Infibulation Explained

[The following is originally from 〔〕, accessed on . The title may be “Infibulation Explained”, written by Robert Pinkerton, dated about 1999.]

As do many other medical terms, Infibulation derives from Latin roots, here the transitive first-conjugation verb “Infibulare” meaning to fasten with a Fibula. A “Fibula” was a metal clasp like our modern safety pin. Indeed, Fibulae were used for most of the purposes for which we use safety-pins today, and for two other purposes as well: The first was to set the folds in the flowing garments of Roman Antiquity. The second was to preserve “Chastity” by temporarily preventing sexual intercourse; how that is done, is the theme of this paper.

True Infibulation is, of course, both older and more widely-spread than ancient Rome. Indeed, its origins are lost in the mists of the past. It is reported, with varying degrees of reliability, in ancient Egypt, in western India up to the turn of the 20th century, common era, and in southeast Asia up to the turn of the Twentieth Century, Common Era.

The only source for male Infibulation that can be considered reliable, that I have encountered, is Eric John Dingwall's Male Infibulation (1925). The anonymous Praeputii Incision, New York (Panurge Press: 1931), discusses it in two chapters. But after that, reliability drops off in favor of titillation. In any event, it is of no consequence.

Now it is necessary carefully to discriminate between True Infibulation and that atrocity Mis-called “Infibulation”, that is still current - even if driven underground by legislation - in northeastern Africa and parts of central Africa. The second is more common, and perhaps because it is hideous, more sensational, hence more noticed, than is the first. But all that the two practices have in common, is only first that both form a barrier over the Vaginal entry from the subject's own labia and second that both are said to be done in order to preserve the subject's “Chastity”. The second, however, is Irrational because of the extensive collateral damage it does, because it is in fact a mutilation of the subject's external genitalia.

That reprehensible second procedure, also called “Female Circumcision”, “Pharaonic Circumcision” or “Sudanese Circumcision” is accomplished by first excising - cutting out - the victim's clitoris and labia minora, second abrading the inner edges of the victim's labia majora, and third either sewing the abraded edges together or tying her knees and thighs together until the abraded edges adhere and heal together in a cicatrice. It is most often done when the victim is quite young. Too, it is done more often than not under abjectly unsanitary conditions. Thus it is no wonder that the procedure is sometimes immediately fatal to the victim, and more often than not attended by impairments to her health later on. If legislation outlawing this practice is enforced and the offenders actually are punished - rather than the legislation being merely symbolic or window-dressing for foreigners - that legislation is meritorious no matter what the motives are for its enactment.

True Infibulation prerequisitely requires piercing. Full technics of piercing at the necessary points, including full sterilization/sanitation protocol, are set forth in Piercing Fans International Quarterly (P.F.I Quarterly): For the Labia Majora #9, Page 10FF, and #45 Page 26FF; for the Labia Minora also known as the nymphae, #37 Page 18FF. Failure to fulfill these scrupulously, entrains risk to the subject of infection, and the lesser risk that the procedure shall be unsuccessful. If the services of a professional piercer are available, it were better to utilize these.

True Infibulation is accomplished by:

① Piercing the subject's labia as ears are pierced for earrings on either side of the center of the introitus, the entrance to her vagina. Whether the piercing are located in the labia majora or the labia minora, depends upon how her external genitals are formed. The piercing must be initially large enough comfortable to accommodate the diameter of the stock of the fibule to be employed, which means that the fibule must be selected in advance.

(The term, Fibule, takes in either a ring, which can be opened and closed, or an appropriate padlock. Professional piercers speak of stock diameter in terms of gauge, which is not necessarily the same as gauge in terms of thickness of sheet-metal. For a fibule, because of where it is placed in the subject's body, weight is also important: As a rule-of-thumb, the lighter the better so long as security is not compromised.)

Consideration of sterility and sanitation dictate that the optimal time to pierce for this purpose, is immediately after a menstrual period has ceased, or while she is pregnant. These same considerations dictate that, if she is sexually active, her partner in intercourse must invariably wear a condom during intercourse for the duration of the healing time. Further, it is a good idea for the subject to bathe as frequently as possible while the training rings are in place. Finally, it is a good idea for the lower undergarment that the subject wears to be loose during this time.

