The Clit...That's It!!

The Clit...That's It!!

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8th, we wanted to honor & celebrate the most uniquely "woman" thing we could think of in the world of sex and intimacy...the not-so-humble clitoris! If you have one, you most likely love it, and if you love someone who has one, you need to know how to love it!

Whether you have one or not, hopefully you know at least some cursory information about the clitoris. It IS pretty important for being sexually literate...or cliterate, if you will. ;) For instance, that it's often a woman's most sensitive erogenous zone and sometimes the only one that can bring a woman to orgasm when stimulated. Hopefully you know where it is located on the vulva, but if you don't, you're not alone...and we'll cover that! Did you know, though, that there is much more to the clitoris than that fleshy little pleasure button we can see on the outside? Even if you think you know everything about the clitoris, you may still be surprised by some of the things you learn here. There's a lot more to the clit than meets the eye.

For simplicity's sake, I'm going to tackle this topic with the "5 Ws and 1 H" approach so often used in journalism, research projects, and even when solving mysteries...which the clit is to some!

WHO has a clitoris?

People who are assigned female at birth have a clitoris as part of their genitalia. The clitoris actually develops from the same structures in the human embryo as the penis, and this is why it has so many features in common with it, as we'll explore more of below. Essentially, if you were born with a vagina, you were born with a clitoris.

The clitoris is "held in place" and kept in its bent position by ligaments which attach it to the labia, the pubic symphysis, and the mons pubis. In gender-affirming surgery to construct a penis, those ligaments are cut, allowing the structure of the clitoris to straighten out and lengthen, lending its sensitive nerve endings and erectile tissues to the newly formed penis. THAT'S how similar they are!

WHAT is the clitoris and what does it do?

The clitoris is a structure made up of erectile tissue...again, just like the penis...which means that it can engorge with blood and swell when aroused or stimulated. The clitoris has only a tiny bit showing on the outside (the glans clitoris) while the rest lies beneath the surface. The overall structure of the entire clitoris is a bit like a wishbone with a bent handle and an extra set of "wings" on the inside, like the model pictured below.

Its sole purpose seems to be to provide sexual pleasure for a female; no other reason for its existence has ever been identified. The clitoris is usually considered to be part of the reproductive system of the body, due to its proximity to the rest of the sexual organs, but it does not serve a direct purpose in reproduction...it's just the pleasure center.

The most important feature of the clitoris is how densely packed it is with nerve endings; it has the highest concentration of them per surface area over any other part of the human body, male or female. At approximately 8,000 nerve endings, the clitoris essentially has the same number of nerve endings as a penis, but spread over a MUCH smaller surface area, hence its sensitivity to stimulation and sexual pleasure. The clitoris is easily the most powerful erogenous zone on the female body.

WHERE is the clitoris located?

The glans clitoris is the portion of the clitoris that "shows" externally, and it's the point that can be most easily stimulated for arousal & sexual pleasure, so it's very important...for those who have a clit and those who have sex with those who have a clit...to know exactly where it is located among the genitalia!

The diagram below shows the structure of the clitoris as it is on the inside and how it aligns with the vulva on the outside. As you can see, the inner, shorter arms (the bulbs of vestibule) and the longer, outer arms (the crus clitoris) extend back to almost surround the vaginal opening, which is why you may experience some arousal and pleasure by applying pressure between your outer and inner labia. Some of the clit is back there; you just can't see or easily touch that part!

The glans clitoris - the part you want to stimulate for sexual pleasure - sits at the "front" or "top" of your vulva (the side closest to your belly button), right where the two labia majora (the larger, outer labia) come together just below the mons pubis...more commonly known as your pubic bone (or where your pubic hair grows). It is located in front of the urethral opening (the hole you pee out of), with that lying between the clit and the vaginal opening.

(image credit to Intimina.com from the article 8 Reasons You Never Orgasm During Sex)

This is why some women can't experience orgasm from P-in-V sex alone; many require clitoral stimulation to be able to orgasm, and the clit and the vagina are not directly adjacent. That's why the clitoris requires a little extra attention during sex to make it feel as good for her as it does for him! If you're new to self-love and need some help locating your clitoris, sit down in front of a full-length mirror so you can see what you're doing...you'll know once you've found the spot! If YOU know exactly where it is but your partner needs some extra guidance, don't be afraid to show, tell, and coach him on exactly where it is and what feels good when he touches you there.

