"Cliteracy" by Rose

October 01, 2013 3 min read

Pure Pleasure friends:

Here's a word to add to your sex-positive vocabularies: Clit-er-a-cy (noun).

Cliteracy is "the state of being cliterate, especially the ability to navigate the clitoris based on an understanding that it is fundamental to the female orgasm."  It is also "the applied knowledge that female orgasms are not happenstance, rather they are easily and predictably created with a basic understanding of female sexual anatomy."

The word Cliteracy was recently coined by artist Sophia Wallace, whose new multi-media art series is dedicated to educating folks about the clitoris. I personally love that she is using activism and art to get people talking and thinking about the clit!

Wallace and I agree in that the clitoris has not received the attention that it deserves in American society, or even around the globe. It is super problematic that ignorance and apathy about this amazing body part abound. One illustration of this neglect comes from a 2005 study of heterosexual college students which revealed that 29% of women and 25% of men weren't able to locate the clitoris correctly on a diagram of female genitalia (Wade et al., 2005 in Women & Health)! Perhaps that isn't so surprising, given that female genitals are often shrouded in secrecy and euphemism. Young girls aren't exactly encouraged to masturbate or explore for themselves with mirrors and hands. Few women I know were ever told about the clitoris by their parents or teachers. Many didn't discover its capacities until they were well into adulthood. Many men I know still aren't quite sure how to navigate this powerful and pleasurable organ.

So in an effort to help expand your awareness, here are some Facts for Enhancing Your Cliteracy:

*The clitoris is the only organ with the sole function of providing pleasure
*The clitoris is not just a small button: It is 10 times larger than the average person realizes.This was proven not that long ago in 1998 by Dr. Helen O'Connell
*Only recently in 2009 did French researchers Dr. Odile Buisson and Dr. Pierre Foldès give the medical world it's first complete 3-D image of the stimulated clitoris. To this day many medical textbooks and anatomical drawings depict the anatomy of clitoris incorrectly
*The clit contains approximately 8,000 sensory nerve fibers; more than anywhere else in the human body, and nearly twice the amount found on the head of a penis!
*The clit becomes larger when a woman is sexually aroused
*The size of a woman's clitoris does not impact her orgasm
*Many women want and need clitoral stimulation during penile-vaginal intercourse in order to orgasm
*Every woman is different, so always be sure to ask how she likes her clit stimulated. Many women may prefer you wait to touch the tip of her clit until she is already somewhat aroused
*Sometimes the clitoral head may seem to disappear--this is because during arousal an internal ligament is stretched causing the clitoral head to retract

Sophia Wallace highlights many more in her exhibit "The 100 Natural Laws of Cliteracy"

Want more (information)? Check out Pure Pleasure's wide selection of books! My favorites include The Guide to Getting it On, I <heart> Female Orgasm, and She Come First. Or take a class ONLINE, such as How to Drive a Vulva!

About Rose: Rose has a BA in psychology and women's studies, and a Master's in social psychology.  She is working toward a PhD at UC Santa Cruz, focusing on social justice, gender and sexuality, sexual empowerment, and sexual rights as human rights. Rose has been a teaching assistant for sexuality-focused college classes, presented research to academic groups like the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and worked with non-profit organizations across the country on grant-writing and event planning. Her goal is to use social psychological research and teaching to contribute to community-based organizations' efforts and policy-level changes that promote sexual well-being.

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