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Clitoris

Clitoris

Overview
The clitoris is a sexual organ
Sex organ
A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, as narrowly defined, is any of the anatomical parts of the body which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; flowers are the reproductive organs of flowering plants, cones are the reproductive...

 that is present only in female mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora
Labia minora
The labia minora , also known as the inner labia, inner lips, or nymphae, are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora...

, above the opening of the urethra
Urethra
In anatomy, the urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals for the removal of fluids out of the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine...

 and vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

. Unlike the penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

, which is homologous
Homology (biology)
Homology forms the basis of organization for comparative biology. In 1843, Richard Owen defined homology as "the same organ in different animals under every variety of form and function". Organs as different as a bat's wing, a seal's flipper, a cat's paw and a human hand have a common underlying...

 to the clitoris, the clitoris does not contain the distal portion of the urethra. The only known exception to this is in the Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena
The spotted hyena also known as laughing hyena, is a carnivorous mammal of the family Hyaenidae, of which it is the largest extant member. Though the species' prehistoric range included Eurasia extending from Atlantic Europe to China, it now only occurs in all of Africa south of the Sahara save...

. In this species, the urogenital system is unique in that the female urinates, mates and gives birth via an enlarged, erectile
Erectile tissue
Erectile tissue is tissue in the body that can become erect, usually by becoming engorged with blood.-Erectile tissue in the clitoris and penis:...

 clitoris, known as a pseudo-penis
Pseudo-penis
A pseudo-penis is a term used of any structure found on an animal that while superficially appearing to be a penis, is derived from a different developmental path.-Mammals:...

.

In humans, the clitoris is the most sensitive erogenous zone
Erogenous zone
An erogenous zone is an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of erotic sensations or sexual excitement.People have erogenous zones all over their bodies, but which areas are more sensitive than others vary...

 of the female, the stimulation
Sexual stimulation
Sexual stimulation is any stimulus that leads to, enhances and maintains sexual arousal, and may lead to ejaculation and/or orgasm...

 of which may produce sexual excitement and clitoral erection
Clitoral erection
Clitoral erection is a physiological phenomenon where the clitoris becomes enlarged and firm. Clitoral erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is usually, though not exclusively, associated with sexual...

; its continuing stimulation may produce sexual pleasure and orgasm
Orgasm
Orgasm is the peak of the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle, characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure...

, and is considered the key to females' sexual pleasure.

The plural forms are clitorises in English and clitorides in Latin.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The clitoris is a sexual organ
Sex organ
A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, as narrowly defined, is any of the anatomical parts of the body which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; flowers are the reproductive organs of flowering plants, cones are the reproductive...

 that is present only in female mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s. In humans, the visible button-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora
Labia minora
The labia minora , also known as the inner labia, inner lips, or nymphae, are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora...

, above the opening of the urethra
Urethra
In anatomy, the urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals for the removal of fluids out of the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine...

 and vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

. Unlike the penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

, which is homologous
Homology (biology)
Homology forms the basis of organization for comparative biology. In 1843, Richard Owen defined homology as "the same organ in different animals under every variety of form and function". Organs as different as a bat's wing, a seal's flipper, a cat's paw and a human hand have a common underlying...

 to the clitoris, the clitoris does not contain the distal portion of the urethra. The only known exception to this is in the Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena
The spotted hyena also known as laughing hyena, is a carnivorous mammal of the family Hyaenidae, of which it is the largest extant member. Though the species' prehistoric range included Eurasia extending from Atlantic Europe to China, it now only occurs in all of Africa south of the Sahara save...

. In this species, the urogenital system is unique in that the female urinates, mates and gives birth via an enlarged, erectile
Erectile tissue
Erectile tissue is tissue in the body that can become erect, usually by becoming engorged with blood.-Erectile tissue in the clitoris and penis:...

 clitoris, known as a pseudo-penis
Pseudo-penis
A pseudo-penis is a term used of any structure found on an animal that while superficially appearing to be a penis, is derived from a different developmental path.-Mammals:...

.

In humans, the clitoris is the most sensitive erogenous zone
Erogenous zone
An erogenous zone is an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of erotic sensations or sexual excitement.People have erogenous zones all over their bodies, but which areas are more sensitive than others vary...

 of the female, the stimulation
Sexual stimulation
Sexual stimulation is any stimulus that leads to, enhances and maintains sexual arousal, and may lead to ejaculation and/or orgasm...

 of which may produce sexual excitement and clitoral erection
Clitoral erection
Clitoral erection is a physiological phenomenon where the clitoris becomes enlarged and firm. Clitoral erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is usually, though not exclusively, associated with sexual...

