Debunking myths about the clitoris

Myth: 8,000 nerve endings.

Both claims of “8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris” and “8,000 nerve endings in the clitoral glans alone” have been made frequently. Neither claim has been supported by research on humans. Rather, this comes from studies of livestock described in The Clitoris, by Thomas Lowry. Claims that the clitoris has “twice as many nerve endings” are only traceable back to this same primary source.

Myth: Everything but the glans is “inside the body.”

If you are a woman, please feel for the shaft of your clitoris under the hood. It should feel like a small shaft. This is not the glans. The glans is only 5 mm long on average and can be exposed by retracting the distal hood. The descending segment of the clitoral body, or shaft, is under the proximal (anterior) hood and is palpable up to the mons. Can this realistically be described as “inside the body”?

Myth: Gynecologists are knowledgable about the clitoris.

This one is a huge threat to patients, who often trust Gynecologists to know vulvar anatomy. The truth is Gynecology textbooks consistently exclude the nerves and vasdculature of the clitoris. Meanwhile, Urology textbooks cover vulvar anatomy in far greater depth than Gynecology textbooks do. Compare the one measly paragraph about the clitoris (typical) in Williams Gynecology to the 8 paragraphs about the clitoris in Campbell-Walsh Urology. Studies of clitoral anatomy and phsyiology are rarely, if ever, published in OB/GYN journals. They are published in Urology journals. OB/GYN textbooks consistently fail to adequately discuss the physiology of female sexual function. Instead, OB/GYN textbooks typically only discuss female sexual function in the context of “emotional issues.”

*Unfortunately, even the gross anatomy of the clitoris in Cambpell-Walsh is incorrect. So realistically, no medical specialties can be trusted to know the clitoris.

What else is there? I’m adding a cow and a sheep for emphasis.