6 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Your Clitoris

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Get reacquainted with one of the most erogenous female organs.

We all know that an orgasm can be elusive for women and that her clitoris is the secret key to unlocking her sexual pleasure. In fact, the clitoris' sole purpose is your pleasure, but what else do we know about it? It's a powerful female sex organ that comes with a surprising number of facts.

1. It has universal language. The word "clitoris" may have been derived from the ancient Greek word for "key." It's also been traced to the verb "kleitoriazein", which means to "titillate lasciviously or to seek pleasure." Still, no matter where we trace back it's linguistic origins, the word — clitoris — is recognized not just in English, but in all modern European languages.

 

2. It's as big as a penis. Did you know that the clitoris, as a whole, is as large as a penis? Yes, you read that right. Your erectile tissues (and their valved capillaries) are spread out over a larger area than his. However, his penis and your clitoris are equal in both size and weight.

3. It never ages. We all know that women can orgasm multiple times without a refractory period, but despite any wear and tear, your clitoris never ages. Once it is mature, the clitoris remains at the peak of its power for the rest of a woman's life. That means, you'll have the same orgasmic capacity (and many swear increasing pleasure, too) at 95 years old as you did when you were a teenager.

4. It has more nerve endings than you think. We all know the clitoris is sensitive, but did you know that it has about 8,000 nerve endings — that's twice as many as there are in the glans of a penis, and more than in your fingertips, lips or tongue.  

5. It's stimulated with exercise. Foreplay is important for a satisfying orgasm and you might be surprised to hear that the best foreplay is ... a walk. Twenty minutes of moderate exercise increases a woman's genital engorgement by 168 percent — and the effect persists for hours. So take your sweetie for a walk around the park and don't be surprised if you both feel like a romp in bed afterward. The more you exercise, the healthier your clitoris will be.

6. Your brain and your clitoris. But did you know that a woman's orgasms are triggered by nerves that originate in at least six different tissues? Yes, nerve impulses from the clitoris build in your brain to achieve orgasm. Different women have different active nerve pathways, and these pathways change during pregnancy, lactation and after menopause. The thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) hinders orgasm, which centers in the feeling-centered hypothalamus. As we approach orgasm, the clitoris integrates information from these inputs, plus reports from the cerebral cortex, the hypothalamus, and the peripheral nervous system. Whew! Best not to think about it.

Susan Weed is the author of Down There: Sexual & Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way.

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