; its continuing stimulation may produce sexual pleasure and orgasm
Orgasm
Orgasm is the peak of the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle, characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure...

, and is considered the key to females' sexual pleasure.

Pronunciation and etymology


The plural forms are clitorises in English and clitorides in Latin. In slang, it is sometimes abbreviated as clit, which originated in the 1950s. The OED
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

suggests that the pronunciation ˈ is also used in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and gives the likely etymology as coming from the Greek , kleitoris, perhaps derived from the verb , kleiein, to shut. The Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Online Etymology Dictionary is an online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words. The abbreviation, OED, coincides with the frequently used acronym for the Oxford English Dictionary.-Description:...

 states that the etymology of this diminutive is uncertain. Possible etymological candidates are a Greek word meaning "key", "latch", "hook"; a Greek verb meaning "to touch or titillate lasciviously", "to tickle" (the clitoris is called in German slang der Kitzler, "the tickler"), although this verb is more likely derived from "clitoris"; and a Greek word meaning "side of a hill", from the same root as "climax". Its Latin genitive is clitoridis, as in "glans clitoridis
Clitoral glans
The clitoral glans is an external portion of the clitoris.- Anatomy :It is covered by the clitoral hood, which is also external and attached to the labia minora...

".

Structure


The head or glans of the clitoris is roughly the size and shape of a pea
Pea
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking...

, although it can be significantly larger or smaller.
The clitoris is a complex structure, with both external and internal components. Projecting at the front of the labial commissure
Commissure
A commissure is the place where two things are joined. The term is used especially in the fields of anatomy and biology.In anatomy, commissure refers to a bundle of nerve fibers that cross the midline at their level of origin or entry .* The most common usage of the term refers to the brain's...

 where the edges of the outer lips (labia majora
Labia majora
The labia majora are two prominent longitudinal cutaneous folds that extend downward and backward from the mons pubis to the perineum and form the lateral boundaries of the pudendal cleft, which contains the labia minora, interlabial sulci, clitoral hood, clitoral glans, frenulum clitoridis, the...

) meet at the base of the pubic mound is the clitoral hood
Clitoral hood
In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood, , is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoral glans. It develops as part of the labia minora and is homologous with the foreskin in male genitals.-Variation:This is a protective hood of skin that covers the clitoral glans...

 (prepuce), which in full or part covers the head (clitoral glans
Clitoral glans
The clitoral glans is an external portion of the clitoris.- Anatomy :It is covered by the clitoral hood, which is also external and attached to the labia minora...

). Following from the head back and up along the shaft, it is found that this extends up to several centimeters before reversing direction and branching. The resulting branched shape forms an inverted "V", extending as a pair of "legs" known as the clitoral crura
Clitoral crura
- Anatomy :The clitoral crura are an internal portion of the clitoris. A single one is called a clitoral crus. They are shaped like an inverted "V" with the vertex of the "V" connecting to the clitoral body....

 formed of the corpora cavernosa
Corpus cavernosum clitoridis
The corpus cavernosum clitoridis is one of a pair of sponge-like regions of erectile tissue which contain most of the blood in the clitoris during clitoral erection...

. The clitoral crura are concealed behind the labia minora
Labia minora
The labia minora , also known as the inner labia, inner lips, or nymphae, are two flaps of skin on either side of the human vaginal opening, situated between the labia majora...

, and terminate with attachment to the pubic arch (according to some), or follow interior to the labia minora to meet at the fourchette
Frenulum labiorum pudendi
In female human anatomy, the frenulum labiorum pudendi is a frenulum where the labia minora meet posteriorly.-Pathology:...

 (according to others).

Associated are the urethral sponge
Urethral sponge
The urethral sponge is a spongy cushion of tissue, found in the lower genital area of women, that sits against both the pubic bone and vaginal wall, and surrounds the urethra.-Functions:...

, clitoral/vestibular bulbs
Vestibular bulbs
The vestibular bulbs, also known as the clitoral bulbs, are aggregations of erectile tissue that are an internal part of the clitoris. They can also be found throughout the vestibule: next to the clitoral body, clitoral crura, urethra, urethral sponge, and vagina.They are to the left and right of...

