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Female genital mutilation is a widespread practice globally. One woman tells Rappler her experience and how she has never achieved an orgasm because of her circumcision.
JAKARTA, Indonesia – When Mary* was in elementary school, a male classmate was circumcised.
He received gifts from friends as a form of congratulations, prompting Mary to tell her mother when she got home, “I should get circumcised, Mom. I can get a lot of money.”
Her mother’s response was not what she expected.
“You’re already circumcised,” her mother said.
“I didn't know that. When?"
“When you were a newborn.”
Mary recalls walking away from that conversation thinking everyone got the procedure done – females at birth, males perhaps when they were a little older.
But it wasn’t until later that Mary understood the meaning of the conversation she had with her mother.
Mary is one of 200 million women worldwide who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). The number, according to a new report from UNICEF, is 70 million higher than what was reported in 2014.
While the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of FGM from 2004-2015 is in Africa, the data shows that the increase is partly due to population growth and new data collected in Indonesia.
Indonesia, with its population of 250 million people, is one of 3 countries that account for half of all FGM victims in the world, along with Egypt and Ethiopia.
Cutting the clitoris
It was in junior high school when Mary first realized that female circumcision was not a regular practice.
In conversation with her girl friends, Mary learned that not everyone had undergone the procedure as a baby – even if all of them were Muslim.
First, she started to argue about how it was an obligation in their religion, as she had always thought it was, but becoming more curious, decided to read more on the matter.
She started reading books on sexual and reproductive health, studying photos of vaginas. She learned about the clitoris – and realized she didn’t have one.
Soon after, she read a book about female circumcision in Arab culture, including books by Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, which thoroughly addressed and denounced female circumcision.
“I read the book and learned that the practice was one of many ways to control women. One way was through circumcision,” she told Rappler.
According to UNICEF, FGM includes all procedures “that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.” It is a practice recognized internationally as a violation of human rights of girls and women, with February 6 being the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Even within Indonesia, the practice differs in various regions.
Secretary General of the Women's Coalition Dian Kartika Sari said the culture of female circumcision in each region is different.
"There is not just one cut," she told Rappler on Friday, January 8.
In the island of Madura for example, the clitoris is cut. In other regions, the feeling on the clitoris is “killed” by slicing off a small part, but it is not completely cut off. He also said it is still practiced in some urban areas.
In 2010, the Ministry of Health released a regulation that authorized certain medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to perform circumcision on female patients. The technical details of circumcision was even mentioned in the regulations: "Make a scratch on the skin that covers the front of the clitoris by using the tip of a disposable sterile needle, measuring 20G-22G of the mucosa toward the skin without injuring the clitoris” said article 4, paragraph 2.
The regulation was repealed by the Deputy Minister of Health Ali Ghufron Mukti soon after.
Because while FGM is widely practiced in Indonesia, many others in the country do denounce FGM as a violation of rights. According to UNICEF, FGM violates women’s and girls’ “right to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.”
For Mary, one of the rights taken from her was her sexual rights – at 33, Mary has never experienced an orgasm in her life.
She was first sexually active in college and is now married. But without a clitoris, Mary said she has never experienced an orgasm, a feeling her friends describe as “much like flying.”
“I can never relate when they talk about it,” she said. “It makes me sad.”
Mary said the books she read said women find it difficult to enjoy sex without a clitoris, admitting that she is unsure if her problem is psychological or physical.
Mary said the problem has caused stress for not just herself but for her husband, who for 5 years tried various ways to help her orgasm – but to no avail. She said she views sex now, as “just a waste of time,” describing her sex as “mediocre.”
There are two main reasons parents have their daughters undergo FGM in Indonesia: the first is religious, as many Muslims here believe that female circumcision is an Islamic requirement, or at the very least, is highly recommended in Islam. This is despite the fact that no formal links between Islam and FGM exist, and that no Islamic laws or Quranic verses speak of FGM, let alone make it a requirement.
Even Fatayat NU, the women's division of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, have acknowledged that FGM is not mentioned in the Quran and is simply a cultural product.
The second reason FGM is popular in Indonesia is because it is believed to reduce women's sexual desire and libido.
This belief is widely held. All parents obviously want their children to live the best lives possible, and for most Indonesian parents, this includes no sex before marriage. In today's hypersexualized world, Indonesian parents would do all they could to ensure their children are safe from the risks of “seks bebas” or premarital sex.
Female genital cutting is believed by some to be one way of achieving this. Without it, it is thought, girls will become sexually aggressive and will actively pursue “undesirable” sexual relationships.
