Learn more about the clitoris

Crédit photo Creative Commons Marie Docher

To the naked eye, the clitoris is very small, like a pimple. Besides, some men have a little trouble finding it, then not losing it… But this is only the visible part of the clitoris, which hides a much larger and invisible part, which constitutes its internal part.

The “button” is in fact only the glans of the clitoris, equivalent to the glans of the penis, while having more nerve endings than the latter, for which it is particularly sensitive to stimulation and potential source of orgasm. The clitoris has indeed the same embryonic origin as the penis, the difference in development being due to the presence or not of the Y chromosome, or more precisely of the SRY gene, which directs the morphological formation of the genital apparatus from the 8th week of gestation, by the evolution of the gonads of the foetus into testicles leading to the production of testosterone. Under the influence of this, the Wolff channel is stimulated, and develops the male sexual apparatus. Without the SRY gene, the fetal gonads develop into ovaries, the Müller canal grows and the female sexual apparatus develops.

Like the penis, the clitoris has cavernous and spongy bodies. The cavernous bodies make up the internal roots of the clitoris, two in number, and located on either side of the vagina. They measure about ten centimetres. The spongy body constitutes the bulbs of the vestibule, also on either side of the vagina and crossed, as for the penis, by the urethra. The clitoris is erectile. It also has a brake and a foreskin. This organ is therefore far from being reduced to its visible part of less than 1 cm.

After being ignored for a long time to the point of not appearing in some anatomy textbooks or being represented without its internal part, it now enjoys wider publicity. Recently in France, for example, Odile Fillod, a sociology of science researcher, and Mélissa Richard, mediator at the Fab Lab of the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in France, worked on a full-scale 3D clitoral modeling project, including a file that can be used for life-size 3D prints that can be used for educational purposes.

For more information, you can consult Odile Fillod’s very complete website entirely dedicated to the clitoris.