When it comes to human anatomy, the clitoris can oftentimes be one of the most mysterious bodily organs. Mysterious how you might ask? Questions that are often associated with the clitoris include, where is the clitoris located? What is the clitoris for? And how does the clitoris work? In short, the clitoris is a truly wonderful organ that’s essential for sexual pleasure and is an erectile structure that’s analogous to the male penis (1). But let’s dive in and learn even more. We promise that by the end of this article you’ll be very "cliterate" ;)
How does the clitoris work
Like the male penis, the clitoris develops from the same structures within the embryo and even shares many of the same properties (1). The clitoris is an exceptional erectile organ yet many of the erectile aspects of the clitoris are located internally. The clitoris is unique because unlike other organs its main function is to provide an individual with pleasure (1). Furthermore, when it comes to reproduction, the clitoris does not play a role, and as aforementioned it exists simply to provide you with pleasure (2).
The body includes several erogenous zones which are areas that elicit a sexual response when properly stimulated. The erogenous zones include nipples, the genital area, any area of the body that feels good and interesting to you. And the clitoris is one of the most sensitive erogenous zones due to its high concentration of nerve endings (3).
Where is the clitoris located?
For some people, the clitoris can be easily found, and for others, it may be slightly more difficult to find. The clitoris is at the junction of the inner lips of the vulva and immediately above the external opening of the urethra4 and sits between the labia at the top of the vulva — above the vaginal opening and the urethral opening (5). Dr. Vanessa Marin, MFT, a licensed sex therapist says, "To find it, separate the outer labia, the lips that may be covered in hair, and look for where the inner labia, the lips that don't have hair, meet" (5).
At first it may be difficult to recognize the clitoris as it is usually hidden by the clitoral hood, a tiny collection of skin that can be pulled back gently, Marin says. If you can't see the clitoris, push the hood gently upward, which should reveal the clitoris tip. The clitoris is readily identifiable, and although it can vary in size, it usually takes on a spherical form (5).
The clitoris can be somewhat complicated because it has both internal and external components. The glans clitoris is the name for the external part of the clitoris (3). The glans clitoris is approximately the size of a pea and can be extremely sensitive to touch because of where it is located, and it is the most innervated area of the clitoris (3). Unlike the other areas of the clitoris, the glans clitoris does not grow during sexual response.
One reason the clitoris can be difficult to locate is simply that most of this organ is located within the body. Linked to the glans clitoris is what is known as ‘the body of the clitoris’. The clitoral body projects upwards into your pelvis and attaches via ligaments to your pubic bone (3).
How does the clitoris work and what is the clitoris for?
As we mentioned above, the clitoris’ only function is to create pleasure for a person; it has no other role.
Looking to stimulate the clitoris? Here are some ideas on how to create stimulation:
- Indirect stimulation - If you are unfamiliar with this organ, begin by touching the clitoris over the labia and do not pull back the hood (5).
- Lubrication – Use lube to decrease friction while increasing sensitivity. The clitoris is extremely sensitive and can become aggravated due to rubbing. Lube can make touching smoother while increasing the amount of pleasure (5).
- Get creative – experiment with various strokes and see how your body responds. Everyone responds differently to various sensations so it may take some trial and error to determine what makes you feel good (5).
- Toys – If your body is not responding to your finger, try using a toy specifically designed to stimulate the clitoris (5).
- Practice patience – Patience is key especially if you’re someone who’s never experienced an orgasm. Remember, it may take weeks or even months of exploring your body and stimulating your clitoris before you experience your first orgasm (5). (Very important to note here that clitoral stimulation is not the only way a person can orgasm).
If you are in a relationship and exploring either your or your partner’s clitoris, remember that the most important thing you can do is communicate. If you’re looking to please your partner, make sure to communicate with them to gauge what they like and do not like. If you’re focused on exploring your own clitoris, then it is just as important to take time and practice patience in order to see how your body responds to various stimulations.
Perifit: Supporting your journey to a strong pelvic floor with games and biofeedback
Perifit advocates for everyone’s health and wellbeing and is committed to providing information on topics related to personal health such as reproductive and intimate health. The Perifit Kegel trainer guides you in your pelvic floor training, gives stats and feedback about your program and progress and helps you keep track of your goals by using the probe and mobile app. This device uses an app, which can be accessed through your smartphone, to provide pelvic floor training to all users regardless of age or pelvic floor condition. Perifit offers a fun and engaging way to increase your pelvic floor strength.
- Vulva vs Vagina: What’s the difference really?
- Health benefits of orgasms
- Essentials for a Healthy Vagina: Before, during, and after sex
- Pelvic floor and your sex life
- Verywellhealth, ‘The Anatomy of the Clitoris’ date accessed on 10/28/2021: https://www.verywellhealth.com/clitoris-anatomy-4774455
- Planned Parenthood ‘Where is the clitoris’ date accessed on 10/28/2021: https://www.healthline.com/health/dyspareunia#risk-factors
- Clue, ‘What is the clitoris ? and where is it ? date accessed on 10/28/2021: https://helloclue.com/articles/cycle-a-z/what-is-the-clitoris
- KENHUB, ‘Clitoris’ date accessed on 10/28/2021: https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/clitoris
- Insider, ‘How to find the clitoris and the best ways to have a clitoral orgasm’ date accessed on 10/28/2021 https://www.insider.com/where-is-the-clitoris
- Perifit, ‘Strengthen your pelvic floor with games’ Perifit, date accessed on 10/28/2021: https://perifit.co/