Motives for the Practice – Sexuality

FGM is commonly used as a method of controlling the sexuality of women, by “protecting them” from sexual desires. Not only is a physical barrier created in the case of type III FGM, which can serve as a deterrent to sexual crime but also creates a reduction in libido. By not circumcising a daughter, parents would be considered as failing to provide physical protection.10

“The reasons to circumcise are to reduce the sexual desires of women. They protect the girls to not be bad girls. Girls who have sex with many men because they have desires are bad girls. To reduce that and protect them from their needs, they do circumcision to ‘lose steam’ and ‘create the cold’” 10f

However a case–control study on the association between female genital mutilation and sexually transmitted infections in Sudan on 222 women concluded that FGM did not seem to be protective against acquiring STIs. If presence of STIs is used as a determinant for pre/extramarital sex, it could be concluded that FGM does not seem to affect such sexual behaviour, information which could go some way towards changing attitudes to prevent the practice. 26

Next motive: Marriage