Do you talk to your children about sex and their bodies? If not, you could be unwittingly contributing to what I call a “low sense of vagina-esteem.”
Research by the BBC shows that girls, as young as 9 are seeking cosmetic surgery for their labia. Labioplasty reduces and reshapes inner and outer vaginal lips, which for most of these girls is purely for appearance since they have no medical basis for the surgery.
Girls, Disgusted By Their Vaginas, Seek Surgery
These youngsters are expressing dismay and disgust at their genitals’ appearance and believe they are abnormal.
The author of this BBC article on the topic reports some experts think that pornography and images viewed through social media are to blame. Girls are comparing themselves to women they see in porn, who may also have had these surgeries to reduce or shape their labia.
Porn is Not the Problem
This is a tragic reflection of our times for women and girls. I don’t think it is pornography that is the problem, but the pressure we put on women to conform to standards that demand conformity, uniformity, and sexuality education for girls that is often redacted or reduced to information about menstruation only.
If we were more open and transparent around sex and the variety of women’s genitals, if we could teach acceptance and tolerance for sexual behaviors, young girls and women might not grow up with shame as their primary experience of their bodies, they would not be trying to conform to an unrealistic standard of body image that is unrealistic and possibly dangerous.
But left to our school systems, the current sex education curriculum has proven to be limited in its ability to provide comprehensive, positive sexual education around body parts and beahviors. And as a result, kids are taught that the real issues around sex are not something to talk about openly with adults and so – of course – they go online to find out about sex. A general search of “sex” on the internet does not provide a balanced, healthy educational experience for girls a the average age of 9 years old.
Let’s Talk to Our Kids About Sex
The solution to this growing trend toward negative genital body image among our adolescents and pre-adolescents is to talk to our kids about sex. Starting frank and open discussions about sexuality, including body parts, both maile and female genitalia, should start at home. If we can open the discussion when our kids are young, it can lead to them having healthier sex lives in adulthood, with a more positive body image, and definitely better “vagina-esteem.”
If we could talk to our kids about their developing bodies and how all of us are shaped and created unique, they might be better prepared to deal with what they see in social media and in pornography. We cannot shelter them from everything that is out there. But we can better equip them to react to what they see.
Many Parents Are Not Prepared to Discuss Sexuality With Their Kids
Unfortunately, many parents feel less than prepared to have these discussions with their children. They may feel uncomfortable or feel they lack real knowledgable. They may worry that openly talking about sexuality will give kids the idea that it’s okay to have sex at any age.
If this is you, please know that there are plenty of resources out there for you to educate yourself and get the support you need. I can be one of those resources.
Please contact me to schedule a session where we can discuss your concerns about your children and the many ways to discuss sexuality with them in a healthy, positive manner.