New Research Reveals Rising Labia Shame Among Young Australians

New research released today by Women’s Health Victoria highlights a troubling trend in body image issues, particularly regarding perceptions of genitalia among young Australians. 

The YouGov survey reveals that pornography and the online world are contributing to increased anxiety and shame among Gen Z and millennials about their vulva and labia.

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On today’s episode of The Briefing, we speak with the longest-serving Dolly Doctor and Labia Library ambassador, Dr Melissa Kang.

Key findings indicate that almost a third (31 per cent) of young people aged 18 to 24 associate their labia with negative terms such as “weird,” “disgusting,” or “ugly.” 

This body image crisis is leading to serious health implications, with many delaying visits to their GPs for pap smears and other sexual and reproductive health concerns out of embarrassment. 

“It seems to be linked to this sense of shame about one’s own completely natural and well-functioning body,” Dr Kang said.

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She also expressed concern about people who are considering having labiaplasty due to the shame and embarrassment of their bodies. 

“There are risks to any kind of surgical procedure. People have the right to seek cosmetic changes to their bodies and to seek advice and perhaps treatment for that. But when it’s motivated by an immense feeling of inadequacy or unattractiveness or shame about the appearance of one’s body, I think that’s what’s of concern,” she added. 

The survey also revealed that this shame affects personal relationships and mental health, with respondents admitting to avoiding sex and experiencing negative impacts on their mental well-being.

“The shame surrounding labia is not just a superficial issue; it has profound effects on mental health, sexual health, and overall well-being.”

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