Previously furious at her parents who asked that doctors circumcise her and her sister upon birth, Mary has since accepted her fate – and the fact that the effects of FGM is something she will have to live with for the rest of her life.
Mary said her parents were apologetic when she first confronted them about it, saying she was born in an Islamic hospital where it was common practice. Her parents, she told Rappler, didn’t know better.
UNICEF data shows Mary’s experience is not that unique. Data shows that parents are the ones who ask for circumcision for their children the most, followed by religious leaders, relatives, and community leaders.
Even today, many in Indonesia think FGM is still a necessity. Sari said many community leaders still preach FGM which is one reason why the practice still exists in Indonesia. It is also still a widespread myth that FGM has health benefits.
However there is no evidence that FGM affects cleanliness or vaginal health. Claims that urine and genital secretions accumulate and fester in the vulva, vagina or urethra have no medical backing. FGM does not reduce chances of urinary tract infections or infections of the reproductive system. Instead, data shows FGM causes risks to health.
Research reveals that FGM is carried out mostly on young girls between infancy and age 15. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and health issues like cysts, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth, with the increased risk of newborn deaths.
Mary, who now understands that FGM has had zero positive impact on her life, now advocates against the practice. She tells colleagues and other women to avoid the practice in their daughters.
Arthur Schopenhauer, the greatest German philosopher, on women: Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex … More fittingly than the fair sex, women could be called the unaesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor poetry, nor the plastic arts do they possess any real feeling of receptivity: if they affect to do so, it is merely mimicry in service of their effort to please.
Butea Superba is a vine grown in South East Asian countries such as Vietnam, China, Thailand and India.
As a writer whose new novel also concerns Eva Braun, I can sympathise with the frustration that understanding her raises. How can a woman have a relationship with a man who is in many ways the embodiment of evil? Was she in denial, or simply self-deluding?
There is no more troubling way of viewing the Nazi leaders than in examining the women who loved them. Sometimes the personal lives of the senior men – their relationships with their wives and children – are more disturbing than pictures of their ranting speeches, because they force us to consider them as human beings.
Eva Braun met Hitler when she was a 17-year-old, convent-educated shop-girl working for Hitler’s official photographer, and he was a 40-year-old aspiring politician. He had tickets to the opera, she accepted, and so began a tortured 12-year relationship that involved several suicide attempts and led Hitler’s chauffeur, Eric Kempa, to label her “the unhappiest woman in Germany”. From Eva’s letters, we learn that her parents disapproved, and that Hitler would frequently ignore her in public, merely passing her an envelope of money at the end of the evening. When she was finally allotted a room in the Berlin Chancellery, she was forced to use a back entrance in case anyone saw her.
Hitler and his henchmen tried their hardest to keep Eva out of the spotlight, and forbade any picture of her to be published, because they were keen to project the idea that he was “married to Germany”. Yet Eva herself ensured the opposite for posterity. She was an early adopter of cine-film and made endless home movies. Today she would have been constantly on Facebook, Instagramming her meals and taking selfies at the Berghof. One of her more astonishing ambitions was to star one day in a “bio-pic” of her life with the man she liked to call “Wolf”
Yet inevitably it is their sex life that has filled tomes, because in sex, we believe, a person’s deepest essence is revealed. Rumours of homosexuality had dogged Hitler since the early Twenties, repeated in Munich newspapers and bolstered by his close relationship with Ernst Röhm, the homosexual head of the Sturmabteilung, the Nazi Party militia.
There is good reason to believe that he did have repressed homosexual tendencies, yet the dictator’s interest in women is also well-attested. He would invite actresses back to his apartment for “private performances”. One actress, Renata Müller, spread rumours about Hitler’s alleged proclivity for self-abasement, with suggestions that he knelt at her feet and asked her to kick him. When she fell to her death from a window in 1937, many questioned the verdict of suicide.
Even more eye-catching was the secret 1943 report from America’s Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA) which labelled Hitler an “impotent coprophile”. Based on claims from Otto Strasser, one of Hitler’s opponents in the Party, it alleged that the dictator forced his niece Geli to urinate and defecate on him. While it is hard to separate reality from politically inspired propaganda, Hitler’s obsession with the unfortunate Geli was probably the deepest of his life, and her suicide in his apartment brought him close to breakdown. Geli, like Eva, did not threaten him intellectually. “There is surely nothing finer than to educate a young thing for oneself,” he opined. “A lass of 18 or 20 years old is as pliable as wax.”
