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Artificial Virginity? Alum Stone 'Restores' the Female Organ

by 26/10/2012 07:08:00 0 comments 8350 Views
Artificial Virginity? Alum Stone 'Restores' the Female Organ

“The white stone does not only cleanse my vagina, it also tightens it. So much so that to my boyfriend it feels as though I’m still a virgin,” says Marie Chantal Obam, a 29-year-old Cameroonian. She uses alum stone once a week to clean her private parts.

The mineral comes in the form of large crystals that are white or translucent in colour – hence, the name ‘white stone’. The crystals are cut up into small pieces.

Chantal Mbi is a vendor who sells the white stone in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé. “There is a lot of demand, also because it’s very affordable,” she says. One gram of this coveted mineral usually sells for 100 CFA francs (0.1 euros) and can be reused up to five times.

Chantal Mbi selling the white stone and other traditional productsPhoto: Anne Mireille Nzouankeu

Pretending to be a virgin

Angèle Nfor is a gynaecologist who has seen multiple cases of the use of alum stone among her patients. “Alum stone is an antiperspirant agent commonly used in skincare products. It dries up the vagina and shrinks its internal membrane,” she says.

Nfor adds that when used in small amounts, the mineral can indeed enhance the female genitalia. But an overdose can lead to problems. “When used in large quantities, the vagina can close up completely. That happens to some women who, for cultural or religious reasons, have to pretend to be virgins,” she says.

Maïmouna A., 24, is one of them. “I used the white stone when I got married, because my husband was supposed to be the first man I have sexual relations with. I did not bleed during our first intercourse, but he didn’t suspect anything,” she confides.

Serious long-term effects

The practice can have devastating consequences.

“I’ve seen women who had to undergo surgery because their genitalia were completely torn after intercourse,” says Nfor. Tears like these considerably increase the risk of infections as well as exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The doctor stresses that this form of artificial virginity is short-lived. “In order to keep feeling the same sensations, you need to use to product every time before having sex, even if you have sex many times on the same day.”

Infertility

Michel Ekono, a gynaecologist/obstetrician at Yaoundé University Teaching Hospital, also warns against use of alum or any other similar product.

“You should not insert anything into the vagina, because it is an organ that cleans itself. When you insert an object into the vagina, a host of germs comes with it. A woman with the habit of inserting objects into her genitalia is exposed to recurrent infections that can cause infertility,” he says.

Women’s health specialists are sending a clear message: practise extreme caution with the use of alum stone. They also strongly discourage using tobacco leaves, salt or honey. Nfor says that women should always consult their doctor before applying techniques to artificially restore their virginity.

She does have a valid tip, though, for couples seeking greater sexual pleasure.

“I have met women who insert geisha balls into their vaginas to enhance them,” says Nfor.

Geisha balls are an ancient Asian device, consisting of two balls that stimulate muscular contraction inside the female sexual organ. But even if geisha balls are relatively safe, it’s still better to consult a gynaecologist before engaging in a practice that could spoil the pleasure forever. 

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