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Regions of the world where it is practiced

Labia stretching is not just practiced in few regions of Africa, it is quite common in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. It is also spreading to the other parts of the world where women are trying to learn this ancient art to add more to their intimate lives. Though it can medically not be proved whether elongated labia offer more sexual gratification, looking at the satisfaction levels of the cultures who have been practicing it, it definitely is catching on to the others. It has also been noted that the quality of the orgasms the women with elongated labia experience is far better than the ones who don’t. Though his may need more research and proof, currently the only evidence is the verbal confirmation by the women who practice it.

Practices of elongation of labia minora are also found in many ethinolinguistic groups. In South Africa, this practice is very common amongst the Lovedu and Vanda groups. It is also very common in various groups in Mozambique. Labia stretching is also seen in the Makonde speaking people of Tanzania, groups in Baganda in the central and some of the group sin the western region of Uganda also practice labia stretching extensively.

Another place labia stretching is practiced extensively is the Tete province (Mozambique). This province holds 1quite a few widespread practices for labia minora where it is also called the kukhuna, puxa-puxa, and even kupfuwa. The process begins in the same manner; initiation of a young girl into womanhood however it includes scarifications on the body, modification of the genitals, and even using a belt of beads. The initiation is primarily carried out by grandmother who are appointed as the right people to carry out the task by the girl’s mothers or aunts. These women even get paid to carry out the process and to educate the girl on the techniques of elongation and the process begins when the girl ideally reaches the age of eight and could begin as late as the girl reaching twelve years of age. The entire process can last from four till six months.

The process begins with the grandmother pulling the girl’s labia herself to show how it is done the right way; the ideal process is to massage the labia outward from top to bottom using the index finger and thumb of each hand. One important ingredient used here is castor oil that helps with the process. One interesting aspect of labia stretching here is that sometimes it has been seen that even the labia majora or even the clitoris may be elongated however that is not very common. The process of elongation is carried out on a daily basis to ensure that maximum length is reached and it is done in the morning and at sundown. Though it is seen that this process is conducted individually for each girl, there are times when a group of girls could be initiated in this way at the same time. It has been also understood that the pulling only happens to help the girls come to terms with their sexuality and only happens amongst girls who are unmarried.

The process may feel painful; being tugged at the labia by another girl; however many young girls have described it as a very pleasurable process that helps them understand their bodies better and know what makes them feel additional pleasure. It also helps the girls gain more confidence in themselves and accept their sexuality. This also is a precursor to masturbation as the girls then begin to indulge in self-gratification and feel comfortable in satisfying themselves.

The process of elongating the labia may take many months and is continued till a goal of at least three to four centimeters is reached. In these tribes, the feminine aspect of the woman is defined by the length of their labia and to the extent that if a girl or a woman does not have long enough labia, she could be considered lazy to not make an attempt strong enough to make her future partner happy. The problems is that if these labia are too long then they could be the cause of creating water in the vagina, which is another term used in the tribe. The ideal length is considered to be the one that allows the vagina to be damp enough but without making it extremely wet. The idea is that the right size of the elongated labia will let them provide sexual gratification however, if they are too long they will perspire and that will make them too wet. The young girls in Tete learns how to manage the length to make sure that it is just perfect.

The basic idea here is that is perfectly elongated labia contributes to the feminity of a woman and will help the man and woman to still achieve great satisfaction by providing continuous tightening even after children and regular sex. The terms and the ideas used in their tribe are quite focused on the women as they describe the elongated labia as the doors to the vagina. They state that the man has to open these doors before he enters the vagina by providing enough foreplay for the woman’s benefit. The importance of the elongated labia is quite strong here as it is considered that a woman who does not have elongated labia may not be able to hold on to her partner and that he may want to be with a woman who does have labia elongated to provide him that pleasure.

It is also noted that the tribe believes that the labia shrink after childbirth and that is why many women continue to stretch their labia until menopause to make sure their labia are elongated to the right size throughout. . There are many instances where the male partners are seen to help the women in the process by pulling at their labia by massaging them or through oral sex.

In Zaire (Congo), women don’t just practice stretching their labia, they also use various ways to modify it. They are known to use bales of leaves that they insert in their vaginas to make the act of lovemaking more pleasurable.

In Southern Africa, several practices have been found to surround the means to tighten the vagina. The need to have a tight vagina is also seen in parts of central and southern Cameron. Vaginas that are wide are considered to be a problem here and this idea also seems to be prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. These areas seem to use more products to tighten the woman’s vagina so that the friction can be increased during sex.

