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Not Just For Sexual Pleasure, But Clitoris Can Also Help Women Conceive

Regarded as the most elusive part of the female anatomy, the clitoris has been firmly tied to sexual pleasure in humans. Located at the top of a woman's vulva, it is one of the least talked about organ despite half of the world's population being born with it.

To add, there have been various controversies regarding the female sexual organ with anatomists debating over the existence of it and alleged function of it.

The Father Of Modern Anatomy Dismissed The Existence Of Clitoris

It may sound appalling, but that did happen. Andreas Vesalius, the Father of Modern Anatomy dismissed the assertion that clitoris is the seat of woman's delight (as termed by Matteo Realdo Colombo) and added that clitoris was an anomaly and simply does not exist in normal healthy women [1] [2] .

And it does not stop there - because it looks like the earlier male-dominated school of anatomy simply couldn't care much about the female anatomy. English surgeon and President of the Society of British Medicine Isaac Baker Brown defined clitoris as a source of hysteria (yeah right!) and epilepsy - because the symptoms of epilepsy are temporary confusion, loss of awareness & uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs (I hope you get where I am going with this). He said it should be removed to cure hysteria and other forms of "female madness" (Oh for crying out loud!) [3] [4] .

With many more similar implausible assertions and claims later, the scientists and medical experts of modern science have thankfully backtracked and agree that the clitoris is, real and the main function is for sexual pleasure.

But, Why Do We Need A Clitoris?

With various studies being carried out to explore the function of the clitoris in the female body, researchers have come up with various findings such as that, 'the clitoral orgasm is a remnant of our evolutionary past that once served to induce ovulation during intercourse' [5] .

Another study asserts that clitoris allows women to discriminate between sexual partners based on who can help them reach orgasm with the right type of stimulation [6] . One of the other common views is that clitoral orgasms lead to stronger bonding between sexual partners preparing them for childbearing and parenting [7] .

However, a recent study overrules the previous claims to claim that the function of the clitoris is not just to induce sexual pleasure but is vital for the reproduction process.

Clitoris Stimulation Activates Brain & Facilitates Reproduction

According to the study published in the Clinical Anatomy journal, the researcher argues that the stimulation of the clitoris activates parts of the brain, which in turn lead to multiple physiological changes in the vaginal tract [8] .

The psychological changes aids in promoting vaginal lubrication, an increase in vaginal oxygen, an increase in temperature and decrease in acidity, which all combine to facilitate reproduction by creating the right environment for the sperm.

This, in turn, brings the cervix away from the semen pool and prevents semen from travelling into the uterus too rapidly, thus allowing sperm time to become mobile and activated to fertilise the egg - pointing out that the clitoris has both reproductive and pleasure functions.

The researcher also links his findings to that of genital mutilation. That is, female genital mutilation reduces a woman's fertility, implying this is a result of circumcision of the clitoris [9] .

However, There Is A Need For Further Investigation

Scientifically and biologically, it is not unusual for your organs to have two functions. But, the psychological shifts such as vaginal lubrication and increased vaginal oxygen as described by the researcher can also occur without clitoris stimulation [10] .

Roy Levin, the researcher 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." [11]

Consequently, it does not state the findings are incorrect - they are just in need of further investigation and discussion.

View Article References
  1. [1] Blechner, M. J. (2017). The clitoris: Anatomical and psychological issues. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 18(3), 190-200.
  2. [2] Tubbs, R. S., Linganna, S., & Loukas, M. (2008). Matteo Realdo Colombo (c. 1516–1559): the anatomist and surgeon. The American surgeon, 74(1), 84-86.
  3. [3] Victorian Clitoridectomy: Isaac Baker Brown and His Harmless Operative Procedure
  4. [4] Fleming, J. B. (1960). Clitoridectomy--the disastrous downfall of Isaac Baker Brown, FRCS (1867). The Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology of the British Empire, 67(6), 1017.
  5. [5] Pavlicev, M., Zupan, A. M., Barry, A., Walters, S., Milano, K. M., Kliman, H. J., & Wagner, G. P. (2019). An experimental test of the ovulatory homolog model of female orgasm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(41), 20267-20273.
  6. [6] Miller, G. (2011). The mating mind: How sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature. Anchor.
  7. [7] Coria-Avila, G. A., Herrera-Covarrubias, D., Ismail, N., & Pfaus, J. G. (2016). The role of orgasm in the development and shaping of partner preferences. Socioaffective neuroscience & psychology, 6(1), 31815.
  8. [8] Levin, R. J. (2019). The Clitoris—An Appraisal of its Reproductive Function During the Fertile Years: Why Was It, and Still Is, Overlooked in Accounts of Female Sexual Arousal. Clinical Anatomy.
  9. [9] Almroth, L., Elmusharaf, S., El Hadi, N., Obeid, A., El Sheikh, M. A., Elfadil, S. M., & Bergström, S. (2005). Primary infertility after genital mutilation in girlhood in Sudan: a case-control study. The Lancet, 366(9483), 385-391.
  10. [10] Levin, R., & Meston, C. (2006). Nipple/breast stimulation and sexual arousal in young men and women. The journal of sexual medicine, 3(3), 450-454.
  11. [11] Wiley. (2019, November 05). Evidence That the Clitoris Is Important for Reproduction. Retrieved from, https://scitechdaily.com/evidence-that-the-clitoris-is-important-for-reproduction/

Read more about: pregnancy sexual health
Story first published: Saturday, November 9, 2019, 16:00 [IST]
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