I read a recent study which described that men had a more positive genital perception than did women for both their own and their sexual partners’ genitals. This got me thinking about what the results really indicated. First, I was not shocked to read that men had a positive genital perception of their own genitals. Think about all the “dick pics” that men have sent you, your friends and so on. Think about the boys in high school or college/university that had no problem flashing their naked body or penis at a party or get together to go streaking or for fun. Think about how comfortable it is for most men to be completely naked in a dressing room. Think about how easy its been for most men you’ve been intimate with to show their penis first.
Many men, at least a larger number than women, have a genital confidence that many women do not have. Why is this? Has someone told them that they have a beautiful penis regularly? Have they compared it to so many other penises and decided theirs was so beautiful looking? The answer is no. So why then do males have much more genital confidence than us females? It can be thought that male genitalia has been much more “out in the open” or acceptable than their female counterparts’. Society has partially conditioned males to be proud of their penises no matter what the shape, size or color. The term “it’s not about the size, but how they use it” was even coined to be a validating affirmation about small penises.
Media and society have put forth an idea of what a vagina should look like and the problem is that there are so many more factors to the appearance of female genitalia that it sets up females to be self-conscious about what theirs looks like. Genital appearance dissatisfaction may be lessened by exposing women to images of female genitalia of a variety of colors, shapes and sizes in order to minimize their perceived deviation from the ‘norm’ and broadening their definition of what is ‘ideal’.
Another important take away about these findings is that men actually tend to have a more positive perception of our genitalia than we do ourselves! That means ladies, contrary to what you may think, your partners like your vaginas! We do not have to be worried so much that our partners do not like the way they look. Your partners are simply happy that you are letting them near that beautiful vagina! When a woman is dissatisfied with her genital appearance, it can lead to higher instances of genital self-consciousness during physical intimacy which affects the quality of sex for both partners. It continues into a cycle of having low self-esteem, low sexual satisfaction which can then lead to risky or riskier-than-normal sexual behaviour in order to seek that validation. This risky sexual behaviour increases the risk of STIs or unwanted pregnancies. All of this can stem from a woman being self-conscious — WITHOUT REASON — of her own vagina.
It is time that we all accept what ‘our mamas gave us’ and embrace the beauty and diversity of all male and female genitalia. We need to set aside this idea that there is a specific way every penis or vagina is supposed to look. The sooner we all get over these hangups, the quicker we are on our way to having increased sexual satisfaction and self esteem.