, perineal sponge
Perineal sponge
The perineal sponge is a spongy cushion of tissue and blood vessels, found in the lower genital area of women. It sits between the vagina and rectum and is internal to the perineum and perineal body.-Functions:...

, a network of nerves and blood vessels, suspensory ligaments, muscles and pelvic diaphragm. The clitoris reportedly has over 6,000-8,000 sensory nerve fiber
Nerve fiber
A nerve fiber is a threadlike extension of a nerve cell and consists of an axon and myelin sheath in the nervous system. There are nerve fibers in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. A nerve fiber may be myelinated and/or unmyelinated. In the central nervous system , myelin...

s, more than any other part of the human body.

There is considerable variation in how much of the clitoris protrudes from the hood and how much is covered by it, ranging from complete, covered invisibility to full, protruding visibility. An article published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in July 1992 states that the average width of the clitoral glans lies within the range of 2.5 to 4.5 mm (0.0984251968503937 to 0.177165354330709 in), indicating that the average size is smaller than a pencil-top eraser. Recent discoveries about the size of the clitoris show that clitoral tissue extends considerably inside the vagina and that the vaginal walls may in fact be the clitoris, making the clitoris more prominent than the small visible part most people associate with the word. There is no identified correlation between the size of a clitoris and a woman's age, height, weight, use of hormonal contraceptives, or being post-menopausal
Menopause
Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries: the ripening and release of ova and the release of hormones that cause both the creation of the uterine lining and the subsequent shedding of the uterine lining...

.

Sexual stimulation


]

Research shows most women achieve orgasm
Orgasm
Orgasm is the peak of the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle, characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure...

 only through clitoral stimulation. Masters and Johnson
Masters and Johnson
The Masters and Johnson research team, composed of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 until the 1990s....

 were the first to determine that the clitoral structures surround and extend along and within the labia. Upon studying women's sexual response cycle to different stimulation, they observed that both clitoral and vaginal orgasms had the same stages of physical response, and found that the majority of their subjects could only achieve clitoral orgasms, while a minority achieved vaginal orgasms. On this basis, Masters and Johnson argued that clitoral stimulation is the primary source of both kinds of orgasms. Supporting these findings is a 2005 study which investigated the size of the clitoris; Australian urologist
Urology
Urology is the medical and surgical specialty that focuses on the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males. Medical professionals specializing in the field of urology are called urologists and are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological...

 Dr. Helen O'Connell, while using MRI
Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging , nuclear magnetic resonance imaging , or magnetic resonance tomography is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structures...

 technology, noted a direct relationship between the legs or roots of the clitoris and the erectile tissue
Erectile tissue
Erectile tissue is tissue in the body that can become erect, usually by becoming engorged with blood.-Erectile tissue in the clitoris and penis:...

 of the clitoral bulbs and corpora, and the distal urethra and vagina. O'Connell asserts that this interconnected relationship is the physiological explanation for the conjectured G-Spot
G-spot
The Gräfenberg Spot, often called the G-Spot, is a bean-shaped area of the vagina. Many women report that it is an erogenous zone which, when stimulated, can lead to strong sexual arousal, powerful orgasms and female ejaculation...

 and experience of vaginal orgasms, taking into account the stimulation of the internal parts of the clitoris during vaginal penetration. "The vaginal wall is, in fact, the clitoris," said O'Connell. "If you lift the skin off the vagina on the side walls, you get the bulbs of the clitoris – triangular, crescental masses of erectile tissue." O'Connell and her team were already aware that the clitoris is more than just its glans – the "little hill". They reasoned that it is possible that some women have more extensive clitoral tissues and nerves than others, and therefore whereas many women can only achieve orgasm by direct stimulation of the external parts of the clitoris, for others the stimulation of the more generalized tissues of the clitoris via intercourse may be sufficient.

During sexual arousal
Sexual arousal
Sexual arousal, or sexual excitement, is the arousal of sexual desire, during or in anticipation of sexual activity. Things that precipitate human sexual arousal are called erotic stimuli, or colloquially known as turn-ons. There are many potential stimuli, both physical or mental, which can cause...

 and during orgasm, the clitoris and the whole of the genitalia engorge and change color as these erectile tissues fill with blood, and the individual experiences vaginal contractions. Masters and Johnson documented the sexual response cycle, which has four phases and is still the clinically accepted definition of the human orgasm. More recent research has determined that some can experience a sustained intense orgasm through stimulation of the clitoris and remain in the orgasmic phase for much longer than the original studies indicated, evidenced by genital engorgement, color changes, and vaginal contractions.

