1. The clitoris is the only organ in the human body (either male or female) whose sole purpose is to transmit sexual sensation.
2. It goes much deeper than you’d think (kind of like a Barbara Walters special): It’s actually a complex organ that extends throughout a woman’s genitals, and is therefore sometimes referred to as the clitoral network. Typically, the words clit or clitoris refer just to the clitoral glans, or head — that sensitive little nubbin you all know and love as the clitoris. But it has a pair of legs and a pair of bulbs that straddle the vaginal canal in a sort of wishbone shape. Check out this amazing illustration from the fabulous Betty Dodson:
3. The external nubbin sits in a little hood where the tops of the labia meet.
4. It’s analogous to the penis. Fetal tissue that eventually turns into the clitoris in girls is the same fetal tissue that eventually turns into the penis in girls. And, just like the penis, the clitoris fills with blood and swells when it’s aroused.
5. Most women need some kind of clitoral stimulation in order to climax.
6. The clitoral head has more sensory nerve endings than any other structure in the body (again, female or male) — somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 thousand, four times as many as on the (much larger) head of the penis.
7. Not all clitorises are alike, as you should know if you’ve had the pleasure of knowing more than one in your life. Some are smaller than a grain of rice, and others are the size of a lima bean (talk about flicking the bean). Some are very shy and rarely peek out of the hood, and others are big show-offs. Some disappear into the hood once they’re aroused, and others pop out when a woman is turned on. Some women like direct clitoral stimulation, and others prefer it over the hood — and some find even that too intense. Some are close to the vaginal opening and some are farther away (the farther away, the more likely orgasm can be more of a challenge.) And clitorises have mood swings, too — what’s too much on Monday may feel just right on Wednesday. It’s a matter of experimenting — on yourself or your partner — until you find what works.
8. Remember that most clitorises can take more (and more varied) stimulation when you use lube and/or when its owner is very turned on. If you’re using a vibrator, start on the lowest setting and work your way up so you don’t give the poor clit a heart attack. And if the clitoris in question isn’t yours, pay constant attention to its owner — you need the feedback.
9. We know of no better resource than The Clitoral Truth, by our friend Rebecca Chalker for more info on the topic.It’s a must-read for anyone with a vagina in their life.
10. The clitoris is also known as the chickpea, little man in the boat, magic button, nubbin.
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