Let’s Talk about Genitals

When you were a child, what names did your parents or parental figures give to your genitals? How about those of the opposite sex? How did those names change as you got older, such as when talking to peers, or even partners?

In general, there is a great deal of societal discomfort in talking about genitals, and that reaches broadly. In professional settings, talking can lead to fear of sexual harassment; in casual conversation, there can be a ton of silly names and misinformation; and even at the doctor or therapist office, we can feel embarrassment over our questions regarding them.

Porn’s Appearance Ideals

Many people get their information about what genitals are “supposed to look like” from what they see in pornography – whether videos or magazines. They may also see family members or share a locker room with others and notice differences between their body and another’s, creating confusion.

Porn has appearance ideals for both male and female genitals that don’t accurately reflect the wide variation of what is normal.

What is the Average American Penis Size?

Penises come in all shapes and sizes. The average length, when erect, of an adult American male is between 5.1 to 6 inches long. However, penises can range from 3 to 13 inches in length.

The average girth is between 4.7 and 5.1 inches around, with a range of under 3 to around 7 inches. Testicles can vary in size as well, and their size is not correlated to virility or sexual prowess.

What Do the Typical Woman’s Genitals Look Like?

The ideal look of vulvas (the external genitals of a woman, including the clitoris, labia, urethral area, perineum -the space between the vagina and the anus- and the anus) created primarily by the porn industry has caused several women to seek a labia-plasty. This procedure is cosmetic in nature and is sought by women who feel insecure about the look of their genitals.

The vagina is only the internal canal of the female genitals and runs from the opening to the cervix. The vulva makes up the rest of the lower genital area. Each vulva is unique in shape, coloring, and size of various parts.

The clitoris can be pea sized to an inch, or even longer. Most of the clitoris is internal. The labia (both inner and out lips), can be long or short, thick or thin, and sometimes the inner lips (labia minora) can extend outside of the outer lips (labia majora). These differences are all natural.

Concerns about the appearance of your genital area can be discussed with your gynecologist, who will know if anything is medically problematic and offer solutions.

By talking frankly and honestly about genitals, we can begin to dispel myths, shame, and embarrassment and really begin to provide the support we need to truly experience sexual health. If I can be part of your journey in sexual freedom and expression, please contact me for more information.

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