Does the clitoris get erect?

WHAT IS THE CLITORIS?

The Clitoris is the only organ in the human body purely designed for pleasure. Scientists and doctors really only discovered it in 1998. We still have lots to learn even with the increasing interest in it and the female orgasm in recent years. This is a little tour of this amazing part of the human body.

 
Anatomical drawing of a clitoris.

Anatomical drawing of a clitoris.

 

The clitoris is a large, multi-lobed organ nestled around the urethral opening and vagina. This little wonder is all about pleasure. You may be intimately aware of the little sensitive tip (or “glans”) and all its wonderful pleasures, did you know that most of the clitoris is not visible. It is made up of several distinct parts, most of which you cannot see. Although the anatomy of the clitoris has only recently been discovered as far as anatomy in medicine goes, we are getting to a point where we actually have a consensus on it.

So what is the consensus of the make up;

·     The visible tip or the 'glans clitoris’,

·     A pair of legs called the ‘crus clitoris’,

·     A pair of bulbs called the ‘vestibular bulbs’,

·     The central region called the ‘clitoral body’ that joins it all together.

The vestibular blubs are made of a spongey mass of erectile tissue and hugs the vaginal canal. The clitoral crura are the two leg like structures that spread out like a v-shape from the body of the clitoris and are also made up of erectile tissue. The visible part that we enjoy so much the hooded clitoral gland is just the tip of the iceberg.

Are you surprised to hear that the clitoris has so much erectile tissue? Is that something you would expect to read about as part of penis not a clitoris? Erectile tissue is a spongy tissue filled with lots of small pockets and ting blood vessels. The tissue is stretchy, and the pockets are usually empty. When a person is aroused, blood flow increases and the pockets fill with blood which means they get firm, even hard.

So if the clitoris has erectile tissue in it does that mean the clitoris gets erect, I hear you ask. When a body is sexually aroused humans have extra blood flow to the genitals, male bodied or female bodied. So yes, the clitoris becomes erect like a penis would and increases in size by 2 to 3 times. This means the labia looks bigger and (the oh so important to minimise friction and pain with penetrative sex), vaginal lubrication increases.

One last thing about how the clitoris is made up – the G- SpotShort answer No, there is no unique structure that is the G-spot. Why do we hear so much about the G-spot why do we stock G-spot vibrators? Because although there is no unique structure 2 to 3 inches inside the vaginal canal that can be labelled the G-spot in a scientific anatomy book. Research can however point to a spot in that location that is around where the body of the clitoris comes together at the anterior wall of the vaginal canal. So, the G-spot is another wonderful part and still misunderstood clitoris. No matter what you call it, the pleasure it has the potential to produce is well worth exploring, however you choose, toys included.

HOW BIG?

On average the lengths of the clitoral body is 9-11cm. For comparison the average length of a flaccid penis is 9 cm. Clitoral size seems to be associated with height, frequency of sexual activity and contraceptive use.

The clitoris was only discovered in 1998 and the level of research into female sexuality is at best limited so we have limited information about the importance of size. It is limited on size and the link to levels of pleasure, one study (small sample size) found that anorgasmic* women tend to have a smaller sized clitoris. While other studies (generally smaller sample sizes) have found that smaller clitorises are more sensitive and women with smaller clitorises find it easier to orgasm. Other studies have looked at the clitoral position relative to the vaginal canal and other structures and levels of pleasure. 

*Anorgasmic – a person with an inability to orgasm.

Needless, to say we have a lot of room to expand our knowledge about female sexuality and pleasure, but this sexologist is not holding her breathe on that knowledge gap being filled any time soon. 

If the clitoris is made up of erectile tissue like a penis is can a female bodied person suffer from erectile dysfunction similar to that of a male bodied person. Would research into this area empower women to speak up about sexual issues, such as anorgasmia and dyspareunia? If the research catches will we see a shift in how the media and advertising looks as female sexuality. Will we see Viagra ads next to female erectile dysfunction ads? Will it be given the same attention at a health department level, public health level as male erectile dysfunction? If clitoral erectile dysfunction is close to as common and as penile erectile dysfunction then it is deserves the research and the attention but again this sexologist is not going to hold her breathe but is also not going to stop talking about it.

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