Celebrities’ naked selfies are ‘fuelling a rise in genital PHOBIA’ making women fear their bodies are abnormal ‘so they avoid having sex’
- World-renowned Dr Ahmed Ismail has seen an increase in phobia in patients
- Seeing naked celebrity pictures makes them worry about their own bodies
- Have been subconsciously affected by images and discussions on sex
We’re so used to stars wearing skimpy outfits on the red carpet and posting extremely revealing selfies online that we barely bat an eyelid anymore.
But world-renowned gynaecologist and fertility consultant Dr Ahmed Ismail of the Queens Gynaecology Clinic has warned that seeing so much naked flesh is fuelling a rise in ‘genital phobia’ among women. Dr Ismail says that naked celebrity pictures lead women to question their own bodies, which he links to the rise in the number of patients he sees who are particularly worried about the appearance of the genital area. This leads them to avoid sex, become promiscuous to seek validation or post their own sexy photos online for reassurance.
‘In my many years of experience as a gynaecologist, I have seen a direct correlation between this and the rising number of perfectly normal women worrying about the ‘normality’ of their vaginas,’ Dr Ismail told FEMAIL.
‘This is called Genital Phobia – a compulsive fear that one’s genitalia is abnormal, either aesthetically, functionally or not sexually pleasing to ones partner and society. ‘It can occur at any age and in any ethnicity. However, I have noticed that it is particularly prominent in western cultures, such as the UK and America, where sexualised media is easily accessible.’
Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski are notorious for their love of scantily clad selfies. Kim recently caused a stir by posting a fully naked image posing in the bathroom mirror, to show that she could still be a mother and be sexy.
Meanwhile, reality star Marnie Simpson recently opened up about how posing naked helps her feel more confident.
However, Dr Ismail warns that exposure to these kinds of images is having a negative impact on women. ‘The main cause of Genital Phobia is society’s increasing social openness of sex through visual content or discussions and comparisons with friends about one’s sex life and sexual anatomy,’ he explained. ‘In the past, all of this information remained private, leaving little room for women to compare their genitalia to that of other females, or to become insecure. ‘The more this information became easily available, the more the women start to compare themselves.
‘For example, in magazines we see reality stars discussing vajazzles, designer vaginas or falling out of cabs exposing themselves wearing no lingerie. ‘Women are subconsciously influenced by the regularity of seeing other women’s vaginas and hearing about their sexual affairs. ‘Whereas these women would usually be confident and unaffected by such worries, the media pushes them to the forefronts of their mind and a downward spiral of self-appraisal and worrying about their own genitalia begins.
‘The more this content becomes easily accessible, the more it alters the public’s perception of what is normal social behaviour, sexual behaviour and what they should physically look like.’Constantly seeing images of women exposing their bodies, whether they are completely naked, in revealing lingerie, in explicit poses, in bikinis, or naked but ‘artistically’ and strategically covered up and so on, will naturally lead women to make comparisons and question their own body’s desirability. Many women, for example, are opting for surgical enhancements in a never-ending quest to look like their “idols”.’
Dr Ismail explained that worries will vary from person to person, with some women focusing on wanting bigger breasts while others will consider themselves too fat or thin. However, he warns that when the focus is on worries about the genitalia it can be particularly damaging. ‘When it is such a sensitive, personal area such as the vagina, which affects a woman’s confidence, sexual pleasure, sexuality and feelings of attractiveness with her partner, it can become a big problem,’ he said.
Dr Ismail said that flesh-flashing celebrities put pressure on women by setting the example that daring to bare is a positive thing. ‘Women need to realise that less is more,’ he explained. ‘This area should be kept personal and private, between herself and her partner. ‘Does being naked or undressed all of the time increase your attractiveness? No. So the pressure that these celebrities are placing on women is not only undermining their confidence. ‘But, interestingly, the celebrities who are posting these images are actually using it as a method to improve their own confidence and seek approval for their bodies.
‘Therefore, in many ways, they too may be experiencing genital phobia and by trying to seek the reassurance of their attractiveness by posting such photos. ‘Without realising it, they are inflicting their own insecurities on their fans and thus Genital Phobia. If it is not stopped soon, it will become a vicious circle with one fuelling the other and so on.
He advises anyone who is worried to seek advice from an experienced gynaecologist. ‘This will provide you with peace of mind and, if there is a problem, we are in a position to offer you the best advice,’ he said. ‘I know that there are times when the vagina might benefit from medical intervention.
‘For example, after pregnancy or menopause, it may become looser and, although we do recommend performing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy to prevent this from happening.
‘Sometimes it does and surgical intervention, such as vaginal tightening, may be required to help restore the vagina to its original state.
Similarly, if one’s labia is too long and is causing you to experience pain during intercourse from the tugging and tearing of the area, again, your gynaecologist may recommend a treatment such as labiaplasty.