Cosmetic surgery is all the rage these days. Last year, Americans spent over $18 billion to have some part of their body altered surgically, up from $12 billion in 2009, a whopping 50% increase. Part of the reason for the increase is the rebounding US economy – but only part. It’s mostly a cultural phenomenon – and it’s disturbing.
Americans look in the mirror and don’t like what they see. They want someone to fix it – fast. And they’re willing to pay — with their health insurance, if possible.
Cosmetic surgery used to be all nose jobs and boob jobs — and the consumers were mainly women. Now men are eagerly going under the knife, too, in search of a new nose, a rejuvenated face or a trimmer waistline.
In fact, no part of the human body is safe anymore. And the industry is becoming increasingly DIY, too, with liposuction increasingly dominated by laser-assisted devices that consumers can wield at will.
Which form of cosmetic surgery is growing fastest now? You may be in for a shock. It’s vaginoplasty – the surgical reconstruction – or often just the “tightening “ – of a woman’s sex organ.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, vaginoplasties have increased by 45% each year since 2016 — and there’s no sign of a slowdown any time soon.
Some women just don’t like the “look” of their vagina – and they think it’s hampering their sex life. A major concern for some is the size and shape of the skin folds or “lips” surrounding their vagina. There’s even a special surgical procedure – “labiaplasty” — that’s focused on trimming and re-shaping these folds.
The desire for vaginoplasty often just comes with aging (after menopause) or after childbirth. Women complain of recurring dryness as well as loosening and sagging. There may be incontinence issues. A reconstructed vagina can allow women to feel “young” and “vital” again.
But these issues pale into comparison to the real promise of vaginoplasty: The enhanced self-esteem and psychic gratification a woman might derive from having her hottest sex in years.
Here, too, one of the great innovations is the rise of laser techniques. In Europe, “sexual wellness” centers that provide a quick-turnaround tightening of the vagina walls with enhanced natural lubrication are booming. Apparently, marked improvements to one’s sex life are noticeable after just three ten-minute sessions.
These same centers – with names like “VSPOT” — are just starting to make their appearance in the United States. One industry analyst predicted that “they’ll be one on every street corner in about ten years.”
As is often the case with cosmetic surgery, adult appetites may well reflect some legitimate health and beauty concerns. But when children start asking their parents for cosmetic surgery, the obsession with body self-enhancement has likely become extreme.
Plastic surgeons have begun reporting that children as young as nine have asked them to perform vaginoplasty. Why? Because they are “comparing out” to the vaginas they see in pornography on social media and have found their own youthful sex organ wanting.
They’re also getting subtle encouragement from their favorite pop icons. Everyone from the Kardashians to Jada Pinkett swears by vaginoplasty; they’ve even bragged about its benefits. Pinkett told one magazine “My yoni is like a 16-year-old… It looks like a little beautiful peach.”
Federal regulators still aren’t sold on the idea – and have warned consumers that vagina “rejuvenation” is largely a “myth.” In 2018, the FDA sent warning letters out to 7 companies asking them to refrain from selling their services until more clinical trials have been conducted validating the techniques.
In the final analysis, how healthy is it for women to be obsessing over the state of their vagina? Arguably, women live in a culture that already tends to depict the female sex organ as ugly and undesirable. Douches and feminine hygiene sprays are intended to make the vagina more appealing, especially to men, the argument goes.
If so, what need does a woman have to make her vagina more available for male sensual pleasure? Despite the feminist empowerment rhetoric behind vaginoplasty, one gets the impression that female consumers are buying more than a new and enhanced genital organ. They’re also shoring up deep-seated cultural assumptions that sexual intimacy – like beauty – is largely skin deep.