Harder, better, faster, stonger How to have easier orgasms in three easy steps
New findings about the size — and power — of your clitoris promise that even greater pleasure is just a touch away...
If someone were to ask you to describe the location of your clitoris, what would you say? Maybe, "It's that button-like thing above my vagina"? What about, "It's an internal structure with multiple parts that encompasses my vagina on either side"? Uh, what?
The latter isn't only correct, but it's also a description you've probably never heard. That's because we still know so little about this organ (yes, the clitoris is an organ). Fortunately, in recent years, experts have started giving this part of your anatomy the attention it deserves. And they found that what we think of as the clitoris is really just the tip of the iceberg - and that our capacity for pleasure may be so much greater than we thought.
UNDER THE HOOD The button that was mistakenly dubbed the clitoris is actually the glans of the clitoris, and it's the only visible part of the larger internal structure. "The glans has about 6000 to 8000 nerve endings," says Debby Herbenick, author of Sex Made Easy. "It's about the same amount men have in the head of their penis, but because the glans is small, the nerves are more concentrated, which is why it's more sensitive than the penis." For years it wasn't considered a functional organ like the penis (as it doesn't aid reproduction), so scientists didn't study it. It wasn't until the '90s that they began to use MRIs to see what was really going on, and found that the majority of the clitoris is internal.
THE INSIDE SCOOP The glans is connected to the shaft (or corpora cavernosa) of the clitoris, which lies on either side of your vaginal canal. The shaft extends to two "legs" (known as the crura), which are about seven centimetres long and run parallel to the labia majora (aka your outer vaginal lips) - think a wishbone, with the tip as the glans. The glans, shaft, and legs of the clitoris have almost as much erectile tissue as a man's penis (yes, we have erectile tissue). When you're turned on, the clitoris fills with blood and you're primed to orgasm.
TIME TO EXPLORE So how can you use this info to enhance your sex life? First, understanding how the clitoris functions is key to maxing out its potential. "When I teach women about the internal clitoris, not only are they shocked, it's also like a switch flips on in their minds," says Herbenick. Second, you're in for a stronger orgasm if all your erectile tissue is fully engaged, so make time to warm up. "Be so turned on your vagina is throbbing when he enters you," she says. Last, just because there's not yet any proof that you can stimulate the interior clitoris with external touch, doesn't mean it's not possible. "We do know that the legs of the clitoris run parallel to the lips," says Herbenick. "So ask your guy to focus here, and massage you with his whole palm, rather than just focusing on the glans."