Cliteracy 1.01 — Clitoral History

‘Cliteracy’ is knowledge on the clitoris as part of the female reproductive-sexual system.

The noun ‘clitoris’ is originates from the Greek word kleitys little hill. Through the centuries, the clitoris has been subject to many interesting anatomical, social and religious dispensations.

A brief insight into the history of the clitoris

Early Turkish Culture

There were three categories of clitoris, naming each (in ascending order of size) after a popular staple food — sesames, lentils and chickpeas.

Women possessing sesames often felt inferior, because they were perceived not enjoy sex, and were generally glum.

The best bride preferences were the lentils, for their well-sized clitorises was not only aesthetically pleasing, but also extremely sexually nourishing.

Women with chickpeas had their sexual activities rationed. Beliefs had it that, their large clitoris sizes induced intense pleasure during sex, which made them prone to heart related problems.

Lentils in Paradise | Moris Farhi, 1940

Medieval Christianity

In 1487, the Dominican monks, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger published The Witches’ Hammer, a definitive guide to persecuting witches. The book identified large clitorises as the devil’s teat through which he sucks out his victim’s soul. For centuries, women with large clitorises were accused of having dealings with the devil; many were arrested, tortured and killed.

The Witches’ Hammer-Heinrich Kramer & Jacob Sprenger, 1486

Early anatomical studies

Women have all the reproductive parts that men have, with the difference being that women have their parts are within, whereas in men theirs outside. The early Greeks and Romans simply recognized the clitoris as a failed attempt at a penis.

Roman Anatomist | Claudius Galen, 130–200 AD

After undertaking the first anatomical dissection of the clitoris on a massive scale: clitorises are anatomically incorrect and fundamentally flaweda woman’s shameful member.

Dissection Des Parties Du Corps Humain | Charles Estienne, 1545

The clitoris referenced as; a source of female sperm and the seat of women’s sexual delight, and dubbed Sweetness of Venus, after the first observation that it has an erectile-function similar to a penis.

Italian Anatomist ­| Renaldus Columbus, 1599

The notes of an old midwife in England said; the clitoris makes women lustful and take delight in copulation … it will stand and fall as doth a penis.

Midwife Masters Anatomy | Jane Sharp, 1671

Men feared the clitoris

By the late 15th century, many researches proved the clitoris to be a woman’s true pleasure center, on its own. Which implied that ‘penises might eventually not be necessary for orgasm’. Men were particularly worried about the spread of this information and tried to hush it.

In every cadaver we have so far dissected we have found it quite perceptible to sight and touch…we are extremely surprised that some anatomists make no more mention of this part as if it did not exist at all in the universe of nature.

Dutch physician and anatomist | Regnier De Graaf, 1672

For over 30 years, some notable men in the medical fields attempted to debunk the claims new discoveries on the clitoris made.

The clitoris is a site for pre-pubescent orgasms, and should wholly or in-part hand over its sensitivity and importance to the vagina… upon reaching puberty; healthy women should begin having vaginal orgasms instead.

Austrian Neurologist |Sigmund Freud, 1904

Although previously included in the Gray’s Anatomy 1901 edition, its renowned 1948 edition did not acknowledged the clitoris as a part of the female reproductive-sexual system, largely due to concerns about morality and social hygiene.

The Gray’s Anatomy | Dr. Charles Mayo Goss, 1947

A woman fully unveils the clitoris

A well mapped out external and internal details of the clitoris through dissection demonstrated the clitoris’s complex structure, which rivaled the penis in terms of its stock of nerve-endings, size and several functional parts. Publications of this breakthrough revealed findings that challenge almost every belief about clitoral anatomy to date.

Australian Urologist | Helen O’Connell (PhD), 1998



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