Zambian girls report that family matriarchs and counselors pressure them to stretch their labia minora, but they dare not question the cultural practice. It is a social taboo to discuss the topic, and even medical practitioners are reluctant to speak about it openly. Now 22, Mwelwa says she did not dare to question her elders, but she did not understand why she had to stretch her genitals by hand. Her grandmother told her that stretching the labia minora made childbirth easier, she says. But this was different from what she heard from her classmates in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.
The practice of labia stretching denies women and girls autonomy over their bodies and sexuality, she says. What Does a Vagina Taste Like? But he acknowledges that marriage counselors instruct girls to stretch their labia without understanding the possible health consequences. Ovarian ligament Suspensory ligament. Intercourse can cause Stretch the vaginal lips bacteria to make its way into the bladder, where it may multiply and cause a UTI.
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Zambian girls report that family matriarchs and counselors pressure them to stretch their labia minora, but they dare not question the cultural practice. It is a social taboo to discuss the topic, and even medical practitioners are reluctant to speak about it openly. Now 22, Mwelwa says she did not dare to question her elders, but she did not understand why she had to stretch her genitals by hand.
Her grandmother told her that stretching the labia minora made childbirth easier, she says. But this was different from what she heard from her classmates in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. She and her two cousins discussed the practice behind closed doors, she says. They quietly questioned its purpose and wondered whether their own labia minora were a desirable length, which they understood to be as long as their pinky fingers.
Mwelwa says the process of labia stretching was excruciatingly painful, but she did not resist the powerful cultural influence of the women in her family and social circle. But women and girls report that peers and powerful cultural figures, such as family matriarchs, pressure them to stretch their labia minora. Iris Phiri, a traditional marriage counselor from the Zambia National Traditional Counselors Association, says the practice is an important Zambian custom. It is a lesson that we were taught when growing up, and it is beneficial to women.
It is good. It is where we get our dignity and pride as African women. It is essential that girls stretch their genitalia if they wish to marry, as elongated labia increase sexual enjoyment, Phiri says. No research exists on the number of girls in Zambia who stretch their labia, but women report that the practice is widespread. Girls should begin pulling their genitals at age 10 to stretch them to a desirable length, Phiri says.
Few men are willing to speak openly about the practice, but some do say that women must stretch their labia if they desire to marry. Western influence tempts women into rejecting the practice, but elongated labia are a requirement for Zambian women, says Peter Daka, 29, who sells telephone scratch cards at a kiosk in Lusaka. So this is what I will tell you, my sister: A real woman must have them.
Men do desire elongated labia on women, he says. But from his knowledge, the practice enhances sexual pleasure for women as well. She will instruct her daughters to pull their labia when they are older. We are Africans, and this is what we do. Traditionalists promote labia stretching without considering its possible health repercussions, says a sixth-year female medical student at the University Teaching Hospital at the University of Zambia.
She declined to publish her name because of the stigma of speaking openly about labia stretching. In addition to the stretching itself, women sometimes apply herbs to their genitals during the process without knowing whether they are safe, she says.
Secrecy shrouds the identities and uses of these traditional plants. Marriage counselors sometimes give traditional herbs to girls to apply directly to the labia minora, which prevents the labia from shrinking, Phiri says.
But she refused to share the names of the herbs. Daniel Mwansa, a traditional marriage counselor, says that he, too, is reluctant to speak about the topic. But he acknowledges that marriage counselors instruct girls to stretch their labia without understanding the possible health consequences.
Because it is widespread throughout the country, he calls on health institutions and social organizations to research the potential effects of labia stretching. But medical professionals in Zambia are reluctant to speak about the practice openly, fearing cultural backlash and social stigma. Health care professionals at three institutions in Lusaka declined interviews, saying that they did not wish to break taboo by speaking about labia stretching.
A nurse at a reproductive health clinic also said that writing publicly about the practice was uncultured and reflected poor manners. Wala Nalungwe, a feminist and activist, says that powerful, cultural figures — such as marriage counselors and family matriarchs — unfairly pressure young women to stretch their labia. Yet even older women do not understand why they pull their labia, she says. They manufacture false reasons to support the practice, scaring girls into pulling.
