What About The Clitoris? | Female sexual pleasure
All the way back in 1545, a French physician, after studying the clitoris named it the “the shameful member”. Arguing it’s only function was for urination*. Given that was more than 400 years ago, so how 'cliterate' are we today?
In an interview with the Guardian recently, Da Costa spoke about the continuing lack of knowledge and research into the clitoris. Da Costa is the editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at James Cook University.
“It is not discussed,” says De Costa. “I go to conferences, I go to workshops, I edit the journal, I read other journals. I read papers all the time, and never do I find mention of the clitoris.”
In fact, O’Connel, a urologist, and her team found that just 11 articles on the anatomy of the clitoris had been published worldwide since 1947. You can probably guess a whole lot more were published on the penis.
On top of that, shockingly, the first comprehensive look into the clitoris was only done in 1998 by O’Connel herself. 1998!
It was only then that they discovered the clitoris was not in fact just a nub of erectile tissue. Rather, the clitoris was a glans filled with nerve endings (15,000 to be precise). And it wasn’t simply something that sat on the exterior of the female body, but in reality, it extended up into the vaginal opening.
For reference, in the 16th Century, some argued that healthy women didn’t have a clitoris. In the 1800s, women with hysteria were oftentimes given clitoridectomies. It was only in 1981 was there an anatomically correct image of the clitoris was created.
So, this isn’t just a case of poor public knowledge, it extends into our medical curriculum and medical research, Calla Wahlquist argues. You only have to look into a medical textbook to find in-depth descriptions of the penis, while there is a clear lack of information around the clitoris.
Because of this, it’s no surprise public knowledge is so poor around female sexual pleasure. Yes, the image of the clitoris was created in 1981, but how many of us have seen it? It’s fair to say it wasn’t something we were taught in college, yet we’re all pretty familiar with how the penis works and looks.
What does this lack of knowledge mean for women and pleasure?
The persistent lack of knowledge and interest in female pleasure has meant it has become secondary to the male orgasm. We see this today with what is termed the Pleasure Gap (you can visit our article here to find out more).
It also explains why so many of us believe women orgasm from penetrative sex, and not stimulation of the clitoris. Which is a shame, given that the clitoris is actually the only organ designed for solely sexual pleasure. O’Connell says, “Ignoring the clitoris and acting like that’s not the focus for orgasm is just not going to happen.”
And for those of you wondering where the famous “G-Spot” is, O’Connel’s study in 2016 discovered that it does not exist. Instead, it is more likely to be engorged bulbs of an aroused clitoris felt through the vaginal wall.
Years and years of sexism, unrealistic depictions of sex in Hollywood have all fueled this idea that the g-spot exists… the bad thing about it is that it has encouraged people to chase something that doesn’t exist. Again, directing attention away from the valuable clitoris.
Since this groundbreaking study (if not a little delayed), why does education around the clitoris remain so elusive? You can thank decades of sexism and a continuing discomfort with the idea that female pleasure can lie outside of romantic relationships and "wooing".
So, One. Take a look at how the clitoris looks if you don’t yet know (you can visit here if you’re interested)... and Two. Get cliterate! Get to know your clitoris (or your partners), and how it can bring you sexual pleasure. It matters.
For the original article, see here.