Perceptions of Labiaplasty

Perceptions of Variation in Female Genitalia Following Labiaplasty - Kaylee Skoda, Flora Oswald, Lacey Shorter, & Cory L. Pedersen

 

Labiaplasty – a common form of female genital cosmetic surgery involving the removal of portions of the labia minora – is becoming increasingly popular, yet little research has examined perceptions of postoperative labia relative to perceptions of unaltered labia. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine perceptions of preoperative and postoperative labia. A sample of 4513 participants – 42% women, 56% men, and 3% non-binary (Mage 27.01, SDage = 9.97) – were shown a randomized series of ‘before-and-after’ images of labiaplasty procedures. Participants rated each image on how well it matched societal ideals, their personal ideal, and perceived normalcy in appearance. Our hypothesis that postoperative labia would be evaluated more favourably than preoperative labia on these constructs was supported. Individuals who specified their gender outside of the binary rated labia more positively overall; women rated labia more negatively than participants of other genders. Ratings were consistently low overall for both pre- and postoperative labia, suggesting critically negative perceptions of female genitalia. Our findings highlight a need for interventions and education to encourage more positive and accurate views of women’s bodies.

Article published in the Journal of Sex Research, doi: 10.1007/s12119-020-09729-1