Pleasure and orgasm in women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)

J Sex Med. 2007 Nov;4(6):1666-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00620.x.


Introduction: Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) violates human rights. FGM/C women's sexuality is not well known and often it is neglected by gynecologists, urologists, and sexologists. In mutilated/cut women, some fundamental structures for orgasm have not been excised.

Aim: The aim of this report is to describe and analyze the results of four investigations on sexual functioning in different groups of cut women.

Instruments: semistructured interviews and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).

Sample: 137 adult women affected by different types of FGM/C; 58 young FGM/C ladies living in the West; 57 infibulated women; 15 infibulated women after the operation of defibulation.

Results: The group of 137 women, affected by different types of FGM/C, reported orgasm in almost 86%, always 69.23%; 58 mutilated young women reported orgasm in 91.43%, always 8.57%; after defibulation 14 out of 15 infibulated women reported orgasm; the group of 57 infibulated women investigated with the FSFI questionnaire showed significant differences between group of study and an equivalent group of control in desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction with mean scores higher in the group of mutilated women. No significant differences were observed between the two groups in lubrication and pain.

Conclusion: Embryology, anatomy, and physiology of female erectile organs are neglected in specialist textbooks. In infibulated women, some erectile structures fundamental for orgasm have not been excised. Cultural influence can change the perception of pleasure, as well as social acceptance. Every woman has the right to have sexual health and to feel sexual pleasure for full psychophysical well-being of the person. In accordance with other research, the present study reports that FGM/C women can also have the possibility of reaching an orgasm. Therefore, FGM/C women with sexual dysfunctions can and must be cured; they have the right to have an appropriate sexual therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido*
  • Orgasm*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / prevention & control
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Women's Health