March 9, 2009

Q&A: Did Masturbation Change The Shape Of My Genitals?

A female reader wonders if masturbation could have changed the shape of her vulva.

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Question: I’ve masturbated since I was a kid, but now my inner vaginal lips are longer than my outer lips, and they’re also out of shape. Is this because I’ve masturbated so much?

Many women have questions about their size and shape of their genital parts – and quite a few women have wondered, like you, if their masturbation has played a part.

Author, educator and activist Betty Dodson describes such thinking in her book about female masturbation titled Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving.

All Shapes And Sizes

It’s important to know that women’s genitals do, in fact, come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – especially a woman’s inner vaginal lips, which are also called the labia minora.

The labia minora may be very tiny, such as a centimeter or less long, or they may hang down several inches, even hanging out past a woman’s outer vaginal lips, which are also called the labia majora. Most women’s labia minora are somewhere in between but none of these lengths are any better or worse than the others.

Not Affected By Sex Or Masturbation

There is no “standard” size of shape to women’s labia and neither masturbation nor partner sex are what shape a woman’s genital parts; rather, it’s her genetics and health that play the biggest role.

It is common for women to use their hands to stimulate their vagina (which is the inside part of a woman’s genitals, also called the birth canal) or their vulva (which is a word that refers to the outside parts such as the clitoris, labia minora and labia majora).

Masturbation is not known to cause any physical or mental health problems. In fact, masturbation is largely considered a safe and often very pleasurable activity for both women and men.

Recommended Reading

To learn more about female self-pleasuring, you might also check out the book For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality. To learn more about the variations of women’s genitals, you might find it interesting to read The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health.