Nowadays, many men expect women to be “hairless down there.” And many women, pressured by boyfriends and husbands, accommodate this expectation by regularly shaving or waxing off their pubic hair. A recent study by sex researcher Dr. Debra Herbenics showed that 59% of women surveyed reported removing their pubic hair at least some of the time.

However, their hairless look has caused some women to feel self-conscious about their genitals. Many women just don’t find their hairless vulvas very attractive, especially their labia minora. A decade ago, few women worried about the appearance of their labia minora because the labia were hidden by hair and barely visible.

Beyond Hairless

Combine this new mindset with the proliferation of and easy online access to pornography, where women can now view close-up images of the private parts of gorgeous, enormously popular porn stars such as Jenna Jameson and Ginger Lynn, and we see that a new standard of genital beauty for young women is emerging.

When some women see the silky, shaven, sometimes flapless genitals of those perfect-looking female porn stars, some feel even more pressure to “look like them.” These genital images may remind women that their inner parts often protrude more than the “tucked-in” look of porn stars. Consequently, women may wonder: “How do porn stars look so perfect down there?” Some may be more than a little envious and fantasize about having their private parts look just like those types of working girls. Being exposed to these unrealistic images can start to make some women feel unhappy with their “gross-looking” vaginas to the point that they decide to do something about it.

“I Want a Barbie”

Enter labiaplasty, the most common type of vaginal rejuvenation surgery. Labiaplasty, also known as labia reduction, labia rejuvenation, or vaginal lip reduction, is a cosmetic genital surgical procedure that reduces the size or changes the shape of the labia minora, and it is an ever-evolving field in plastic and gynecologic surgery. The frequency of labiaplasty procedures appears to be increasing, along with the number of physicians who offer this service. Surgery typically involves trimming the labia majora or minora. Taken a step further, a procedure called “The Barbie” amputates the entire labia minora, in order to make a woman’s labia look smooth like a plastic doll…or a pristine porn star. The Barbie creates a clamshell aesthetic with an entirely smooth genital area; the outer labia appear sealed together with no labia minora protrusion.

Women who suffer with such body issues will pay upward of $6000 to undergo a labiaplasty. Some, so desperate, and lacking the financial means to pay for this type of cosmetic surgery, will attempt to perform the operation themselves. They’ll watch labiaplasty surgeries on the Internet and think they know what to do-a practice that is obviously fraught with health dangers. There’s even a story of a women having a tattoo artist remove her labia minora, which almost led to her bleeding to death.

When it comes to genital aesthetics, the effects of pornography can’t be denied. As long as the genitals of porn stars remain the new standard, the frequency of genital cosmetic surgeries will continue to rise as more and more women are requesting a “designer vagina.”