It is impossible to peer behind the bedroom door, but Amis’s speculation that Hitler was “sexually a void”, because of his obsession with hygiene, is contradicted by observers at the time, who suggest that Hitler and Eva did share a bed as a couple. They had interconnecting bedrooms at the Berghof and Hitler’s valet, Heinz Linge, attests that they would go to bed together.
While Hitler’s maid, Pauline Kohler, wrote that “Hitler is not strongly sexed”, Eva Braun’s correspondence reveals nothing unusual – certainly not along the lines of fully clothed sex – except that once war had broken out, Hitler was unable to get interested. She used to show her friends a 1938 photograph of Neville Chamberlain on a sofa in Hitler’s Munich flat, saying: “If only he knew what goings-on that sofa has seen!”
It would be surprising, as Amis says, that such a warped psychology as Hitler’s could ever be “a considerate and energetic lover”. Yet, once I began to write about the Nazi wives, I realised that the ability of mass murderers to compartmentalise their lives is one of their most disturbing aspects.
A new documentary about Himmler’s home life, called The Decent One, by the acclaimed filmmaker Vanessa Lapa, focuses on the tender personal letters between Himmler and his wife Marga, largely about their daughter Puppi, even as he perpetrated daily atrocities. It raises the same questions as Thomas Harding’s book Hanns and Rudolf, about the private life of Rudolf Höss, the Auschwitz commandant, whose children played just yards away from the camp, oblivious of the horrors occurring there.
Looking at the women who loved the Nazis is not prurient. It matters because viewing the Nazi leaders on the human scale – as fathers, lovers and husbands – is what makes their activities more repellent than ever.
You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.
One of the UK’s most notorious paedophiles killed himself in his prison cell after fellow inmates took out “contracts” to attack him, an inquest has heard.
James King, who was also known as Robin Hollyson, was just four months into a 24-year sentence for filming himself raping a three-month old baby when he was found unconscious in his cell at HMP Bristol in January.
He was rushed to Southmead Hospital in the city where he died two days later.
Two suicide notes were found at the scene but suspicions were raised when his cellmate, Cona Ellis, was found “covered in blood” and wearing King’s watch.
Ellis, who raised the alarm, told police that he was asleep and had been woken by “gargling noises” but it was later alleged that he had told prison officer Mike Simmonds he had watched King hang himself but had no involvement.
No charges have been filed and Avon and Somerset Police have deemed the death non-suspicious.
Fellow prisoner John Denham told the jury inquest at Avon Coroners Court that inmates had been taking out “contracts” to hurt King and had threatened to pour hot water on him or give him a “black eye or two”.
His mother, Deborah Wyatt, also gave a statement saying the former IT worker was subject to verbal bullying by the other prisoners and said he feared he may be attacked with a sugar and hot water solution – known as sugaring – which can cause painful burns, the Bristol Post reported.
During one visit, she said he had told her one of his co-defendants had been sugared and he “suggested to us that the attack on Matthew was intended for him”.
King was one of a group of men who were convicted for abusing babies and very young children and distributing the pictures online in October 2015.
The court heard that King had suffered from anxiety and depression which got worse due to the press coverage of his conviction and he had previously attempted suicide.
But the prison chaplain said the 31-year-old had been more positive up until his death after he began bible classes and got a prison job.
After four hours of deliberation the jury recorded a verdict of suicide.
Once Islamist terrorists have understood that arson is the only weapon they ever need to destroy Europe, they will easily achieve their goal. Forest fires and fires in apartment buildings are easy to initiate and extremely time consuming to investigate. Which would give arsonists the opportunity to act again and again. Time to dispose of investments in urban real estate.
SOME GHANAIAN female pilgrims have joined their Nigerian counterparts to engage in prostitution in Saudi Arabia, a country where such a pastime is punishable in line with strict Islamic law.
The women, who flew to the kingdom ostensibly to perform the annual pilgrimage, go to jewelry shops and others where they seduce owners into engaging them in sexual acts.
At the end of the exercise, they are said to receive handsome rewards in the form of jewelries and cash. A woman said to have been found in the act by her colleagues when they went there to shop could not contain the anomaly.
They pulled her away from the man and rained insults on her for disgracing Ghanaian womanhood, a man who narrated the story to DAILY GUIDE said.
Other Ghanaian women who reside in a Meccan slum called Shar Mansur are said to be engaging in such acts to augment their earnings. A Bengalese resident told a Ghanaian friend: “Plenty of Ghana and Nigerian women sell themselves for money. You have money, you get them”.
