What is the clitoris?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
The clitoris is the most sensitive part of a woman's genital anatomy. This small mound of tissue is located at the point where the upper ends of the labia minora meet, above the vaginal opening. It's constructed from the same tissue as the head of a man's penis (the glans). A soft fold of tissue called the clitoral hood covers the pea-shaped protrusion.
The clitoris is a woman’s sexual powerhouse and consists of several different parts. The clitoral glans is the external bump, visible on most women’s anatomy.  The size of the visible clitoris can vary, but the length of the shaft is usually 1-2 inches and about a little more than a half an inch wide. It is full of thousands of nerve endings. The clitoral hood often acts as a shield for the clitoral glans, protecting it from too much stimulation, but direct stimulation of the area can still be uncomfortable and the hood often retracts when a woman becomes aroused, exposing the glans. Behind the shaft of the clitoris is more than the visible eye can detect, as it attaches to the pubic bone and separates into two legs or crura that are each about 2 to 4 inches in length.
Emily Nagoski
Emily Nagoski on behalf of Good In Bed

Biologically, the clitoris is not just the nubbin of tissue at the dorsal end of the vulva. The shaft bends back deep within the tissue of a woman’s vulva and splits into two legs (known as crura) that terminate at the mouth of the vagina. Stimulate the clitoris up north, get lubrication down south. The anatomy of the clitoris extends right down to the bottom edge of the vaginal introitus -- the delicate, ever-so-sensitive tissue of the fourchette, the female homologue of the frenulum. The clitoris extends everywhere throughout the vulva.

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