A medical expert, Professor Dosu Ojendegbe, has linked the high level of frigidity in bed in women to female genital mutilation (FGM) that many women in Nigeria had undergone.
Professor Ojengbede, Director, University of Ibadan Centre for Population and Reproductive Health, stated that complaints of women being frigid in bed many people often refuse to associate to the mutilation of women’s genitals.
It was at one-day advocacy and stakeholders meeting on curbing medicalisation of female genital mutilation and sanction of erring medical personnel in Nigeria in Abuja.
It was sponsored by The Federal Ministry of Health, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and University of Ibadan Centre for Population and Reproductive health.
He stated that contrary to the belief that FGM will ensure a woman is not promiscuous, but faithful in marriage, the practice invariably could cause the woman to want to avoid sex, not to enjoy sexual relationship or in some instance prevent sex because the entrance of the vagina was closed by fibrosis.
He said in some communities, women have associated these sexual woes to curse from in-laws, not knowing that the issue actually started way back when they were circumcised.
The expert said some cases of infertility in women were caused by FGM, saying where the entrance to the vagina is closed due to fibrosis, a complication of FGM, copulation will not be possible.
According to him, “When the husband cannot have access into the vagina, both of them cannot enjoy their sexual relationship, so the marriage is disrupted and therefore it leads to fertility issues. Even when pregnancy occurs, to bring out a healthy baby also becomes a challenge.”
The don added, “without both of them knowing the basis for all the challenges they have, that may push the husband to go out, leaving the woman too to seek solution to her emotional disturbances, physical abuse and emotional abuse arising from that.”
Professor Ojengbede said the option to curbing promiscuity and ensuring women are faithful in their marriage is to educate young girls and ladies about sexuality and reproduction so that they take responsibility for their own sexual acts.
He declared, “We think we can do it for them by removing the clitoris. This rather complicates the matter by causing more problems for them eventually.
“There are stories of people who say that they do not even want any man anymore because there is no sexual satisfaction. And correcting the problem through surgery becomes a challenge. Some of them cannot even be repaired because the extent of the fibrosis is massive.”
Nigeria’s UNFPA representative, Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, however, expressed displeasure that FGM also quietly happens all the time, even in hospitals, despite its negative consequences.
He said that 13 per cent of FGM is actually done by health professionals in Nigeria, saying this was unacceptable.
According to Dr Kongnyuy, “that if it is done by medical personnel then it is less risky is no justification. There is no medical reason and or short or long-term benefit for FGM.”
While FGM has been internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, and criminalised in Nigeria, Dr Kongnyuy said letting health professionals continue this practice is unacceptable.
However, Dr Kayode Afolabi, Director and Head, Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health, believes that medicalisation of FGM could roll back Nigeria’s achievement in the past years on stemming the prevalence of FGM.
Dr Afolabi declared that medicalised FGM only gives a false sense of security.
“The impression that this could give to people that once it is done by a nurse or a doctor, then it is acceptable, is a big problem. So, curbing the act of FGM getting medicalised should involve everyone.
“Even when the procedure is performed in a sterile environment and by a health-care professional, there can still be serious health consequences immediately and later in life.”