Summary: Many novel plastic surgery procedures are growing ever more popular; but none of them seem to be flying under the radar the way that vaginoplasty and vaginal rejuvenation are. These procedures are growing in popularity quite quickly, but it’s rare that you hear about someone who has undergone this type of surgery. Clearly, there is some sort of stigma at work here, and one of our main priorities is to discuss and dispel myths about vaginal rejuvenation. The truth is that it’s popular because many women appreciate the affects of the surgery.
There’s a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way—to maintain a certain waistline, to maintain a certain bust size, to maintain a certain lip size. Much of this pressure is unfair and disproportionately affects women. The popularity of plastic surgery procedures such as tummy tucks, breast augmentation, and lip injections stand as a kind of testament to that pressure. In this way, plastic surgery offers a way to rise above the pressure, to escape it, to meet the often unrealistic demands of feminine biology by escaping the boundaries of that biology.
But a relatively new procedure seems to—irrationally, perhaps—be drawing a line in the sand for some people as having gone too far in this regard. The procedure is vaginal rejuvenation, and some critics have labeled this particular aesthetic plastic surgery as having crossed a line, as representing an expansion of the unrealistic expectation of women’s bodies into a region that, until recently, has existed outside of such public pressures to be beautiful.
These are serious complaints, and they’re worth examining. But first, it’s worth looking at what a vaginal rejuvenation is and what actually happens during the procedure. First, vaginal rejuvenation can actually be broken down into two separate procedures.
During a vaginoplasty procedure, the muscles of the vagina are tightened and sometimes excess tissue is removed. This is an internal procedure (think of it as a tummy tuck, but for the vagina, if it helps), and as such, is inherently invasive. While it was perhaps primarily designed for women with congenital birth defects, the procedure is mostly popular with women who have had children and find that the vaginal muscles afterwards are uncomfortably lax. The benefits of the procedure include increased sensation and increased pleasure during sexual intercourse. In most cases, this surgery is a last resort, for women that find kegel exercises or other such techniques ineffective. As it is an invasive surgical procedure, vaginoplasty requires several weeks of recovery time.
While vaginoplasty focuses on the inside of the vaginal area, labiaplasty focuses on the outside. This procedure is designed to remove excess skin from the labia tissue around the vagina. This procedure is particularly popular with women who consistently wear tight, athletic clothing and find the sensation of the compressed labia uncomfortable. Women who find asymmetry in the labia unappealing or uncomfortable also find this procedure to be an appealing option. While it’s still a surgical procedure—as excess tissue is removed—labiaplasty is not as invasive as vaginoplasty, and therefore recovery tends to be quicker, although every patient is different.
The primary objection to vaginoplasty and labiaplasty seems to be that the pressure to have a “perfect” vagina is unfair. And, in this, the critics are right. The desire to have “perfect” genitalia is in most cases somewhat extreme. But this is also true of breast augmentation and facelifts and rhinoplasty—in no case can plastic surgery promise to grant someone a “perfect” body or a “new” body. These are simply exaggerations of what aesthetic plastic surgery offers, and most plastic surgeons are particularly careful to point this out to new clients.
This is, perhaps, what is most interesting about the criticism of vaginoplasty and labiaplasty. At its core, these procedures are not terribly different from other plastic surgery procedures—they’re designed so that women can feel more comfortable in their own skin, happy with their bodies, and so on. And all of the procedures require a change to the body, obviously. But somehow breast augmentation or breast lifts or even butt augmentation do not bring about the same criticism. Perhaps this is because there is a fundamental misunderstanding about why most women desire these procedures.
The Real Motivations
And there should be no mistaking the fact that women desire these procedures. Indeed, vaginoplasty procedures are among the fastest growing in popularity in the United States. But they’re also battling a negative stigma. That stigma looks at vaginoplasty procedures as so-called “designer vagina” procedures pursued by women who want to have a nice looking vagina for purely cosmetic purposes. But that’s not necessarily the reality of these surgeries.
Indeed, according to the website of the New Jersey vaginal rejuvenation experts at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, most women pursue vaginoplasty because of there’s some part of their anatomy that is interfering with their lives in a meaningful way. When it comes to labiaplasty, women can feel self-conscious working out because of the way that workout clothes make them feel. Likewise, women who enjoy swimming can feel uncomfortable in swimsuits because of asymmetrical or lax labia tissue. The discomfort originates from the tightness of the suit and the excess of labia tissue. This can lead to women feeling self-conscious about engaging in athletic activity. In much the same way, excess labia tissue can interfere with pleasure during sexual intercourse.
Vaginoplasty has practical concerns as well. Much of the time, the operation is performed to head off complications caused by child birth. And it’s worth noting that a woman choosing to undergo an operation to increase her sexual pleasure may likely be stigmatized for simply that purpose (and we wonder whether an operation to, say, correct erectile dysfunction would be looked at in a similar way).
It’s Up to You
At the end of the day, it’s up to the woman to choose whether these procedures are the right fit for her and her lifestyle. That many women feel the need to pursue vaginoplasty in the shadows is, to me, a shame. Most women who undergo the procedures are quite happy afterward and report a significant increase in quality of life. So if your vaginal area is causing you some discomfort—look, we know it can be awkward to talk about. But, hopefully if there’s one thing this article has proven it’s that it’s completely possible to talk about vaginal rejuvenation as adults, whatever your opinion on the topic.