You’re rocking that Big Clit Energy! I can’t believe she had the ovaries to tell him off! Those aren't exactly phrases you probably use with any regularity, right? While we have normalized using slang for male genitals as part of our everyday language, we have not done the same for women’s genitals. This language is very telling of how our culture thinks about female anatomy and pleasure, as something that is not commonly discussed and certainly not prioritized.
Read on to learn how the medical community and education system are failing us regarding female anatomy and, more importantly, how we can start to shift this focus towards female pleasure — we deserve to get ours too.
Focus on Male Anatomy
Think about the word vagina. It is the name for the part of the anatomy that men put their penis in (the hole) and doesn't include the most enjoyable part for us (the clitoris). Only recently have we begun using the word vulva, which consists of the outer and inner parts of the female anatomy. But how crazy is it that when we use the word vagina to discuss female genitals, that doesn't include the part that provides the most pleasure for women?
Doctors didn't even bother to map the internal structure of the clitoris until the 1990s when a female doctor finally investigated our main pleasure center. That’s like not looking to see what’s inside the penis until recently — totally bonkers! Even when exploring the demographics explored in research studies and textbooks, it is very common to study men and generalize the results to all genders. Clearly, in our colloquial language, research, and education, there is a focus on male anatomy above female anatomy. So let's flip it and explore an essential pleasure center for women.
Meet the Clitoris
The clitoris is the KEY to pleasure for people who have them, as it has a ton of nerve endings, both inside and around the vagina. Although we often think of the clitoris as that tiny nub on the upper part of the labia, it is actually a large internal structure somewhere from 1.5-5.5 mm. Therefore, a lot of pleasure felt through stimulation of the anus, and vaginal hole is due to indirect stimulation of the inner part of the clitoris.
A study of more than 1,000 women found that 75% of women find that clitoral stimulation was necessary or led to significant improvement in their orgasms from intercourse. Only 28% of folks said they could orgasm without clitoral stimulation. I find it mind-blowing that most examples of heterosexual sex in the movies or porn do not include stimulation of the part that feels the best for us. This focus on penetration and away from clitoral stimulation makes many women feel like something is wrong with them when penetration feels kind of whatever, making us more likely to fake orgasms and be dishonest about our pleasure.
Lack of education on female anatomy
You can see a dick coming from miles away, but research shows that 37% of Brits could not identify the clitoris on a diagram, regardless of their gender. Almost as concerning, more than half of folks were unsure how many holes women have down below. (It's three!) Also, 58% of people were unsure what their urethra does (pee!), 47% didn’t know what the labia was, and 52% didn’t know what the vagina was. If we are not educated about female anatomy, it's much more challenging to find the words to ask for what we want.
How to prioritize female pleasure
So how do we begin to fix this? Here are a few places to start in your own life.
* Take a break from mainstream porn, which is made mainly for men by men. Instead, read female-written erotica and check out amateur porn or queer or female-owned videos.
* Get educated about female pleasure. Buy a book about the clitoris. Listen to a podcast where women or femmes discuss desire. Attend a lecture to unleash your hidden sex goddess.
* Analyze how your gender may have impacted your sexual identity. We are all affected by norms around sex.
* How were you raised to think about sex? What were you taught about what sex should involve? Is it in line with what feels most pleasurable to you? If not, how can you shift the narrative?
* Engage in some communication exercises. Talking about sex is HARD. Get comfortable figuring out what you want and expressing it.
* Explore non-penetrative sex. For most people with vulvas, a step away from penetration and towards other types of sex can lead to more pleasure. Explore different sex toys. Get comfortable receiving oral sex and getting fingered. The focus can be on your satisfaction — own it!
* Can a penis vibrate? I didn’t think so. Explore using sex toys both alone and with a partner. Let a partner finger you while your clit gets vibrated. Try using a butt plug while receiving oral sex. Use a vibrator during vaginal sex. Trust me, once you start, you won’t want to stop.
* Get comfortable saying the word clitoris out loud! The clitoris is often the key to pleasure for folks with a vulva. So part of prioritizing satisfaction is to get comfortable talking about it. Say, “Thank you, clitoris, for all of the pleasure.” It doesn’t matter if your roommate hears — do it! I am such a HUGE clitoris fan that I started a brand where I make Big Clit Energy mugs so that while I’m drinking coffee, the people who walk by can see what a clitoris looks like. If we don't know how to find the area devoted to our pleasure, how can we possibly communicate to partners about it?
Just because our world prioritizes male pleasure doesn’t mean you have to. By getting comfortable saying the word clitoris out loud and directing folks to it, you can have more pleasurable OMG yes, sex!