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The amazing clitoris

Lately I have been doing a lot of exploration of womanhood and matriarchy*. This has involved listening to a few podcasts, by the likes of Rachel Reed, Jane Hardwicke Collings and others, and reading whatever I can find on the topic. I am only at the very beginning of my journey into (re)discovering what it means to be woman and others may explain things more thoroughly or eloquently, but I wanted to write my thoughts down on the subject of the clitoris (because I am a bit upset at being deceived for all these years).

As a health professional I know what the clitoris is, or at least I thought I did. Recently I have across some interesting information.

In all the textbooks I have ever looked at that describe the female anatomy the clitoris has always been pointed out as a small area just above the urethra. Recently however, I started seeing images of things that looked like this (picture below) with explanations that this is actually what the clitoris looks like!!

Picture of the actual clitoris! Source unknown

Now, some may say it is ‘perverted’ to be looking pictures like this or to be doing more reading or ‘research’ on this topic, but let me ask you this – is it wrong to want more information about an organ that is in my body? About an organ that is in approximately 3 billion bodies around the world? Would you have an issue if I looked at a picture of the heart or lungs or kidneys? Surely we have a right to know….

Apparently, it has only been in the last few decades that the clitoris has been truly examined for its structure and purpose - some clever scientist/health professional got women to masturbate in a MRI machine so that she could map out the structure! And here are some interesting facts about it:

  • It contains approx. 8000 nerve endings – the head of the penis contains about 3000

  • Its sole function is pleasure. Although some theorise that it swells during childbirth to cushion the baby's head

  • The top of it grows over time (about 7x in late adulthood from puberty)

So why has it not been discussed in so much detail until now?

Well, because centuries ago it was declared that women should not have pleasure and that the female organs were the source of their ‘hysteria’ - notice anything similar between that word and the word ‘hysterectomy’? Hmmmm....

In some countries the clitoris is cut, or even removed, as they believe it could take over the woman and cause her to be ‘frivolous’ in her affections (I am being very PG in my explanations here – if you want to know more information on this look up ‘female genital mutilation’).

Very simply put, people have been scared of the power a woman could potentially hold, and have therefore have done what they can to dismiss or squash that power (is painful childbirth really our burden to bare because Eve bit into an apple??). It may not be done so consciously now, as we have had centuries of conditioning, or as Rachel Reed says ‘grooming’, to believe that it is so, and now it is mostly done sub-consciously or automatically, without any thought as to why.

And this leads to a topic that is for others who are more experienced in this area. One day I hope to truly understand what it is to be female/woman and be able to help others understand their power.

*A side note on matriarchy, because I think its pretty cool - when we hear the word 'patriarchy' we often think of power, people leading us, telling us what to do, and usually done by males or men. It may lead you think that 'matriarchy' is about being led by females or woman, or them being in charge. However, where patriarchy is linear, eg. moving forward, has a leader and those following behind, and one person or a small group telling others what to it do, it is not necessarily only done by men or males. Matriarchy on the other hand is circular and not necessarily only done by women - it is an inclusive way of guiding a group of people, it is traditionally guided by nature which has cycles - the seasons, the moon, life and death, etc - and asks for the opinions/input of all involved. Interesting...


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