How big is a woman's clitoris

The clitoris - the female center of pleasure

The visible part of the clitoris, also known as the clitoris or clitoris bead, is located above the entrance to the vagina, fairly centrally between the labia majora and above the insertion of the labia minora. However, the organ complex is much larger than its visible part - and its structure is similar to the penis.

Information on this page:

↓ Structure of the clitoris
↓ Clitoral and vaginal orgasm
↓ Embryonic development of the clitoris
↓ clitoral hypertrophy

Unlike its male counterpart, the clitoris is the only human organ that serves exclusively for pleasure. Perhaps that is why it has been medically neglected for so long.

The structure of the clitoris

The clitoris is not just an "organ located at the front end of the labia minora", as the 2014 dictionary of medical terms explains.

Because: In principle, with the clitoral pearl, you only see “the tip of the iceberg”, the highly sensitive glans (glans). The whole clitoris is about four inches long and consists of

  • Muscles,
  • Ribbons,
  • Erectile tissue,
  • Glands,
  • annoy
  • and blood vessels.

The clitoral bead or glans

No other human organ is as densely supplied with nerve fibers as the clitoris: up to 8,000 nerve endings meet in the glans of the clitoris. The nervous supply is denser than that of the human tongue and even denser than that of the male glans.

In order to protect the highly sensitive organ accordingly, the glans of the clitoris is covered by a foreskin. Direct contact is only possible when the foreskin (prepuce) is withdrawn. Whether it feels good differs from woman to woman and can also change with arousal.

The inner clitoris

  • Inside, the clitoris consists of extensive, paired erectile tissue, which includes two clitoral legs and two onion-shaped corpus cavernosum.
  • The inner clitoris is a cavernous body system that includes the lower urethra, the opening of the vagina and the perineum.
  • Similar to the penis, a clitoris also has a gland, a foreskin, erectile tissue, and a small shaft. This swells when the clitoris is aroused.

Where is the inner clitoris located?

Most of the female pleasure organ lies inside the pelvis, as studies by the Australian urologist Helen O’Connell first revealed in 1998.

The clitoris legs are 6 to 9 cm long, reach deep into the pelvis and unite in front of the pubic bone to form the clitoris shaft. The two onion-shaped cavernous bodies partially nestle against the front wall of the vagina and elastically enclose the vaginal vestibule. Therefore, clitoral stimulation can also take place during vaginal sex.

The thighs and erectile tissue form a particularly erogenous zone around the urethra and the vaginal entrance.

++ More on the topic on Erogenic zones in women and men ++

Clitoral and vaginal orgasm

In the past, a distinction was made in women between the "vaginal" orgasm, which is achieved by moving the penis in the vagina, and the "clitoral" orgasm, which is brought about by stimulating the glans of the clitoris.

++ More on the topic: Woman's orgasm ++

This distinction seems to be becoming less important as researchers assume that clitoral nerve fiber excitation is involved in every orgasm. Ultimately, the vaginal orgasm is also influenced by clitoral stimulation. Because the vaginal tissue itself is hardly supplied with nerve fibers, which seems to be sensible in view of the mechanical stress during the birth process.

In contrast to the erectile tissue of the penis, the clitoral tissue swells much more slowly after orgasm, so it remains active for longer and is therefore the prerequisite for multiple orgasms.

Clitoris and g-spot

Some sexologists believe that the inner part of the clitoris, which is closely connected to the surrounding tissues, can be thought of as "the G-spot". They suspect that this erogenous patch of pleasure is not, as previously assumed, an area independent of the clitoris, but rather that part of the vaginal wall that is densely surrounded on three sides by clitoral tissue.

Embryonic development of the clitoris

Historically, the clitoris and penis emerge from the same genital system. The sexual predispositions look the same in female and male fetuses up to the 8th week of pregnancy.

Only in the course of further development do hormones and other factors ensure that the bipotential system develops in a certain direction:

  • This is how male fetuses begin to produce testosterone, under the influence of which the penis and testicles grow.
  • In female fetuses, there is no testosterone production and the clitoris, vagina, uterus and ovaries develop.

Clitoral hypertrophy and intersexuality

If a female fetus nevertheless produces male sex hormones due to a congenital enzyme defect, the fetus will develop male characteristics in spite of female chromosomes.

Such changes are referred to in technical terms as intrauterine virilization (masculinization). In mild cases, they are associated with clitoral hypertrophy, i.e. an anatomically unusually large, penis-like clitoris (penisoid).

In severe cases, the external gender can no longer be recognized as female, even though the uterus and ovaries are present. This is a female pseudo-hermaphroditism ("apparent" hermaphrodite) in which the external sex and the secondary sexual characteristics do not match the chromosomal sex and the internal sex organs.

Surgical modification

In the past, parents of these children were often urged to have the child's external gender surgically adapted to the genetic determination as early as possible. Today, sex corrections of this kind are more often only carried out in adults at their own request, if there is no medical necessity. Since gender can make up a large part of identity, only the person concerned should decide for himself or herself.

Later causes

The cause of clitoral hypertrophy is not always a congenital enzyme defect. The cause can also be acquired later in life. Diagnoses such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, androgen-forming tumors or a number of rare syndromes of non-hormonal origin come into consideration here. The focus is on treating the underlying disease.

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Dr. med. Anita Kreilhuber (first author 2012), nh (2019)
Medical review:
Ass. Prof. OA Dr. Daniela Dörfler, Clinical Department for General Gynecology and Gynecological Oncology at the Medical University of Vienna
Editorial editing:
Mag. Julia Wild

Updated on:

O'Connell HE, Sanjeevan KV, Hutson JM: Anatomy of the clitoris. J Urol 2005 Oct; 174: 1189-95

Wilson JD et al: Formation of sexual phenotypes. The Endocrinologist 2003; 13: 205-207 D. Michalk, E. Schönau: Differential diagnosis of paediatrics. Elsevier 2004, p. 77

Pelzer V, Holthusen U: Vulvar changes in childhood and adolescence. From Korasion 1/2001

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