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Infibulation is the act of altering the sexual organs so as to prevent the use of them for sexual purposes.[1] There are both male and female forms of infibulation.

Male infibulation

Male infibulation is done by twice piercing the foreskin and then placing a clasp through the two piercings to prevent retraction of the foreskin. The clasp may be a small padlock. The intent is to prevent masturbation and coitus.[2]

In ancient times, infibulation was thought to protect the quality of a young singer's voice.[2][3]

In ancient Greece the foreskin was closed by being tied up with a string known as the kynodesme (dogtie).[3]

Female infibulation

Female infibulation is more complex. It includes excision of the labia majora and minora and sometimes the head of the clitoris. The vulva is sutured closed except for a small opening to allow for passage of urine and menstrual blood. The procedure is sometimes called pharaonic circumcision.[2]

Female infibulation is classed as Type III female genital mutilation (FGM).[2]


  1. Free Dictionary. q.v. Fibulation
  2. a b c d REFweb Peete, C (29 February 2012). What is Infibulation?, Health Boards. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  3. a b REFjournal Hodges FM. The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme. Bull Hist Med. September 2001; 75(3): 375-405. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 8 December 2023.