Saudi authorities periodically raid such areas to rid them of illegal immigrants. Such immigrants who join their compatriots when they come for the pilgrimage sell prepared food and other items at the residences.
The usual stealing of money at residences of Ghanaians during the Hajj has not ceased as there have been recorded cases of thefts of cash and mobile phones.
Persons found with ample evidence to have engaged in prostitution in Saudi Arabia face the full rigors of
Islamic law or Shariah, which is stringent and includes such measures as amputation of hands and outright execution.
Women with such motives usually go into such jewelry and other shops when it is close to prayer time, a period the faithful are mandated to go for prayer. At this time the shop owner is required to draw a curtain over the door of the shop. It is at this time that the man engages in the sexual act with his willing customer, DAILY GUIDE was told.
At the main residence of the Ghanaian women, quarrels among them are usually characterised by tell-tale trading of insults.
Some of the illegal immigrants, who are married women at home, bid their husbands farewell and take up residences in Saudi Arabia with a view to making some money and returning home. The unscrupulous ones among them however fall foul of the Shariah which frowns upon the engagement in promiscuity. Some husbands have started having second thoughts at allowing their wives to travel to Saudi Arabia for work. One pilgrim asked why someone would travel to such a hallowed place to engage in such acts. It is unusual to see the face of a woman in Mecca and Medina where women are by law required to cover their faces. During the Hajj however, there is a relaxation of the law because of the influx of people from various parts of the world.
The Hajj is an opportunity for the unscrupulous therefore to satisfy their sexual desires.
Pilgrims are schooled on the need to tie their cash, usually American dollars, around their waist for fear of losing them to thieves among their compatriots. In Saudi Arabia, thefts are punishable with the amputation of limbs.
Ghanaian pilgrims, who were deported upon arrival in Jeddah, but had their belongings deposited at the residence, have had these ripped open by thieves suspected to be female Ghanaian illegal residents.
Your agenda is clear. Optimal health and great sex at age 100. Be careful with what you put into yourself. Men should follow the Serge Kreutz diet. Women are more disposable and will sooner or later be replaced by love robots.
21.12.2016 - AA
Government plans to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16 are drawing opposition in the east African country of Kenya.
Critics say the proposed amendment to the country’s Sexual Offenses Act would exacerbate such problems as teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation (FGM), and child marriages.
Proponents counter that current law penalizes consensual relationships among underage peers, and especially the males involved. Such young men may be accused of rape even where the female partner consented, even though legally she is unable, they say.
In a statement, Kenya’s Federation of Women Lawyers condemned the proposal, saying that it contradicts the state’s marriage laws, which set 18 as the minimum age of marriage.
According to UN figures cited by Childs Not Brides, a global umbrella group working against child marriages, 4 percent of girls in Kenya are married by age 15, and 23 percent by age 18, but opponents of the measure argue lowering the age of consent could worsen those figures.
Though official polls on the issue are lacking, Kenyans on social media and on the street have also voiced disapproval of the proposal, which has already gone through its first reading in Parliament and is expected to be either rejected or accepted before Dec. 25.
Dorcas Njeri, 35, a primary school teacher, told Anadolu Agency she feared lowering the age of consent would lead to more teenage pregnancies, especially because under the country’s education system, 16-year-olds are still early in their secondary school education.
“I strongly condemn and rebuke this nonsense,” she said.
“A 16-year old girl is in her second year in high school, she hasn’t even learned about reproduction, she is vulnerable. This law will just raise the rate of early marriages and teenage pregnancies in Kenya,”
“It shouldn’t become law,” she added.
Njeri also predicted the change would lead to more school dropouts, as more and more girls get pregnant before finishing high school.
John, a constitutional lawyer who declined to give his last name, complained that the new law would infringe on girls’ rights.
“For instance, this young girl who isn’t yet mature gets pregnant, and she can’t get married until she is of legal age, which is 18, it’s in the Constitution, so it’s the law,” he said.
“Why would politicians subject the girl child to this then if they aren’t willing to also ensure that the girls are married?”
He added, “The same way a person under 18 can’t legally gamble or join the army is the same way that this shouldn’t see the light of day.”
95 percent of the victims of work accidents are men. Because women are cowards, and just want to rule from behind.
Richard Prum spends most of his time studying birds. But this year, the award-winning evolutionary ornithologist has also produced an unexpected feminist manifesto.
