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The Amazing Clitoris

Pop Quiz!

Is the clitoris more like an iceberg or a paper airplane?  Use both sides of your paper if necessary.

BOTH!!  But unless you have made a specific study of the body part in question, you may be amazed by that answer.  Let’s get scientific…

You may be familiar with the glans of the clitoris, or “the little man in the boat” as it was called back in my youth.  But the actual structure is much larger, with most of it hidden internally by bone and fat.  Just like an iceberg!  You see only the tip, but there is more, much more!  Now imagine a paper airplane.  Start at the point.  That is the glans.  Now follow the two wings outward at an angle.  These are the two arms of the clitoris.  They extend almost to where the muscles that run up the inner thigh end.  That makes the area where the inner leg meets the pelvis pretty sensitive.  No wonder she loves it when you nibble there!  Between the arms are two bulbs, one on each side of the vaginal opening.  Check out the illustration:

Anatomy

Anatomy

You may be wondering just what the heck all this does.  We have an idea, but believe it or not, the female sexual organs have never been studied as much as the men’s.  In fact much of what we now know about the clitoris has been recently re-discovered in the 1980’s.  No that isn’t a typo.  I really wrote since the 1980’s.  Kinda sad, huh?  For a long time, medical texts basically ignored the female sex stuff.  I read that the best information was from dissections done over a hundred years ago and that wasn’t quite accurate.

So, does the clitoris have a function?  Absolutely!  Lots of them!  Probably more than we have already figured out too.  For example, the clitoris surrounds the urethra on three sides while the fourth is embedded in the vaginal wall.  When stimulated, the erectile tissue swells and helps close the urethra possibly preventing bacteria from entering and causing bladder infections.  Yes, it can and does happen.  The bulbs swell keeping the vagina firm to aid penetration.  And you thought only men had erectile tissue.  Another favorite function is of course, aiding in orgasm.   We should talk about orgasms sometime.  Let’s plan it over coffee.

So from the look of things, it is possible that the G-Spot is really part of the clitoris.  Nibbling of the hip joints and pressure on the pubic bone all seem to make sense when you consider the total anatomy.  There may even be no difference among clitoral, vaginal and anal orgasms as everything seems to be tied together.  Fascinating!

So who finally did all this research?  Well one of the most important people you can thank Helen E. O’Connell (Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan) who has been spearheading the research into the anatomy and physiology of the clitoris and has been doing a lot of great work on health issues that effect women.  Hopefully with her work, urinary surgeries could be accomplished without compromising sexuality.  Just as prostate operations can leave some men partially impotent, many surgeries can damage the nerve pathways affecting the clitoris.  (The illustration is from her paper “Clitoral Anatomy in Nulliparous, Healthy, Premenopausal Volunteers Using Unenhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging” written with John O. L. DeLancey.  J Urol. 2005 June; 173(6): 2060-2063)  It’s a good read if you into that knid of thing.  (And I am!)

It’s about time.

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