Sexual Oppression and Exploitation Are Topics in Sex Therapy

The New York Times published recently published an opinion piece with photographs of underage females subjected to marriage and female genital cutting, which you can read here.  Even if you don't read all the details, the photographs themselves are provocative.  How does a society sexualize girls as young as nine?  Why does this remain  a problem in numerous countries where legislation forbidding such practices has been passed?  Why do people in societies still feel the need to control female sexuality?

Such topics, though disturbing, are covered in the context of learning sex therapy.  Our human anatomy is intricately connected with feelings of pleasure.  When genitals are mutilated, pleasure as well as function can be disrupted or even destroyed.  Although I personally have not treated anyone who has undergone such a procedure, there are sex therapists and sexual medicine specialists who have.

The World Health Organization has an online resource about female genital mutilation (FGB).  It also is difficult to read, or to think about.  Socially, sex has been used to dominate and oppress people.  Even though a sex therapist may not have such clients, such topics prompt us to address themes such as oppression, dominance, and consent.

I invite you to read and contemplate how you might approach someone who has been forced to experience FGM if she came into your office for help.  It is a type of trauma that requires great sensitivity, compassion, and skill, as well as an ability to speak openly about sexual pleasure and its meaning in society.
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