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Cliteracy - An introduction to the Clitoris

Lady with glasses reading a book

Sexts are becoming the norm, more people are watching porn, yet many still struggle to distinguish between a vagina and vulva. And when it comes to the clitoris, we start diving deep into unknown territory!

YouGov ran a survey in 2019 that revealed a pretty shocking discovery about our lack of anatomical knowledge. ‘Label the vulva’ was the name of the game, yet 60% of men and 50% of women couldn’t correctly label the vagina.

To add an extra layer of heartbreak, only 69% of men and 71% of women could identify the clitoris. I guess the slither of hope is more people knowing where the all-important clitoris is, but when it comes to that bundle of fun there’s quite cliterally a lot more than meets the eye.

The clitoris just simply never got talked about back in our Sex Ed days. We were taught that “this is how fertilisation happens”, “this is what puberty looks like”, “avoid sex at all costs unless you want to be riddled with STI’s” but the bottom line is pleasure was never factored into it, so the clitoris never got the light of day!
As a result guys and girls seemed to go through their early years swiping the clitoris to the side (if you were lucky) and never understanding just how important it is. So, we thought we’d throw out a few fun bits of info on the clitoris to get the ball rolling! 

1. Why is it called a clitoris?

The name actually comes from the Ancient Greek word “kleitoris” meaning – “little hill”. It is also linked to the word “kleis” which meant “key”.

Both words make sense, it certainly is the key to unlock the pleasure chest and better sex BUT the point where fact meets fiction is that it is definitely not just a “little hill”! 

2. So how big is the clitoris?

Contrary to what the experts have long been preaching, that “little hill” is just the tip of the sexberg. We’re not usually ones to make a mountain out of a molehill but the clitoris can reach up to 7cm in length!

Here’s a quick break down of the three main areas of the “Kleis”. It’s a bit Sex Ed’y but still worth knowing what’s what!  

Diagram of the Clitoris

1. The Glans Clitoris – The only visible part of the clitoris, accounting for a fifth or less of the entire clitoris. By far the most responsive to stimulation.

2. The two Crus Clitoris – These extend like brackets from the Clitoral Glans deep into the Vulva tissue. During arousal, these become flooded with blood for added stimulation.

3. The Two Bulbs of Vestibule – These are two bulbs of erectile tissue which when aroused create pressure on the whole structure which gives that nice pleasant sensation. 

3. Why does the clitoral glans resemble a tiny penis?!

There’s a fancy term called “Biological Homology”, stay with us here… It tells us all about how foetuses are created with pretty much the same anatomy, which is why men have nipples for no practical reason! Women and men actually mirror each other to a great extent. When we were all in the womb, after 6 weeks we were smothered in masculinizing hormones. Male orientated cells respond by taking these hormones into their “hardware” which leads to them developing testicles and a penis, whereas female orientated cells simply turn their nose up at the pathetic attempt and aren’t bothered by it.

The penis and clitoris are the same material just put together a little differently. The clitoris has glans, a “hood” (foreskin), erectile tissue and a very little shaft. It even swells when sexually aroused. See the similarities?

Bottom line – the clitoris and penis are homologues, in our language, similar in physical attributes and genetic information! 

4. It's mind-blowingly sensitive.

The clitoris is head and shoulders above anywhere else on the body when it comes to sensitivity! It has approximately 8,000 nerve endings. The penis has 4000 to put that into perspective.

5. What is the clitoris for?

It has one job, one function, its entire existence is devoted to accomplishing that one task, and that is pleasure. It’s the only part of the body whose sole purpose in life is to be completely and utterly devoted to pleasure!

In Conclusion...

Because the clitoris isn’t talked about as much as it should be, a lot of men and women are in the dark about just how key it is for both self-discovery, connection and for many - healthy relationships. If it was talked about more openly, confidently and had been a part of the discussions we had in our teenage years, there would be a hell of a lot more orgasms and sexual happiness knocking around!

Sexual wellbeing, sexual wellness and pleasure is important. It’s good for your health, for your mental wellbeing, for your relationships. The wonders orgasms do to you whether you're having some self-love time or with a partner, are not old wives tales – they are facts. Learn about your body, explore your body, and talk about it with your partners!

So light a candle, set the mood and reset. 

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