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The ‘heat’ goes away: sexual disorders of married women with female genital mutilation /cutting in Kenya

Esho, T1; Kimani, S2; Nyamongo, I2; Kimani, V2; Muniu, S2; Kigondu, C2; Ndavi, P2; Jaldesa, G2

1: Africa Coordinating Centre for Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, Technical University of Kenya; 2: Africa Coordinating Centre for Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, University of Nairobi

Objectives: This study investigated the sexual experiences among married women living with FGM/C in Mauche Ward, Nakuru County, Kenya.

Methods: This was a mixed method study. Quantitative data were obtained from 318 married women selected through multistage sampling then categorized into: cut before marriage, cut after marriage and the uncut. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information while psychometric data were obtained using a female sexual functioning index (FSFI) tool. Qualitative data were obtained from five FGDs and two case narratives. The data were organized into themes, analyzed and interpreted.

Results: The mean age of the respondents was 30.59 ± 7.36 years. The majority (74.2%) had primary education and 76.1% were farmers. Age (p = 0.008), number of children (p = 0.035) and education (p = 0.038) were found to be associated with sexual functioning. The cut women reported lower sexual functioning compared to the uncut. ANOVA results show the reported overall sexual functioning to be significantly (p = 0.019) different across the three groups – cut before marriage, cut after marriage and married uncut. Women cut after marriage (mean = 22.81 ± 4.87) scored significantly lower (p = 0.056) than the uncut (mean = 25.35 ± 3.56). However, in comparison to the cut before marriage there was no significant difference (mean = 23.99 ± 6.63). Among the sexual functioning domains, lubrication (p = 0.008), orgasm (p = 0.019) and satisfaction (p = 0.042) were significantly different across the three groups. However, desire, arousal and pain were not statistically different.

Conclusion: Generally, cut women and especially those cut after marriage had negative sexual experiences and specifically adverse changes in experiences of desire, arousal and satisfaction among cut after marriage. FGM/C mitigating strategies need to adequately incorporate sexual complications management to safeguard women’s sexual right to pleasure subsequently improving their general well-being. Furthermore, coordinated efforts through multifaceted strategies must be sustained and escalated for abandonment and mitigation of FGM/C.


Work supported by industry: yes, by USAID (industry funding only - investigator initiated and executed study).

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