Add vaginas to the ever-growing list of body parts slated for surgical reno. Increasing numbers of women, it seems, are going under the knife for a cuter cooter, or a more functional one.
In the search for pussy perfection, it’s sometimes hard to separate actual physiological need from icky pressures to please men and perpetuate the beauty myth.
Like, where do all these insecurities come from?
Still, many women swear vaginal tightening or trimming the labia has relieved discomfort and revved their sex lives.
You’ll hear a chorus of professionals argue, though, that the merits of surgery down south are simply unproven.
What the experts say
“The typical vaginoplasty [vaginal tightening] patient has given vaginal birth to one or more children and felt a loss of tightness and elasticity, and is not experiencing the sexual pleasure she used to. The vaginal procedures are entirely functional. For the labia procedures, I’d say 50 per cent of the problem is aesthetic, but most who complain of the way their labia look – that they’re too large, too low or overly pigmented – also complain of discomfort during intercourse, sitting on a bicycle seat or wearing tight pants. Like any surgical procedure, when done by someone who does one every day, like myself, it’s extremely safe.”
RYAN STANTON, plastic surgeon, Beverly Hills, California
“Vaginoplasty seems driven more by marketing than by demonstrated need. We live in a culture that targets middle-aged women with messages that the aging process can be reversed through surgical procedures. The critical factor with vaginoplasty is that these claims are not supported by research. The National Women’s Network [in the U.S.] said last October there had been no published research in medical journals documenting the supposed benefits of vaginoplasty for normal women. As for labiaplasty, I think pornography has distorted men’s and women’s perceptions of what their genitalia should look like.”
SHARI GRAYDON, author, In Your Face: The Culture Of Beauty And You, BC
“These procedures are not usually medically indicated. Vaginal rejuvenation is not even defined in the medical literature and is not a widely understood procedure. So practitioners are doing them despite the fact that there is no general consensus in the medical community as to what they even entail.”
ERIN TRACY, assistant professor, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
“Vaginal reconstruction is important for specific conditions of prolapse, where the vagina basically turns inside out. But beyond that, muscles of the vagina can be trained through Kegel exercises and specific physio exercises. For many women with small degrees of prolapse or pelvic relaxation, this will lead to a much better outcome than surgery. Surgery carries risks of bleeding and infection, but equally important is the risk of scarring, which can lead to things like painful intercourse. It should not be considered lightly. Pilates has been shown to significantly improve pelvic ‘tone’ by core strengthening. It can help prevent urinary incontinence in some cases. There is no indication for vaginal ‘rejuvenation.’ Explore every potential cause and cure before resorting to the knife in that delicate area of the body.”
UYLAINE LEFEBVRE, chief, department of obstetrics and gynecology, St. Michael’s Hospital, associate professor, U of T