I do know how difficult it must be to feel like you haven’t achieved anything.
Anytime Kunle makes love to me, I see it in his eyes….everytime! I see how downcast he looks and I recognize the disappointment. I know my husband and it’s been seven years of living with this wonderful man. Yet, our sexual life has no flames. I read a lot of stuff about sex and I try to put them to good use. Sometimes he gets excited at the scented candles, the romantic petals, the exquisite dinner and the sight of his favourite champagne. He loves to see me dressed in the sky blue lingerie because sky blue is his best colour . I do love pink, but anything for my Kunle!
I once suggested we drew a time table for our sex life. That was in the second year of our marriage. That unassuming suggestion had hurt him so much. But I had suggested it because of my reservations to sex. I don’t like sex. I think it’s an activity that has been overhyped and celebrated beyond the roofs. Kunle is a patient man. I couldn’t have asked for another father to our two boys. I remember how he turned down hospital appointments because of my ridiculous attachment to my privacy. I always told him I wouldn’t want anyone to think I don’t like sex. Who would believe a pretty lady like me doesn’t enjoy sex?
One day, he came home with a magazine from work. His boss had given it to him to facilitate a research he was doing on Real Estate. While he showered, I picked it up and flipped through the pages hoping to find something that won’t bore me. That was when I found it! The health column had the answer to my 7 years dilemma. I couldn’t believe it. I quickly sought recourse to Google and found more devastating information. There were pictures to buttress the message. I was shocked to the skies.
Kunle came out of the bathroom and saw me pants down, looking at my vagina in the mirror. This is something I have never done in my thirty years of being a human being. Nothing ever propelled me to check my vagina. I had never suffered an infection or had reasons to see a medical practitioner with regards my vaginal health. I had enjoyed swift deliveries and had my mother bathe me afterwards. I was indeed shocked to notice there was no clitoris in my vagina. I had been mutilated as a child and I have no memories it!
Together, Kunle and I read up on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Who cuts off the clitoris with the aim of reducing sexual satisfaction in a lady?
Who exposes women to countless forms of risks by cutting off some parts of their vagina as a necessary part of raising a girl, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.?
Who exposes women to complications like haemorrhage, tetanus or infection, urine retention, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissue, wound infection, urinary infection, fever, and septicemia?
How many men would bear to know they can never sexually satisfy their wife whom they love so much, because the most reliable means of satisfaction had been cut off?
Who gave anyone the right to make that decision for any girl?
Do the perpetrators of this terrible act know it is a violation of the human rights of girls and women?
Do they know that FGM has no health benefits to women save for health complications and untold sexual misery in marriage that could even crash their marriages?
Kunle quickly pointed out that since FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women, mine would have happened at infancy. We realized that more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually. I cringed at the thought of having my baby girl mutilated for whatever archaic reason. At this point, I didn’t know if I should tell Kunle that I had missed my period consecutively for two months. I know how much he desired a daughter and I am certain he would not allow anyone hurt his baby girl. Still lost in my thoughts, I didn’t noticed Kunle was already using his laptop to read about FGM, until he started reading out the different types of FGM Practice.
Female genital mutilation is classified into 4 major types:
- Type 1: this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans (the external and visible part of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals), and/or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).
- Type 2: this is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without removal of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva ).
- Type 3: Also known as infibulation, this is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoral prepuce/clitoral hood and glans ( Type I FGM).
- Type 4: This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.
Deinfibulation refers to the practice of cutting open the sealed vaginal opening of a woman who has been infibulated, which is often necessary for improving health and well-being as well as to allow intercourse or to facilitate childbirth.
Who does that?
Apparently, it’s a widely accepted practice carried out by men and women, including health workers. There are religious and cultural beliefs surrounding this deadly practice; cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are clean and beautiful after removal of body parts that are considered unclean, unfeminine or male.
I don’t know who mutilated me as a child, and I can’t imagine my mum or any other relative doing this to me. They have been all loving and supportive. The realization that countless women will be going through this practice in the 21st century is mortifying. Kunle came close to me and held me in a warm embrace, whispering sweet words and wiping the tears now streaming down my face. I do need a hug, especially from Kunle. But then, most importantly, I do need to speak with my mum, she is the only person who can offer the explanations I need.