The numbers are in and one of the most shared New York Times’ article in 2022 is about the clitoris.
Written by Rachel E Gross, science journalist and author of Vagina Obscura, an anatomical voyage, the article Half the World Has a Clitoris. Why Don’t Doctors Study It? is available in English and Spanish.
Why such an interest for a 20 min read on that subject? Maybe because despite the fact that half of the world population has got one, there is little accessible medical information about it. Got pain? Lost sensation? Episiotomy or hip surgery led to an inability to orgasm? You will very likely end up fighting for medical interest, let alone answers and solutions.
“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 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’s completely ignored by pretty much everyone,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, a urologist and sexual health specialist outside Washington, D.C. “There is no medical community that has taken ownership in the research, in the management, in the diagnosis of vulva-related conditions.”
But vulva owners know there is a lot happening there: secretions, insertions, expulsions, irritations, masturbation, uncomfortable underwear and much more. The clitoris-vulva-urethra triangle packs a punch when it comes to pleasure and pain. But for medicine, it is still the Bermuda triangle.
“In fields like urology, where male sexual pleasure and orgasm are considered integral, women’s sexual health “is seen as hysteria, Pandora’s box, all psychosocial, not real medicine,” said Dr. Rubin, who is also the education chair of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. “Sexual health and quality of life is not something we focus on for women.” (or any vulva owners)
But things are changing as voices are demanding better trained physicians and better care that takes into accounts all aspects of sexual health, including desire, pleasure and orgasm. People are asking questions, and actively looking for answers: while working on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for positivesexed website, we realized that one of the most common search was “clitoris diagrams”. If there is a thirst for information, let’s make it our mission to quench it by sharing some of the best diagrams we know.
From Stefanie Grubl, Vielma, Anatomical Charts
From University of Geneva, Science, Sex and identities program with the collaboration of Odile Fillod, Anatomical charts
From the article Anatomical Dissection of the Dorsal Nerve of the Clitoris, by Joseph A. Kelling, MD; Cameron R. Erickson, MD; Jessica Pin, BS; and Paul G. Pin, MD