Labia stretching is not just practiced in a few regions of Africa, it is quite common in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. It is also spreading to 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 this 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 ethnolinguistic 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 groups in the western region of Uganda also practice labia stretching extensively.
Another place labia stretching is practiced extensively in the Tete province (Mozambique). This province holds quite a few widespread practices for labia minora which is also called the kukhuna, puxa-puxa, and even kupfuwa. The process begins in the same manner; initiation of a young woman 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 grandmothers who are appointed as the right people to carry out the task by the young woman’s mothers or aunts. These women even get paid to carry out the process and to educate the female on the techniques of elongation and the process begins when the female ideally reaches the age where her labia have formed. The entire process can last from four to six months.
The process begins with the grandmother pulling the young woman’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 which 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 female, there are times when a group of young women could be initiated in this way at the same time. It has been also understood that the pulling only happens to help the females come to terms with their sexuality and only happens amongst females who are unmarried.
The process may feel painful; being tugged at the labia by another female; however many young women 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 women gain more confidence in themselves and accepts their sexuality. This also is a precursor to masturbation as the women then begin to indulge in self-gratification and feel comfortable 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 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 problem 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 women in Tete learn how to manage the length to make sure that it is just perfect.
The basic idea here is that perfectly elongated labia contribute to the feminity of a woman and will help the man and woman to still achieve great satisfaction by providing continuous tightening even after childbearing 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 their lives. 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 them. 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 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. Women who are sexually very active or who have given birth 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.
It takes dedication and practice to stretch and elongate your labia minora. Some women can achieve increases each week or month with gains of 2 to 6 inches over their adult life or more if performed over several years.
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