Study concludes there’s no such thing as a “normal” vulva

The largest study ever conducted on vulvas by a team of Swiss researchers has concluded that there is no such thing as a “normal” vulva.

The study which was conducted over 2 years evaluated 657 women aged between 15 and 84 years old and took precise measurements. The results were so varied that researchers had no option but to conclude there really is no “normal” when it comes to vulvas.

They found that the outer labia measurements for participants ranged from 12mm to 180mm whilst the inner labia varied from 5mm to 100mm in length. The average length of the clitoris was 7mm but the range of measurements were as small as 0.5mm up to 34mm whilst clitoral width ranged between 1mm and 22mm. Everyone is different therefore, in this instance, different becomes the norm. 

We’ve talked about the rise in labiaplasty seeking designer vaginas and the pressure some women feel to confirm to the homogenised “ideal” portrayed in porn. And, in fact, this was the reason for the study – to determine if there was a “normal” range to be used as a base for women who wanted to undergo surgery. Photoshopped images and pornography skew society's perception of what is a “normal” or desirable vulva and women can find that their self confidence and sexual satisfaction are negatively impacted because of this. And with cosmetic clinics putting statements like “… we can reduce the size of the labia minora so they are more aesthetically pleasing” on their websites is it any wonder that women feel insecure. And one Dr (not in Australia) got hammered on social media earlier this year because his marketing tactic was to claim the rise in labiaplasty was because of the increase in women taking spin classes. Nice try! How about trying a different saddle or investing in a good pair of bike pants before you opt for an extreme and expensive surgery.

Our article A Labia Tale generated heaps of positive comments from men and women and we also shared some vulva love when we featured The Vulva Gallery, a collection of images celebrating the vulva in all its glorious diversity.

Of course we should expect some changes as we age with the gradual loss of estrogen – the clitoris may shrink, the colour of the vulva may change and may lose thickness. These changes are perfectly natural although not often talked about. And if you have pubic hair it will go grey and become sparser but I guess that’s one side effect of aging that won’t be noticed by as many women these days.

The bottom line is we are all unique and different and we should celebrate that. But while body positivity is a great ideal, many women do have insecurities about their pink bits. Our resident sexpert Eva Sless says, “Because female pink bits are tucked away women don’t often see other women’s genitals and that means porn is sometimes their only reference point leading to many women worrying about if they are “normal”. “

To quote Hilde from The Vulva Gallery, "Your vulva is as beautiful as anyone else's. There is so much natural variation in how labia look: they can be long, tiny, thick, wavy, flappy, asymmetrical, curvy - and there is only one like you. Stop comparing yourself with others. Appreciate the natural body you have, because you are beautiful in your own unique way. Let's celebrate our diversity, instead of comparing and pointing at each other's flaws. We are beautiful. We are awesome!  Love yourself, and love your vulva, just the way it is."

15 Comments

  • oakentree Photo
    oakentree
    More than a month ago

    why would anyone think vulva or inner and outer labia need to be like they came from the same mold just as they're owners ladies you all wonderful in your own way and desecrating them with surgery because some half wit in the world off publicity or the "look" fashion say so is to me disgusting and plain wrong(unless for a serious health issue) let them alone to be look after look at and to be enjoyed as they should be natural

  • Zamboon Photo
    Zamboon
    More than a month ago

    My ex had the most beautiful vulva each side was a mirror image of the other and one could often not see the split in the lips - Unfortunately for me she thought looking beautiful was enough lol.
    On the other hand I would love to be a connoisseur of vulvas - I’m sure I love them all...
    As for surgery well why not - if you have saggy breasts you get them done, a big nose you can have altered, so if you feel your vulva is not pretty enough then do it but only for yourself - not for anyone else ... I love you all ...

  • deepblue181
    More than a month ago

    I once read that the best female measurement is the distance between the clitoris and the vulva opening. The shorter the distance the more fun for the woman ? Sorry, but can't find that article anymore ...... comments anyone ?

    • DeliciousEva Photo
      DeliciousEva
      More than a month ago

      Yes. There's are a few studies that show the distance between the clitoris and the vagina can have a big impact on things like internal pleasure. They call it "the rule of thumb" because that's the ideal measurement.
      This piece explains it quite well:

      http://www.latimes.com/health/la-hew-ordistance11feb11-story.html

      And this is a more medically written piece:

      https://www.medicaldaily.com/clitoral-size-distance-vagina-may-cause-women-have-orgasm-troubles-269920

      Hsve an awesome weekend x


  • Leolady727
    More than a month ago

    As an owner/driver of a vulva and also as a bi woman who has seen quite a few I can attest that very few conform to the "ideal" seen in most porn or soft porn pictures but they are all lovely.

  • Beyond4000 Photo
    Beyond4000
    More than a month ago

    The odds of getting two the same are very large, but the most important thing is knowing one's way around one and how to work it good!

    • Leolady727
      More than a month ago

      I would have thought that the odds were very small, but perhaps you've seen more than I have ;-)

  • cowgaluvoldrmen
    More than a month ago

    Lol funny that
    So I’m thinking men need to stop thinking we all like the same and that a vagina has l the sweet spots in the same spot
    Wrooooong

    • strechticles
      More than a month ago

      Finally a scientifically backed excuse for men, as to why we're occasionally doing it wrong and why we need to go again until we get it right for you ;) I love science

  • AnnDoll
    More than a month ago

    As a straight female, this site has been hugely educational in this regard. My personal concerns are gone and I'm much more comfortable talking about, well anything. Thank you.

  • chesswiseagain Photo
    chesswiseagain
    More than a month ago

    Call them "cunts" which includes all the lovely bits and pieces.
    Over many years of "research" I have found them all different and inviting!!!

  • 2ringround
    More than a month ago

    How (and where) does one get funding to do these sorts of studies? And then get willing participants to partake of the study?

    • AMM.Editor Photo
      AMM.Editor
      More than a month ago

      I would say this came under medical research given the intent was to find a standard for surgical procedures. But you see ads in the papers and online all the time looking for "research participants". It often provides a nominal payment for your out of pocket and time.

    • Beyond4000 Photo
      Beyond4000
      More than a month ago

      Sometimes such studies are done by students undertaking reports (uni based), other times by government grants towards attempting to solve some sort of problem, which it seems this study is about, that being, women's confidence about their private parts visual looks!

  • wickedcat Photo
    wickedcat
    More than a month ago

    I totally agree with this article ....... over a lot of years, I have had intimate contact with many women and their vulvas ... no two were ever the same, but all were beautiful .... with the added bonus that with all the differences came the opportunity to explore the many variables, and the reactions of their owners. I love to spend the time finding those special spots that elicit reactions of pleasure.

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