The practice of labia stretching denies women and girls autonomy over their bodies and sexuality, she says. Nalungwe calls for activists in Zambia to end all forms of female genital mutilation and female genital modification.
Women and advocacy groups must make a concerted effort to spur change, she says. Although Mwansa says he encourages advocacy groups to speak openly about the practice, he thinks that women will continue to promote labia stretching to other women.
Although some cultural practices change with time, he is skeptical that labia stretching will ever disappear. Phiri says that the practice will never end. Rather, Zambian women will continue to take pride in pulling their labia as a sign of true womanhood. July 30, Zambian girls report that family matriarchs and counselors pressure them to stretch their labia minora, but they dare not question the cultural practice.
Some interviews were translated from Bemba. Chanda Katongo Reporter. GPJ Accurate view process. Comments comments.
If that doesn't work, your gyno can remove it quickly. This section of the website offers guides on how to stretch and elongate permanently the labia minora. A yeast infection can. Lie down on your back. When you feel relaxation coming on after a period of time, start to involve your partner so you get used to them being involved in your sexuality.
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Labia stretching - Wikipedia
There are lot of misconceptions around how the vagina works and how you should be caring for it. Not that long. On average, the vaginal canal is three to six inches long. But your vaginal canal can change shape in certain situations, like during sex or childbirth. Sexual arousal forces your cervix and uterus to lift up and out of the way, which causes the upper two-thirds of your vagina to lengthen. Your vaginal canal and the opening of your vagina will stretch a great deal to allow a baby to pass through.
Some women who give birth may notice a change in their vagina, such as it feeling loose or dry, or looking wider than before. You may also feel pain and soreness. This is completely normal.
Your vagina should become tighter within a few days after childbirth, and will return somewhat to its pre-birth shape about six months after delivery.
No, not at all. If you do feel your vagina becoming loose over time, it may be the result of one of two scenarios. Aging can also weaken the vaginal muscles, regardless of childbirth. Kegel exercises can help you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support your bladder, uterus, rectum, and small intestine.
They may also help you prevent or control urinary or fecal incontinence. Nope, not at all. Your vagina, labia, clitoris, and all other parts of your genitalia are unique. Your labia may be asymmetrical, or your clitoris may be small. The skin in this area may even be lighter or darker than your overall skin color. For example, some women have brown or reddish labia, while others may have pink or purplish labia. The blood flow to the area can cause swelling and the color of your clitoris and inner lips labia minora to change.
But, keep in mind, if your vagina is a chronic purple color, you may be dealing with a yeast infection or chronic irritation of the vulva known as a lichen simplex. Whether you have pubic hair comes down to personal preference. But there are certain risks from removing pubic hair, depending on the method. Douching can actually strip your vagina of the natural, healthy microbes, as well as temporarily change the natural acidity and cause buildup of harmful bacteria. That means your vagina is left susceptible to vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections STIs.
For example, you may notice a smell after changing your diet — garlic, tuna, and dietary supplements can have that effect. You may have an infection or a bacterial imbalance. Your doctor can prescribe medication to help treat the smell and underlying condition. We've got the lowdown on how it works, how it feels, and…. There are a lot of misconceptions about masturbation. It's been said to cause everything from hair loss to blindness.
So what's true? Let's find out. Get the facts on your anatomy as well as tips for keeping your vagina happy, safe, and healthy. Your discharge can say a lot about your health.
Here's our swatch-guide to vaginal…. Whether you just had an IUD placed or you're on the fence, there are a few things you should know. A healthy vagina tastes and smells like a healthy vagina. That is to say, it might be sweet or sour, metallic or bitter, salty or sharp.
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Should I douche to keep things clean? Does it smell differently at different times of the month? The bottom line. Read this next. What Does a Vagina Taste Like? How to Clean Your Vagina and Vulva.