Aunt Vadge: what’s wrong with my labia?

Hi there Aunt Vadge,

I’m 15 years old and my vagina looks bad. I’m still a virgin, and I’m mixed (black and white ), but my inner part has one very long labia and one medium. The very long one isn’t pink, it’s a dark gross color. It’s been this way for a very long time, for three or so years. I didn’t think much about about it until I actually looked what it looks like. 

I haven’t done much sexually. Me and my boyfriend do stuff, but not dramatic things. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind but I’m very self-conscious about it. It looks discolored and wrinkly. I mean, I thought it was a yeast infection or something like that but it’s not because I don’t have the symptoms.

I’ve tried to ask my mom multiple times to go to the gyno but she says no unless I’m having sex. And I’m not ready for that, and I think something is wrong because a vagina should not look like that at 15. 

Sincerely,
Labia Brown

_____________

Dear Labia Brown,

Once you hit puberty, your vagina starts to change – your labia grow longer, darker and more wrinkly, for starters. This is why your labia seem different than they used to, but rest assured, it is completely normal and you do not have an infection.

I remember when I was about 12 or 13, and I thought I made my labia longer and wrinklier and browner because I used to pull on them a little bit when I was lying in bed. I was horrified that I had actually made my vagina lips stick out of my body like this, and felt really ashamed of it.

I don’t remember when I learnt that that was actually normal and part of a normal change to my body, but it was a relief when I did, though the shame of my big flappy vagina took a while to dissipate. I never told anyone about it, but I remember it clear as day.

If you are really worried that you are abnormal, you are able to freely attend your local free sexual health clinic without a parent there – they would no doubt be happy to check out your vag and assure you that you are perfectly normal and healthy. You don’t need a gynaecologist to look at you to see if you are normal or not; a doctor or nurse can very adequately see from looking at you.

Vagina lips grow bigger, longer, flappier and change colour (usually darker) and become wrinkly, but once they stop changing, that’s what your vulva will look like forever. Our bodies constantly change, we age, and there are accidents and surgeries and diseases and a million other things that can go wrong, that if you are lucky, you won’t have to contend with and you can love your labia all life long. Your vagina is healthy, normal and unique to you. Get used to it.

To get over how you feel about your lips, stop calling them ‘gross’. They’re not gross, they’re just different to what you’re used to (a child’s vagina), and different to your friends (who in turn have different labia from each other).

The sooner you learn how to be a proud long, luxurious, colourful, non-symmetrical labia owner, the sooner you can enjoy your vagina to its fullest and quit the shaming. It will only make your life less awesome, since you’ll be trying to hide your labia from your lovers instead of being loud and proud.

You will find after a few lovers that your vulva becomes a much-loved part of your sexual self and not the disgusting mess you feel like they look like now – your labia swell up with blood when you are turned on, give a lover something to bury their face in, and slide along.

Unless you are sitting on your longest labia, you have nothing to worry about. If in fact they give you discomfort, that’s another story.

Your boyfriend doesn’t mind your lovely labia – as if he would! He gets to touch and smell and taste a real-life vagina that belongs to someone he likes. This is a wonderful scenario for a you both to find yourselves in at age 15, so instead of finding your vaginal lips gross, learn how to be proud of your body. It might be hard at first, but every girl whose vagina changes like this – unexpectedly – faces the same distaste. If only we could all be perfect, right?

Just like you don’t notice other people’s short necks and small heads, you can bet they are never going to be judging you for your labia colour, wrinkliness, or size. Own them. Be proud of your flaps. They’re great! Check out the labia library to see the range of lips available – there are just so many kinds out there.

Don’t forget that the kinds of men you want to be close to, eventually, love going down on women. All women. Because they get to put their penises and faces in it and that makes them happy.

And even if you decide to become a lesbian, lesbians love going downtown too. In fact, it’s their thing! Everyone loves all the different beautiful vulvas in the world. Just like your wonderful boyfriend is trying to tell you. He doesn’t just ‘not mind it’, he loves it!

Your luscious labia are unique to you, and that’s what makes them adorable.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.
Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

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