Effects of female genital mutilation/cutting on the sexual function of Sudanese women: a cross-sectional study

Published:March 04, 2017DOI:


      Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a cultural practice that involves several types of removal or other injury to the external female genitalia for nonmedical reasons. Although much international research has focused on the health consequences of the practice, little is known about sexual functioning among women with various types of FGM/C.


      To assess the impact of FGM/C on the sexual functioning of Sudanese women.

      Study Design

      This is a cross-sectional study conducted at Doctor Erfan and Bagedo Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Eligible women completed a survey and a clinical examination, which documented and verified women’s type of FGM/C. The main outcome measure was female sexual function, as assessed by the Arabic Female Sexual Function Index.


      A total of 107 eligible women completed the survey and the gynecological examination, which revealed that 39% of the women had FGM/C Type I, 25% had Type II, and 36% had Type III. Reliability of self-report of the type of FGM/C was low, with underreporting of the extent of the procedure. The results showed that 92.5% of the women scored lower than the Arabic Female Sexual Function Index cut-off point for sexual dysfunction. The multivariable regression analyses showed that sexual dysfunction was significantly greater with more extensive type of FGM/C, across all sexual function domains (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) and overall.


      The study documents that a substantial proportion of women subjected to FGM/C experience sexual dysfunction. It shows that the anatomical extent of FGM/C is related to the severity of sexual dysfunction.

      Key words

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      Linked Article

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        American Journal of Obstetrics & GynecologyVol. 218Issue 1
        • Preview
          We thank Ms Sakyi-Agyekum for her close review of our article.1 The points she raises emphasize the difficulty in assessing sexual functioning in women with female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), and we encourage other researchers to investigate this issue, taking, for example, physiological and cultural covariates into consideration.
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      • Effective evidence-based medicine: considering factors not included in research studies
        American Journal of Obstetrics & GynecologyVol. 218Issue 1
        • Preview
          Rouzi et al1 recently published a cross-sectional study showing a direct correlation between the severities of mutilation and subsequent sexual dysfunction. The horrific practice of female genital mutilation/cutting has been carried out for thousands of years in different societies.
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