Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms?


What is a clitoris?

The external female genital organ contains a pea-sized structure which is located at the top of the vulva and called the clitoris.  The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris which means “little hill.”  Many compare the female clitoris to the male penis since both structures evolve from the same origin although the penis is involved in reproduction whereas the clitoris is not.

It is one of the most sensitive parts of the female genitalia and is stimulated for sexual pleasure.  Vulva which is the single word used to describe the external genitalia contains several organs namely the vagina, clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, vestibule of the vagina, Bartholin glands, and the bulb of the vestibule.  Numerous nerves connect the clitoris and make it the most sensitive part of the vulva and sometimes referred to as the external G-spot.

Stimulation of the clitoris helps a woman attain an orgasm.  As discussed earlier, the size of the clitoris is small and is only as big as a pea but gets engorged when stimulated and can double in size.

Anatomy of the clitoris

The clitoris is situated below the mons pubis.  It contains two erectile vascular tissues called the corpora cavernosa.  These tissues are situated on either side and are surrounded by a sheath.  A thin epidermis covers the clitoris and attached with numerous sensory nerves and receptors.

The size of the clitoris remains small before puberty and drastically enlarges after puberty and as discussed earlier, it gets engorged when stimulated.  It has three important components namely the glans clitoris, two crura, and two bulbs of the vestibule.  Glans clitoris is the only part that is visible to the naked eye.

The two crura extend from the glans clitoris in the shape of brackets and extend deep into the tissue of the vulva.  Finally, the two bulbs of the vestibules extend on either side of the vaginal orifice.

Disorders of the Clitoris

Disorders associated with the clitoris are quite common and are generally treatable other than some serious conditions.  Some of the common disorders include soreness due to extensive and vigorous masturbation, pain due to an injury to the clitoris, inflammation, and redness due to infections ranging from a yeast infection, sexually transmitted diseases, as well as persistent engorgement of the clitoris.  Majority of the problems associated with the clitoris is treatable with creams and antibiotics.

Soreness and itching are the two main problems associated with the clitoris due to its tender and delicate anatomy.  The majority of women tend to hide this and avoid speaking about them with their doctor to avoid embarrassment.

As a matter of fact, around one-third of teen adults are unable to find the clitoris on a diagram.  On the other hand, they avoid using medical terms such as the vagina and vulva and instead prefer the female reproductive organs.  It is this mindset that leads to several disorders of the clitoris.  Some of the major disorders are discussed in detail.

Enlarged clitoris

This is a condition that can be caused due to various factors.  As discussed earlier, the size increases when it is stimulated but otherwise remains small and lucid.  Several health conditions such as hormonal imbalance, inflammation of the vulva, polycystic ovarian disease, tumors, as well as steroids can cause the clitoris to enlarge.  Some of the common causes are discussed below.

  • Sexual excitementThis is a valid reason why the clitoris should be enlarged and hence is not considered to be an issue. The enlargement would subside once orgasm is achieved.  If the orgasm has not been achieved after arousal, it may remain enlarged for several hours and can cause an injury or irritation when it gets rubbed against the cloth.
  • Inflammation of the vulvaThis condition is medically termed as vulvitis where the vulva becomes inflamed. Some of the common causes of vulvitis include yeast infection, allergic reaction due to the application of soaps and body lotions, as well as an extensive amount of friction after masturbation.
  • Hormone imbalance – Excess secretion of androgen can lead to swelling of the clitoris. Some of the causes of hormonal imbalance include polycystic ovarian syndrome which produces increased amounts of androgen.  PCOS can be determined with the following changes in the human body such as acne, extra face and body hair, irregular periods, and weight gain.  Use of anabolic steroids for athletic endurance can cause excretion of excess male hormones leading to the enlarged clitoris.  Finally, tumors can cause abnormal functioning of the adrenal glands and lead to hormonal imbalance.
  • Congenital disabilities – This condition can cause the clitoris to become enlarged at birth. It can also lead to other developmental complications.

Clitoral priapism

Clitoral priapism is considered to be quite rare but can be quite uncomfortable if not treated adequately.  When the clitoris is stimulated there is an excess amount of blood flow due to the presence of numerous nerve fibers.  The clitoris remains enlarged until an orgasm is achieved and then becomes lucid when the accumulation of blood slowly drains through the lymphatic drainage.

In certain cases, the lymphatic drainage does not occur and leads to extended periods of clitoral enlargement.  This can cause swelling and edema resulting in pain and discomfort.  One of the main causes of this condition is due to the use of medications producing alpha blockade.