The products used to reduce the size of the vaginal canal are called mankwala ya kubvalira which literally means ‘medicine to put’ because it goes straight inside the vagina. The women who are sexually very active or who have had children seem to favor these products as they keep the vagina tight and help them to be intimate with their partners while providing the same experience. These products are known to tighten the vagina to the extent of providing the sensation of being a virgin and hence, providing more stimulation to their partners. The reasoning is that due to regular intercourse, the vagina can tend to get less tight, these products make the vagina tight again and ensure that the bodies do not separate during rigorous sexual intercourse. Friction is given a great deal of importance and it is noted that the penis should not be able to enter the vagina easily. All these activities of labia elongation and products help in aiding that.

Another very important reason to make the vaginas tighter by the use of products or by labia elongation is that if they are not, then they may feel watery (not very tight) and that could lead to unsatisfactory relationships as the man feel no friction and cannot enjoy the act. The woman can be blamed for not being well prepared or having been with another man recently and in some cultures, she could also be treated with disrespect and ridiculed.

Every woman knows that sometimes her vagina smells great and at the other times it doesn’t. It seems that these ancient tribes had a solution to that as well they state that using the products to make the vagina as dry as required also helps them to get rid of the discharge that may smell sometimes and may not be desirable to the partner. They also state that these practices help the women whose vagina gets torn during childbirth by making them as tight as they used to be through inserting them to provide the man with the feeling of the required friction.

These products are considered to be women’s secrets and the men rarely know about them, they are provided to the woman by her female relatives or the traditional doctors who may know how to prepare them. Many women form Tete or ones with Zimbabwean or Mozambican cultures are known to know how to prepare these products accurately. These products, called mankwala can also be prepared by the woman if she has learn how to make them. They are used in different ways based on the preference of the woman; they could be placed inside the vagina, placed in the vaginal orifice using a fingertip, or even place din the panties. The ingredients of these mankwalas are mostly roots, leaves, and dried tree barks that have been reduced to powder.

There is also a mention of vaginal eggs which are made with natural substances. These vaginal eggs are made with the same tree bark, leaves and roots and combined with an egg so as to create a little ball. These eggs are used to create the effect of a tight vagina since they cannot be penetrated.

Today these preparations have begun to show a variety of ingredients and could range from using Colgate to Vicks to even stones and alum. In the tribes that follow these practices strongly, many women who are sexually active, use these products but may stop during the period of gestation. They may also stop using these products when they enter menopause however that is a choice they make; some women still continue with these practices as they feel better as compared to feeling their loose vaginas and also helps them feel sexually stronger.

Labia elongation, in tandem is considered to be a very favored practice in many of these tribes. The positive effects of labia elongation have been many and there are almost no negative effects that have been noticed. The only challenge that the women have faced are that the labia can get longer than required and that sometimes the use of products can cause lesions on the walls of the labia. This is why it is very essential to understand how to go about elongating the labia to avoid such occurrences.

Labia stretching is also seen to be practiced in regions of Bagisu, Bugiri, Busia, Famu, Ssebei, Kalengins, and Pokot tribes. It is also practiced in other countries like Burundi, Congo, Benin, Kenya, the Ivory Cosat, Mozambique, Rowanda, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.

There are also some accounts of how labia stretching is carried out in Uganda. Here, the process of labia stretching is called Okukyalira ensiko. The process begins for the girls between the ages of nine to sixteen in the Wakiso area. The goal for the girls is to get their labia as long as one to one and a half inches before they start to menstruate. The practice is referred to as Okusika (stretching out) and the person who helps her do this is referred to as an ssenga who is actually the girl’s paternal aunt. The ssenga doesn’t just help the girl to the passage of womanhood by helping her learn how to elongate the labia, she is also the person responsible to teaching the girl about other womanly duties, values and behavior. As soon as the girl begins to get her periods, the ssenga starts to prepare her for marriage and a happy married life. This doesn’t just include the aspects of making the man sexually happy but also how to cook food, how to maintain a house etc. It seems that the aspect of labia elongation is just one of the many things that go into preparing the girl for a happily married life where she learns all the ways to be a good wife.

However, erotic techniques make up a huge part of thief period where the girl learns to elongate her labia as a part of becoming a woman. The girls are told that elongated labia would give them added pleasure and that their men may reject them if their labia were not of the desired length. This begins weeks of the girl trying to elongate her labia as directed be her ssenga. As times changed, it became difficult for the parents to always send their daughters to their paternal aunts and today, the aunts, neighbors, or even some commercial ssengas play the original role to help the girls prepare themselves and carry out this important task of elongating their labia successfully. Even in this culture, the practice is not made obvious in front of the men, it is always conducted amongst the women and the girls may even help each other but never is a man involved, not unless the girl is married and the man may want to carry out the act with her.

In Baganda, the women also employ the use of herbs to make the labia soft and these can be found around the villages of ntengotengo, ssere, bidens pilosa, namirambe and many more. It is not just the traditional herbs but many firms in Uganda have also started manufacturing crèmes to help the process of labia stretching. 

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