The female vulva includes two sets of lips, or skin folds:
- The outer lips, also known as labia majora
- The inner lips, also known as labia minora
The outer lips look usually the same in most women and are covered by pubic hair (unless it is removed; read our blog about it Genital hair – tips). They are puffy and act as a cushion against the male’s pubic bone during intercourse.
The inner lips are often a cause for aesthetic doubt as they may vary in size and shape: some women have symmetrical inner lips while others will have one larger/longer than the other. In some women, the inner lips will rest within the outer lips while in others they will protrude (stick out) and be visible without separating the outer lips. In some women they may be so small that it may be a bit difficult to ‘find them.’ And in some women, an inner lip may be missing altogether.
Regardless of the shape and look of the inner lips, there should be no need for concern. Remember, (genital) beauty is in the eye of the beholder… What is essential is to have a positive self esteem — after all, penises don’t all look the same, do they?
On the other hand, women with an exceptionally long inner lip may get it dragged into the vagina upon penile penetration causing pinching and even painful intercourse. A simple solution is to be aware of it and move out the lip upon penetration. If you are still struggling with it, speak with your gynecologist.