I’m always amazed by people who presume to tell me who my patients–those seeking a labiaplasty and / or vaginoplasty–are. Too many people buy into the stereotypes, I’m guessing because they want to trivialize these plastic surgery procedures as something silly, demeaning, even dangerous. So what are the stereotypes that people hold of labiaplasty / vaginoplasty patients?
1) They must be women who are incredibly vain and think they must have perfect bodies. After all, why else would they worry about what the most private part of their body, a part that few people will see, looks like?
2) They must be some sort of sexual perverts. That, they think, explains why they are so focused on their sexual organs and genitalia
3) They must be people with money to blow. Critics believe a middle-class woman would never “waste” her money on something so inconsequential.
4) They must be timid women who lack the courage to stand up to their male sexual partner who demands perfection in her body.
While there are certainly women from each of these four categories who seek labiaplasty, my experience has been that they are not the norm. Let me address these in reverse order. My average patient is not some scared mouse trying to please a demanding sexual partner. I’ve found that it takes a strong woman who is not overly concerned with the opinions of others to seek a labiaplasty or vaginoplasty. In fact, the best surgeons, if they detect that a woman is psychologically unbalanced, will not even perform the operation.
Most of my patients are not extremely wealthy women. In fact, the fastest growing group of patients I see are middle-class. Nor is the typical patient a sexual deviant or someone who is obsessed with her looks. In fact, there are just as many people who seek a labiaplasty in pursuit of physical comfort as there are for aesthetic reasons. Before labiaplasty, many of my patients report that over-sized labia make it uncomfortable and even painful to wear certain clothing or engage in many physical activities. Plastic surgery gives them physical relief.
I suspect that by next decade, labiaplasty and vaginoplasty will be accepted just like any other form of cosmetic surgery. In the meantime, it’s my hope that enlightened people will look past the stereotypes and understand that these patients are people who have made an informed decision about something that will make their lives more comfortable and pleasurable.