What is a Clitoridectomy?

Jessica Saras

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.

A clitoridectomy is an unconventional and mostly dangerous procedure involving the surgical removal of the clitoris.
A clitoridectomy is an unconventional and mostly dangerous procedure involving the surgical removal of the clitoris.

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.

A clitoridectomy is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a trained medical professional.
A clitoridectomy is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a trained medical professional.

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.

Long-term psychological effects like depression and anxiety are possible after a clitoridectomy.
Long-term psychological effects like depression and anxiety are possible after a clitoridectomy.

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.

The clitoris is the dominant source of sexual pleasure in a woman's anatomy.
The clitoris is the dominant source of sexual pleasure in a woman's anatomy.

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.

Sexual dysfunction will occur as a result of a clitoridectomy.
Sexual dysfunction will occur as a result of a clitoridectomy.
Having a clitoridectomy may cause some women to experience incontinence.
Having a clitoridectomy may cause some women to experience incontinence.
Many people consider clitoridectomies barbaric and an unnecessary mutilation of the female body.
Many people consider clitoridectomies barbaric and an unnecessary mutilation of the female body.

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Discussion Comments

anon1003820

I was circumcised at 42 yo in an NHS Hospital in UK. My inner labia were very long and uneven; one was, twice as long as the other.

I had opted to be sterilized following the completion of my family of 4. Whilst awaiting to go to the operating room, to have rings put onto my fallopian tubes, the nurse asked if there was anything else I would like done. She was an Indonesian, I believe, and I explained the discomfort of my inner lips. She said that it would be added to my operation card for the surgeon.

Upon recovery, she stood waiting by my bed and told me "we have done the deed".

It was at home whilst bathing some few days later that I could feel that I no longer had any inner lips. They had been totally excised. My clitoris remains and is more accessible.

This has had a wonderful effect upon the lives of me and my husband.

I have much more self-esteem and our sex life has improved . The appearance of my vulva is more aesthetic and comfortable. Viva circumcision for women!

anon1003372

I was done at 15 years old. I do not observe any problems in this!

anon1003200

Any mutilating of the flesh is banned in the New Testament. The Koran does not allow this barbaric practice, nor does the Old Testament. Furthermore, any cut, wound, incision, excision or removal of any body part whatsoever, was determined to be "unclean" by priests, and people who practiced these abominations were not allowed to attend worship. This wouldn't prevent someone from engaging in prayer and worship at home, in private life, but it is by no means considered "clean", biologically or religiously.

That females usually have long-term physical problems after clitoridectomy, if they survive the hemorrhaging and bacterial infections, is rarely spoken of. Heavy scars make the simple act of intercourse difficult, let alone childbirth. Very high rates of infertility and obstetric complications from hardened, scarred, inflexible tissue causes high infant mortality in women who have also been infibulated. Urethral stenosis, difficulty urinating, urinary tract infections and urinary retention are common urological complications, as well as fistulas--unnatural openings where organ damage has caused normal bodily excretions to enter the wrong passage, causing incontinence, infection, further sexual and urinary dysfunction, infertility and trauma.

According to "circumcised" women, removal of the clitoris does not eliminate libido. The female hormone estradiol is the primary driver of libido. Women with a cut, damaged or removed clitoris report normal levels of desire, often accompanied by severe pain and further sexual frustration. The clitoris is not a "remnant". It is the de-facto anatomy in all fetuses, before differentiating sex hormones begin changes. The penis is derived from the same primary genital tissue that comprises the clitoris. Furthermore, the clitoris has approximately twice the number of nerve endings within its smaller body than does the penis, in a larger body. It is full of erectile tissue, arteries and veins as well. The human body is designed to function smoothly and flawlessly in its intact state. Its parts are not optional.

Other than an extra kidney, our organs are not duplicates, replaceable, or useless. They all have a function, which means that removing an organ will automatically cause dysfunction. It is straightforward biology. Removing someone else's organs is a felony, attempted murder and assault.

anon1002555

The first result of ancestral sin was that the man and woman looked at their genitals and said "Oh Oh! that doesn't look right to me" I had better cover it up - it disturbs me." And God said "who told you that you were naked?" When He created them He said, "it is very good" But Satan inferred "Has God really said what He said?" There is nothing at all wrong with the way the human body is made. - it is the word of Satan that says it is wrong the way it was created.

anon1000510

I am a white American Christian who has had this procedure done forcibly. I still don't know why it was done. I did not want it at all.

