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All About the Clitoris

Hidden within the vulva, the clitoris is an erogenous organ of the female reproductive system. How big is it? What is its role? Why does it give pleasure when caressed? Let’s discover the mysteries of the clitoris.

The clitoral gland has more nerve endings than any other spot in the human body. This is why some women derive exquisite pleasure from its stimulation, while for others too much stimulation can be uncomfortable or even painful.

Anatomy of the Love Button

The clitoris is a small erectile organ in the female genital tract, located at the junction of the labia minora (the smaller vaginal lips). The small ‘love button’ that we see and can feel with our fingers is only the visible tip. The remaining 90% of the clitoris is hidden within the body.


The clitoris plays an important role in female sexual arousal and pleasure.

A woman’s clitoris corresponds to a man’s penis: both have a glans (in women it is much smaller: 3–6 mm at rest and up to 6 or even 10 mm during arousal), a foreskin, and the pudendal nerve. The clitoral hood is the layer of skin that covers and protects the clitoris at the level of its glans; it is connected to the labia minora (the small vaginal lips).The hood of the clitoris is to women what the foreskin is to men.

The visible part of the clitoris is small but, like the penis, it can become erect when aroused. The hidden part is composed of the ‘stem’ (the clitoral body), two ‘roots’ (the so-called clitoral crura—two internal erectile tissue structures that together form a V), and the vestibular bulbs. Both the visible and hidden parts of the clitoris are important to female sexual pleasure.

The hidden part of the clitoris is much larger than the tiny visible glans. The visible part of the clitoris is between 0,5 and 1 cm, while the hidden stem located behind the glans can be up 12–13 cm long. The clitoral glans contains between 8,000 and 10,000 sensory nerve endings, while the male glans has only 3000 to 4000 on average.


Like the penis, the clitoris is made of erectile tissue that swells when stimulated or aroused. This is called a clitoral erection.

When erect, the visible portion of the clitoris (the glans) peaks out from the clitoral hood and grows 50% to 300% in size. Just like the vaginal lips swell during arousal, the clitoral structures swell as blood circulation increases and the tissues engorge.

The clitoris is a very innervated and vascularized and therefore a particularly sensitive erogenous zone. When it comes to stimulating this organ, women have different preferences—some prefer a very light touch, while others enjoy more intense pressure.

The clitoris is very sensitive to stimulation. Caressing the clitoris brings most women pleasure and an intense sense of well-being. When stimulated, it fills with blood and stimulates the release of the pleasure hormone oxytocin.


The sole purpose of the clitoris is pleasure. No other female organ is designed only for pleasure.

Stimulation of the clitoris leads to orgasm. This stimulation can be direct—the friction of something rubbing the surface of the clitoris, or indirect—friction from the back- and-forth movements of a sexual intercourse.

Due to its location, the clitoris is naturally stimulated—pressed, rubbed—by the passage of the penis during penetration. The clitoris can also be quickly aroused using the fingers, lips, or tongue, or a vibrator.

There is a strongly held misconception that some women come to orgasm from clitoral stimulation, while others orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, but this is a false idea. An orgasm is a holistic experience—the vulva, vagina, and clitoris are all involved. However, most women need some sort of clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.


Can it get sick?

Like the other sensitive genital organs, the clitoris can be irritated by friction due to excessively tight clothing (skinny jeans, thongs) or to synthetic materials. Small accidental injuries—nicks and cuts—can damage this sensitive area although it is well protected.

Other problems that can affect this organ are yeast infections or vaginal herpes.


The clitoris can be damaged by intimate piercings if they are done badly or poorly disinfected.

If symptoms such as irritation, pain, or a whitish secretion persist for several days, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor or gynaecologist.

Do it because you care about your clitoris and to maintain your overall intimate health—symptoms such as these may indicate other problems with the reproductive system.

In rare cases, a woman can suffer from clitoral phimosis—excessive tightness of the skin or extra tissue around the clitoris making it difficult or impossible to access. As in men, phimosis is resolved surgically.

The art of self-pleasure

Nevertheless, the clitoris should be a source of pleasure! Most women discover this aspect of their bodies at some point early on in their lives, young girls may masturbate innocently to calm themselves or deal with intense emotion, only later coming to understand the sexual component of such touch.

There are many positive aspects to masturbation, including good feelings and getting to know yourself.


‘Self-service’ helps you better understand what kind of touch brings you pleasure, then you can share this with your partner to enhance your sexual practice.

Most women can bring themselves to orgasm mechanically with some kind of circular clitoral stimulation. Even if you’ve discovered something that works reliably,  it’s worth trying out other methods—especially since the body and its sensitivities change over time:

  • Glide across the clitoris and the clitoral hood—up and down, back and forth—using your fingers or favourite sex toy.
  • Light, gentle tapping on the clitoris/ clitoral hood can help you reach orgasm more slowly end enjoyably—accelerate the pace as desired.
  • Use two fingers to gently pinch the clitoral cap, pulling gently up and down, or side to side.
  • The hidden structures of the clitoris surround the vaginal canal, so penetrating your vagina with your fingers or a sex toy can bring bliss. Use a vibrating sex toy to enhance the sensations.

Clitoral stimulation in duet

If you are having sex with a partner, don’t hide your desire for clitoral stimulation. There are many ways of achieving this:

  • Many sexual positions with penetration (with the penis or a sex toy) can be accompanied by finger play on and around the clitoris.
  • The ‘lotus position’—partners sitting face to face, legs wrapped around each other—allows direct access to the clitoris while bodies are in motion.
  • Your partner’s pelvis is a great tool for stimulating the clitoris—a woman can control the motion and rub her clit against the pubic bone or the penis to find just the right pressure and pace that will make her come.
  • Oral sex, with the tongue gently circling the clitoris, can be pleasurable. Many women also enjoy a light sucking.

!Some women prefer not to be given direct clitoral stimulation—the sensations may be too strong or even painful. Here indirect simulation is the key—experiment with touching, caressing, tapping the hood and the area around the clitoris.


The clitoris can also be stimulated indirectly, through the labia majora (the great vaginal lips).

Sexual pleasure isn’t about having practiced an arsenal of techniques, but about openness and sharing, playfulness and joy, trust and vulnerability, and acceptance of the other person!

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