J Sex Res. 2013 Aug 7. [Epub ahead of print]
The Practice of Puxa-Puxa among Mozambican Women: A Systematic Inventory of Motives.
Vera Cruz G, Mullet E.
Department of Psychology, Eduardo Mondlane University.
Puxa-puxa is the elongation of the labia minora of the genital organs. It is one of the most widespread genital practices among women in Mozambique, and the practice seems to be specific to this country. The motives underlying this practice and its abandonment were examined in a theory-driven way. A total of 616 women currently living in the provinces of Maputo, Zambezia, and Nampula, aged 18 to 62, were presented with one of two questionnaires that contained items about possible motives for practicing puxa-puxa or possible motives for not practicing it. Seven separable motives for practicing puxa-puxa were found, and the most highly rated were “Having a satisfying sexual life”; “Satisfying my sexual partner”; and “Gaining self-control.” Five separable motives for not practicing puxa-puxa were found, and the most highly rated were “Disliking a painful practice”; “Affirming one’s value as a person”; and “Avoiding contamination.” The main findings of the study are that the practice of puxa-puxa is associated with deep psychological motives common to most women in most cultures, namely having a satisfying sexual life with a reliable partner, creating the conditions for having children, and being able to care for them. The abandonment of this practice is largely the result of personal decisions, which are not taken under constraint and which are not exclusively taken from fear of illness.