I was stimulated to see how I get aroused and then a glass shard was applied. I am Yiddish in descent. Did that have anything to do with it?

anon1000435

I do wish people would stop with the nonsense that circumcised women cannot function sexually.

I was always bothered by overly large inner labia that could get snagged and painful during intercourse. I had read about female circumcision and approached my doctor to get my inner labia removed - something she said was a not uncommon problem and procedure for women.

Removal of my inner labia resulted in a dramatically improved sex life and I enjoyed the more pleasing aesthetic look.

Having read of full circumcision I did find the thought of also having a clitoridectomy kind of kinky and wondered what the experience of women who have it done was.

Long story short, myself and my partner first holidayed in Egypt then travelled there a few months later where I underwent a clitoridectomy under local anaesthetic by a very nice Egyptian lady doctor. It was a very bonding experience. She told me I was not the first European woman she had circumcised and that I would be much happier as a result.

Does having a full circumcision with clitoridectomy change things? Yes, it does. Sexual thoughts and arousal are diminished. There is no desire to masturbate or play with myself. However, I love the look. It is much cleaner and intercourse with my partner far more pleasurable - it makes me feel so much more submissive as my only way of orgasming now is through penetration by him. We loved each other already, but this has brought us so much closer.

I wish other women could enjoy the benefits of female circumcision - something that women from other cultures have known about all along. As long as it does under proper medical conditions, there really are no problems associated with it.

anon1000318

It was performed on me without my knowledge or consent. It was said to be a gallbladder removal. Of course I realized later when I had absolutely no desire any longer for my husband, or any other man.

Something was put in my drink to simulate a gallbladder attack, not just once but other times too. I could write a lot more but I'm much too afraid.

anon1000292

There are a lot of horror stories linked with this and the horror stories feed one another endlessly with people posting who have no idea what they're posting about except the clitoris has become like whales and dolphins, something to sign petitions about.

The truth of the matter is that women in "circumcising" cultures have often given birth in better conditions that Western women, and certainly not worse (in the 19th century thousands of women with a clitoris intact died in childbirth of puerperal fever). That the only goal of a female in life is not to enjoy continuous "clitoral orgasms" but maybe do other things with herself, from being a pleasant companion to enjoying studies in nuclear physics. That in many cases excessive masturbation in youths and teens is a serious symptom of a problem both physical and psychological. That the operation is quick and simple and was practiced in the West as well for centuries (and probably still is).

The main reason for some current laws is to fight clandestine and often very botched surgeries in non-European minorities - producing exactly the opposite of the desired result: not having the operation done by a qualified medical practitioner pushes families into clandestine operators and often very unsanitary and sometimes dangerous conditions, with the potential trauma possibly resulting from it rather than the positive support of the community for the new, "clean" female.

People who are convinced clitoral removal (in whole or in part) is beneficial will not be convinced by principles edicted by those who are convinced of the opposite, and vice-versa, and obviously women on either side can hardly claim to be experts on the other! Horror stories do not help but there is much more anyway to womanhood, motherhood, love and sex than the presence or absence of a small remnant of the original sex bud. This is in no way an approval of the practice - just a reasonable assessment.

anon995377

A clitoridectomy has many benefits too. When done medically properly it is cleaner and more hygienic. It produces a calmer woman who is not troubled by sexual thoughts or feels the need to masturbate. A woman having this will not wish to have pre-marital or extra-marital sex. The bond with her husband will be a much stronger one as it will be an emotional one rather than one based on immature urges.

anon992721

"A clitoridectomy is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a trained medical professional." Who the hell wrote this description? What is wrong with you? Your statement is incorrect. A procedure? A procedure for what? That should be preformed by a trained medical professional? Why should it be preformed by anybody? This surgery should never be preformed without medical necessity, which if you were properly educated you would know is very, very rare!

anon327473

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

anon255912

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

anon173488

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.

anon158119

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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