Sex After Female Genital Mutilation
By Dr E on September 02, 2014
The female clitoris evolved to provide women pleasure, to make them want to have sex so that they would conceive. But one way to deal with an organ that has no use other than pleasure is to remove it, if a culture fears female sexual fulfillment.
Image Credit: jarmoluk
Female Genital Mutilation
Approximately 140 million women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) to narrow the vagina and remove portions of the clitoris and/or the vulva.
This is equivalent to 45% of the US population!
I wanted to bring this topic up because only about half of women who have undergone this physically dangerous and psychologically damaging procedure know that surgical reconstruction may be a pathway to a better sex life for them.
Who is at risk?
Every year an estimated 3 million girls go through the procedure, and in some countries up to 20% of girls die from complications. In many countries it is viewed equivalent to male circumcision and thus called “female circumcision” as a part of the ritual to maturity.
Removing the male foreskin can improve, not destroy, a man’s sexual sensitivity, as does this “female circumcision.”
The age for the FGM procedure can be as young as 5 to 9.
The procedure varies in severity. Type III cuts and seals the labia of the vulva to create a narrower opening. Type IIincludes removal of the clitoral glans and the inside labia. Type Iis full excision of the clitoral structures surrounding the vulva and the outer labia.
Interestingly, in contrast to western medicine’s ignorance of true clitoral anatomy, the people who perform Type I genital mutilation fully understand the depth and breadth of a woman’s clitoral arousal tissues.
Reconstructive Surgery for Better Sex After Female Genital Mutilation
A recent study reviewed success among genital mutilation survivors in France who went through reconstructive surgery.
France has many African immigrants, and their National Health Service offers reconstructive surgeries for these women who have had FGM.
The report found that reconstructive surgery for women with Type II and Type III FGM was highly beneficial.
Shockingly, 20% of these women had undergone the FGMillegally in France.
Orgasms & Sexual Fulfillment After FGM
Image Credit: stux
The study reported that 35% of women who never had orgasms before surgery were able to afterwards. Half the women who had had restricted orgasm (small ones) had greater intensity orgasms afterward. But a minority (20%) of women had worse orgasm potential after surgery.
The good news is that sexual fulfillment improved for over 80% of women and 30% had a reduction in pain at sex.
Surgery can only repair a potential. Women who have undergone the most radical Type I procedures may have limited tissues to repair.
Couples that include a women who has had FGM and are interested in improving their sexual intimacy should discuss the reconstructive procedure with their physician and or a counselor. Many husbands may not be as adverse to their wives enjoying sexuality as is culturally assumed.
The group Equality Now is working to improve laws and the justice system to bring about an end to this practice of removing something that human evolution spent years building into women for our greater good and joy.
- Dr. E
Science can help us nurture and enjoy our sexual selves.