The Clitoris, the Penis, Political Correctness and Biological ‘Factness’

In my previous post, The Myth Busting Sexual Anatomy Quiz, one of the answers in particular prompted comments and questions. I stated that the clitoris is not a mini-penis as it is often described but rather, biologically speaking, the penis is an enlarged clitoris? But how can this be and does it really matter?

Firstly the ‘clitoris as mini-penis’ description assumes a primacy of the penis. It assumes the penis comes first (pause for sniggering). There’s also the not-so-subtle suggestion that the clitoris as mini-penis is an under developed penis and therefore an inferior organ. So yes it does matter because these assumptions are biologically incorrect.

Male development requires hormones to suppress female development and further hormones to enhance male development. This makes female anatomy the platform for male development and so technically the penis is an enlarged clitoris. Of course this sounds provocative because it goes against the ‘received wisdom’ or ‘gender spin’ that gives primacy to the penis.

If we compare the female and male genitalia we can see how the embryonic tissue developed down the two routes:

ovaries = testes

labia majora (outer lips) =scrotum

labia minora (inner lips) = underside of the penis

glans (head of clitoris) = glans (head of penis)

shaft (erectile tissue) of clitoris = shaft (erectile tissue) of penis)

vagina = no comparable structure in male.

It’s notable that the word ‘vagina’ is used for female genitals where in fact this only applies to the birth canal. So in describing the female anatomy in everyday language, we put the emphasis on reproduction. The collective term for female genitalia is the vulva, which includes the clitoris, the only organ in the human body solely for sexual pleasure. The everyday use of ‘vagina’ for female genitalia is more gender spin as it keeps the emphasis on penetration and again ‘sidelines’ the clitoris.

Then there’s the G-Spot to contend with. That’s it, let’s get the emphasis back up the vagina in a quest for the orgasmic grail. There is certainly not universal agreement that the G-Spot really exists. Supposedly located on the anterior wall of the vagina, no structure has been identified and evidence is largely anecdotal. Recent academic  research suggests that:

the special sensitivity of the lower anterior vaginal wall could be explained by pressure and movement of clitoris’ root during a vaginal penetration and subsequent perineal contraction.

Again, the clitoris is often thought to be a ‘tiny’ structure whereas its root extends deep into the body. So what some women experience as the G-Spot may be a by-product of the movement of the clitoris. More evidence, if any were needed, that the clitoris is not an inferior penis.

If you liked this post you might like: Other sex and gender posts by Gary Wood

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5 thoughts on “The Clitoris, the Penis, Political Correctness and Biological ‘Factness’

  1. Pingback: Sex and Gender are NOT the Same Thing! All Gender is a Drag! « PsyCentral Blog with Dr Gary Wood

  2. Excellent and informative post, Dr. Wood. The reality that males are simply genetically modified females, that women are biologically stronger — these are profound and provocative facts. I wish more people were aware of them (particularly men), as they really cut against many of our ingrained and erroneous notions about gender and sexuality.

    I first learned about this in a college class. I’ll admit I was a little shocked at first to discover that anatomically speaking my penis was actually an enlarged clitoris, but I really did rethink a lot of my notions about sex and masculinity after that. Now the biological primacy of the female seems perfectly intuitive and obvious to me (why would we males have nipples after all?), but I did wonder afterwards why this wasn’t more common knowledge.

    Have just discovered this blog and enjoying it very much. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Yes. . I think the biology helps us to question gender politics and appreciate that we have more in common than the things on which we differ.
      Regards

      Gary.

  3. So instead of “‘assuming a primacy of the penis”, you’ve assumed a primacy of the clitoris. Not hypocritical at all. The penis is not an enlarged clitoris, you do not develop a clitoris then develop a penis. You develop one and done, you don’t develop a clitoris then change to a penis. The penis and clitoris are homologues, meaning the develop from the same indifferent embryonic tissue. Just because the undifferentiated tissue more closely resembles a clitoris, does not make it one.
    A penis is not an enlarged clitoris, and a clitoris is not a shriveled penis.

    • Yes the post is deliberately provocative to challenge the common erroneous assumption. The aim of the post was to challenge this and to say if we really must go down the comparison route then ‘penis as an enlarged clitoris’ is a ‘bit more correct’ than ‘clitoris is a mini penis’, but yes totally agree that they are different organs. The clitoris is totally specialized for sexual pleasure whereas the penis is multi-functional. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to post a comment.

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