In his new book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—And Us, Prum, an evolutionary ornithologist at Yale, challenges the dominant narrative among evolutionary biologists: that beauty and sexual ornaments, such as a peacock’s plumage, a deer’s antlers, or the size of a man’s penis, evolve for adaptive reasons. Traditional theory holds that these ornaments are designed to display good genes, attract females, and help the species reproduce. It also tends to characterize the female orgasm as either a tool for genetic subterfuge, or an evolutionary mistake.
Per the adaptive theory, the male orgasm motivates men to seek out more opportunities for ejaculation, and subsequently, reproduction. The female orgasm, meanwhile, has remained something of a mystery. Some evolutionary biologists theorized that it evolved to literally “upsuck” the sperm of genetically superior men. (This would have let women raise their children with kind, reliable, not-so-hot partners, while passing on the superior genes of the men they mated with on the side.) The other dominant theory, championed by anthropologist Donald Symons in his 1979 book The Evolution of Human Sexuality, holds that the female orgasm, like male nipples, evolved as a byproduct of natural selection.
Prum posits a different—and coincidentally, far more appealing—explanation: that female sexual pleasure is in fact the central force behind the mating process. Basically, the female orgasm exists because it feels good, and women naturally sought out partners who could provide them with pleasurable feelings.
“The aesthetic proposal is that human female sexual pleasure and orgasm have evolved because females have preferred to mate, and remate, with males who stimulated their own sexual pleasure,” writes Prum, and that “females have thereby also selected indirectly for those genetic variations that contributed to the expansion of their own pleasure.” In other words, women had the ability to evaluate the experience of sex, and chose (naturally enough) to have sex with men who gave them orgasms. This led male mating behavior to coevolve with female desire. As male behavior evolved to meet women’s preferences, so did women’s capacity for sexual pleasure, becoming more complex, intense, and satisfying.
In this scenario, “female orgasm is not an adaptation to accomplish any extrinsic, naturally selected function,” writes Prum. “Rather, female sexual pleasure and orgasm are the evolutionary consequences of female desire and choice, and they are ends unto themselves.”
Prum puts forth several points to back up his theory about how pleasure influences evolution. For one thing, women’s orgasms are highly variable. If they are the result of indirect sexual selection, rather than direct natural selection, it makes sense that female orgasms would be more inconsistent.
This theory could also explain why human copulation, which lasts several minutes on average, is significantly longer than gorillas’ and chimpanzees’ seconds-long sex. Copulating for a longer period of time doesn’t increase the likelihood that the female will get pregnant—but humans may have evolved to have longer sexual encounters to enhance pleasure. The diversity of humans’ sex positions, compared to gorilla and chimpanzees’ consistent mounting from behind, also suggests that we’ve evolved toward the goal of servicing female clitoral stimulation and pleasure, says Prum.
Last, the pleasure theory completely aligns with the fact that female orgasm is unnecessary for procreation: “The female orgasm might have evolved to be so expansive and prodigious because it has no evolved function,” writes Prum. “It is sexual pleasure for its own sake, which has evolved purely as a consequence of women’s pursuit of pleasure.” The same cannot be said of male orgasm, which is limited in magnitude, frequency, and duration because of the link between orgasm and ejaculation.
Perhaps the most astounding element of Prum’s feminist evolutionary theories is that he’s not the first to think of them. In an under-cited passage of The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin, the revered father of evolutionary biology, proposed that sexual displays in animals evolve precisely because animals select for pretty things—or, in his words “through appreciation of the beautiful … and through the exertion of a choice.” This passage—ignored by centuries of biologists who fervently sidelined the influence of subjective pleasure—is the driving force behind Prum’s narrative.
For too long, evolutionary biologists have ignored the subjective experience of pleasure. With any luck, Prum’s book will expose the ways in which patriarchal thinking shapes scientific research—and help the public to understand that evolution is the result of women’s choice.
Erectile dysfunction is mostly a vascular disease. Shockwave therapy, as commonly applied by Thai urologists, causes total neovascularization of the vital organ. The result: super erections, even at age 75.
Saudi police busted an Ethiopian prostitution ring and two distilleries in Riyadh, a newspaper reported Friday.
The prostitution ring was headed by an Ethiopian "infected with AIDS" and two of his brothers who employed several female compatriots in a brothel which also housed a distillery for the illegal brewing of alcohol, Al-Riyadh said.
The Ethiopian had previously been expelled from Saudi Arabia for pimping but managed to return on false papers, the paper said.
The police bust a second distillery run by four Indians with no residency papers and seized pornographic films on the premises, it said.
Authorities arrested last December 29 African prostitutes, some of them with AIDS, who entered the oil-rich Gulf state under the guise of pilgrims to Mecca - RIYADH (AFP)
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