Embryonic development



During the development of an embryo
Embryogenesis
Embryogenesis is the process by which the embryo is formed and develops, until it develops into a fetus.Embryogenesis starts with the fertilization of the ovum by sperm. The fertilized ovum is referred to as a zygote...

, at the time of development of the urinary and reproductive organs
Development of the urinary and reproductive organs
The development of the urinary and reproductive organs as a part of the prenatal development, concerns the urinary system and sex organs. The latter is a part of the stages of sexual differentiation....

, the previously undifferentiated genital tubercle
Genital tubercle
A phallic tubercle or genital tubercle is a body of tissue present in the development of the urinary and reproductive organs. It forms in the ventral, caudal region of mammalian embryos of both sexes, and eventually develops into a phallus...

 develops into either a clitoris or penis, along with all other major organ systems, making them homologous. The clitoris is formed from the same tissues that would have become the glans and upper shaft of a penis
Penis
The penis is a biological feature of male animals including both vertebrates and invertebrates...

 if the embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 had been exposed to “male” hormones. Changes in appearance of male and female embryos begin roughly eight weeks after conception. By birth, the genital structures have developed into the female reproductive system.

Embryo sex based on external genitalia is apparent to a doctor at the end of the 14th menstrual week, and the sex can usually be identified by an ultrasound after 16 to 18 menstrual weeks. A condition that can develop from naturally occurring or deliberate exposure to higher than average levels of testosterone
Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

 is clitoromegaly
Clitoromegaly
Clitoromegaly is an abnormal enlargement of the clitoris ....

.

Recognition of existence


The clitoris has been thought of as "discovered" and "rediscovered" through empirical documentation by male scholars repeatedly over the centuries. Over a period of more than 2,500 years, some have considered the clitoris and the penis equivalent in all respects except their arrangement. Realdo Colombo
Realdo Colombo
Realdo Colombo was an Italian professor of anatomy and a surgeon at the University of Padua between 1544 and 1559.- Early life and education :Matteo Realdo Colombo or Renaldus Columbus, was born in Cremona, Lombardy to an apothecary named Antonio Colombo...

 (also known as Matteo Renaldo Colombo) was a lecturer in surgery at the University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, Italy, and in 1559 he published a book called De re anatomica in which he described the "seat of woman's delight". In his role as researcher, Colombo concluded, "Since no one has discerned these projections and their workings, if it is permissible to give names to things discovered by me, it should be called the love or sweetness of Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

."

Colombo's claim was disputed by his successor at Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, Gabriele Falloppio
Gabriele Falloppio
Gabriele Falloppio , often known by his Latin name Fallopius, was one of the most important anatomists and physicians of the sixteenth century....

 (who discovered the fallopian tube
Fallopian tube
The Fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, uterine tubes, and salpinges are two very fine tubes lined with ciliated epithelia, leading from the ovaries of female mammals into the uterus, via the utero-tubal junction...

), who claimed that he was the first to discover the clitoris. Caspar Bartholin
Caspar Bartholin the Younger
Caspar Bartholin the Younger , was a Danish anatomist who first described the "Bartholin's gland" in the 17th century...

, a 17th-century Danish anatomist
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

, dismissed both claims, arguing that the clitoris had been widely known to medical science
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 since the second century. Indeed, Hippocrates
Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

 used the term columella (little pillar). Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

 named the clitoris the albatra or virga (rod). Albucasis, an Arabic medical authority, named it tentigo (tension). It was also known to the Romans, who named it (vulgar slang) landica.

This cycle of suppression and discovery continued, notably in the work of Regnier de Graaf
Regnier de Graaf
Regnier de Graaf, Dutch spelling Reinier de Graaf or latinized Reijnerus de Graeff was a Dutch physician and anatomist who made key discoveries in reproductive biology. His first name is often spelled Reinier or Reynier.-Biography:De Graaf was born in Schoonhoven and perhaps a relative to the De...

 (Tractatus de Virorum Organis Generationi Inservientibus, De Mulierum Organis Generationi Inservientibus Tractatus Novus) in the 17th century and Georg Ludwig Kobelt
Georg Ludwig Kobelt
Georg Ludwig Kobelt was a German anatomist from Baden.He studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg, where he was a student of Friedrich Tiedemann . He received his doctorate in 1833 and later worked as a prosector at Heidelberg...

