What Is a Clitoridectomy?

Long-term psychological effects like depression and anxiety are possible after a clitoridectomy.
A clitoridectomy is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a trained medical professional.
A clitoridectomy is an unconventional and mostly dangerous procedure involving the surgical removal of the clitoris.
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  • Written By: Jessica Saras
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2015
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A clitoridectomy is a surgical procedure, often performed by someone other than a trained medical professional, that involves the partial or complete removal of a woman’s clitoris. Similar to the male penis, the clitoris is a small organ found on a woman’s vagina and is the dominant source of sexual pleasure in a woman’s anatomy. As a result, after undergoing a clitoridectomy, most women can no longer function sexually. However, due to cultural beliefs in certain parts of the world, the procedure is a common rite of passage that marks a girl’s transition into womanhood.

Commonly referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision, a clitoridectomy is usually performed for cultural or religious reasons, which may vary from culture to culture. In some areas, the surgery is thought to maintain cleanliness, while others believe removing the clitoris will prevent women from engaging in premarital sex. Although practiced throughout the world, the procedure is most common in parts of Asia and Africa.

The procedure is often accompanied by infibulation, or the stitching together of the vulva. This is usually done following the removal of the clitoris, when the woman’s labia major is sewn together, leaving an opening small enough for only urine and menstrual blood to pass through. Prior to marriage, the opening must be enlarged to allow for penetration during intercourse, a process that can take three or more months.

In addition to sexual dysfunction, a clitoridectomy has many long-term effects including incontinence, sterility, increased susceptibility for the AIDS virus, and even death. Medical complications are common since the person who performs the procedure is generally not medically trained, but rather a parent or elderly member of the community. The surgery is usually performed without anesthesia, with a razor, glass shard, or other unsterilized instrument. As a result, tetanus, hemorrhages, and massive scarring can also occur. There are also long-term psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, and reduced self-esteem.

Most women do not choose to undergo a clitoridectomy, as the surgery is typically performed on girls between the ages of four and eight. These girls are usually tied or held down during the procedure. Estimates suggest that approximately 130 million women and girls across the globe have been forced to have the surgery. Now considered a form of violence against women, the clitoridectomy has been banned in many areas of the world. Despite this, however, many cultures continue to practice the procedure.


Discuss this Article

Post 5

This is not good for humans and especially those who undergo the procedure. Why are their rights violated?

Post 3

This is sickening. Gross, what the heck? I feel so bad.

Post 2

Actually, the Koran—-the Islamic scriptures -—does not authorize it. (Nour. 2000) They have been taught that it is a rite of passage into womanhood. Outlawed in 1996, the United States outlawed ritual genital mutilation within its borders. The government also directed American representatives to world financial institutions to deny aid to countries that have not established educational programs to bring an end to the practice.

Yet calls from Westerners to ban the practice in parts of Africa and the Middle East have sparked controversy on grounds of “cultural condescension”—- that people in one culture cannot dictate the cultural traditions of another. Yet for Alice Walker, “torture is not culture.” As the debate continues, some 2 million African girls undergo clitoridectomy each year.

Post 1

whoa! this is the grossest thing I've ever heard in my 46 years of existence on this planet earth! if indeed this has religious backing/support, i would say the religion that is backing this practice is being rolled or operated by Lucifer himself. Yes, it is a continuing war that Satan or Lucifer wages against everything good that comes from the Almighty God of Heaven.

As God has purposely created and placed the woman's genitals for very good use, then by all means Lucifer/Satan would naturally devise means and ways to counter it by way of, say, religious purposes, covered with all forms of deceit perpetrated by his minions all over, regardless of race or colors.

It is that easy

to detect if it is sanctioned by God or mere traditions of men inspired by the devil at the guise of religious ritual. Remember people: if your religion does opposite to God's purpose or design, then you know well, as clear as the noon day sun, that your benefactor is Satan himself. Now, that is scary, indeed! Ban FGM!

Don V.

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