Elongation of labia minora in Uganda: including Baganda men in a risk reduction education programme.

Cult Health Sex. 2011 Jan;13(1):45-57. LME

Elongation of labia minora in Uganda: including Baganda men in a risk reduction education programme.

Martínez Pérez G, Namulondo H

Dept. Fisiatry and Nursing, Fac. Health Sciences, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain). gmartinezgabas@gmail.com

Okukyalira ensiko or ‘visiting the bush’ is how, in Uganda, the Baganda people name the practice of elongating the labia minora, which young girls start performing before menarche. As a mandatory rite of passage that identifies membership of the tribe, one of its main purposes is to enhance sexual pleasure for both male and female partners. The conditions in which it is practiced involve certain physical health risks. In this qualitative study carried out in Wakiso district, a semi-structured interview was conducted among 31 Baganda men, in order to understand their perceptions, attitudes and knowledge toward the way in which their daughters practise labia minora elongation. According to our results, men highly value this practice for its capacity to enhance sexual stimulation even though they are aware of its risks. Since genital stretching is likely to endure, the authors discuss the possibility of addressing Baganda men by health workers in an education programme aimed at minimising the risks attached to the procedure and, hence, improving the sexual and reproductive health of Baganda girls.

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