Porn Popularizes the Need for Nicer Naughty Bits

Princess 19 on 7 Sep 2011 at 9:00am

Are you unhappy with the appearance off your "nether region?"  Yes, that is a serious question.  Apparently, many British women are, and they are taking the necessary steps to get a " designer vagina."  The reason?  Blame porn.
It's been reported by many from CBS News to the Daily Mail that "designer vaginas" are all the rage in the UK.  (Really?  Where have we been?  Oh, that's right...earthquake, hurricane...but we digress.)  A new study has shown that labiaplasty (plastic surgery to change the appearance of one's vaginal area) has increased 5x in the last 10 years.  The study was recently published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Experts are blaming the increased exposure to sexual material (AKA free porn via the internet), thus creating a distorted perception of what one's naughty bits should look like.  The distorted perception leads to depression.  The depression leads to desire to change the area.  The desire leads to a large number of women turning to the private sector to help fund this procedure if they are rejected by UK's National Health Services.  Got all that?
"We haven't completed the research, but there is suspicion that this is related to much greater access to porn, so it is easier for women to compare themselves to actresses who may have had it done. This is to do with the increasing sexualisation of society – it's the last part of the body to be changed," said Dr. David Veale, a psychiatrist helping with the study. 
As reported, most women requested labiaplasty, also known as vaginal rejuvenation, because they felt pressured to have "perfect" sexual organs by pictures seen in the media.  Most of these women did not have health issues from their current appearance.  They just wanted the area to be prettier, smaller, etc.  The latest figures for England show about 2,000 NHS-funded procedures take place each year.  The private sector figures are not recorded, but is thought to be exponentially larger.
Increasing Labiaplasty Trend
"It is surprising that all of the study participants had normal sized labia minora and despite this nearly half were still keen to pursue surgery as an option," said Dr. Sarah Creighton, the lead physician for the study.
The study is also blaming the increase to psychological problems such as body dysmorphic disorder, a condition that causes sufferers to obsess with a part of their body.  Many of these patients could have avoided the surgery all together with therapy or medication.
"A particular concern is the age of some of the referred patients, one as young as 11-years-old,"  she added.
Is the growing trend similar in the U.S.?
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of vaginal rejuvenation procedures in the U.S. dropped from 4,506 in 2007 to 2,531 in 2009.  However, most of the procedures were being performed not by plastic surgeons, but by obstetrician-gynecologists.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told CBS that it has no statistics on vaginal rejuvenation.
The ACOG does go on to warn that there are risks - as with any procedure - that should be considered.  These risks include infection, scarring, altered sensation, and "dyspareunia" or painful sexual intercourse.
Though this may be a shocking trend to learn about, for those that desire to have a labiaplasty, the results can be very positive. 
Labiaplasty Trend
"I had my vaginal lips reduced several years ago and my only regret was that I had not done it sooner," says RealSelf member Jennygirl from California.  
She adds confirmation to the porn theory: "Now I look like a Playboy model down there."
With an average cost of $4700 and a Worth It rating of 63%, there are many procedures classified under the term labiaplasty, but the most common is to reduce the size of the labia minora (the inner folds of skin).
"This serves a few purposes. First it will improve the look of the vagina correcting hanging labia, uneven labia, or excess tissue around the clitoris. This surgery can also improve sexual satisfaction," says NYC-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Kari Colen. "Additional procedures include tightening the opening to the vagina, as well as G-spot injections to improve sexual stimulation."
What do you think about this trend? Is purely cosmetic labiaplasty empowering, or taking beauty a step too far? 
Photo credit:  flickr By worldcutegirl, www.gaurdian.co.uk