Female Circumcision in the West
In the Victorian era it was believed that a man only had so much sperm in his body. Masturbating would deplete his supply. If a man masturbated and lessen the supply of sperm in his body, it was believed, that he would go insane. Starting in the 1850ís and continuing through the 1950ís young girls, boys, and mental patients would be circumcised to prevent masturbation.
It was not just the threat of insanity that caused people to want to stop their children from masturbating; it was social norms as well. It was thought of as unclean and morally wrong. This belief may have been a cover for the preventing of masturbation because of Christian ideals. Whether this is true or not the methods used to prevent masturbation were cruel. Both boys are girls would be circumcised, but this was not the only method of preventing masturbation.
There were thousand of US patents received in the 1800ís for devices to stop masturbation. For boys and adult male mental patients these inventions were usually penis and scrotum sheaths. These sheaths would prick or cut the penis if it became erect. One contraption would pull on a manís pubic hair if his penis became erect.
For women these devices were usually chastity belts that covered a womenís entire vulva leaving only a small hole for urine and menstrual blood and another for feces to pass through.
This belief that masturbation made you insane lasted up until the 1950ís in Western developed societies. Female mental patients in the United States were having their clitorises cut out (type II FC) well into this century.
Studies in the 1950ís proved that masturbation was not the cause of insanity and that FC was associated with many health risks. It is no longer a sanctioned practice to circumcise either male or female mental patients.
In the last decade a new form of plastic surgery has become popular in the West; hoodectomy and labiaplasty. A hoodectomy is type I FC and labiaplasty is the reduction of the labia minora. Hoodectomies are being done to increase clitoral sensitivity. In one study 84% of women had a significant increase in sensation. Labiaplasty is done to make the labia smaller. Some men and women believe that the labia are more visually appealing if they are smaller. The labia play a large part in sexual sensation during penetrative sex as the penis rubs against them. This procedure may make penetrative sex less enjoyable for the women.