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Anxiety around genitals and porn

peachypeachy Posts: 183 Mod Squad
edited September 2017 in Sex & Relationships
So this article just popped up which I found really interesting: http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-09-07/why-women-have-cosmetic-surgery-on-their-vulva/8878952

Labiaplasties (surgeries to remove or reduce the size of the inner labia) are on the rise in Australia. This article cites porn as one of the main reasons for the increase because it features unrealistic vulvas and leads to women feeling dissatisfied with their own. 

I've never really experienced labia anxiety so I found this really interesting! Do you think porn is to blame? Does this anxiety affect people with penises too?

Comments

  • MintMilanoMintMilano Posts: 181 Mod Squad
    I read somewhere that Playboy used to airbrush a lot of the parts of the labia in their magazines to comply with some standards. So unfortunately yeah I think this is definitely a time where porn deserves the bad wrap it sometimes gets. It created pretty much impossible beauty standards for vaginas.

    I don't think it's quite as bad because there's no real equivalent surgical option, but I think this could affect people with penises too. All the dicks in porn are usually huge so if you're bombarded with enough of that it could probably make you feel a bit inadequate about your size. 
  • DeftRatDeftRat Posts: 84 Mod Squad
    I've had penis envy from the porn I've watched @peachy, but I can't say I've had penis anxiety. This is an area I think that should be educated on more when going through sex ed at school. Everybody's genitals are not going to look the same and is something I think I would add to the Wish you knew thread. I would have liked to have been told that no one is going to have the same penis as me and they come in all shapes and sizes, as I'm young girls would like to be told that vulvas are all different and no one kind of vulva is the right one to have
  • CloakOfAshCloakOfAsh Posts: 319 Rock Star
    I don't want to speak for everyone but I feel these expectations are much harder on women or those with vaginas/breasts. 

    I've never worried too much about the old boy, I know some people want more length or less bend but most guys I know are fairly happy or come to terms with theirs. For those with vaginas/breasts though they seem to be constantly bombarded with media about how it should all look and what is perfect or how to make it perfect, just pick up a womens mag at a newsagent.
  • MintMilanoMintMilano Posts: 181 Mod Squad
    @CloakOfAsh Definitely agree that these kind of expectations affect women more than men. I suspect maybe gay men might be hit with body image issues from the kinds of men they see in porn, but not necessarily or strictly related to genitals. Or at least I know that to be the case for myself and some of my friends. It's kind of torn between wanting to be with them and just wanting to be them! 
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    You're right @MintMilano, the labia minora or inner lips of a woman's vagina were/are considered obscene by standards boards so they had to be airbrushed out of porn mags. I imagine this led to a whole generation of women who thought vulvas all looked the same way. It's a bit trickier for women because our genitals aren't just front there on display, so even if you are in a changing room with some fellow vagina-owners, it's hard to see what they look like. I grew up in a family who were fine with nudity, but the only female bodies I saw outside of my own or my mums were in my dad's stash of porno mags, or at the swim center in the changerooms. I remember being astounded at the variety of boobs, and having my mum explain to me that every body is different and breasts can change in puberty or after childbirth.
  • MintMilanoMintMilano Posts: 181 Mod Squad
    @ElleBelle that definitely makes sense when you consider vaginas are not so "on display". I have to confess it was only recently that I actually realised that vaginas are more underneath between the legs than on the front of the pubic bone like a penis  :# so now I really get why so many women don't really know what theirs looks like. 
  • ElleBelleElleBelle Posts: 410 Community Manager
    You're not alone there @MintMilano! I remember a dude friend making a joke once with the "fingering" motion, except he was stabbing his fingers straight out in front. I was like "uhh, you know thats not the direction a vagina goes right?" Probably nothing erotic about being poked in the pubic bone :D
  • peachypeachy Posts: 183 Mod Squad
    @MintMilano @DeftRat @CloakOfAsh really interesting perspectives! Yeah, there are so many expectations placed on women and beauty standards to be anxious about. There are so many social consequences for not following them too. I've read about increasing anxiety amongst men on having the perfect body because of aggressive gym culture and unrealistically buff male celebrities, so I wondered if that crossed over to genitals too.
  • DeftRatDeftRat Posts: 84 Mod Squad
    I can see how it could go to genitals as well @peachy. But for me, I would say that I would experience more anxiety over body expectations than over genitals, as my body is something that I can change myself, whereas there is not much that you can do to change your penis. I have heard of lengthening surgeries, but from what I gather, these only provide extra length when flaccid and don't provide extra length when erect
  • mak_trouble891mak_trouble891 Posts: 563 Mod Squad
    What about nipples? I've never really experienced anxiety around my labia, but I have had partners point out my boobs and even nipples. So for me that's more where my anxiety is. I know all boobs are different but not so much in porn... 
  • teatea Posts: 267 Mod Squad
    I definitely have experienced labia anxiety, mine is not at all like the ones in pornography! I've had partners joke about them looking like 'kissing lips' which kind of hurt my feelings because I assumed everything looked okay down there but comments like that made me think otherwise. 

    @mak_trouble891 Good point! I always forget about nipples in these kinds of discussions. Nipples can vary a lot too and I think pornography and even advertising is to blame in the normalisation of how our bodies look.

    Every body is different, and every body is a good body!!
  • peachypeachy Posts: 183 Mod Squad
    @mak_trouble891 so true! I only found out innie nips exist recently! Halsey spoke about her experience of racial identity and her nips the other day which I found really interesting! 
  • teatea Posts: 267 Mod Squad
    @CloakOfAsh I looooovvvveee that piece a lot!!! 10/10 would hang on my wall :heart:

    @peachy You know how people say you learn one new thing every day? I think this 'innie nipple' thing is mine. I didn't realise that was a thing tbh (maybe bc mine can never not be erect since I have piercings there :lol:)
  • mak_trouble891mak_trouble891 Posts: 563 Mod Squad
    Love that piece @CloakOfAsh, it really puts into perspective how different we all are but how normal it is. 
    @tea isn't it just a horrible feeling when partners point that stuff out. But I totally agree pornography and social media/advertising have so much to answer for. 
    It's amazing @peachy how much we don't know about our bodies. I was watching a show last week which showed a split nipple, which was interesting.  
  • teatea Posts: 267 Mod Squad
    I came across this article today and thought it was really interesting! It's about a person who had a labiaplasty and then created an art piece with the removed labia! I thought they were going to make a mould out of them but they just put them straight into some resin. It's interesting to come across things like this where even though this person had the surgery done, they still felt connected with their body to do something radical like wearing your leftover labia on your neck. :o 
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