whether a woman wishes to “rejuvenate” her vagina after childbirth, alter her labia to make them more symmetrical, remove the clitoral hood or shorten the clitoris, or have a surgery to recreate the hymen, many are choosing to go under the knife to “fix” a part that is usually hidden. The following paper will describe the procedures that are being used to give women what is being referred to a “designer vagina.” The reasoning behind why these surgeries are becoming more popular will also be discussed, as well as the negative and positive impacts it has on women. What this sort of surgery means for women in the future also will be addressed. What Is a Designer Vagina?
For the majority of women, vaginal surgery is for purely aesthetic purposes. The result is what many have coined a “designer vagina.” Many women choose to have their labia reduced because they feel self-conscious about the appearance of their labia. They feel that the difference in size of the labia minora relative to the labia majora is unattractive or their labia is just too long. Some women do request labiaplasty because of more physical issues, like problems with hygiene, tight clothing rubbing uncomfortably, or pain during intercourse due to longer labia being pushed and pulled into the body (Davison, 2011). While most people think of genital mutilation when they hear the term “clitoridectomy,” there are women who choose to have their clitoral hood removed, or their clitoris shortened because they feel that their clitoris is too large, resembling a small penis, in turn making them feel less feminine (Chalker, 2009). Removing or reducing the hood is rarely done as its own procedure, it is sometimes offered during a labiaplasty. Some procedures are preformed not to change the appearance of the vaginal area for the woman, but to change the area in hopes of increasing pleasure for the woman and her partner. Vaginal rejuvenation and hymen restoration are intended to bring a woman’s genitals back to their original state, before sexual activity and/or childbirth. Vaginal rejuvenation (or vaginoplasty) involves removing part of the lining of the vagina and also tightening the muscles and tissues surrounding the vaginal opening. Hymenoplasty is a surgery that reconstructs the hymen so that women can replicate the feeling and experience of losing their virginity. Women have reported to actually undergo this surgery as a “present” to their partners as a way to re-gift their virginity to them (Chalker, 2009). Who Is Getting Elective Vaginal Surgery and Why?
Vaginal surgeries of this type are receiving more and more recognition as their popularity increases. While some women have actual medical concerns driving them to have surgery, most women choosing to have these procedures are unhappy with their appearance or feel that they need it to enhance their sex life. For years, corrective gynecological surgery has been offered to women who...