Until now, research on the clitoris has been rudely overlooked and, at times, accused of being a stunted penis. But after literally looking under the hood, scientists have discovered it is home to over 10,000 highly sensitive nerve endings. Double trouble compared to only 4000 in the pecker.
The Role of the Clitoris in Female Sexuality
The clitoris is the epicenter of our pleasure, and without a doubt, the most underrated body part in human anatomy. It's like a secret button that, when cared for, unlocks the door to the fabulousness of being female. Not only does it deserve recognition and respect, but we believe its anatomy should be part of everyone's education.
While primarily designated for arousal, the clitoris is also an integral part of the female reproductive system and contributes to our sexual well-being.
Anatomy of the Clitoris
This not-so-teeny-weeny erectile organ is the most important lady bit of all. Situated at the top of the vulva, where the labia meet, it has both inny and outy features. And like our labia, our clitoris is as unique to us as our personalities, all beautifully different.
The part we can see is called the glans, which is protected from overstimulation with its very own hoodie. Inside this cozy, protective hoodie are the corpora cavernosa and bulbs, which fill with blood when stimulated and bring on sexual pleasure.
The internal clitoral legs or crura go deep into the pelvic region and are also made up of erectile tissue that plays a role in sexual response.
When we are feeling all the feels and the clitoris is fully engorged, signals are sent to our brain, resulting in sexual sensations and, hopefully, deliciously long or multiple orgasms.
Blame the Shame.
For centuries, women have been embarrassed or ashamed simply from a lack of knowledge about how the clitoris works. Not understanding our lady bits can result in issues, both mental and physical. In fact, studies show that women who struggle to orgasm sometimes do not truly understand the intricacies of their superstructure.
Like any muscle, the uterus needs to be kept in shape; like squats to thighs, orgasms work out our uterus. Beyond sexual pleasure orgasms can improve immunity and help with depression, sleep, and bone health, to name a few.
Understanding the intricacies of our clitoris and experimenting with what feels good early on empowers women to lean into sexual encounters vs. succumb to what they think others want. (Often for young men, whose wants come from learning via bad porn.) Having a confident understanding and embracing our erotic selves is a gift every woman deserves.
It’s not a button. It’s an Iceberg.
Erotic adventures with the clitoris are different for everyone. Some enjoy direct stimulation, some internal or external, or both. The time of day, month, and emotional state also play a role. Like an iceberg, it runs deep and can be aroused in thousands of different ways, even just with our thoughts, reading or writing. (Back in 10...)
Embracing sexual preferences, our own and others, as well as establishing open, honest communication with partners, ensures a more satisfying experience. But the taboos many of us grew up with can bring on feelings of shame and embarrassment or confusion. Being honest with desires, boundaries, and the beautiful fertile ground of erotic experimentation is a major step in the right direction.
We are stoked to see the Clitoris getting the attention it deserves. It’s been a long time coming. (Sorry, couldn’t not with the bad pun.)
Become more Cliterate
- Gather your Cliterati (pals) and join the 10K for the 10K here.
- Link to an Instagram post 10K nerves.
- Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski
- Video of Interpretive Dance of the Male and Female Orgasm by author, speaker, storyteller, and sexuality educator, Cindy Pierce.
- Half the World has a Clitoris. Why not study it?
- Link to the research behind the 10K nerves in the Clitoris!
- Dr. Blair Peters discusses the research behind the 10K nerve discovery.
Champions of the Clit.
An Australian Urologist, as late as 1998, trailblazered clitoris mapping and confirmed the clitoris's internal structure is much larger than previously believed.
A Brooklyn-based artist who has a Ted Talk called Cliteracy empowering all of us to get literate on the clitori. “All bodies are entitled to the pleasure they are capable of…”
Blair Peters, M.D
An assistant professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine and a plastic surgeon who specializes in gender-affirming care discovered 10,281 nerve fibers in the human clitoral dorsal nerve.