||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Labia stretching. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2010.|
||This article may not provide balanced geographical coverage on the region in question. (December 2010)||
Labia elongation or labia pulling has been practised in many parts of Africa for many centuries. The early recordings of the results of the practice are perhaps among the Khoisan peoples of southern Africa, where the inner labia were seen to be several centimetres longer than the outer labia. In Zimbabwe the practice is not done to such extremes, but there is a general view among women of certain tribes that the inner labia need to be longer than they would be naturally.
The amount of elongation varies from woman to woman.
The general belief (in Zimbabwe and Uganda at least) is that elongated inner labia swell more during sexual excitement, and in doing so, provide a much bigger surface area for penile friction during coitus. They also swell inwards partially blocking the entrance to the vagina.
The process of elongating is part of the transformation from a girl to a woman, a rite of passage.
Comparison with female genital cutting
Many western writers[who?] have compared this practice to FGC. There are marked differences and FGC primarily involves an attempt to forcibly reduce a girl’s sexual desire while LE is an attempt to enhance it as much as possible. In some cultures where LE is practised, they also elongate the clitoris.
Labia elongation is mostly done by the children and young ladies themselves, singly or communally.
HIV and other STIs
The practice of LE itself does not precipitate sexually transmitted infections (including HIV). Such infections generally occur later in life through sexual activity. Some writers have asserted that there is a causal link between LE and rates of infection.
- Mwenya Mukuka. "Female genital mutilation, alive in Zambia". Retrieved 2007-10-28.
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