You might think you know your clitoris pretty well. I hope you do. It is, after all, the epicenter of female sexual pleasure. But there may be a few choice facts about your clit you don’t know, as highlighted in conceptual artist Sophia Wallace’s incredible installation work, CLITERACY: 100 Natural Laws.
Through her art, Wallace takes on her self-described role of ‘clitigator’, laying out her case for the clitoris, and addressing issues relating to everything from psychoanalysis and religion, to visual culture, architecture, history, and popular culture.
She describes Cliteracy as a new way to talk about democracy, citizenship, participation and bodies. In her words:
"Democracy without cliteracy: phallusy"
In an interview with Huffington Post shortly after her work went viral online, Wallace asserts: "It's appalling and shocking to think that scientifically, the clitoris was only discovered in 1998… But really, it may as well have never been discovered at all because there's still such ignorance when it comes to the female body."
"Your clit is not merely a button hidden between a your legs. It’s an iceberg of eroticism."
How Cliterate Are You?
Here are 12 stimulating facts about the clitoris you may not already know:
- In over five million years of human evolution, the clitoris is the only organ that exists for the sole purpose of providing pleasure
- The clitoris has been being ‘discovered’ and ‘rediscovered’ for centuries; by Italian anatomist Realdo Colombo in 1559, by Kinsey in the 1950s, and by Masters and Johnson in the 1960s, who (finally) recognized its importance in helping women achieve orgasm
- It wasn’t until 1998, when urologist Dr Helen O’Connell conducted MRI studies on volunteers, that the complete anatomy of the clit was understood, proving it to be exponentially larger and more complex than once believed
- Most of the clitoris is subterranean, meaning it is hidden inside the pelvic area. The external "head" is attached to the internal body, which is divided into clitoral "legs" that wrap around the vagina and the urethra. Like the penis, these swell with blood when aroused.
- The estimated size of the clitoris can range between 9 – 12cm in length, and 6cm in width
- The external head of the clitoris is estimated to have more than 8000 nerve endings… twice as many as that of the average penis
- An estimated 50 – 75% of women reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation, with or without the addition of vaginal intercourse
- A woman's ability to orgasm, and the intensity of her orgasm, has nothing to do with the shape, size, or color of her clit
- A clitoral orgasm involves between 3-15 contractions and can last from 10-30 seconds. Because women also have pelvic contractions during orgasm, the duration of their orgasm may seem longer.
- Clits never deteriorate, but actually grow larger with age. At the end of puberty, a girl's clitoris has nearly doubled in size. By the time a woman is 32 years old, her clitoris is almost four times larger than it was at puberty. After menopause, the clitoris is about seven times larger than it was at birth.
- The clitoris can be stimulated by exercise. In fact, 20 minutes of moderate exercise increases a woman's genital engorgement by 168 percent — and the effect persists for hours.
- Female circumcision involves the partial or complete removal of a prepubescent girl’s clitoris. According to Amnesty International, about two million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation every year. Only nine countries have specific legislation outlawing female genital mutilation.
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