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Clitoris: All the facts on the ‘love button’

Love Matters gets you all the gyaan on the female organ, whose job is to sit back, relax and generate orgasms. Now, is that good life or what!

What and where is the clitoris?

 The clitoris is an organ found exclusively in the female body. The name clitoris is derived from the Greek word for key (key to female pleasure?). It’s only task is to be pleasured and pleasure.

Only a pea-sized part of the clitoris is externally visible. It is located at the front of the vulva (as you go below the pubic bone), at the junction of the labia minora (or the inner lips inside the vulva) and approximately a centimetre from the vaginal opening. The picture below might give a better idea of its location.

Shutterstock/Denissenko Oleg

Although this visible portion of the clitoris is known as the clitoris, or clit, itself; it is not entirely correct. This part is, in fact, the clitoral glans. The clitoral glans is only the tip of the iceberg because inside the body the clitoris is up to five inches in length (you’re thinking of penis-size, aren’t you?). Inside the body, the clitoris branches into two legs around the opening of the vagina or birth canal, and alongside the urethra. We can also think of the clitoris as a hand-pump – much deeper below the surface than visible over it.

Clitoris and penis - the connection

The clitoris is made up of the same embryonic tissue as the penis. When the embryo is developing inside the womb, the same tissue develops into different sexual organs for males and females from about the twelfth week of the pregnancy.

The clitoris has glans and hood on its visible portion. It is made up of erectile tissue, meaning it fills up with blood, hardens, gets erect and increases in size when the woman is aroused. This increase in size can be up to 300 percent! All these traits of the clitoris are also found in the penis – glans (or head), hood (or foreskin), and erectile tissue. Additionally, the clitoris has two legs and bulbs in its internal portion. That’s why it is also called a ‘two-headed-penis’.  

And that’s not all….

A very interesting part about the clitoris is its sensitivity that makes it produce powerful female orgasms. The tiny visible bulb or glans of the clitoris has about 8,000 nerve endings, making it extremely sensitive to touch. The penis glans or head – the most sensitive part of the penis – has only half the number of nerve endings, and so, much less sensitivity in comparison to the clit. As a result, men do not experience intense orgasms as women do from clitoral stimulation. And, one more thing: the clitoris never stops growing. A 90-year-old woman’s clitoris could be 2.5 times bigger than what it was during her teens.

Love and self love

Clitoris is probably the most important part of sexual pleasure for females. Forgetting to stimulate the clitoris of a partner during sex would mean they might not orgasm at all. Up to 75 percent women have to have their clitorises stimulated to climax. Some research says that there is nothing as an exclusively vaginal orgasm, without involving the clitoris in some way. During sex, the clitoris could be stimulated through touching, licking, or using sex-toys like vibrators.

Knowing the clitoris and stimulating it during masturbation produces intense sensations and powerful orgasms too. Each woman’s clitoral glans appears different – varying from deep pink to blackish in colour, and also varying in size and texture. Each clitoris also responds to a different intensity of touches – some need feather-light touches, while others get stimulated from rubbing firmly, and yet others need moderate stroking. The pattern of touching that feels pleasurable also varies from person to person – circling with finger(s), rubbing in straight strokes, tapping, flicking, and so on.

Touching your clitoris and exploring what feels good to you is the only way to know it for yourself. If you know what kind of stimulation your clitoris likes, it will also be easier to explain to your partner how they should stimulate your clitoris during sex. Else, not all touches to the clitoral glans might feel good – some might feel too hard, or rough, and might feel painful instead of pleasurable. 

This article was first published on July 21, 2018. 

When did you first discover the clitoris? Share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.

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