As a matter of fact, there is no specific treatment that can be precisely rendered to treat this condition.  Cause-specific treatments can help reverse the symptoms.  Ice packs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve the symptoms of pain and discomfort.  Urologic and gynecological consultations would be required to treat persistent symptoms.

Clitoral itching

Clitoral itching can occur due to various reasons such as contact dermatitis, yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted infection, as well as Lichen sclerosus.  All these conditions are known to cause clitoral itching.  Some of the cause for the above conditions is discussed below.

  • Contact dermatitis – As the name suggests, this type of dermatitis occurs when there is a direct contact with an irritant such as soaps, lotions, detergents, latex, etc. Symptoms associated with this condition include itchy red rash, which can be followed by blisters.  These blisters may even ooze out fluid and later form a crust.
  • Yeast infection – The human body generally consists fungus on the skin. When there is abnormal growth in the numbers, it can lead to an infection.  Some of the symptoms include persistent itching, redness, swelling, rash, as well as secretion of discharge resembling cottage cheese.
  • Bacterial vaginosis – This is again caused when the bacteria present on the skin grow excessively leading to infection. This may be caused due to various factors such sexually transmitted infection, multiple sex partners, as well as unhealthy hygiene.  Some of the symptoms associated with this condition include burning with urination and redness of the vaginal area.  Antibiotics are generally prescribed to treat these bacterial infections.
  • Sexually transmitted infection – An infection that is transmitted from one person to another during a sexual encounter is called sexually transmitted disease. Some of the common sexually transmitted diseases include genital herpes, chlamydia, Trichomoniasis, scabies, and genital warts.  Some of the symptoms associated with this infection include vaginal discharge, pain with urination, as well as blister formation.
  • Lichen sclerosus – This is a condition where white patches are formed on the genital area. An overactive immune system as well as hormonal imbalance can cause this condition.  Some of the symptoms include redness, itching, blisters, as well as bleeding.

Orgasm wars

It has been a long debate as to which provides the ultimate pleasure, the vaginal or G-spot orgasm or the clitoral orgasm.  As a matter of fact, it has been concluded that only 30% of women ever experience a vaginal orgasm whereas clitoral orgasm can be achieved by all women.

Studies have claimed that female orgasm with the help of penetration alone is not sufficient and definitely needs the stimulation of the clitoris.  As a matter of fact, why is this being discussed by men who have nothing to do with female pleasure.  It is mainly because of the way it has been portrayed in movies where a woman would generally find pleasure only by penetration which is spreading false information.

Taboo surrounding the clitoris

Frigidity and failure

Sigmund Freud who was a neurologist had come to the conclusion that a woman could claim sexual maturity only when she experiences vaginal orgasm.  He considered the clitoral orgasm to be immature.  According to his theory, a woman who could not achieve vaginal orgasm was frigid or an unreal woman.

He backed his theory claiming that failure to achieve vaginal orgasm was due to deep-rooted neurotic problems.  This lead to a conclusion that all women can be considered normal and mature only when they achieve vaginal orgasm.  It went to the extent that women who failed in this aspect were diagnosed with sexual dysfunction.  This was the main reasons which lead to faking of orgasm during a penetration just to be recognized as mature and called a real woman.

Celebrating the clitoral orgasm

William Masters and Virginia Johnson who were US sexologists in 1960 came to a conclusion that orgasms begin at the clitoris and extend to the vagina.  They debated that the pleasure experienced by women during penetration was mainly due to the connection between the clitoris and the vagina and came to a conclusion that frigidity is a result of poor sexual technique and not a sexual dysfunction.

They went one step further and reported that women were able to experience multiple orgasms whereas on the other hand men were not able to achieve this.  This was appreciated by many feminists and also argued that a true female orgasm can be achieved only by clitoral stimulation and not by penetration.

A woman’s perspective

When you look at this from a woman’s perspective, the debate surrounding a woman’s pleasure is quite irrelevant.  As a matter of fact, each woman is different from others and gain pleasure through various means.  Few women thoroughly enjoy vaginal penetration and use of fingers and attain an orgasm while on the other hand, few women tend to use sex toys such as vibrator to stimulate the clitoris.

Both these types of women find considerable sexual pleasure with their respective techniques.  Judging a woman’s maturity based on the way they attain orgasm is highly unacceptable.  The bottom line is that orgasm is an extremely pleasurable experience regardless of how it is achieved.

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Welcome to your Penis pumps

Penis pumps can be used to treat the following conditions:
What do penis pumps help with?
It is safe for people on blood thinners to use a penis pump.
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Being overweight can adversely impact getting an erection.
Studies indicate ___ % of men are satisfied with the results of using penis pumps.

Take the full quiz