The clitoris is almost always slightly obstructed by a fold of skin called the prepuce, or clitoral hood. This important flap of skin keeps the very sensitive glans clitoris protected from everyday friction and pressure, like what occurs from rubbing clothing or sitting on a bike seat. To be able to stimulate the most sensitive areas of the clitoris during sex, foreplay, and masturbation, it's important to touch underneath this hood; it shoves out of the way pretty easily!

And, solely because this meme made me spit soda through my nose when I first saw it, you get to enjoy it, too! Yes, the clitoris is close to the urethral opening. Closer, in fact, than it is to the vagina. But no, they are definitely not the same. And yes, the difference is VERY important, fellas! If you're not sure you're stimulating the right thing down there, ask her! We promise the results will be worth it!

Unfortunately I can't take credit for this bit of brilliance, but someone over at 'You Know What, I Meme' on Facebook can!

WHEN should you involve the clit in your masturbation or sexual play?

Short answer? Basically always.

Most women NEED clitoral stimulation to be able to orgasm; around 38% of women attribute the inability to orgasm to lack of clitoral stimulation. It's that important. Stimulating the clit shouldn't JUST be part of foreplay, or JUST oral, or JUST done when masturbating...it should be brought into the action as much as possible during ANY kind of sex or self-love session.

Get creative. Try different angles and sexual positions that may allow the penis or testicles to rub the clit during intercourse. Reach in there with a finger or a toy and stimulate the clit during doggie style sex. Or try a couples toy that nestles between you and vibrates against the clitoris while your penis does the rest of the work (and gets some bonus stimulation). The point of sex is often to orgasm, and the easiest way to make sure a woman can reach orgasm every time is to always pay attention to the clitoris!

WHY does the clitoris matter?

The clitoris is important because it plays a key role in sexual stimulation and pleasure. When the erectile tissues that make up the clitoris engorge with blood upon arousal, it sets all those nerve endings buzzing, getting ready for the sensual stimulation that awaits. That growing size and pressure also stimulates the Bartholin's Glands, which produce the natural lubrication in the vaginal canal which is necessary for comfortable sexual intercourse.

The clitoris is usually considered to be part of the reproductive system, but the only role it actually plays in reproduction is simply making sex feel good for the woman. This has important connotations throughout history and human evolution, though; if having penetrative sex didn't feel good at all for a woman. they derived NO pleasure from it, and the result of it might be 9 months of misery followed by pushing a tiny human out your hoo-ha that you then have to be responsible for for a long time, our ancestral women may not have even wanted to have sex enough to propagate the species!

While this has thankfully been decreasing over time, some countries, cultures, and religious sects have engaged in the practice of surgically removing or mutilating the clitoris very near birth in infant girls. Some believe this is a safe and necessary medical procedure that will help keep them "pure" as they grow into women, but it just leaves these poor girls with disfigured genitals and the physical and emotional scars which will prevent them from ever experiencing proper arousal, pleasure, or a healthy sex life. As you've read here, the clitoris is a complex and functional structure, much more than just that little pleasure button we see on the outside, that has many important roles in sex and reproduction; it should never, ever be harmed or removed for false beliefs in vanity or purity.

HOW do you stimulate the clit for the utmost in sexual pleasure?

Lucky for us ladies, the clitoris is pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to HOW it likes to be touched...it just DOES! Every clitoris owner will prefer something slightly different, so it's a good idea to explore on your own and with a partner to see what feels best for YOU.

Generally, a gentle tapping or flicking stimulation pattern, either accomplished with a finger or a tongue, feels pretty dang good. So does vibration, generally, though some may find the buzz delivered by a pinpointed clitoral vibrator to feel TOO intense. Wand vibrators can also be great for getting you to orgasm solo or when used on your clit by a partner, but they can also be so strong they may cause a temporary numbing sensation, so if you don't orgasm right away, you might not be able to for a bit.

Luckily, the sex toy tech industry has figured this out, and have been working diligently to produce toys that stimulate the clitoris more gently or indirectly. If you like the sensations of oral play, try a tongue flicking toy (this one has intense pump power, too!) or one that sucks or blows...but in a good way. Toys like the Womanizer, which kisses your clit with Pleasure Air technology, or the TikTok trending Rose suction vibrators, may provide just the right type of clitoral stimulation to take your OH to OHMYGOD!

You can even add some good vibes to your partnered sex with a hands-free couples vibe that nestles right up to your clit while you're being penetrated, so you get that much-needed clitoral stimulation while actively having sex with your partner...no need to make it an extra step or keep it limited to foreplay. Try some different toy options, encourage your partner to try new things with their mouth, hands, and genitals, and just generally communicate with them about what really does it for you so they can give you plenty more of that in the future! There! Now you're a clitoral expert...go put that knowledge to good use! ;)