That’s the reaction I had when reading this article on young women opting for surgery to obtain what are termed “designer vaginas”.
Lest you think we’re confusing our V-words, no. They’re not attaching rings or gems to their vulvas (the part that can be seen), they’re paying surgeons to cut-and-stitch their birth canals.
And why? Well, porn, for one. They – or their partners – expect a certain experience that imaginary, pixelated characters presume to have. In other words, fiction. So if their own friction doesn’t live up to the low standards of their preferred fiction, well, off to the GYN to have that little “problem” resolved.
Of course it’s the woman who submits to surgery. Naturally. Never mind that surgery is supposed to be healing by way of a knife, and there’s no healing performed here because, well, there’s no disease or injury.
The mind boggles.
So she has her expensive surgery. She risks complications from the anesthesia, recovery, the many nasty germs that float through hospitals, post-surgical infection, and, let’s face it, from the potential mistakes of the surgeon himself. I say him, could be her, but most Western surgeons are male.
There she is, form-fitting and juuuussssst right. Maybe. She could end up dead from septicemia, or merely wounded and requiring hospitalization and perhaps months of recovery.
There has to be an easier way.
There is. Ta-daaah! Enter Arnold Kegel, MD, who in the 20th century designed a series of exercises so simple and discreet they can be done on public transportation, in meetings, even while watching TV with the family. Although Kegel – the man – designed Kegels – the exercises – in order to help women who had trouble with bladder control (they’re great for that, too), he soon found his patients reporting an odd side effect: sex with their husbands felt better, and the men were ecstatic.
Well, duh. What the exercise does is help the pelvic floor muscles become more elastic, stronger, tighter. It would be strange if that didn’t improve vaginal intercourse.
Kegel exercises are recommended to women of all ages. (Maybe the people choosing surgery missed that day in sex education class?)
So why pay thousands of dollars and run the risks of surgery when, in just a few minutes a day, you can build yourself a snappier little birth canal for free?
In any case, surgeons who do gynecological reconstruction have a far greater task ahead of them, one they could begin on immediately, both paid and volunteer, and that’s repairing the ravages of FGM (female genital mutilation), which is not only long-term torture in terms of sex, but also impairs a person’s ability to give birth and survive it.
Some surgeons, especially in France, have begun this work. It is like a miracle to people who for years have paid a very heavy price for their society’s inhumanity.
But there are hundreds of thousands – likely millions – of people who currently have no access to such surgeons. In Egypt, over 90% of female adults are survivors of knives that cut away their clitorises, inner lips, and sometimes the outer lips of their vulvas, as well.
While numbers in Egypt are very high – FGM started there in the time of the pharaohs, and Islam has yet to name it accurately as a pre-Muhammad cultural practice, thus pagan and forbidden – other nations have shockingly high percentages of mutilated people, too. Horribly, the practice continues, so that attacks on little girls in many Muslim families are regarded as just a part of growing up. (Note: Some of those little girls do not survive the assault. They die from blood loss, shock and trauma, and, days later, fevered and hallucinating from advanced septicemia.)
So instead of doing useless designer surgery, gynecologists, how about employing your skills to heal? Educate your colleagues, get together and devote one morning per month – per week – to FGM survivors, and know that you’re not just making life better . . . you’re making life bearable.