The visible part of the vagina consists of the outer lips (labia major) and the inner lips (labia minora). Some people may refer to their vagina as being either an “innie” or an “outie.” However, these are not medical terms.

The labia major, or outer lips, are fleshy with pubic hair on them. The labia minora, or inner lips, may or may not be visible.

Each person’s labia will have a slightly different size, color, texture, and appearance.

The vagina is inside the body. When people use the above terms, instead of referring to the vagina, they are actually describing the labia. These are the external parts of the genitalia.

The following article will discuss everything a person needs to know about the appearance of the external structures of the vulva.

Radicchio leaves arranged suggestively to look like female genitaliaShare on Pinterest
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Understanding anatomy is an important part of learning about the differences between an innie and an outie vagina.

These particular terms may be misleading, however, as they refer to the external genitalia or the vulva, not the vagina. The distinction between the vagina and vulva is similar to that of the mouth and lips.

The National Vulvodynia Association defines the vulva as the outside of the female genitalia that helps protect the sexual organs, vagina, and urinary opening from infection. The external genitalia consists of many parts, including the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, and vestibule.

When people refer to an innie or outie vagina, they are typically referring to the labia majora and labia minora. Some people may also refer to these parts of the vulva as the “lips.” The labia majora are the larger or outer lips, and the labia minora are the smaller or inner lips.

According to one 2017 study, 56% of vulvas have visible labia minora. This suggests that it is just as common to have visible labia, or an outie vagina, as it is to have hidden labia, or an innie vagina.

As mentioned above, the vagina is actually located inside the body. It performs several functions, including expanding for childbirth, serving as a passageway for menstrual blood, and accommodating penetration during sexual intercourse.

Learn more about the vagina.

Innie vaginas are all different. They can vary in size, shape, color, and the length of the labia. Also, the labia may be close to the opening or farther away.

Hair growth, length, width, and odor can all vary, too. No two vaginas are the same.

Outie vaginas also differ. They can vary in size, shape, color, and the length of the labia. Some may be wider, while others may be longer. They may have a symmetrical or asymmetrical appearance.

People may notice differences in hair growth, smell, and color. Similar to innie vaginas, no two outies are the same, and many variations are normal in appearance.

It is unlikely that someone will experience any changes in sensation. The external genitalia play a vital role in sexual satisfaction, but the size of the labia is unlikely to alter sexual sensation.

Having an outie vagina is normal and unlikely to interfere with day-to-day function.

In some cases, someone may experience labial hypertrophy, wherein the labia minora are disproportionately larger, and this may cause issues with quality of life.

With this condition, people may experience changes in sensation such as:

  • pain during sports and other activities
  • irritation
  • increased likelihood of infection
  • difficulty cleaning the labia

Some people may also have feelings of self-consciousness. For example, they may feel uncomfortable because of a bulge under their clothing or underwear.

Although the labia do not cause any problems in most cases, feelings of embarrassment may cause some people to seek cosmetic labiaplasty, which is a procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora.

Neither an innie nor an outie vagina is better than the other. In fact, according to some research, they are both normal, and there is a slightly higher occurrence of outies than innies.

One 2018 study investigating the appearance of vulvas belonging to white people aged 15–84 years found a wide variety of dimensions and descriptions of the external genitalia. There will likely be as much variance in the appearance of vulvas in people of any ethnicity.

Every vulva is unique. There is no reason that anyone should feel embarrassed, different, or ashamed of how their vulva looks.

Although some individuals may worry about the size of their labia, there is usually no cause for concern. The size of a person’s labia is only a problem if it begins to affect their working, social, or sporting life.

The appearance of each vulva is unique.

Having an outie vagina is completely normal, and these may be more common. Anyone who feels uncomfortable about the appearance of their genitalia may wish to consider seeking support in accepting their body as it is.

There are many options to consider to help a person feel more comfortable with their body’s appearance.

For example, the Labia Library contains images of many different vulvas. The point of the gallery is to show people that there is no correct way that a vulva should look and that each has its own unique appearance.

Another option that may help a person feel more comfortable is to explore and become more familiar with their body. One older study, from 1991, suggests that married women who masturbate have higher self-esteem and several other sexual benefits than those who do not.

Anyone who feels self-conscious about the appearance of their genitalia may wish to consider talking to a therapist about their feelings.

A sexual therapist may be able to help a person feel more comfortable with their appearance. Some people may also find that talking about their concerns with their partner can help.

Some people may consider a labiaplasty. Although this option is available, it is not necessary for most people. A labiaplasty can help with reducing the size of the labia minora for people who experience pain and discomfort from the protruding labia.

The majority of people do not need to contact a doctor due to the appearance of their vulva. However, talking with a doctor who specializes in vaginal health may help ease any concerns.

If large labia minora cause pain or discomfort during activities such as sex or sporting events, a person may want to talk about their options with a doctor. In some cases, the doctor may recommend labiaplasty.

People who feel uncomfortable about the appearance of their vulva may wish to look for ways to help improve their self-image. Support groups and therapy may help. A doctor may be able to help a person find appropriate groups or therapies.

Innie and outie vaginas describe the way the vulva looks on the outside. Someone may say that they have an outie vagina when the labia minora appear larger than the labia majora. This is perfectly normal.

People may feel self-conscious about how their vulva looks. There are several ways to improve body image, including familiarizing oneself with the possible variations in the shapes and sizes of vulvas.

A person may also wish to consider therapy to help themselves feel more comfortable in their own body.