② Training rings, of the same gauge as both the initial piercing and of the fibule subsequently to be employed, are placed in the piercing; these may be of any metal suitable for piercing jewelry, or of a physiologically inert plastic. These serve exactly the same purpose as do studs in ear piercing, namely promoting the healing of the piercing open.

These must stay in place in the piercing, subject to requirements of the sterilization/sanitation protocols, until healing is complete. For piercing in the labia majora, this is ten weeks +/- two weeks. For piercing in the labia minora, the nymphae, this is eight weeks +/- two weeks. As a rule of thumb, the longer the training rings stay in place, the better; for they toughen the healed piercing.

Since the piercings are quite close to the posterior commissure of the labia majora, when the training rings and/or fibule are in place they may cause some discomfort if the subject sits down rapidly on a hard surface. The training rings shall cause pronounced discomfort if the subject sits astride a bicycle, or motorcycle seat or a horse. These discomforts can be entirely avoided: In the first instance, by awareness and a slight change in her behavior, and in the second by desisting from activity wherein she must sit with her body's weight upon her perineum and external genitals.

③ Either one end of a single open ring is passed through each piercing in both labia and the ring is then closed, or the shackle of a single padlock is passed through each piercing in both labia and the lock is then locked. Once a fibule of either kind is in place and secured, then while the fibule is in place - and only while the fibule is in place - it is physically impossible for her to take part in an act of sexual intercourse: Entry to her vagina is doubly barred, first by the two opposite labia held together by the fibule over the entrance thereto, and behind that, the metal of the fibule that is between her labia, lies athwart the entrance to her vagina like the bar of the Greek Letter Theta. However, once the fibule is removed, she is once again entirely able to take part in coitus.

When the fibule actually is properly situated to prevent copulation - rather than further in front for mere pretense or empty adornment - it does not prevent the subject from clitoral masturbation. True Infibulation does temporarily prevent stimulation of Grafenberg's Area since it denies access to the vagina while the fibule is in place. Obviously, true Infibulation does not prevent the subject from acting, Nolens Volens, as a receptacle for sodomy, whether oral (fellatio) or anal (buggery): Measures outside the scope hereof are necessary to address that problem. Preventing the wearer from copulating while the device is in place - only that and only while it is in place - is all that can reasonably be asked of any chastity device. This true Infibulation does elegantly, and with minimal collateral effect - though not wholly without collateral effect.

One such collateral effect is to magnify the problem presented by the training rings, in the matters of the subject sitting down rapidly upon a hard surface and/or sitting on a bicycle or motorcycle or a horse astride. The problem of discomfort caused by sitting rapidly on a hard surface as well as any discomfort that might arise from weight of a padlock, can be at least partially alleviated by the subject wearing tight and heavy innermost lower undergarments, that support and confine the weight of a padlock to keep it from swinging or pulling. (Yes, a padlock used for Infibulation should be light, the lighter the better, so long as security is not compromised. But its shackle passes through piercing in, and its weight - however light - bears upon some of the most sensitive parts of the female anatomy.) However, Infibulation means that the subject cannot ride a bicycle or motorcycle or horse astride, while the fibule is in place, full stop.

Infibulation imposes an inner limit upon how widely the subject can spread her legs - literally, rather than as a vernacular vulgarism for admitting a male to intercourse. This limit is greater when the fibule is sited in the labia majora, than it is when the fibule is sited in the labia minora. This rules out the like of ballet, or sport cheerleader full splits, and the calisthenics thick subtend ability to do these easily. However, this also means that Infibulation better protects a virgin's hymen, by preventing a virgin subject from indulging in such exertions or exercises that would tear it without any involvement in sexual activity. (This is the actual purpose of the thigh bands which are offered as an optional accessory to Chastity Belts of the type of the Tollyboy F/B-100.)

Infibulation also reciprocally impinges upon the monthly problem of menstrual sanitation: If tampons are to be used for menstrual sanitation, this inflexibility dictates that the fibule be a padlock. The key holder must release the padlock to allow tampons to be inserted and removed/replaced. On the other hand, a solid fixed ring equally inflexibly dictates the use of external napkins, for what bars entry to a penis or dildo, also bars entry to a tampon.

