We don’t talk about the clitoris nearly enough. One study that analyzed psychological research stretching from 1887 to 2000 found that 1,482 sources mentioned the word penis, 409 sources contained vagina, and a whopping 83 contained clitoris. Let’s fix that problem and talk about the clitoris enough to eliminate that distressing gap. Do I hear challenge accepted? Let’s proceed.
Clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris which means little hill and is related to the word kleis which means key. The clitoris is not just that little hill hiding under the clitoral hood. It extends much farther with the vaginal walls forming part of the clitoris. It is as big internally as a flaccid penis and is far more complex. The clitoris has 3 major components:
- the glans clitoris – the only visible part and the most sensitive part accounting for about 1/5 or less of the entire structure
- the two crura – extend inwards like brackets down from the glans clitoris and deep into the tissue of the vulva on either side
- the two bulbs of the vestibule – extend on either side of the vagina
Grand central station of erotic sensation
Due to the high sensitivity of that visible part, the clitoris is usually the key player when it comes to female orgasms. To go by the movies, one would assume penetration is where it’s at when it comes to female pleasure. That is false. Most women achieve orgasm from clitoral stimulation with a much smaller number achieving it through penetration and even then, it’s usually through g-spot stimulation which is linked to clitoral stimulation. It also exists purely for sexual pleasure. The penis has other reproductive functions, but the clitoris has only that one job, giving you a good time. This is part of why there’s been a huge taboo around talking about it in a society that is hyper-focused on male pleasure while controlling women’s sexuality.
There’s a phenomenon referred to as biological homology which refers to the fact that all fetuses are born with all the same parts just organized in different ways. This is why men still have nipples even though they serve no biological function like producing milk and breastfeeding. The parts are all similar and pre-programmed. The clitoris and penis are similar just organized in different ways.
Twice as sensitive as the penis
The clitoris is highly sensitive with about 8,000 nerve endings which are twice as many as those in the penis. This is why aggressive stimulation does not work for women as it does for men. Overstimulation is a real risk. The concentration of all the nerve endings on such a small surface has the added benefit of producing stronger, more intense orgasms. The sensitivity of the clitoris is also why lubrication is critical. The clitoris is so sensitive, touching it with dry fingers is rarely fun.
Takes its time
Like all other body parts, the appearance of the clitoris varies. How long it takes to orgasm also varies. Don’t let anyone tell you that because the clitoris is highly sensitive orgasm should be instant. It takes on average 20-25 minutes of stimulation and foreplay before a woman is fully aroused and can be longer for others before they are already for intercourse. Just relax and listen to your body. It’s different for everyone.
When aroused and engorged with blood it grows erect though still tucked away under the clitoral hood. Clitoral arousal also changes depending on a variety of factors including the time of the month, stress levels, and even hydration and nutrition levels.
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