International Journal of Sexual Health.2014, 26(4): 314-328.
Autoerotism, homoerotism, and foreplay in African women who practice labia minora elongation: a review
Martínez Pérez G, Bagnol B, Tomás Aznar C
Labia minora elongation is a female genital modification that some women in certain linguistic groups from Africa engage in. One of the purposes is to enhance sexual pleasure for their male partners. The literature has been reviewed to describe how it serves for women to increase their sexual pleasure, both as an autoerotic method and in the context of homoerotic and heterosexual relationships. This aspect deserves to be investigated, as there are narratives from some women practitioners of labial elongation that this practice might contribute to improve the sexual health of some of the women who engage in it.
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J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2008 Jul;63(3):323-47. Epub 2007 Dec 9.
Rethinking the history of female circumcision and clitoridectomy: American medicine and female sexuality in the late nineteenth century.
001 Wendover Avenue, Lincoln, Nebraska 68502, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was one kind of female orgasm and it was clitoral; there was also only one kind of healthy sexual instinct for a woman and it was for penetrative sex with her husband. When a woman behaved outside of this normality-by masturbating or by not responding to her husband’s affections-her sexual instinct was seen as disordered. If healthy women, then, were believed only to be sexual within the marital embrace, what better way to explain these errant behaviors than by blaming the clitoris, an organ seen as key to female sexual instinct? Doctors corrected a clitoris in an unhealthy state using one of four surgeries-removing smegma or adhesions between the clitoris and its hood, removing the hood (circumcision), or removing the clitoris (clitoridectomy)-in order to correct a woman’s sexual instinct in an unhealthy state. Their approach to clitoral surgery, at least as revealed in published medical works, was a cautious one that respected the importance of clitoral stimulation for healthy sexuality while simultaneously recognizing its role as cause and symptom in cases of insanity that were tied to masturbation.
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Maturitas. 2009 Jun 20;63(2):107-11.
The historical response to female sexuality.
Studd J, Schwenkhagen A.
London PMS & Menopause Clinic, 46 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8SD, UK. email@example.com
In the past, medical attitudes to female sexuality were grotesque, reflecting the anxiety and hypocrisy of the times. In the medieval world, the population feared hunger, the devil, and women, being particularly outraged and threatened by normal female sexuality. The 19th century attitude was no better as academics confirmed the lower intellectual status of women, particularly if they ventured into education. The medical contribution to this prejudice was shocking, with gynaecologists and psychiatrists leading the way designing operations for the cure of the apparently serious contemporary disorders of masturbation and nymphomania. The gynaecologist, Isaac Baker Brown (1811-1873), and the distinguished endocrinologist, Charles Brown-Séquard (1817-1894) advocated clitoridectomy to prevent the progression to masturbatory melancholia, paralysis, blindness and even death. Even after the public disgrace of Baker Brown in 1866-1867, the operation remained respectable and widely used in other parts of Europe. This medical contempt for normal female sexual development was reflected in public and literary attitudes. There is virtually no novel or opera in the last half of the 19th century where the heroine with “a past” survives to the end. The wheel has turned full circle and in the last 50 years new research into the sociology, psychology and physiology of sexuality has provided a greater understanding of decreased libido and inadequate sexual response in the form of hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This is now regarded as a disorder worthy of treatment.
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Int J Psychoanal. 2009 Jun;90(3):551-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2009.00134.x.
The relevance of castration and circumcision to the origins of psychoanalysis: 1. The medical context.
In this paper the author outlines and discusses the origins and the decline of castration and circumcision as a cure for the nervous and psychic disturbances in women and little girls between 1875 and 1905. The author argues that the opposition to this medical practice affected the conception of hysteria, promoting a distinction between sexuality and the genital organs, and the emergence of an enlarged notion of sexuality, during the period from Freud’s medical education to the publication of the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. The hypothesis is put forward that Freud came directly in contact with the genital theory of the neurosis at the time of his training on the nervous disturbances in children with the paediatrician, Adolf Baginsky, in Berlin, in March 1886. It is hypothesized that this experience provoked in Freud an abhorrence of circumcision ‘as a cure or punishment for masturbation’, prompting an inner confrontation which resulted in a radical reorganization of the way of thinking about sexuality. It is also suggested that this contributed to Freud developing a capacity to stay with contradictions, something which would become a central quality of the psychoanalytic attitude.
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