With Masturbation Month almost at an end, I would be remiss if I neglected that already misunderstood part of the human anatomy—the clitoris. But don’t say it too loud. It is rumored that if you say its name three times one appears behind you in a mirror and you can hear a dead baby crying.
Of course, my jokes aren’t too far from the truth. Myths about the female vagina abound even today. In Egypt, for example, where 1 in 3 girls are circumcised, it is believed female genital mutilation actually aides in reproduction. The truth is that infection from female genital mutilation can actually cause sterility and death.
Here in America—where we don’t circumcise our women but we sure as hell keep their vaginas under legislative lock and key—the clitoris is finally getting its day in the sun. With her project: “100 Natural Laws of Cliteracy” artist Sofia Wallace is tackling the clit and all those wily misconceptions that go along with it.
And it is CLITERALLY the best thing ever!
In a Huffington Post article, Wallace explains the project:
“I wanted to talk about female genitals in a way that I felt wasn’t really being talked about. For me, this word ‘cliteracy’ perfectly breaks down the idea of the project…It illuminates this idea of total illiteracy and incompetence when it comes to the female body.”
As probably the most clit-obsessed gay man you’ll ever meet, I’ve come to realize that, other than making babies, we don’t really put much emphasis on the vagina here in America. How appalling is it that we live in such a sexually driven age and yet the female orgasm has been systemically dismissed as a side thought or altogether unimportant?
It isn’t surprising when the sham that is sex education teaches sexual denial rather than safe sexual pleasure. When masturbation is viewed as Lucifer’s greasy knuckle and birth control just an abortion in a bottle. Even science dragged its feet getting to the root of female sexuality. Once we discovered female ejaculate played no part in fertilization, science ejected itself right out of the discussion. It wasn’t until 1998 that the rest of the female vagina was finally mapped out, and by then we didn’t care because we were still searching for that elusive G-spot.
Well no more. Today we celebrate Masturbation Month and clits everywhere. Everything you ever wanted to know about the clitoris—and maybe some things you didn’t—is right here in this clit-tastic blog. Enjoy!
The word clitoris is derived from the Ancient Greek word Kleitoris, or “little hill.” Our friends, the Greeks, might not have known the depth of the clit but many cultures since have at least viewed the clit as the source of female pleasure. According to Nicole Lock:
“Women and their genitals were considered inverted versions of men in ancient Greece and in Renaissance Europe. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that European scientists began to think of men and women as separate sexes. Females were still considered the lesser of the sexual binary, menstruation was still considered an illness, and women were still considered weaker than men.”
Throughout the centuries various cultures have picked up the torch of female sexuality, but it wasn’t until 1998 when Urologist Helen O’Connell used MRI technology that someone finally got cliterate.
The Clit and Dry
Today we know that most, if not all, female orgasms come from direct or indirect stimulus to the clitoris. The clit is shaped like a wishbone and has some 8000 nerve endings. No wonder it feels so good that some women squirt. And yes female ejaculate is real and no it’s not pee. About 1 in 10 women can squirt, though this might be the next mythological dragon doctors try to slay.
Not to get too technical either, but it’s important to know what you’re working with down there. The clitoris consists of the glans, or “little hill” our friends the Greeks were on about, a clitoral shaft that reaches between 4 and to 9 centimeters inside the pelvis, two corpus cavernosum which wrap around the clitoral body, and two cura, bearing little bulbs.
Okay, maybe that is a little too technical but don’t worry. You can find your very own vagina here. Download, color, and label away. Make notes. Learn your clitoris. Sadly, too many female-bodied women don’t.
But that is what is so majestic about Masturbation Month! It encourages everyone to take time and explore the things that turn us on down there. Take time to learn about your vagina and give it what it aches for.
According to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, 10% of women are anorgasmic—meaning they have either never experienced an orgasm with a partner, themselves, or both. Perhaps they didn’t realize they were having an orgasm. Maybe the almighty O failed to live up to all its hype. Either way, failure to experience this release can leave some women feeling achy and empty inside. Like an itch gone unscratched. The female equivalent of “blue balls.”
The truth is women experience orgasms in vastly different ways. What’s important is not to judge others’ experiences by your own. Pleasure comes first and foremost. Then, possibly, you come. Masturbation is one way to help understand your body, what feels good and what doesn’t. If you have a sex toy around, all the better. If not, just bang one out the old fashioned way. And here are a few added tips once you get going:
1. Kegles. Kegels have various health benefits, the most beneficial of which is sex. By squeezing your pelvic muscles like you’re stopping your pee-stream, kegels are a great way to strengthen your pelvic walls. And you can do them anywhere! I’m doing them as I write this sentence. Women report more intense orgasms and men say they shoot like they’re fifteen again.
2. Nipple Orgasms. Breasts can be very erogenous for women. During sexual arousal the female breasts can swell up to 25%. New studies suggest they are also a direct link to the clitoris. According Dr. Justin Lehmiller:
“The researchers discovered that stimulation of the nipple activated an area of the brain known as the genital sensory cortex. This is the same brain region activated by stimulation of the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. What this means is that women’s brains seem to process nipple and genital stimulation in the same way. In light of this, it is not at all surprising that many women are aroused by having their nipples touched and that, for some, this may be enough to lead to orgasm.”
Some, not all. Remember, your bodies are like precious sexual snowflakes. Dr. Lehmiller also follows with a word of advice which I will echo here. Some nipples are more sensitive than others. Don’t go pulling one off trying to get your nut. Use caution. Learn what feels good and run with it.
3. Orgasmic Meditation. One of the most heart-wrenching stories I ever heard was in the 2002 HBO documentary The Vagina Monologues, when an elderly woman described crying the first time she saw her vagina.
Apparently this is not uncommon.
In her 2011 TEDx Talk, Nicole Daedone describes female arousal as a hunger amongst Western women. She goes on to describe a specific type of masturbation in which her partner stimulates the upper-left-hand quadrant of her clitoris for 15 minutes. What happened next sounds like an orgasm of explosive proportions.
Criticizing the DSM-V and its definition of Hypoactive Female Sexuality Arousal Disorder, Daedon said:
“I do think we have a pleasure deficit disorder in this country. And I don’t think it’s medical. I think it’s a cultural issue. I do think, though, that there is a cure and that cure is orgasm. But it’s going to be a very different definition of orgasm than we know. It’s not going to be that fleeting moment of climax that seems to take the whole rest of the act hostage. It’s going to be a definition of orgasm that actually works with a woman’s body. So rather than trying to stuff the woman’s body into an ill-fitting definition, we make the definition work with what the woman’s body does.”
Beautifully said, Nicole! In this country we are so cock starved we castrate our women. Figuratively speaking, of course. We put too much emphasis into defining pleasure we forget to just lay back and experience it.
And that is why we celebrate May.
Masturbation Month is more than just a tongue-and-cheek reason to talk about jerking off. Its entire concept was to promote sex positivity and safe sexual awareness in our schools. As it stands now, kids learn more about sex from porn than their schools. And we see how much emphasis pornography puts on the female orgasm, let alone all the other shit kids should be learning and aren’t. More on that later.
For now, this is where I leave you.
Until next time…