The obsession with the beauty canon has reached the genitals: a third of women and half of men are not happy with their appearance or size, which is reflected in an increase in intimate cosmetic surgeries. “There is no current congress without presentations on genital aesthetics, both male and female, and there are already courses in this specialty. The genitals are a consumer product”, explains Mirén Larrazabal, psychologist and sexologist.
She also highlights the inconsistency of the fact that behind the scenes there is a commitment to diversity; and in private, for a single ideal of beauty. It is a surgery with so many detractors, who consider that “it is outrageous”. Her supporters believe that “it is a form of empowerment and self-esteem”; if there are nose surgeries, why will there not be genital surgeries?
Faced with this increase in intimate surgeries, and after several reports were published about dissatisfaction with their vulvas in between 30 and 50% of women, a team from the Doce de Octubre hospital in Madrid began a study to outline educational measures with which to try to counteract or stop this phenomenon. “At least avoid operations due to misinformation”, emphasizes one of the authors of the study, the gynecologist Alba Bartolomé. She points out that “most women who request a labiaplasty, a labia minora surgery, are between 15 and 20 years old”.
Patients’ not real perception
Women want to improve the symmetry of the labia and make them smaller -especially the internal ones-, because a “canon of young beauty, almost girlish, and with certain coloration” prevails, according to Larrazabal, who warns that “there are so many forms of vulvas such as noses or mouths. Bartolomé also warns that “there are no strict criteria to know what is normal or not”, and stresses that many of the patients they consult have “even small lips”.
The same happens with men, as confirmed by the urologist specialist in prostate, François Peinado: “There is a wrong idea about the lengths. Many think that it has to measure 18 centimeters, when the average is 9.5 centimeters flaccid and around 13 centimeters erect. I tell most of my patients that they have normal penises and do not need surgery at all”.
In this sense, the also Chilean urologist surgeon Carlos Nazir details that these surgeries are equally demanded by heterosexuals and homosexuals. “We are all different and we must intervene within the anatomical and physiological limits of each person,” he recommends.
He adds that it is important to go to specialists, although it is not always done because there is an embarrassment factor. “They are looking for the hairdresser or the tattoo artist”, he highlights. He points out that “disasters that cause things to go wrong -such as hyaluronic acid or centrifuged fat- are worse because they cause deformities and urinary problems.
Pornography: the only origin of this genital complex?
The comparison with the images of perfect genitals or with unusual lengths that social networks show or, above all, pornography can be behind this dissatisfaction. But Alba Bartolomé does not believe that pornography is the only cause, since “it also reflects variety”, and Raquel Oliva, from the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), also speaks of the influence of hair removal. «In the past, the hair was not removed and a few years ago the fashion of removing it all began. Now the sagging is more evident in shaved women», she indicates.