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How Long Are Normal Labia? Part 1 of Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Love Your Labia Series

Lissa Rankin's picture

labia size

When I was writing my book What’s Up Down There? and while I’ve been on the road with my Ask The Girlfriend Gyno book tour, one question comes up over-- and over--and over, in various forms.

Why do my inner lips hang lower than my outer lips?

Why are my labia so long?

How come my labia don’t look like the ones in Playboy?

Why do my lips look like Dumbo’s ears?

Why are some women’s inner lips tucked up neatly inside and mine aren’t?

Let me just say once and for all that if you’re one of those women (or men) who are wondering why some women have short lips tucked up inside and some women have long lips that hang out, EITHER WAY, YOU’RE NORMAL AND YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!

Love Your Petals

love your petals

I wanted to write this post mostly to show you this photo of “petals,” the up close and personal labia of a plethora of women. This poster was given to me by Nick Karras & Sayaka Adach

i, who have been involved in the I Love My Petals project. As a photographer and sexologist, Nick Karras longed to shine a bright, nurturing light on the “petals” of women to celebrate their diversity. Look at the wide variation between women and their shapes! Aren’t we all gorgeous?

To give you a bit more detail, here’s one of the questions and answers from my book:

What’s the most common labia size, and please don’t say that all vaginas are different and special. Seriously, what’s the most common?

I can honestly say I have never pulled out a ruler when a woman is in the stirrups.  And like it or not, all vaginas are different and special.  In general, though, overweight women tend to have bigger labia majora (outer lips) because the fat pads that live in the labia get bigger if you have more fat.  Because labia minora (inner lips) do not contain any fat, their size is unaffected by body weight.

But okay, fine. You want numbers, and you’re in luck – there’s actual data. Gynecologists Bergh and Dickinson must have had a lot of time on their hands, because they did pull out the ruler while women were in the stirrups.  After examining 2,981 women, they compiled this data about the labia minora:[i]

Size of Labia Minor Based on Examinations of 2,981 Women

Length                   Number of Women         Percentage
0-3/4 inch               2,613                                87.7
3/4 inch                  146                                   4.9
1 1/4 inch               170                                   5.7
1 1/2-2 inch            32                                     1.1
2-2 1/3 inch            20                                     0.7

If you, like me, find yourself tempted to pull out a tape measure and a hand mirror to see how you size up, let me offer this one suggestion. Lock the door. And put the tape measure back in the tool chest when you’re done, before anyone asks you what you’ve been measuring. Trust me on this one.

I’ll be writing more about how to love your labia, so stay tuned for posts about why we don’t all look like Playboy models and why nobody should be getting “vaginal rejuvenation surgery.”

Until then, love those petals, ladies. And if there are any dudes reading this, please be respectful of our differences and remember how lucky you are to even go there. If your new girlfriend’s labia look different than your last girlfriend’s did, celebrate the diversity!

Labiliciously yours,

Lissa



[i] R. L. Dickinson, "Hypertrophies of the Labia Minora and Their Significance," American Gynecology, September, 1902

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Change Catalyst coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

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This blog, and the book on which it is based, is a complement to - not a substitute for - professional advice and intervention, and is not intended to replace the advice of a gynecologist or medical professional, who should be consulted about any health care issues that may affect the individual reader. The information contained in this book is the product of observations made by the author in her practice, as well as her review of relevant literature in her field of expertise. The literature at times reflects conflicting opinions and conclusions. The views expressed herein are the personal views of the author and are not intended to reflect the views of any group or organization with whom the author is affiliated.

Comments

Lissa Rankin's picture

Measuring labia

Good question, Anonymous!
The labia minora were measured from the inside, where they start, not from the outside and how far past the labia majora they hang. Hope that helps!

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Anonymous's picture

Measuring labia

how were the labia's measured at the gyn? Is the length measured from what hangs past the labia major? or are they measured from the inside of the labia minor at the body?

Lissa Rankin's picture

What a great point!

Yeah- if only we could all be blind to the superficialities that threaten to keep us from seeing what really matters....

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Michelle Medina's picture

I love, love, love being

I love, love, love being blind! Lol. Never thought I'd write that, but it gives me no time or interest in worrying about my 'size' as it were! Lol. NONE! What I really like though, is that I have a completely different perspective because I can't see. I think we could all do with a true experience/lesson in being truly blind. Thank you Lissa!!!

Lissa Rankin's picture

You're TOTALLY normal!

Dear Anonymous-
Yes, I should have said that. It's also very normal to have labia that are unequal in length. In fact, unequal labia are the normal. Few are a perfectly matched set. Think of it like a rose. You wouldn't expect the rose petals to match up perfectly, right?

Loving you just the way you are,
Lissa

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Anonymous's picture

I've often wondered this, so

I've often wondered this, so thanks for talking about it. However, my labia minora are unequal in size. One side is about twice as long as the other and it sometimes really bothers me. And even though it is largely cosmetic it is often a nuisance during sex. I haven't measured but I would guess the longer side is in that longest category listed. Is it normal for them to be so unequal? The ones displayed on that poster look to be mostly equal in size.

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