So you’ve just heard there are two types of vaginas: an innie vagina and an outie vagina. For a lot of folks, this is a new term. Does it have you wondering which type you have and if you’re normal?
Spoiler: You’re totally normal bestie. Vulvas are like snowflakes, no two are the same.
Unfortunately, a lot of us vagina owners are self-conscious about our vulva because of what’s portrayed (and not portrayed) in porn. In this article we’ll answer the question “What is an outie vagina?” and we’ll offer some vulva representation to help you out plus tell you which type is most common.
The innie vs. outie vagina debate
These adorable names (that nod to innie or outie belly buttons) are not actual medical terms. What we’re actually referring to here is the vulva and the labia, not the internal vagina.
The bit that is either innie or outie is called the labia minora, also known as the inner lips.
An “outie” vagina or vulva refers to the inner lips extending past the outer lips. This exposes the outer lips naturally rather than being enclosed within the outer lips.
An “innie” vagina or vulva refers to the inner lips being naturally tucked into the outer lips. This type of vulva “closes up” and you can barely see the inner lips at all.
Some much-needed vulva representation
Take a look at these plaster castings of real vulvas and labia below. There you’ll notice some inner labia protruding beyond the outer labia. That’s an outie vagina.
Do you see one that looks like your vulva?
Image Source: The Great Wall of Vagina Panels by Jamie McCartney
OK OK, so which type is normal?
There seems to be a rather dangerous misconception that your labia should be a certain shape or size. But all vulvas are normal as they are.
They all range naturally in size, shape, texture, color, and symmetry.
Wondering which is most common though?
The only type of vulva you ever see represented in cinema or pornography are innie vaginas. Using that as your basis of reality you’d assume that outies were very rare. But that would be backward.
In fact, the most common type of labia is an “outie" according to this 2017 study.
This lack of representation might explain the rise of vulva self-consciousness and labiaplasty procedures, a cosmetic vulva surgery that trims excess labia tissue. Only in very rare cases are outie vaginas any type of health risk or concern.
The consensus is that both types are equally as common, with outie vaginas taking the lead.
Why is this important?
The most common question OB-GYNs and sex educators get is “Am I normal?”
It's important to educate everyone on their bodies so they can experience the freedom of knowing they are totally normal. Feeling somehow abnormal can bring on feelings of shame which are incredibly difficult to deal with.
Renowned sex researcher Emily Nagoski gets asked this “Am I Normal?” question too and she writes “We know by now that there's no such thing as normal—or rather, that we're all normal. We're all made of the same parts as everyone else, organized in a unique way. No two alike.”