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Porn blamed for ‘designer vagina’ epidemic

entertainment Updated: Aug 26, 2011 16:42 IST
ANI
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Young women are increasingly seeking cosmetic genital surgery to make their vaginas match pornographic images, a new study has found. Researchers at the Elizabeth Garret Anderson Hospital, London, found that the number of labial reduction procedures in the National Health Service has increased five fold in the past 10 years.

This is the first study looking specifically at the labial dimensions of women seeking cosmetic surgery. The researchers looked at 33 women seeking the operation, whose average age was 23, and found that they all had normal-sized labia minora, with an average width of 26.9 mm (right), and 24.8 mm (left).

Only three had a significant assymetry for which surgery would be appropriate. But 40 percent of them still keen to pursue the operation, mostly because they wanted to make their labia smaller ‘to improve appearance'. Other reasons included reducing discomfort, improving confidence and wanting to improve sexual intercourse.

CoupleAccording to the Independent, women are "bombarded with images suggesting they were not normal", including websites advertising female genital cosmetic surgery which presented idealised images of the perfect vagina.

The study also looked at how old the women were when they first became dissatisfied with the labia minora. Twenty-seven women (81 pc) were able to pinpoint this. Of these, 5 women (15 pc) reported this to be under the age of 10, 10 (30pc) between the ages of 11 and 15, 5 (15pc) between 16 and 20, 4 (12pc) in their twenties, and 3 (9 pc) in their thirties.

“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 lead author Sarah Creighton.

“A particular concern is the age of some of the referred patients, one as young as 11 years old. Development of the external genitalia continues throughout adolescence and in particular the labia minora may develop asymmetrically initially and become more symmetrical in time,” she added.

The study is published in the August 24 issue of BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.