One of the most mysterious aspects of sex throughout history has been the female clitoris: What does it look like? What does it do? Where is located?
The obscurity of the clitoris and its function has been prevalent throughout history. In fact, it was not discovered until the seventeenth century when two Italian anatomists, Gabriel Fallopius and Renauldus Columbus, separately claimed to discover the organ. But, during this time most anatomists thought the clitoris as part of women’s reproductive or urinary systems, not for women’s sexual pleasure.
One of the most famous, or infamous depending on your view, historical figures that contributed to clitoral history is Sigmund Freud. He saw the clitoris as a sexual organ, but believed that clitoral pleasure represented an immature stage of development. Freud believed that for a woman to achieve maturity, she must shift her sexual experiences to her vagina. The 1960s and 1970s feminist movement led to a new vision of the clitoris. Anne Koedt argues, in direct opposition to Freud, that the site of female orgasm is always the clitoris, even when women experience vaginal stimulation – thus the clitoris should be the site of female sexuality.
Today, mainstream scientific sources describe the clitoris’ sole purposes as sexual pleasure, and provide basic information on the clitoris’ structure:
- Generally two to three centimeters long
- Composed of two corposa carnova- sponge-like areas made of caterpilary tissues that contain numerous nerve ending.
Human sexual organs develop from a part of the fetus called the genital tubercle. If the fetus is male, the tubercle becomes the penis. In females, it initially grows into two separate corposa carnova, which combine into the clitoris as the fetus develops. The exterior and easily sexually stimulated portion of the clitoris is located above the vagina’s opening. With 8,000 nerve fibers, the organ is the most sensitive point on the human body, making it particularly well equipped for its sexual function. This singular function distinguishes it from the penis, which also serves urinary and direct reproductive purposes.
Here’s a video from the museum of sex’s (a really cool sex store I’ve been to in NYC!) website that draws out the internal clitoris and provides some easy to follow commentary!