The clitoris was "discovered" (at least by males) and documented for the first time by Matteo Realdo Colombo: a lecturer in surgery at the University of Padua, Italy.

In 1559 he published a book called De re anatomica in which he described the "seat of woman's delight." He concluded, "since no one has discerned these projections and their workings, if it is permissible to give names to things discovered by me, it should be called the love or sweetness of Venus."

However others made claims to have discovered it. Gabriel Fallopius - Columbus' successor at Padua - disputed the assertion that Columbus discovered claiming credit for himself.

There are also several claims that knowledge of the clitoris was widely known well before either man's 'discovery'. But Colombo's remains the earliest physical documentation of the bud that would one day become a phenomenom leading to the sexual revolution.

The clitoris (pronounced: KLIHT uh rihs) is a sexual organ in the body of female mammals, located near where the labia minora meet anteriorly. The visible knob-like portion is located above the opening of the vagina. Its function is inducing sexual pleasure and orgasms.

It is formed out of corpora cavernosa and embryologically arises from the same tissue that forms the male penis. The clitoris has a 'hood' of tissue that is embryologically comes from same tissue that becomes the foreskin in males. The trigger for forming a clitoris instead of a penis is the action of testosterone (see why do women have a clitoris?) in early in utero.

Cliterectomy is a barbaric practice still carried out today in some societies as part of female circumcision.

In regard to dpr's writeup, which referred to Venus, one great trick (found in a Playboy article, no doubt) is an interesting form of oral sex. The person who is "down south" blows air through his/her closed lips, resulting in a humming or buzzing sound. The facial lips are applied to the lower lips while this buzzing continues. This practice is referred to as "The Venusian Kazoo". Note: never blow air directly into the vagina, as this can cause harm or at least incredible discomfort.

clitoris (plural, clitorides; adjective, clitoral or clitoridean): the small, hooded organ (the clitoral glans) at the top of the cleft of the female vulva, which is the counterpart of the penis in the male [from Greek, kleitoris, clitoris]. Usually only the glans of the clitoris is externally visible. In the human female the body of the clitoris extends internally on either side of the vulva and vestibule. In total the clitoris is about 80 percent the size of the male penis. In the rat, mouse, and hamster, the clitoris is not hooded, but its covering is fused as in the male's penis to form a urinary tube.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

What we typically identify as the clitoris, the small bulbous anatomical architecture crowning the vagina beneath it's bonnet-like hood, is actually akin to the tip of an iceberg. The entire organ, in fact, is many times larger and has a surprising overall shape which has been compared to a pterodactyl looking down from its perch, for its taper-tipped 'wings' extend several inches into each side of the pelvis. It is through them that blood is supplied to engorge the tubal portion, which then stiffens and straightens, pushing the tip upwards against the clitoral hood (and here is a brief computer animated simulation of that process). The whole of the organ in actuality looks sort of like this:

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Like its male counterpart, the clitoris (the visible portion, at least) comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes; especially large specimens may have a thumb-sized portion extending past the opening of the vagina, and may themselves resemble a small penis, with a head and shaft. Naturally, there is a subgenre of pornography which focuses on this aspect, but there is no reason for concern if one's clitoris does or does not have such dimensions.

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196 words

Cli"to*ris (? ∨ ?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. , fr. to shut up. It is concealed by the labia pudendi.] Anat.

A small organ at the upper part of the vulva, homologous to the penis in the male.

 

© Webster 1913.

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