Infibulation describes the fastening or sewing of male or female genitalia to prevent sexual acts. In males, it involves sewing the foreskin over, or the scrotum around, the penis; for women, infibulation requires sewing the labia minora or the labia majora together.
Ouch, huh? When referring to women, infibulation follows the slicing of the labia minora and clitoridectomy, or the removal of the clitoris, the female source for orgasm. In addition, some cultures sew the vulva shut. This elaborate--and rather painful--practice is used primarily on young females in parts of Africa to ensure their virginity at marriage. Upon consummation of the marriage, the husband becomes responsible for breaking through the scarred tissue. In some regions, a woman is re-infibulated when she becomes pregnant or if her husband suspects her of being unfaithful.
Though commonly attributed to the African regions of Sudan and Somalia, infibulation is not that far removed from the Western World. While genital mutilation is a horror most consider found only in Third World countries, in the 19th century it was quite popular in Europe.
Stitching was used to prevent coitus and masturbation. In fact, European families in the 19th century would use this technique to keep their sons from experiencing nocturnal emissions or from practicing masturbation, both of which were thought harmful to their health. Infibulation was also a common practice of the Russian government whereby soldiers, who were not allowed to marry, had a wire mesh pushed through their foreskin and soldered there to prevent removal.
In today's colorful world, some people enjoy a temporary infibulation, or lacing, for sexual gratification. Temporary stitches are sewn through the labia or foreskin for up to several days, an act which seems ridiculously tedious to most people. Those who practice infibulation as blood sport find it gratifying because it introduces imposed chastity and humiliation. This so-called game can be very dangerous, causing infection and worse, if the participants are not well-experienced, knowledgable, and able to maintain a sterile environment and tools.
2004.12.24@2:30 Ouroboros says: Karen Black of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black did a video-performace of having her labia sewed together. sometime in the 80s, I think.