This podcast comes from sexual health expert Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH. Dr. Herbenick is a research scientist, co-Director of The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, and a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute. She also serves on ASHA’s Board of Directors. This podcast originally appeared on the Kinsey Confidential website. You can also follow her on mysexprofessor.com and Twitter.
Simply click on the play button below to listen to the podcast. You can also read the full transcript below.
QUESTION: I have a slightly enlarged labia minora and I am wondering how common this is. I've had both oral sex and intercourse before and I've never had a complaint from my partner. But sometimes it can be inconvenient and even annoying. What would you suggest if I ever get a complaint about it?
ANSWER: Hopefully no one will ever complain about your labia minora. That would be a very petty thing to do—and frankly, it seems that such a comment would be more about the person than being about your labia minora.
Labia minora—also called inner vaginal lips—come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Like our ears, eyes, and arms, they are almost never symmetrical. One is likely to be bigger or smaller than the other. Inner labia can be smaller or larger than the outer labia.
Also, the inner labia can be different shades of color—they can be shades of pink, red, brown, gray, black, peach, or a bit purplish in color, especially when a woman is pregnant or sexually aroused and more blood flows to the genitals.
Inner labia of all shapes and sizes sometimes get “caught” or pushed inside the vagina during penetrative sex or masturbation.
I’m not sure if that’s what you mean by your labia being inconvenient or annoying during sex, but I can assure you that it happens to women who have ever very teeny, tiny, barely visible inner labia.
If for some reason anyone ever says anything negative to you about your genitals—and I hope that never happens—remind yourself that your body is beautiful and there are literally millions of partners out there who would think your genitals are attractive and desirable.
How do I know this? Because I study issues related to women’s genitals and, from survey research my team has conducted, I’ve found that men and women who are into women often like genitals of all different types of looks.
Most people say they like all genital types or don’t care. And while some people prefer small genital parts, others have a preference for really larger genital parts.It’s kind of like how, while most people don’t care about a woman’s breast size, some prefer larger breasts and others prefer smaller breasts.
The same is true about penis size—there is no one preferred size, and most women and men who are into men are pretty open-minded about their partner’s erect penis size, but every now and then someone will prefer men with large penises and others will prefer men with smaller penises, particularly if they find sexual penetration to be painful.
Learn more about the amazing diversity of women’s genitals, and how it all relates to sex, in Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva and in Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered-For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex.
See more at Kinsey Confidential.
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