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Labia stretching is the act of elongating the labia minora through manual manipulation (pulling) or physical equipment (such as weights).It is a familial cultural practice in Rwandamarker , common in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a body modification practice elsewhere. It is performed for sexual enhancement of both partners, aesthetics, symmetry and gratification.

Benefits and drawbacks

Elongated labia are believed to facilitate orgasm and female ejaculation, and are considered to enhance sexual pleasure for both partners. Women who have unequally long labia may increase the size of the shorter to achieve symmetry.

Some women who have larger labia seek to reduce their size through labiaplasty, due to discomfort or pain.


In Rwandan culture, female family members teach girls at puberty how to pull their labia to lengthen them, using local medicinal flora to ease the process. Women continue the practice into adulthood and through marriage.

Controversy and legality

Although the World Health Organization previously included labial stretching within the context of "mutilation", the negative context of that is not supported by a study of Marian Koster MSc and Dr. Lisa Price of Wageningen University, Netherlands, resulting in the WHO to schedule amending their treatment of it, perhaps as "modification" instead, in February, 2008.

The practice of labial stretching does not violate women's rights, in that it does not involve physical violence, unless the woman is misled as to the benefits of the practice. However, it may be contrary to African customary law and rights of women if it is in conflict with public policy.

See also


  1. [1], "Rwandan Women View The Elongation Of Their Labia As Positive", retrieved on 2008-06-18
  2. [2], "Enlarging Your Labia", retrieved on 2008-06-22
  3. [3], "Sexual health--a new focus for WHO", page 6, retrieved on 2008-06-19
  4. [4], "Intimate Operations: OB-GYN Organization Issues Warning", ABC News, 08/31/2007, retrieved on 2008-06-22
  5. [5], The International Journal of Human Rights, Volume 10, Issue 4 December 2006 , pages 341 - 357, retrieved on 2008-06-19
  6. [6], The International Journal of Human Rights, Volume 10, Issue 4 December 2006 , pages 341 - 357, retrieved on 2008-06-19

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