Labia illustration showing different types of vulvas on a pink and sparkling background
Scientifically Reviewed
Home/Cycle Matters / Reproductive Health

5 Labia Facts You Should Know

Let’s take a look at labia, from size, shape, and function, these tucked-away parts are often overlooked or stigmatized. Today though, we’re going to shine the spotlight on labia and showcase their practicality - and uniqueness! Join us as we cover 5 labia facts we think everyone should know…

What is Labia? 

Part of the external female genitalia, labia are the fleshy skin folds located on the vulva. Latin for lips, labia are an important part of our anatomy. Now let’s learn some facts about the not-so-talked-about labia!

1. Labia protect your vagina

When it comes down to it, labia have a very practical function. They are there to protect the vagina and the urethra (the opening where you pee). The vagina is already pro at protecting itself, it’s self-cleaning, and can bounce-back after stretching during childbirth - pretty remarkable! 

But while the vagina does lots of hard work, it’s fair to say the nearby labia does some of the heavy lifting too. These fleshy folds cushion the external genitalia, keeping the vaginal opening and urethra safe.

2. There are two sets of labia

Labia are actually doubly protective because there are two sets of them. These are known as labia majora (or outer labia) and labia minora (or inner labia). Labia majora are the folds on the outside of the vulva often covered in pubic hair, while labia minora (or inner labia) are the folds closer to the vagina - they begin at the clitoris and end under the vaginal opening. 

Don’t just take our word for it! If you want to see for yourself, you can use a handheld mirror to get a closer look at your vulva and identify both sets of labia. We want you to remember one thing though…

3. Labia come in all different shapes and sizes

Every vulva is different, and when it comes to labia - they’re no exception! Labia vary in length, size and color. Although pornography often shows vulvas with minimal labia, there is no ‘right’ way for a labia to look. 

Labiaplasty has become a more common procedure in recent years, this is an operation to reduce the length of labia. Given the information gap on reproductive health and the unrealistic portrayal of female bodies, it’s no wonder many of us end up feeling self-conscious about the way our vulvas look. However, it’s perfectly natural and normal to have longer labia.

4. ... and labia are not symmetrical

While we’re on the subject of unrealistic beauty standards, we want to point out that it’s also completely normal to have asymmetrical labia. It’s very common for one lip to be longer than the other. 

Female bodies have been stigmatized for too long. Here at Natural Cycles we firmly believe in talking about these topics, showing a spectrum of anatomy, and ultimately celebrating what makes us unique!

5. Labia change size and color

We’ve learned lots about the labia already, but did you know they can also change in size and color? When aroused, labia can swell up and deepen to a darker hue as blood flows to the vulva area. 

We know that there are more types of sex than vaginal penetration, and the labia are close to the female pleasure anatomy. Since the clitoris swells and the vagina widens with sexual arousal, it’s no wonder that labia can also change.

Learn more about your health every day

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning some labia facts! Spreading knowledge about reproductive health is built into our mission. The Natural Cycles app is the first of its kind to be FDA cleared for use as birth control, and it can also be used to plan a pregnancy if and when you want to start a family. 

However, Natural Cycles is so much more than a birth control app. It also provides daily updates and insights into what’s happening in your cycle, from PMS alerts to self-breast check reminders, there’s so much more to the app than your fertility status. 

Take our quiz to see if Natural Cycles is for you

4.8

30k App Store ratings

Did you enjoy reading this article?

Discover Natural Cycles° today

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house medical expert. With 10+ years of experience working in the field of fertility, he dedicates the majority of his time to conducting groundbreaking research within the field of women's health.

Featured Posts

Birth Control

A Birth Control App, not a Period Tracking App

4 min read

Birth Control

12 Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods and How They Work

13 min read

Reproductive Health

Ovulation and Temperature

10 min read

Want to learn more about a hormone-free future?

Subscribe to our newsletter for access to our latest articles, exclusive promotions and more.

Keep reading...

Reproductive Health

The Evolution of Menopause: Expert Q&A with Dr. Paola Cerrito

For many of us, we don't think much about menopause until it happens to us, but have you ever wondered why we go through menopause in the first place? Well, this World Menopause Month we talked to evolutionary biologist Dr. Paola Cerrito, who specializes in the evolution of menopause and is carrying out research on fossils to understand why we experience this change. Join us as we look into the origin of this crucial reproductive stage and discover why we may have more in common with narwhals than you first might think…

8 min read

Reproductive Health

5 Facts About Fallopian Tubes

Your fallopian tubes are one of the crucial parts of your reproductive system - but how often do you give them any thought? We’re giving these little tubes their time in the spotlight with five key facts you need to know about the fallopian tubes. Read on to find out more about the small but mighty fallopian tubes…

6 min read

Reproductive Health

What is PID?

Pelvic inflammatory disease, otherwise known as PID, is an infection of the female reproductive system. It can affect your womb, fallopian tubes, or ovaries and, if left untreated, can be serious. Here’s everything you need to know about this condition.

7 min read