Women who are victims of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) may develop sexual problems like pain during intercourse, reduced satisfaction and potential challenges with orgasm.
A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Tomi Imarah, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Imarah runs an online Mental Health Counselling Service, called “Dr Tomi’s Haven’’ via her facebook page, @drtomihaven.
“Orgasm is a feeling of intense sexual pleasure that happens during sexual activity.
“FGM affects the sexual life of victims; the clitoris is the female erogenous organ that is capable of erection under sexual stimulation.
“It is not that victims of FGM are incapable of enjoying sex; it is just that it may take more efforts.
“Women should not have to struggle because some people decided their genital organs should be excised for no good reason. Ignorance is not an excuse, “ she said.
The consultant psychiatrist said that men could help their partners who were victims of FGM to enjoy sex better in a number of ways.
According to her, first of all, men should be more loving and show more understanding in such a situation.
“The deleterious impact of FGM go beyond physical injuries; there can be serious psychological effects.
“Moreso, repeated challenges during sexual activities may make women withdraw emotionally.
“It is important to have honest conversations about their feelings regarding their sexuality and specific measures the man can take to make things better.
“Another thing is that couples should consider exploring other erogenous zones; these are body parts with heightened sensitivity, which elicit sexual responses when stimulated.
“Some specific zones are lips, nipples, glans, penis for male and clitoris and rest of the vulva for the female.
“All the erogenous zones are capable of eliciting varying degrees of pleasure; so, they can be explored and accentuated by loving partners,“ Imarah said.
She called on stakeholders to join efforts to prevent women from becoming victims of FGM and also, law enforcement strategies should be a priority.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), she said that FGM were procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Imarah said these procedures had no health benefits whatsoever, but were actually harmful to women physically, psychologically and socially.
“FGM is a human rights violation and should be treated as such.
“The procedure is irreversible for the 200 million girls and women in the world; however, we should work toward preventing the next 200 million victims.
“Many organisations and government agencies have been mounting awareness and advocacy efforts over the years; it is time we all joined the efforts.
“News and social media platforms can be utilised in the awareness efforts.
“Let us have conversations about FGM in family meetings, hangouts, Town Hall meetings, Whatsapp groups, religious events and so on.
“Gradually, the next generation will find the idea of clitoridectomy strange and unpardonable.
“Also, law enforcement strategies should be a priority; if we have a law in place and no one is prosecuted, it is rendered impotent.
“Let us have a few well-publicised FGM prosecution cases and you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that FGM will decline pretty fast, “ she said.
According to the 2013 Nigeria Demographics and Health Survey (NDHS) findings, 25 per cent of Nigerian women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been circumcised.
“Osun has the highest prevalence of circumcised women with 77 per cent, followed by Ebonyi- 74 per cent, and Ekiti-72 per cent.
“Female circumcision occurs mostly during infancy; that is, four in five women and about 82 per cent, who had been circumcised had their circumcision before their fifth birthday,’’ NDHS shows.