By MaryAnn Dakkak, MD, MSPH
Anything that encourages women to explore, understand, and be empowered in their anatomy is a winner to me. Anything that stigmatizes one phenotype (or look) of body over another has nothing to do with health and everything to do with power structures. Just the idea that one form of vulva could be beautiful would intonate that another form of vulva could be ugly. And again, as physicians, I think of things as healthy or unhealthy, risky to your health or safe for your health.
There has been a TikTok video, and many spin-off videos and articles since, that delve into the concept of an innie vs. outie vagina, or more appropriately termed innie vs. outie vulva. The reality is that all vaginas (and vulvas) are different, and all shapes of them are healthy. This is true whether they’re an innie, outie, or somewhere inbetween. In this article we explore the differences between them and why you should be proud of your body no matter where you land on the spectrum.
Vagina Anatomy 101
Before we get to the innie outie vagina topic, let’s be clear on the layout of our lady parts. To be strict in our definitions, a vagina doesn’t come out. Rather, all the external portions are the vulva, which include outer labia (labia majora), inner labia (labia minora), and clitoral hood. So this trend would be more accurately called innie vs. outie vulva if we were going by the medical terms.
The vagina itself is the channel that connects your vulva with your cervix and uterus and is contained inside the body. The only time there would actually be an outie vagina is in the case of serious prolapse and the organs have started to descend out of the body. In this case, I recommend consulting your OBGYN and seeing a gynecologic surgeon.
What is an Outie Vagina?
Many people are now wondering “what does an outie vagina look like?” What these TikToks and articles mean by their definitions is that sometimes the outer labia are leaner, or the inner labia are larger. This results in the inner labia protruding and can be seen or felt from the outer labia. This can fluctuate with weight gain or loss, and with hormone changes including pregnancy.
What is an Innie Vagina?
In the instance of an innie vulva, the outer labia are larger or “puffier” and cover the inner labia and the clitoral hood. As with outies, it can fluctuate with weight gain or loss, and with hormone changes including pregnancy.
Innie vs. Outie Vagina: The Bottom Line
As a physician who examines multiple genital areas a day, we get tunnel vision. If I am examining your cervix, I examine your cervix. As long as everything on the way to the cervix looks healthy, I don’t notice which protrudes more, the inner or outer labia, whether they are paler pink to darker brown, because any of those variations are healthy and normal. I am simply looking for health versus lack of health.
Let me reiterate this: our bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and the same thing applies to our vulvas! Whether you’re an innie vs. outie vagina (or vulva, rather) is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of and to keep healthy.
What causes the variation of vulva size, labial size, etc? A mix of genetics, weight, and you just being you. There is no “better” labial size. There is no “more pleasurable” labial size. And what is most important here, is that your labia have an exquisite number of nerve cells (you know when you catch a pubic hair in your pants and it hurts like hell?), so please please, do not alter your labia for the pleasure of anyone, as it will most definitely cost you pleasure you receive from your labia!
Love your body, inside and out with Kegelbell
Your labia are protective, sensitive, and whoever you let see them or touch them is lucky to just be there. No matter wherever you are on the spectrum of innie vs. outie vagina conversation, my hope is that you’ll take away from this article that you should be proud of your body and treat it as the treasured ground that it is.
I’d be remiss not to mention that while we as a society need to normalize the physical appearance of the body and all its shapes and sizes, we also need to normalize taking care of our body inside and out. Kegelbell is the first externally weighted pelvic floor training device that lets people take back control of their body. Use it in the shower for just five minutes, three times a week in muscle building mode or once a week in maintenance, and customers (including some of my patients) start to see results in just two weeks.
Kegelbell can’t promise you an innie or an outie (nor should we, because any variation is healthy!), but what it can do is help you achieve vaginal health through strengthening the muscles surrounding your vaginal opening, helping with lubrication, and maybe most importantly, helping you gain confidence in your body and wellbeing.