 (Die männlichen und weiblichen Wollustorgane des Menschen und einiger Säugetiere) in the 19th. De Graaf criticised Columbo's claims for this. (Harvey, Laqueur).

The full extent of the clitoris was alluded to by Masters and Johnson in 1966, but in such a muddled fashion that the significance of their description became obscured. In 1981, the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Clinics (FFWHC) continued this process with anatomically precise illustrations. Today, MRI complements these efforts, as it is both a live and multiplanar method of examination.

Female genital mutilation



The clitoris may be partially or totally removed during female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as a clitoridectomy
Clitoridectomy
Clitoridectomy is the surgical removal of the clitoris. It is rarely needed as a therapeutic medical procedure, such as when cancer has developed in or spread to the clitoris...

, or female circumcision. This is carried out in several countries in Africa, and to a lesser extent in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, on girls from a few days old to the age of 15. Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 estimates that over two million FGM procedures are performed every year.

Female genital modification



In various cultures, the clitoris is sometimes pierced directly
Clitoris piercing
A clitoris piercing is a piercing through the clitoris itself. It is a relatively uncommon piercing and is often confused with the more common clitoral hood piercing, which pierces only the hood of the clitoris. Depending on the anatomy of the individual, they can be oriented either vertically or...

. In U.S. body modification culture, it is actually extremely rare for the clitoral shaft itself to be pierced, as of the already few people who desire the piercing, only a small percentage are anatomically suited for it; furthermore, most piercing artists are reluctant to attempt such a delicate procedure. Some styles, such as the Isabella
Isabella piercing
Isabella piercing is a female genital piercing. This extremely deep clitoral shaft piercing starts below the clitoris and just above the urethra, and then goes up through the clitoral shaft and exits at the top of the hood .This piercing was first documented in issue 17 of Piercing World Magazine...

, do pass through the clitoris but are placed deep at the base, where they provide unique stimulation; they still require the proper genital build, but are more common than shaft piercings. Additionally, what is (erroneously) referred to as a "clit piercing" is almost always the much more common (and much less complicated) clitoral hood piercing
Clitoral hood piercing
A clitoral hood piercing is a female genital piercing through the clitoral hood surrounding the clitoris. There are two main types of hood piercing, the vertical clitoral hood piercing and the horizontal clitoral hood piercing. As the name indicates, the difference is in the direction the piercing...

.

Enlargement may be intentional or unintentional. Those taking hormones and/or other medications as part of female-to-male transition
Transitioning (transgender)
Transitioning is the process of changing one's gender presentation to accord with one's internal sense of one's gender - the idea of what it means to be a man or woman...

 usually experience dramatic clitoral growth; individual desires (and the difficulties of surgical phalloplasty) often result in the retention of the original genitalia, the enlarged clitoris analogous to a penis as part of the transition. However, the clitoris cannot reach the size of most cissexual
Cissexual
Cissexual is an adjective used in the context of gender issues to describe "people who are not transsexual and who have only ever experienced their mental and physical sexes as being aligned"...

 men's penises through hormones. Surgery to add function to the clitoris, such as metoidioplasty
Metoidioplasty
Metoidioplasty, sometimes referred to as a meto or meta or spelled "metaoidioplasty", is an alternative to phalloplasty for trans men...

 or clitoral release, are alternatives to phalloplasty
Phalloplasty
Phalloplasty refers to the construction of a penis or, sometimes, artificial modification of the penis by surgery, often for cosmetic purposes. It is also occasionally used to refer to penis enlargement....

 (construction of a penis) which permit retention of sexual sensation in the clitoris.

On the other hand, use of anabolic steroid
Anabolic steroid
Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic-androgen steroids or colloquially simply as "steroids", are drugs that mimic the effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in the body. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in the buildup of cellular tissue ,...

s by bodybuilders and other athletes can result in significant enlargement of the clitoris in concert with other masculinizing effects on their bodies. Temporary engorgement results from suction pumping, practiced to enhance sexual pleasure or for aesthetic purposes.

External links



  • Time for rethink on the clitoris BBC News Online
    BBC News Online
    BBC News Online is the website of BBC News, the division of the BBC responsible for newsgathering and production. The website is the most popular news website in the United Kingdom and forms a major part of BBC Online ....

    11 June 2006
  • The truth about women Williamson, S; Nowak, R. New Scientist 1 August 1998 pp. 1–5 - the story of Helen O'Connell