More Controversy: Cosmetic gynecologic procedures

I was recently at a conference and was listening to a talk on cosmetic gynecologic procedures. The talk sparked a great deal of emotion in the audience, which was made up primarily of Gynecologists, Urologists, and Psychologists.  The controversy began to be illuminated during the question and answer session following the talk. 

The number of cosmetic surgeries performed each year has continued to increase. Cosmetic surgery of the female genitalia is among the most controversial cosmetic surgeries performed. Some may ask, why would a woman want to change how her vagina looks. Well, some say that a woman’s perception of her vaginal region can have devastating effects on her life and greatly effects her self-esteem, desire for sexual activity, her relationship, and might even cause vaginal discomfort.

There are several different female surgeries that exist, including, but not limited to:

Vaginoplasty (vaginal rejuvenation and tightening); Labiaplasty (labia reduction and “beautification”); Hymenoplasty (reconstruction of the hymen); clitoral hood reduction or clitoral hoodectomy (reduction of the excessive prepuce/clitoral hood).

Cosmetic gynecologic procedures are an aesthetic surgery. Those who are in favor of these types of surgeries typically say that women should have a right to choose if they would like to look differently. After all, we allow women to have breast enlargements, reductions, tummy tucks…So why is altering a woman’s genitals any different?

Those who disagree with this type of elective surgery claim that women are socially reinforced to believe that their genitals are unattractive while in fact, what is “normal” ranges. They say the media destroys women’s self-esteem.

So is a partner so concerned about what a woman’s genitals look like? Are we, as a society, so obsessed with photos or pornographic videos depicting the “perfect” vagina, that we are not able to see the beauty in a vagina that differs in shape, color, or texture to those we have seen? A well known OBGYN who I respect once said “if you are that close, you should be licking not looking”.

I’d like to hear from my readers…What are your thoughts on cosmetic gynecologic surgeries? Let’s please be respectful of differing opinions and agree to disagree!