What is a Clitoridectomy?

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 12

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?

Post 11

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.

Post 10

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.

Post 9

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.

Post 7

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.

Post 6

"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!

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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