Some women in Central Africa, South Africa, and Indonesia go through harmful practices to “dry” their vaginas because of a cultural belief that doing so increases the sexual pleasure of men they sleep with.
According to Daily Mail, these women insert materials like sand, chalk, pulverized rock, herbs, sponges, or paper before sexual intercourse. In addition, they douse their privates in bleach, alcohol, detergents, antiseptics. Women in Java, Indonesia are said to “smoke out” their privates, by standing over burning herbs.
In addition to the belief that the practice will give men pleasure, it is also believed that the dryness will make the vagina firmer, as men are thought to reject women whose privates have been “stretched out” due to sex.
“It’s definitely a class issue. Basically, a woman’s reputation depends on the size of her vagina. Among women who are less informed and less educated, there’s an unbelievable ignorance around the idea the vagina adapts to the penis.
There is also an incorrect cultural belief that if a woman has a partner with a large penis, her vagina will remain permanently ‘stretched’ – and future partners will think she is promiscuous.”