Saturday, February 2, 2013

Clitoris Size: Under The Hood

“We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane…”

~ Audre Lorde

“Deeply female,” indeed… So wrote the amazing and prolific scholar-social activist and black lesbian mother, Audre Lorde in the 1960s in Harlem, New York. But while Lorde was teaching us about “The Uses of the Erotic and the Erotic as Power,” (the title of her eloquent, powerful, poetic manifesto on the critical strength and erotic potential of women) very few spoke to us in the kind of clear unambiguous language many of us back then needed to hear about our bodies.

After all, back in the day, as they say, nearly all of what we knew about our bodies was what a male-centered, or patriarchal culture wanted us to know. And the false, destructive, minimizing narrative was clear: ours were bodies less capable and less privileged than their own. 

Ours were bodies that needed to be controlled, needed to be harnessed in, needed to be trussed up and regularly douched out, not touched by us, nor spoken about, nor remotely understood. And ours were certainly not bodies for us to enjoy, not the way males were encouraged to enjoy their parts, grasping, jerking, panting, tensing, hurling themselves blissfully into stratospheric orbit with clockwork regularity.

But not so for women. Not so for well-bred, God-fearing females of the day, for whom wholesale enjoyment of their anatomy would’ve sent them way over the line of decency. And most every community influence emphatically told us so, including parents, teachers, clergy and the like, the message being that exploring what was between our legs might lead us straight to hell, or worse, send us crawling back into the confines of our homes with an out-of-wedlock baby and our prospects for a decent marriage, a decent future, in tatters and shreds.

But we wondered, and pondered, and wanted to ask questions. Wanted to know the whys and the hows of our bodies. Wanted to experience them. To touch. To smell. To taste. And many of us did, but mostly without the knowledge that would’ve empowered us to make safe, informed choices in the process. 

Back then, just as now, most of us were taught very little about what went on “down there” in that mysterious, humid dark-land under our skirts. But occasionally in the course of being, we’d stumble upon - fumble upon - something grand... and it wasn’t at all where we thought it would be. You didn’t find it by probing way up inside of you. But it was definitely there… Something wild and rich and exquisitely special that could explode your very core and steal your breath away.

Which brings me to the clitoris, the illustrious royalty of body parts, long misunderstood in all her amazing glory. Of course, nowadays, most women and their lovers know generally the what, why and wherefore of this not-so-tiny structure, tucked away beneath its fleshy hood, centrally above the entrance to one’s vagina. And I say not-so-tiny for very good reason. While lots of us think that when it comes to the clitoris, it’s a "what you see is what you get" sort of thing, absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. 

Packed with an unbelievable 8,000 nerve endings, the small button-like bulb that we can see and touch and stimulate is connected to the shaft which is in turn connected to a deep-seated, interior, nerve-rich clitoral structure with two long legs that extend like an upside-down “V”  embedded in the pelvis. 

Created for nothing else than to give its owner maximum, send-her-to-the-moon satisfaction, the entire clitoral structure actually comes erect when we’re turned on, stiffening and enlarging, its exquisitely sensitive head or “glans” igniting us with every touch.

And so while lots of our naive male partners still expect us to "come" through vaginal penetration alone, the fact is, women weren’t constructed that way. And though legions of women absolutely enjoy the feeling of penetration and something-in-the-vagina fullness, for the huge majority of us, the clitoris is the fountain of our body’s pleasure response, the platinum standard, like a smooth Ferrari engine under the hood. It’s a fact pure and simple, “deeply female” and completely normal, whatever that term “normal” actually means.

Of course, like breasts and hands, feet and noses, the clitoris comes in many lengths and sizes. Many are nearly invisible beneath their hoods; others extend out and beyond the vaginal lips, and for some particularly well-endowed women, the clitoris is literally as long as an adult pinkie finger, plump and pink and clearly visible, nestled inside panties or enjoying the air commando. 

And wouldn’t you know it? Ironically, in a society that prizes large breasts, the owners of large clitorises often feel stigmatized and ashamed, erroneously believing that their large, beautiful endowments are something to be hidden. "Mannish," as some uninformed straight folk used to say. Sadly today, some of these women resort to painful, disfiguring, minimizing surgery, paring their clits down to a more ordinary, so-called “acceptable” size and in the process ruin their ability to experience pleasure at all.

For a whole host of reasons, this is unfortunate in the extreme. But as far as desirability goes, for untold numbers of prospective lovers, both female and male, a large, exposed clitoris, 3 inches and sometimes longer, is an absolute turn on and completely, unequivocally, TOTALLY hot! For many, it’s often a case of the larger the better and definitely something of which to be proud! 

But large, small, visible or not, enough is enough. At the current time in our history, and whatever our cultural backgrounds, it's important to remember that whatever its shape and size, your clitoris, mine and all the collective clitori (also the plural) on the huge expanse of the planet are completely, wholly and absolutely normal. Exquisite in their individual appearance, like fingerprints, they’re different on every one of us, and that’s a beautiful fact.

So relax. And enjoy it. As often as possible, because you know what they say, use it or lose it. The truth is that sometimes, particularly for older women, with hormonal changes and the decrease in blood flow to our sex organs after menopause, the clitoris can atrophy, or shrink down, and actually decrease in size. Fortunately ever faithful, it still responds to stimulation even if this happens, but the characteristic bump, which is the glans, can become more difficult, if not impossible to feel. Clitoral atrophy can also happen through - you guessed it - lack of use. 

So whether we’ve got a partner or not, it behooves us to put our hands and our vibrators to work. Experiment and play. Let your clitoris know you love it because no matter its age and size, the royalty under the hood, pink and precious and “deeply female,” deserves active, reverent, abiding admiration. And for that, it rewards us extraordinarily well.

How has your relationship to your own anatomy changed over the years?

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  1. My relationship has changed dramatically. Once I became empowered, instead of ashamed it allowed me to be open and clear about what I like and what I don't like. I was able to "own" my pleasures and rejoice in them instead of being shy and hiding them

  2. I think it has become less popular as I got older. When I was younger and incarcerated it appeared that it was a big deal and thought of often. Since I have sought a new life my own needs have become thought of less in that area.

  3. Growing up I was trained to be ashamed of what was under my hood. I discovered it and have enjoyed it ever since. But as I grown in age I view myself differently. My relationship with my partner has also changed in the sense that we are aware of the changes in both sexes and talk about it so we don't go looking for what we don't get home. So having said that we have a healthy active sexual relationship after 23 years of marriage.

  4. I am proud to say that I have a very good relationship with my body, I discovered my pearl back when I was a teenager accidently, but it the best accident I've ever had. I am so glad that we as women, have options to ensure we score a "Touch Down" on every play!



  5. me and myself are doing great with each other couldnt ask for a better partner. even though yes i still have girls friend and haivng sex but i love me some me!! lol

  6. When I was younger I was not comfortable with exploring my body. I would laugh and shake my head when my friends talked about it. Now that I am almost 30 and very comfortable with myself I have found out through my own research what I enjoy and what I don't, what feels good and what does not.

  7. I absolutely love my body now that I'm older. When I was younger I thought I knew what I wanted and did not have a clue of what I had in store for me. I love me some me.