KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — These days, it’s not just your nose or eyes that can be “improved” with cosmetic surgery. Now women can opt to have more attractive or even designer vaginas.
In fact, vaginal rejuvenation is a multi-million ringgit industry that has expanded in the last five years due to the emergence of non-surgical procedures like Fractional CO2 laser, surgical threads and dermal fillers.
But what is an attractive vagina? As described by aesthetic physicians, it is tight and light-skinned with symmetrical inner labia sheared to tiny strips of skin that cannot be seen while standing, almost akin to a Barbie doll.
Cosmetic vaginal surgery is becoming increasingly popular among middle-class women in Malaysia who desire tighter, fairer and neater genitalia to boost their self-confidence and sexual satisfaction.
“For most women, after giving birth or having many sexual partners, your body is not able to repair the looseness of the vagina,” cosmetic surgeon Dr Alice Prethima Michael told The Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.
“It loses the folds and becomes shortened,” she added. “In most cases, men and women lose sensation during sexual intercourse.”
According to aesthetic physicians, vaginal rejuvenation can be done through surgical or non-invasive laser procedures, with the former usually costing between RM12,000 and RM15,000, while the latter can be anything from RM6,000 to RM10,000.
Vaginal rejuvenation includes designer vaginoplasty (plumping the labia majora, or outer lips, and trimming the labia minora, also called inner lips), vaginal tightening (strengthening the tissue of the vagina), clitoralplasty (snipping off the excess skin of the clitoris), hymenoplasty (restoring the hymen), and G-spot rejuvenation (making the G-spot more prominent).
Dr Alice said that the number of patients seeking cosmetic vaginal surgeries has jumped five times since she opened her clinic in 1999.
Back then she had about 10 to 12 patients a year who wanted vaginal rejuvenation. Today, the number of patients who opt for laser vaginal rejuvenation has multiplied by 10 to a current average of 20 cases a month.
The aesthetic physician noted that most of her patients are middle-class and upper middle-class women, ranging from working professionals to socialites, as well as housewives. About five per cent of her patients are foreigners from the UK, US, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong who fly in specially to see her.
Women who typically go for designer vagina surgeries or non-surgical procedures are between 25 and 55 years, with the majority comprising women who have had children or are going through menopause, or even women who are about to get married.
Ageing and childbirth result in laxer muscles of the vagina, and thinner and darker outer labia, while menopause creates dryness and reduces sexual gratification.
Young women, who have yet to give birth, want to reconstruct their vaginas to “feel more firm and tighter”, said Dr Alice.
Dr Alice’s clinic, which also offers other cosmetic procedures, is located in the affluent neighbourhood of Bangsar here and is watched over by a security guard who records visitors’ particulars.
Past security, patients wait in a cool, comfortable, softly-lit room, surrounded with posters featuring before and after pictures of slimmed bellies and wrinkle-free faces. The vagina, it seems, is simply just another body part to beautify.
Dr Chin Shih Choon, the president of the Malaysian Society of Aesthetic Medicine (MSAM), told The Malay Mail Online: “Among practitioners, we find that it’s a trend that’s become more popular because of more non-invasive procedures. In the past, they used surgical procedures to tighten vaginas.”
He added that women also whiten the area surrounding their genitalia through peels, laser and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) stem cell injections.
“They want to feel better, they want to look better, and they want to have a better sex life at the same time,” said Dr Chin. “The vagina is another part of the body to rejuvenate.”
Unlike cosmetic surgery on one’s face, the results of a vaginal rejuvenation are not visible to the public but the aesthetic physician said: “You show it to your sexual partner. It’s for self-confidence.”
Aesthetic physician Dr Sutina Nordin, who provides laser procedures to enhance the vagina, said that some women want to take care of their vaginas the same way that they care for their skin.
“If you want to take care of your facial skin, you use laser to get new skin cells,” Dr Sutina told The Malay Mail Online in a recent interview. “It’s the same way with the vagina.”
She stressed that ageing was a “disease”. “Beautify your face; don’t forget to beautify your genitals.”
Dr Sutina, who started her aesthetic practice in 2008, said that most of her patients are Malay women who are usually brought in to her clinic by their husbands. Some of the men even make appointments on their wives’ behalf.
“I do see more Malay women, probably because the Malay ethnic group tends to have more children,” she said. “With time, women become less sensitive and with ageing, it causes the (vaginal) mucosa to thin. When they’re uncomfortable, they stiffen up. So the men become uncomfortable.”
Dr Sutina added that women in their 20s opt for whitening procedures for their vaginas to show off their bikinis. “The skin in the inner thigh tends to get darker, so you want it to get an even tone.”
UK news portal MailOnline reported in July last year about an animated documentary titled “Centrefold”, directed by British filmmaker Ellie Land, which showed women talking about their reasons for undergoing labiaplasty to reduce the size of their inner labia.
One said that she felt like a “freak” because of her long labia, while another said she was worried her labia is “long, dark, disgusting, shrivelled-up.” The women also said that they could never find women in porn magazines with similar labia as theirs.
Land was quoted by MailOnline as saying that her film “comments on some of the cultural factors that could be driving women’s anxieties about their genitals, such as advertising, pornography and consumerism.”