Amazing New Research About the Clitoris

via Violet Blue

ScienceBlogs has an amazing writeup about some excellent research on the clitoris: “The Clitoral Complex: A Dynamic Sonographic Study”. Scientists conducted sonograms of the vagina and vulva and have confirmed something that sex educators have been saying for ages: the clitoris is shaped like a wishbone, with a lot more going on inside the body than most people realize. Here’s the sonogram, along with an anatomy drawing to make it easier to see what you’re looking at. All of these images came from ScienceBlogs.

The clitoral bodies (CB) are clearly seen along the sides of the vagina (V). Even more interesting is this photo, from a slightly different angle (in these, the participant is face up and you’re looking at the vulva in pretty much the same pose that an OB/GYN gets during an exam):

What’s amazing about this is that we can see how the clitoral bodies (also known as the crura or legs) come closer together when the perineum is contracted. While those are the words used on ScienceBlogs, I suspect what they mean is the pubococcygeus muscle, perhaps along with other pelvic floor muscles.

If the internal clitoral bodies are coming closer together, that would increase any stimulation that might be occurring from vaginal penetration. Plus, I’m guessing that these sonograms weren’t taken when this person was aroused and arousal would tend to cause clitoral engorgement. That would potentially decrease the angle between the crura even more.

They also took a midsaggittal image, which is what you would get if you could cut someone in half from front to back:

In this image, the opening of the vagina (aka, the introitus) is at the top right corner and the torso is off to the left. You can see the root of the clitoris (which ScienceBlogs mistakenly called the root of the vagina) close to the anterior wall of the vagina, right where the G-spot is. Plus, when they asked the participants to insert a finger and press on the most sensitive parts of their vagina, they all pointed to this area. Granted, they only had 5 participants, so it’s not a representative sample.

Nevertheless, this points to something that I’ve long suspected- that what sex educators call the G-spot may actually be the internal portion the clitoris. I’ve also wondered whether the variation in how many people can orgasm from vaginal stimulation may be related to differences in how their internal clitoral anatomy sits in relation to their vagina.

It also suggests another reason why doing Kegel exercises can enhance orgasm during vaginal sex. I would guess that a stronger contraction would bring the crura into closer contact with the vagina, increasing sensation. Plus, the stronger the PC muscle is, the more it’ll be able to keep the crura closer together, both in terms of frequency and length of contractions before it gets tired.

This also suggests another interesting line of research. We know that the prostate gland is pretty much vestigial until puberty, at which point, testosterone causes it to develop. A lot of sex educators have proposed that the G-spot and the prostate are homologous, given their similarities in location (making allowances for the presence of a vagina or not) and sexual response. So my colleagues Dr. Carol Queen & Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence posit that the G-spot might respond similarly to testosterone.

One way we could start to explore this question is to ask transgender men who have taken testosterone as part of their gender transition and women who have taken testosterone as a treatment for low sex drive whether they have noticed any changes in their G-spot sensations. Alternatively, if anyone is willing to track their G-spot sensations before and after using testosterone, that would be really valuable information. If you’re willing to help out some amazing educators and sex geeks, please email them here.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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