We all know that feeling of being down on ourselves. Those blue-blue days when you know that a little external help is what it will take to make you feel like yourself again. So what is on the remedy list: Chocolate-fudge ice-cream? Shoes you really can’t afford? Labiaplasty?
I’m not sure when the world went mad and our bodies became something of a Lego set, that we compile according to catalogues, trying to create a look that is robotic and generic rather than individual. But at some point boob implants, nose-jobs, liposuction and face remodeling just wasn’t enough. Even those parts that don’t get shown in the light of day have become potential sources of inadequacy to women who will find the money, as much as it takes, to remake the natural state of their body.
Vulva surgery is becoming something of a trend. I don’t think that this is what Eve Ensler had in mind when she tried to get us to bring our vaginas out of the dark ages, but this is where it seems to be going, so let’s try to catch up on what is going on under the undies, and why? Allow me to count the ways in which a surgeon can interact with a vulva (professionally speaking, that is).
The foremost way is giving birth. The obstetrician is in essence a surgeon and during a natural birth, a baby changes a women’s vagina forever. Sometimes the obstetrician will cut the vagina, between the bottom of the lips and the perineum, to save this area from tearing. This procedure has fallen out of fashion, so now many doctors tend to allow the vaginal area to tear naturally and then stitch it. This is one of the procedures that is medically advised. Unless… in the process of stitching the torn skin, the choice is made to sew the vagina a little tighter.
Yes, it does happen, despite the fact that it makes very little sense. The stretching that happens due to childbirth is because a few kilograms of baby has forced its way through the vagina, and has stretched those muscles to their limit. They should eventually go back to close to their previous tone, with the help of a whole lot of Kegel exercises.
This is the procedure that creates or fixes a vagina. Surgeons have been doing this procedure for decades, in cases where either a vagina does not exist (girls born without a vagina or during gender-reassignment surgery) or when a vagina has been damaged due to violence or a traumatic birth.
The lips of the vulva are called labia. The external labia and internal labia look different on each woman, and they more often than not, look different from one another, i.e. they are naturally asymmetrical.
The new fashion of Labiaplasty is a procedure that refashions the labia, in an attempt to make them look more attractive (can anyone say what an attractive labium should look like?)
When a women has what is known as an imperforate hymen, or a hymen that is too thick to be naturally torn, this can lead to pain and even prevent her from being penetrated. A gynecologist will need to cut it, in a very simple procedure. This is medically advisable, unless the barer is not going to be entered or give birth. By forcing the tearing, you can bring on infection and unnecessary pain.
This procedure is based on the misconception that virginity is defined by the presence of a hymen. The hymen is recreated, usually to hide the fact that a woman has had a sexual past. It is usually practiced in traditional communities when a woman is about to get married and needs to remove the evidence of past action, whether it was by choice or by force.
The good news is that for a few thousand units of western currency, there will always be a doctor willing to do it for you. No one speaks about it, but somehow, these doctors aren’t difficult to locate when needed. The not-so-good news it that the hymen may appear to be in its original shape but the vagina and clitoris know what they know, and virgin they will certainly not be, just because the hymen has been manipulated.
Apart from the obvious problem that lying about previous experience is a pretty bleak starting point for a relationship, its quite sad that a women needs to undergo surgery, with its associated pain and expense, just to have the surgery completely overturned on the first sexual penetration.
Any other plastic surgery performed on the vagina is included under the name vaginoplasty. Most of these procedures are relatively new techniques, not meant for medical purposes but rather for aesthetic ones or functional tightness.
The various techniques offered for vaginoplasty promise to narrow the vaginal passage, thereby increasing the friction during penetrative sex. Among the techniques used is Lazer Rejuvenization, which basically involves the same cutting and tightening of the vagina, with additional maneuvering to re-sensitize the area. The use of lazer instead if scalpels, hastens the healing process. On the other hand, there is no research available to show its safety record.The wondrous vulva puppet image is presented with permission from House O’Chicks