Back in the early nineties, actress Margi Clarke, went out on the street for The Good Sex Guide and asked men to identify the clitoris on a diagram. Almost all of them failed, spawning a generation of jokes about men's ineptitude when faced with the female anatomy (What do a clitoris, an anniversary, and a toilet have in common? Men always miss them). I know that personally, I had been having sexual intercourse for many years armed with only the very vaguest understanding of what the clitoris was and where it was precisely located.
Dismissed and misunderstood for hundred of years, the clitoris is the one part of the female body whose sole purpose is pleasure. It is vitally important that men understand not only where the clitoris is located but fully understand the extent of the clitoris and how all of the parts of the clitoris work together to produce female orgasms. Armed with this knowledge a man will be in a much better position to help his partner explore and enhance her sexual response. In reading about female sexuality, it became clear to me that the reason that so many women are disappointed in sex is that their sexuality is defined according to male standards. By this I mean that sex is intercourse-focused, which works very well for men, but not reliably for women. Especially submissive men, whose prime directive is to focus on providing sexual pleasure to their dominant female partners, the challenge I believe is to help transform society’s male-centered model of sexuality and work towards the development of a more equitable ideal. Accomplishing this requires, in part, reclaiming information about women’s bodies and sexual response that has been lost or ignored under the antique phallyocentric model. It also demands a broader understanding on the part of men about female sexual plumbing and how a woman receives pleasure.
According to Rebecca Chalker, author of The Clitoral Truth: The Secret World at Your Fingertips, for 2,500 years the clitoris and the penis were considered equivalent in all respects expect their arrangement, but all that changed after the eighteenth century with the advent of the patriarchal posture when this knowledge was repressed, ignored and forgotten. It was not until 1559 that Real Colombo, M.D., re-discovered the clitoris and its role in female sexual response.
Even today, the clitoris is still very confusing to both men and women and largely misunderstood and that is why men would be well served to step back and take a broader view of sex than just to focus on the heterosexual intercourse obsessed version that’s so popular in our modern culture. Even many doctors and sex therapists, still think that the clitoris is a teeny pea-sized bump, and that women's sexual response is not as powerful as men's. What many people call the clitoris is just the tip (or glans), and is only one of many parts-that all have corresponding parts in the penis-and work in a similar way to produce orgasm.
The preface of Chalker’s book is that the clitoris is actually far more than that little nub of nerve endings above the entrance of the vagina. She contends that the clitoris is actually quite a large and complex organ and that the better understanding of its structure within the female sexual organs will bring better understanding to both men about the female sexual response. From the introduction Chalker writes: “The clitoris has 18 parts some of which you can see-like the glans or tip, inner lips (called labia minora in medicalese) and the hood, which is equivalent to the foreskin in men. Then there are parts that you can feel, such as the shaft a cord about an inch long that is attached to the glans, and the urethral sponge which you can feel through the roof of the vagina. Then there are muscles, blood vessels, and nerves which you cannot feel, but which are essential in causing orgasm.”
For centuries the clitoris was described as a nerve-rich nub about the size of a pea. And indeed, it is dense in nerves, with over 80,000 of them. But it wasn't until 1998, when Dr Helen O'Connell challenged the “pea-sized” theory with her study of the clitoris, reported in New Scientist. O'Connell discovered it was wishbone shaped, with erectile tissue surrounding the urethra on three sides. Rather than being the size and shape of a pea, O'Connell reported that the clitoris actually has two legs (or crura) which extend between five and nine centimeters into the pelvis, as well as two bulbs (called “the bulbs of the vestibule”) which lie to either side of the vaginal opening within the labia minora (inner labia). She followed up this research in 2005, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rather than dissection to study the clitoris, and reported similar findings.
The visible portion of the clitoris, the glans clitoris closely resembles a little penis and both organs function in similar ways. Both are full of tiny cabernosal arteries lined with smooth muscle. During sexual arousal, that smooth muscle relaxes, allowing the arteries to fill up with blood. Unlike the male penis, the clitoris is the only organ in the human body built solely for pleasure, and that in some women it is up to 14 centimeters long. Different women have different textured clitori and like it played with differently. Often women who have the large hard rubber like clitoris like when the man bites it or sucks it forcefully. Other women with a more sensitive clitoris like when the man flicks it with medium force. Some women have an extremely sensitive clitoris and only enjoy very gentle play focused on it, so softly that the stimulation is barely touching it. In general, women find stimulation of the clitoris to be uncomfortable and unpleasant when the surface is dry. When stimulating a woman’s clitoris with his fingers, the male should ensure that his fingers are well lubricated, using either the woman’s own natural lubrication if she is aroused, or a lubricating product until she becomes wet. The need for lubrication makes the giving of oral sex an excellent choice for a method of stimulating a woman’s clitoris as the man’s own saliva provides the needed lubrication.
In vanilla encounters, the burden is often on the male to learn through experimentation exactly how his partner enjoys having her clitoris stimulated. Often dominant women are quite comfortable in telling the man exactly what she likes. But there are a few basic guidelines that can be followed by a man on his own which most women would find pleasurable.
- Lick from the stem of the clitoris to the inner labia and back up again in soft sweeping strokes.
- Slip a finger inside the vagina and press on her G-spot as you gently lick the tip of her clit.
- Suck the whole of her clitoris and labia softly with your mouth, lapping in between her labia as you do so.
- Some women enjoy getting onto all fours and sliding a finger or toy inside their vagina from behind teasing her G-spot while the man licks her clit from underneath.
Sexuality is a part of who we are as sentient human beings, and it varies from person to person, culture to culture. So what does this mean for you? Well, to start with, you can have a lot more fun if you explore a woman’s clitoris in all its glory discovering how to turn her on in new ways. Additionally, helping to construct a new sexual model requires a thorough evaluation of the psychological, social, and biological facets of sexuality. That is why I decided to write this article about what every submissive man should know about the clitoris.