Infibulation is much easier to conceal, than is a chastity belt, hence it imposes less constraint upon the subject's choice of clothing, at least, and can allow a much wider opportunity even for full nudity: A thong swimsuit-bottom fully conceals either a ring or a padlock, as does even a club dancers G-string or a cache-sexe. (A cache-sexe is a triangle of cloth with strings at each corner, very much like a club dancer's G-String, but worn by both sexes in places like L'Ile du Levant, where “Le nu integral est formellement interdit.”) Where the fibule is a ring, and the ring is relatively small, a full growth of the subject's pubic hair will conceal it in full frontal nudity. If piercing to accommodate a padlock in the labia majora are correctly sited, the body of the padlock would not be fully visible - the upper third or upper half of it will be behind the catenary curve of her labia majora in front and similarly concealed by the catenary curve of her buttocks - in full frontal nudity even if her external genitals were shaven, and a growth of public hair will conceal still more of it, though not entirely. Indeed, the fact that a girl or woman is infibulated, can be displayed unambiguously only if she spreads her legs laterally as far as she can do so; or if she stands legs akimbo with her back to the viewer, and bends forward from the buttocks. Otherwise, where concealment is wanted, the very ambiguity of it - is it mere ornament? - compounded by the rarity of Infibulation, and the subject's own disinclination to discuss, suffice in conditions of nudity, and even the scantiest cover for the pubic region suffices for full concealment.

Female external genitals come in all configurations, and configuration dictates, though not necessarily inflexibly, placement of the fibule and piercing go accommodate it: If the subject's labia majora are plump and they press together for most of the length of her cleft, they are the site of obvious choice for the piercing and the fibule. On the other hand, if her labia minora are protrusive at the entry to her vagina, then they are equally obvious as the site of choice for the piercing and the fibule. If the subject's labia minora are scanty over the introitus but her nymphae are even more so at the same place, the labia majora are the site of choice for the piercing and subsequent fibule.

As a general (more than half, but not across the board uniformity) rule of thumb, the labia majora are the preferred site for the prerequisite piercing and the subsequent fibule when they offer adequate flesh at the necessary point, I.E. at the center of the introitus. A corollary rule of thumb is that the closer the fibule can be placed to the subject's vagina - I.E. The wider the margin of labium - the better.

For placement of the fibule, the easiest way is for the subject to stand with her legs akimbo, her back turned to her partner, and to bend forward at the buttocks. Her partner, having first lubricated the fibule with a water-base lubricant, gently passes its tip through the piercing, first in one labium then the other, and closes it. Another way is for the subject to lie on her stomach while the fibule is placed by her partner. Removal of the fibule must always be done slowly and gently. Where the fibule is a fixed ring, which must be cut to open it, it is necessary to file the cut end smooth before sliding it through her flesh to withdraw it: Failure to do so will cause the subject severe discomfort.

How Infibulation was invented or discovered, no one knows. As was said, supra, it is known to be older and more widely-spread than the Roman Empire at its height. Obviously, it has had to wait for lock technology to catch up, to make it fully a practical proposition, for it is to be inferred that usually it was an affair of a fixed ring, hence a long-term proposition. Though this need no longer be the case, certain considerations govern the selection of a padlock for this purpose.

Obviously the lock must be small. Equally obvious, its shackle must be of a physiological inert metal, such as surgical stainless steel. On the other hand, metals such as nickel, and chromium are contraindicated for such use because they are allergenic to so many people.

In times past and in other places, because it was necessarily an affair of a fixed ring and hence a long-term proposition, it was used for such purposes as preserving premarital virginity of unmarried daughters or preventing a wife from taking part in intercourse during her husband's prolonged absence (on caravan, at war, at sea, etc.) Now that lock technology is adequate to infibulation's requirements (even if suitable locks are still arcana), though Infibulation can still be used for the purposes aforementioned, now so is it practical for daily use by a normally sexually active couple, whether that use is in context of a game of 24/365 life style D-S or is fully serious.

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