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sexual customs and practices


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Much has been said and written about the ways people seek to enhance their sexual attractiveness. Many have implications for public and personal health. For instance, women in many cultures since antiquity have worn high-heeled shoes, which alter their carriage and distort and may cripple weight-bearing bones in the feet. Corsets were popular to alter women's shape, and taken to extremes these also were unhealthy. In some African communities, women use astringent herbs to dry out the vagina, to enhance the pleasurable friction of sexual intercourse; this causes abrasions that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Female genital mutilation is a more pernicious traditional custom in parts of north Africa and the Middle East. Male circumcision has been widely practiced in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia since the early 20th century among populations without a religious or ritual reason for the practice.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.


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