Effects of female genital cutting on the sexual function of Egyptian women. A cross-sectional study

J Sex Med. 2012 Oct;9(10):2682-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02866.x. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


Introduction: The existing literature is conflicting regarding effects of female genital cutting (FGC) on sexual functions. Several studies from Africa over the past 20 years have challenged the negative effect of genital cutting on sexual function as defined by performance on the following domains: desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and sexual pain. Other studies however indicated that sexual function of genitally cut women is adversely altered.

Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of FGC on the female sexual function of Egyptian women.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted between February and May 2011 at the outpatient clinic of Cairo University Hospitals. The study included 650 Egyptian females between 16 and 55 years of age (333 genitally cut women and 317 uncut women). Participants were requested to complete the Arabic Female Sexual Function Index (ArFSFI) and were then subjected to clinical examination where the cutting status was confirmed.

Main outcome measures: The total score of the ArFSFI and its individual domains.

Results: The mean age of cutting was 8.59 (±1.07) years. Of the cut participants, 84.98% showed signs of type I genital cutting, while 15.02% showed signs of type II genital cutting. After adjusting for age, residential area, and education level, uncut participants had significantly higher ArFSFI total score (23.99±2.21) compared with cut participants (26.81±2.26). The desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction domains were significantly higher in the uncut participants (4.02±0.78, 4.86±0.72, 4.86±0.75, 4.86±0.68, 5.04±0.71, respectively) compared with those of the cut participants (3.37±0.89, 4.13±0.71, 4.16±0.84, 4.50±0.79, 4.69±0.92, respectively). No significant difference between the two groups was found regarding the sexual pain domain.

Conclusion: In Egyptian women, FGC is associated with reduced scores of ArFSFI on all domain scores except the sexual pain domain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Orgasm
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult