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*From Hymenoplasty to Labiaplasty - My Heavens, What Will They Think of Next!
By
Lois W. Stern*

Well, it appears that I stirred up a hornet’s nest with The Virgin Makers - Part 1. This is what Fab40 is all about: inform, educate and make people think and respond. So keep those comments flowing!

In the first episode of The Virgin Makers, I spoke about hymenoplasty as a cosmetic procedure being performed to basically deceive a male partner about a woman's virginity. While cultures that highly value virginity believe an intact hymen is the marker of a pure woman, scientific fact shows the hymen can break for reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Yet in some cultures, the hymen is considered so sacrosanct that unmarried women without a hymen are subject to violence and, at times, even death. But the hymenoplasty procedure appears to be gaining in popularity for more frivolous reasons as well. Apparently some women are undergoing hymenoplasties to surprise their partners, in some cases, after years of marriage and children. Others are giving it as a marital gift – a chance for their husband to make love to a virgin.  

Hymenoplasty is a relatively simply procedure that can be completed under local anesthesia in a matter of hours. But the recovery period is long - about six to eight weeks – and can take even longer before the woman is ready for sex once again. Considering that the results last for only one lovemaking session, I ask the obvious: Can't couples find better ways to inject fun, excitement and playfulness into their lovemaking?  

As if tinkering with surgery to add spice to one night of lovemaking weren't far out enough, we are now being treated to news about another down south procedure known as labiaplasty. Labiaplasty, (sometimes spelled labioplasty), involves the creation or reshaping of the labia (lips) surrounding the vagina by removal of excess skin or reducing  the size of unusually large labia. As with other plastic surgery procedures, labiaplasty may be undertaken for functional reasons, aesthetic reasons, or a combination of the two. In most cases it is an elective procedure unless the doctor determines that it is needed for medical reasons.

Although cosmetic treatments to private parts appear to be growing, with newspapers and magazines full of stories on these procedures, there is very little medical information available. In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons neither mentions it on their website nor maintains such statistics. Few plastic surgeons even offer it as a cosmetic procedure since the academic institutions do not teach many of these procedures and the medical literature is pretty much non-existent. Consequently, surgeons who perform these surgeries are not always true, well trained experts themselves.

 "Vaginal rejuvenation," "designer vaginoplasty," "revirgination" and "G-spot amplification" are being marketed to women on late-night TV, in magazines and on the Internet. Doctors offering the procedures say they can enhance women's sexual pleasure and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms.

Critics say that these women are exposing extraordinarily sensitive body parts to interventions with questionable benefits and unknown risks.
Other experts express concern that practitioners are offering surgical fixes to problems better addressed by correcting women's misconceptions about their bodies and boosting their self-esteem.

In May, 2008, the highly respected British Medical Journal charged that doctors aren't properly informing women of the risks with the labiaplassty procedure (including decreased sensitivity and scar tissue that could rupture during childbirth). But more to the point, the article flatly states, "There is nothing unusual about protrusion of the labia," firmly refuting the notion that there is any standard to live up to in the first place.  

Isn't it enough that we have to fret over our wrinkles and sagging jaw lines? Must we now also have to fret over body parts rarely seen by the naked eye? Come on now, give me a break!

© 2008 by Lois W. Stern

You have my permission to reprint this article in part or full providing it contains the following attribution:

Lois W. Stern is the author of Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, (Infinity 2006, 2008), soon to be republished in a revised edition with a CD enclosure. Lois invites prospective cosmetic surgery patients, physicians, and media to visit her website to read other articles, sign up for her monthly newsletter, or purchase autographed copies of her book at: [Link Removed] Once there, be sure to use the navigation bar at the top of the screen.

Lois enjoys hearing from her readers and will actually respond.
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