Let’s talk about the clitoris. And why not?
Hell, the penis is one of the most talked-about organs imaginable. Most penile conversation is shrouded in code or wink-wink ellipsis, but nevertheless the male appendage is always on somebody’s mind.
The clitoris, though, is the most mysterious bit of humanity in existence. That is, mysterious to approximately half the planet’s humans. To hear many women grouse, most of the Y-chromosome population either doesn’t know of this particular organ’s existence or couldn’t properly locate it (and pay attention to it) if they were holding a roadmap.
And, hell, we’re not even talking about the G-spot! That little mass of sensory neurons has been the subject of scientific inquiry for more than 75 years, yet white-coated lab-sters still cannot even agree on its very existence. But first things first. The clitoris.
Speaking of researchers, I’d wrongly assumed those who delve into such things had generated reams of studies, charts, hypotheses, and clickbait headlines all centered on the little button hidden by a fleshly cowl.
I was wrong. Acc’d’g to an article in Monday’s New York Times, tragically few researchers have bothered to go spelunking for the clitoris. From the article:
Some urologists compare the vulva to “a small town in the Midwest,” said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a urologist and pioneer in the field of sexual medicine. Doctors tend to pass through it, barely looking up, on their way to their destination, the cervix and the uterus. That’s where the real medical action happens: ultrasounds, Pap smears, IUD insertion, childbirth.
If the vulva as a whole is an underappreciated city, the clitoris is a local roadside bar: little known, seldom considered, probably best avoided. “It is completely ignored by pretty much everyone,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, a urologist and sexual health specialist outside Washington, DC. “There is no medical community that has taken ownership in the research, in the management, in the diagnosis of vulva-related conditions.”
You see what’s happening there? By golly, the few doctors in the field of clitor-ology look upon the organ as merely a locus for pathology, for mechanical or electrical breakdown. God forbid anyone should consider the scientific inquiry into its existence and purpose as a positive thing, as a center of bliss and wonder and a heretofore secret pathway to a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Of course, the vast majority of researchers into sexuality and female anatomy historically have been males. And what do they care about the clitoris?
Natch, as more women get involved in medicine, that may change. It is to be hoped. But medical research has been traditionally conducted by guys, a certain percentage of whom, no doubt, were shocked to learn in college that their wives, girlfriends, and/or distaff relations actually possessed a sexual pleasure center.
The good news is as of 2020, nearly 41 percent of the physicians and surgeons licensed in the United States were female. Assuming there to be a a similar inflow of females into the medical research club, there’s reason for optimism.
Perhaps by the year 2050 medical scientists will have produced and accumulated a mountain of information on things like the clitoris.
As it is, we’ve only very recently discovered that the clitoris is more — much, much more — than merely the organic toggle switch purportedly enlightened male lovers think they must flick obsessively in order to satisfy their mates. For pity’s sake, I consider myself an enlightened male lover but, truth be told, I’m only guessing I’m adept at ministering to it. I mean, I can ask about my technique all I’d like but I’ll never really know if I’m a virtuoso because I don’t possess my own instrument.
The clitoris, those very few researchers interested in it tell us, is actually an extensive item of anatomical architecture. Jeez, that fact alone makes my gender’s collective ignorance of the thing even more daunting. I mean, were a male so inclined, he could dig up images of the glans clitoris on the internet and at least know a tiny bit about that neighborhood. But now we’re confronted with a much deeper mystery, the hidden extent of the overwhelming majority of the structure.
The clitoris actually is shaped not like a micro-penis but a graceful bird with its wings caught, visually, in the downflap position. In truth, per the most up-to-date knowledge, the clitoris embraces the entirety of a woman’s vaginal vestibule. It’s composed of multiple structures and blood vessel avenues and neurological networks.
Some researchers wonder of the clitoral structure is even more extensive than that, including the aforementioned G-spot as well as other still-unidentified parts.
Why wouldn’t there be a torrent of people itching to get into the field of clitoral research? It’s wide open and each successive discovery is sure to make a name for the person responsible. And how many billions of women would be forever grateful for the dissemination of knowledge about a thing that can bring them such physical and psychological fulfillment.
But, as we know all too well, guys, for the last 100,000 years of more of human inquiry, have run that inquiry and stressed investigation into things that affect them and ignored things pertaining to non-guys.
Oh sure, that’s changing, but all too glacially. All the weird religious attitudes we’ve manufactured over the millennia seem not only to have made sexuality in general something disgusting and at best a necessary evil, but specifically have branded female sexuality a horrifying thing. For the past few thousand years, medical people (read: men) have pretended female sexuality doesn’t even exist. And if compelled to admit its existence, they’ve treated it as some moral or psychological malady.
Some sexuality researchers suggest the clitoris may have no evolutionary purpose, no vital role to play in the continuation of the species. One way to read that would be to say they’re dismissing the organ, treating it as they do the little toe, the earlobe, or the vermiform appendix.
Perhaps as we learn more about the little/big thing, we can conclude that it’s really evolutionarily useful, even indispensable, if only because it’s for pleasure alone.
Female researchers: this one’s on you.