Dr Miriam Stoppard: A woman’s clitoris has greater role than providing sexual pleasure

By | December 27, 2019

The assertion that the clitoris is the only human organ thats sole function is transmission of sexual pleasure seems to upset some people. It has been the subject of much study, starting way back in the 16th century.

Over the centuries the question of what the clitoris is for has interested many male anatomists.

Now Roy Levin, a sexual health expert, has concluded that the clitoris has a more crucial role than simply providing sexual pleasure. It has a key role in conceiving a baby.

Stimulating the clitoris during ­foreplay triggers internal changes in the vagina and womb that make it easier for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg. In other words, the clitoris helps conception.

In the journal Clinical Anatomy, Dr Levin writes: “Despite numerous modern accounts that characterise the activation of human female sexual arousal by clitoral stimulation, none appear to have referred to it possessing any involvement in a specific ­reproductive role.”

Having reviewed 36 studies or papers published between 1949 and last year, he goes on: “Nearly all repeat the mantra that ‘the clitoris is the only human organ whose function is the transmission of sexual pleasure’.”

He says scientists have puzzled over the organ since 1545, when Charles Estienne, a French physician, thought it had a urinary function.

Stimulating the clitoris during foreplay triggers internal changes in the vagina and womb that make it easier for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg (stock photo)

In 1559, Realdo Colombo, a Venetian ­anatomist, theorised that it was “the seat of woman’s delight”, and Andreas Vesalius, a Paduan surgeon, argued that it was useless and didn’t exist in healthy women in 1564!

But reviewing 15 studies from 1966-2017, Dr Levin found they showed stimulating the tiny organ “activates the brain to instigate changes” in a woman’s reproductive organs, including boosting blood flow and lubrication in the vagina.

It also encourages “tenting” of the vagina so it can corral the sperm in a holding pattern, giving them time to become lively and mobile.

He warns attributing reproductive function to the clitoris might be seen as ­questioning a woman’s right to sex simply for pleasure, rather than as a means of baby-making.

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Not all women are thrilled with this dual function of the clitoris.

Joanna Ryan, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, argues “the potential for female sexual experience and pleasure [is] being ultimately subsumed to the functions or purpose of heterosexual reproduction”.

But Dr Levin is sticking to his guns, and said: “The often repeated mantra that the sole function of the clitoris is to induce sexual pleasure is now ­obsolete. The concept changes a major sexual belief, and the physiological evidence is now obvious.”


Mirror – Health