LAGOS – In 2018, a group estimated that 10 percent of the world’s FGM victims are Nigerians. Nigeria officially banned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan signed a federal law proscribing the act. It was one of the last African countries to ban FGM asides Liberia (2018) and The Gambia (2015).
Circumcisions, however way you think about it, are unpleasant.
It is no walk-in-the-park for the people, who do it, neither is it a fond memory for the person who experiences it.
For women, what makes it more dastardly is the fact that the procedure is absolutely unnecessary and putting women and girls through such unnecessary and painful experiences is what has caused female circumcision to be known today as Female Genital Mutilation.
A playwright recently said anonymously that a circumcised woman loses her ability to dream. This stipulation cannot be taken literally. However, it means that the woman’s ability to experience something new like pleasure is taken away since dreaming is a pleasure on its own.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution banning FGM, and since then, in many countries and societies, FGM has been outlawed. But that is not to say it is not still being done. In the past, it was the general belief that an uncircumcised woman would become promiscuous, but that has been proven to be untrue.
The side-effects of FGM on women’s sexuality are now being revealed with newer discoveries being made.
Asides the many problems that arise as a result of FGM, including lower abdominal pain, genital ulcers, urinary tract infections, and death, it has been proven that FGM has no health benefits to women. It is simply an echo of a tradition that refuses to die.
Since the practice involves removing and injuring healthy and normal female genital tissue, interfering with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies, it can impact women’s physical, mental and sexual health and well-being throughout the life-course.
FGM damages anatomic structures that are directly involved in female sexual function. Removal of, or damage to highly sensitive genital tissue, especially the clitoris, may affect sexual sensitivity and lead to sexual problems, such as decreased sexual desire and pleasure, pain during sex, difficulty during penetration, decreased lubrication during intercourse, and reduced frequency or absence of orgasm.
The risks increase with the severity of FGM in different women.
This is not to say that a woman who experienced FGM can never find sexual satisfaction; it simply means she must be creative and explore newer options.
Most women with FGM already believe that they cannot have any sexual pleasure
and that is the first thing that needs to change; the mindset.
Research shows that almost 86%, of women affected by different types of FGM can still experience orgasm.
Already, age-long insinuations that women climax only through penetration has been debunked. In actual fact, many women feel almost nothing through penetration. So for a woman with FGM, her partner must be attentive.
To enjoy sex, a circumcised woman needs to work harder than the average woman. She needs to help her partner unlearn things he thinks he knows about women’s sexuality and learn according to his partner’s needs. It is very important to educate men about female anatomy and sexual pleasure.
Even if the tip of the clitoris has been removed, a large part may remain beneath the surface and be capable of sexual responsiveness and this is where the focus needs to be.
Every woman has the right to have sexual health and to feel sexual pleasure and a few things can help including knowing, exploring and understanding your body.
Most importantly though, in any sexual experience, orgasm for a woman isn’t everything it just has to be a wholesome and enjoyable experience.