A lot of things have been said to be practiced by women all over the world just to make sure their vagina is tight or pleasurable enough. This time around, the latest trend is even shocking if reports are anything to go by.

According to Daily Mail, journalist Ms Syfret did a report in South Africa which revealed that 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 and antiseptics. Women in Java, Indonesia are said to “smoke out” their privates, by standing over burning herbs. In other areas of Indonesia it is common to insert a cigar-shaped stick made of a plant root.

Speaking on the practice, a South African doctor named Marlene Wasserman, says:

“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.”

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. However, drying makes intercourse even more painful and can cause sores and cuts in the vagina, which would make it more likely a condom will break during sex which can lead to a higher risk of the woman contracting HIV.

Marlene Wasserman draws similarities between the practice of dry sex in developing countries and the vaginoplasty operations Western women undergo in order to tighten their vagina.

“They’re having their own genital mutilation,” she said.

“It’s just a little more advanced and expensive than putting creams in your vagina.”

“But isn’t the principal the same? It’s incredibly unhealthy as well to go have your vagina tightened because you want to have a honeymoon experience or have your partner think you’re youthful.”