woman with face paint

What Does a Transgender Vagina Look Like?

Many transgender people undergo feminizing surgery to feel more like the gender they identify with. This is also called gender affirmation surgery.

This can include removing the testicles (orchiectomy), construction of a vagina and labia using penile skin and creation of a clitoris from a portion of the glans penis.

The anus

The anus is the last part of your digestive tract where stool leaves your body. It consists of a muscular ring (called a sphincter) that opens during bowel movements to let stool pass, and flat cells lining the inside of the anus. Most anal cancers start in these flat cells.

Your anus helps you have bowel movements by sending nerve signals to your rectum that tell you when it’s time to poop. These nerves then coordinate with muscles in your rectum to push the stool out of the anus. The anus also secretes mucus to lubricate the stool so it can move smoothly through your body.

You can get a transgender vagina by getting a surgical procedure called vaginoplasty. This surgery removes the penis and testicles and uses skin from your genital area to create a vaginal canal, clitoral hood, vulva and labia. However, you should know that this vagina is not sexually functional and you cannot ejaculate from it. You’ll still need to use a condom during anal sex to avoid spreading sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS and herpes.

The hymen

The hymen is a thin piece of tissue that sits at the top of your vaginal opening. It’s shaped like a donut or half-moon and can vary in size. Historically, it was believed that the hymen served as a barrier to germs in the womb, and having an unbroken hymen was considered proof of virginity. But doctors now recognize that the hymen has no clinical role outside of the womb. Hymen tissue is membrane-like and flexible, so it can stretch or tear if something pierces it. But a hymen doesn’t necessarily bleed when you have penetrative sex; it might just feel painful or cause spotting.

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Hymens can also be impacted by everyday activities, such as putting in a tampon or having a shower. And a small number of people have an imperforate hymen, where the remnants of the hymen block the vaginal canal entirely. This can lead to pelvic pain and an inability to use tampons. In these cases, a minor procedure called a hymenectomy is used to remove the extra hymenal tissue. The myth that a hymen has to look a certain way has led to harmful practices, such as virginity testing, which involves examining the hymen to determine if you’re a virgin.

The clitoris

On the outside, your clitoris looks like a pea-sized nub that sticks out at the top of your vulva where the inner labia lips meet. That part is called the glans clitoris and contains thousands of nerve endings that respond to sexual touch. The glans is covered by a flap of skin called the clitoral hood. You may be able to feel the hood when you have an orgasm.

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The clitoral hood may cover all, some or none of your glans. The rest of the clitoris is inside your body, along with its paired crura and vestibular bulbs. These are the parts that fill with blood and become hard when you’re sexually aroused.

The glans and the clitoral hood together make up what’s known as the G-spot, or Grafenberg spot, a region that feels especially pleasurable when stimulated. The clitoral hood, the glans and the crura are part of your clitoral ring, which is connected to the anus, hymen and vaginal canal.

The labia majora

The labia majora are two rounded folds of skin and adipose tissue that make up the external female genitalia. The outer parts are shaped like lips and surround the vaginal opening, as well as the clitoris and the urinary orifice.

Each woman’s vulva is unique in size, shape and color, and it’s perfectly normal for the inner and outer lips to be different. But some people may feel self-conscious about their vulva if it doesn’t look exactly like the one portrayed in pornography or other media.

Labia majora are covered with pigmented skin and sebaceous glands, and after puberty have coarse hair on the outer surface. The inner surfaces are smooth and hairless.

Labia minora, the smaller lips of the vulva, are situated between the labia majora and clitoral hood. They descend obliquely from the clitoris, forming the borders of the vulva vestibule. They can become enlarged with sexual arousal and appear edematous. Like the clitoral hood, they are hairless. The inner surface of the labia minora is prone to infections. It can be helpful to wipe the vulva from front to back after using the toilet or having a bowel movement to prevent friction and reduce the risk of infection.

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The labia minora

The clitoris, hymen, and labia majora make up the external genitalia. This area is called the vulva, and it looks different for every woman. It may be lighter or darker, have more or less hair, or smell differently. These differences are OK, and everyone’s vulva is unique.

The top of the vulva is a fleshy mound of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone, called the mons pubis. This is covered by hair during puberty and contains oil-secreting (sebaceous) glands. The outer lips of the vulva are called the labia majora, or “larger lips.” The inner lips are smaller and more delicate and contain sensitive blood vessels that engorge during sexual arousal.

A transgender vagina is constructed using skin from a donor site on the body, such as a chest or abdomen. The most common technique is some variation of a penile inversion vaginoplasty. During this procedure, the orchiotis is removed and a pocket is created using penile skin. The clitoris is created from a portion of the glans penis, and the labia majora are created from a portion of the scrotum.