When I told my mom I was writing this piece, she told me I was embarrassing and that I better not use my real name. She also told me I better not tell this personal story, but here I go anyway.
I was told it would be humiliating for me to write about my fluffy muff. This coming from the woman who I walked in on as a kid snipping her pubic hair with my craft scissors, legs spread wide-eagle, on a Sunday morning. (Praise be.) We both died of utter humiliation and peeing ourselves with laughter that day. Therefore, she’s been reminded that she’s never allowed to talk about me embarrassing her every again.
So despite my mom’s best wishes, let’s talk vulvas, clits, and vaginas. I’m here to tell you that I have a chubina (a chubby vagina) — and to be anatomically correct, it’s actually a chubulva, or chubby vulva –but WHATEV. Whatever you call it, it is PERFECTLY normal for me — and anyone else — to have a little extra cushion for the pushin’.
And whatever the appearance of your vulva and vagina, well, that’s normal too.
I’ve never been a shy one (I guess we can thank my crafty, scissor-handed mother for that one). Therefore, I’ve seen most of my friends’ vulvas, and pretty much all of them have seen mine. Hell, one of my friends who’s a nurse even checked my cervix on my own bed toward the very end of my pregnancy so I didn’t have to waste a trip to the hospital if it wasn’t necessary.
Most of this over-sharing of body parts came in our younger days when we would pull down our pants in concern and shout, “Hey, does this shit look normal to you?!”
(As if we were harboring some rare breed of a clitoris-devouring python up there.) And I wish I could go back to those times to tell all of us to quit obsessing about our vulvas’ differences.
Brook McFadden, M.D., assistant professor in the division of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at The Ohio State University did a study to find out the variations between different vulva, vagina, and labia sizes. With 168 women participating in the study, McFadden found that the left labia minora (inner lips closest to the vaginal opening) ranged between 1.2 to 7.5 cm long, while the right labia minora ranged from 0.8 to 8.0 cm long. That is a MASSIVE range in length.
So if your labia hangs low, if it wobbles to the floor, if you can tie it or a knot or even tie it in a bow…. NO WORRIES.
Amy Haderer, licensed doula and founder of Motherboard tells Scary Mommy, “Why do we have different finger prints? Noses? Hair color?” Our outward appearance is different everywhere else. Our vulvas are no different.
Someone’s labia might be dangly, puffy, or barely there. While other people have an inner labia which protrudes past the outer labia. And then there are others with the extra fluff that tends to keep all of those labia-bits tucked in.
People can have wider vaginal openings and others may have smaller. Let’s be clear, vaginal openings are not influenced by the amount of sexual activity someone does or does not partake in. Since the vagina is a muscle, it contracts to its normal size.
The clitoris can be small or big, and some women have a clitoris that peeps out like a damn turtle head (no shame, mine does if I’m looking at it in the right angle). And no two vulvas are going to be alike in size, shape or texture.
It’s also incredibly common for one side of the labia to look different than the other side, some might even say it looks “lopsided.” Haderer says, “If you’re not experiencing pain you are 100% normal.”
So why are some vaginas built like Virginia Slims and the others like a Black and Mild? Shockingly, BMI usually isn’t an influencer.
“Your mons pubis (fatty pad above your vulva) can correlate to your overall weight, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how healthy your vulva, vagina, or internal sex organs are,” Haderer explains to Scary Mommy.
The point is, unless you are experiencing pain with intercourse or while using a tampon, you are likely to fall into the very wide range of what is considered normal for vulvas and vaginas. (Chubinas, chubulvas, and all.) And if you’re still having some uncertainty, call your doctor and have them take a look-see.
There is nothing to be self-conscious about when it comes to your own vagina. This is your body, and it’s not changing, so quit comparing it to others every chance you get. As Haderer tells Scary Mommy, “Baby, it’s time we embrace the wide range of normal!”