Sexual quality of life in women who have undergone female genital mutilation: a case-control study

BJOG. 2012 Dec;119(13):1606-11. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12004. Epub 2012 Oct 10.


Objective: To investigate the sexual quality of life of women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and compare them with a similar group who has not undergone FGM.

Design: Case-control study.

Setting: A large central London teaching hospital.

Population: A total of 73 women who had undergone FGM and 37 control women, who had not undergone FGM but were from a similar cultural background where FGM is practiced.

Methods: The women completed a questionnaire containing the Sexual Quality of Life-Female (SQOL-F) questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: SQOL-F score.

Results: Women who have undergone FGM of any type have a significantly lower (P < 0.001) overall SQOL-F score than control women (mean = 62.44, SD = 27.93 versus mean = 88.84, SD = 13.73). Women who were sexually active and had undergone FGM type III differed the most from sexually active controls (P < 0.05) in their SQOL-F score. Women who were sexually inactive but who had undergone FGM reported significantly lower overall SQOL-F scores (P = 0.015) than sexually inactive controls, but were not differentiated by type of FGM.

Conclusion: FGM significantly reduces women's sexual quality of life, based on the results of the SQOL-F questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • London
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires