5 Myths about the Clitoris

5 Myths about the Clitoris

Ah, the clitoris. Has there ever been a more misunderstood and undervalued body part?

Here are 5 commonly believed, yet totally untrue, myths about the clit…

It’s only for foreplay

The clitoris is the anatomical equivalent of the penis, meaning that pleasure and orgasm without clitoral stimulation are about as uncommon and difficult as pleasure and orgasm without penile stimulation. Sure, it’s possible – for some people, it’s even preferred – but broadly speaking, it’s not the norm.

The clitoris, therefore, should not automatically be relegated to “foreplay” exclusively. If pleasure and/or orgasm(s) are your goal, clitoral stimulation will more than likely need to play an integral role in the overall sexual experience – not just its beginnings. It is theorized that this very factor is one reason so many straight women enjoy lesbian porn!

The part you can see is all there is to it

The clitoris is like an iceberg: the part you can see is only about 10% of the total structure. The other 90% extends inside the body, similar to how the penis has an internal “root” that we can’t see from the outside.

Some people love stimulation that reaches the internal portions of the clit, whether that’s achieved with rumbly vibration, deep labial massage, G-spot titillation, or any other means. It can lead to a more profound, satisfying orgasm for some people – in much the same way as it can be more gratifying to stimulate the whole penis, rather than just the head.

It has twice as many nerve endings as the penis

One commonly-cited statistic is that the human clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings, supposedly twice as many as the entire penis. But that stat actually comes from a 1976 study of cows and sheep, not people! In fact, the human foreskin alone reportedly contains about 20,000 nerve endings, so it’s practically unthinkable that the entire penis contains fewer overall than the clitoris.

That said, the point here isn’t the exact number of corpuscles per square inch – it’s that the clitoris is indeed very sensitive, relative to the rest of the body, and should be treated with care.

It’s more complicated than the penis

There’s very little reason to believe this is the case. Like the penis, the clitoris has a glans, a shaft, and a prepuce (known as a clitoral hood or a foreskin, depending on the anatomy in question). Like the penis, the clitoris is a sensitive and pleasure-providing organ for most people who have one. Like the penis, the clitoris has a portion that extends inside the body, in addition to the part we see externally. And like the penis, the clitoris can (usually) bring its owner to orgasm when it is touched well enough and for long enough.

Anyone who purports that the clitoris, or the vulva and vagina, are “too complicated” has likely just not spent enough time experimenting with these parts and learning what works for them. When in doubt, just ask your partner to show you how they’d like to be touched.

Direct stimulation is best

It makes sense to assume that if a body part likes to be touched, it likes to be touched directly. But with the clitoris in particular, that may not necessarily be the case.

Tons of people find direct clitoral stimulation overwhelming, uncomfortable, or even painful. They may prefer indirect stimulation via the clitoral hood or labia, or through underwear or pants. They may not even like having their clitoris touched at all! Never try to explain someone else’s body to them unless they specifically ask you to, because odds are high that they know their body better than you do – and that you should listen to them if you want to make them feel good.

What do you consider the most frustrating myths about the clitoris?

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Kate Sloan is a journalist, blogger, podcaster, and educator who has been writing about sex online and in print for over five years. She writes about sex, kink, relationships, fashion, beauty, writing, and mental health. She has been voted a Kinkly.com Sex Blogging Superhero for four years running, and her words reach over 22,000 sex nerds, weirdos and queerdos every month. As a journalist and essayist, Kate has written for Glamour, Teen Vogue, Daily Xtra, the Establishment, Maisonneuve, Herizons, the Plaid Zebra, xoJane, and more.

One thought on “5 Myths about the Clitoris”

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    February 27, 2021 at 10:33 am

    […] My latest pieces for the Andrew Blake blog: “5 myths about the clitoris,” “How to perform a sexy striptease,” “The best sex toy storage […]

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