Infibulation, the most pervasive form of female genital mutilation/cutting, involves an almost complete closure of the vaginal orifice, with only a small opening left for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. This closure is associated with key cultural values that relate to gender and sexuality: virginity and virtue for women, and virility, sexual pleasure and paternity for men. To meet these values, infibulations must be performed at a young age and kept intact until marriage, when they must be partially re-opened to enable sexual intercourse. Traditionally, the husband uses his penis to tear open the infibulated scar, a procedure associated with excruciating pain.

Many complications that relate to infibulation and the pain associated with traditional defibulation can be significantly reduced by choosing surgical defibulation. Surgical defibulation has been made widely available in Norway similar to many other countries of immigration. There is, however, significant resistance to this procedure. This chapter explores some of the cultural values and perceptions that cause this resistance and discusses how these perceptions can be overcome.