The Perfect Vagina — Why is Genital Cosmetic Surgery Suddenly So Popular?

The Perfect Vagina — Why is Genital Cosmetic Surgery Suddenly So Popular?

  Detail from “Modesty,” by sculptor Jamie McCartney. Reproduced by permission of the artist. www.jamiemccartney.com   Why Are More Women Choosing to Have Genital Cosmetic Surgery? After viewing a recent Channel 4 film “The Perfect Vagina,” by British Documentary Director and Producer Heather Leach, I understood why. It’s the explosion in the last decade of print and online close-up images of young women with, in the words of the film, “hairless, neat, pink, tucked-in” genitals.   That and the fact that young women in everyday life are increasingly expected to go hairless as well. Young women’s pubic hair has been steadily disappearing over the past decade.  In a recent study by sex researcher Dr Debra Herbenick, 58.6% of young women sampled reported going hairless at least some of the time. Dr Herbenick tells me that among the college students she talks to, most do it by shaving.   Their slightly older counterparts in my Manhattan sex therapy office tend to do it by waxing.   It’s something many young men these days expect a woman to take care of.   Tight, Tucked, and Hairless In an earlier article, “Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax,” I worried that this new standard of genital beauty was bad news for young women, who hardly needed another item on  their list of grooming rituals.   Or another part of their bodies to obsess about. As the film “The Perfect Vagina” shows, many of today’s newly-waxed young women don’t find their hairless vulvas very attractive.  Especially the inner lips of the vulva, the so-called labia minora.  These inner parts often protrude more than the “tucked-in” bits of porn...
Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax

Contemporary Sexuality and the Brazilian Wax

  Photo credit:  pedrosimoes7 via Creative Commons Does She, or Doesn’t She? “When I was teaching the class of fifteen-year-olds and it was time for the girls to ask their questions of boys, they wanted to know this:  ‘Do you prefer girls who have a little hair or a lot of hair?’  I thought they meant hairstyles, as in long hair versus a shorter cut.  But I quickly realized that they were referring to the boys’ preference for a lot or a little pubic hair.   The boys resoundingly responded, “No hair at all!”  — Louann Brizendine, MD.  The Female Brain.  New York:  Broadway Books, 2006, p. 39. In the future, when the sexual history of our times is written, it might be concluded that one of the more interesting events of the early Twenty First Century was the disappearance of young women’s pubic hair. Whether by shaving or by waxing, it’s clear that many if not most young women are choosing to go hairless, at least some of the time. What’s this all about?   And is it good for sex?   One Giant Leap How different things were, just a few decades ago.    Back then, most men spent their teen and young adult years trying to see as much female pubic hair as possible.    As one 50-something colleague put it,  “When Playboy began showing  pubic hair in the 1970’s, it was as exciting as Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.   This younger generation . . . shaving  – I just don’t understand it.” Maybe we’re not supposed to understand it.   Our kids prefer hip-hop, no matter how much Rolling Stones we...