Is There More than One Purpose for the Clitoris?

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A recent expression that the clitoris has one purpose only is as follows: "A woman's body includes a number of super-hot erogenous zones, but you might say many of those are sort of, well, incidental. Not the clit. It's there for fun. Yup, that’s right. The clitoris is the only part of the body designed solely for pleasure. So, while other body parts used for sexual pleasure have at least one other purpose to them, your clit is just there to get you off."

Masters & Johnson, in their groundbreaking book, Human Sexual Response, published in 1966, devoted an entire chapter to the clitoris. (pages 45-67) Their many observations provide some good insights into the question of the purpose(s) of the clitoris. The retraction reaction of the clitoris (when it buries itself beneath the clitoral hood) is detailed on pages 51-53.

It is now fairly common knowledge that the clitoral head typically has twice as many nerve endings as the head of the penis (8,000 vs 4,000). What is also known from M&J's observations is that the clitoris retracts under its hood during the plateau phase, right on through the orgasmic phase, and stays completely retracted until 5 to 10 seconds after the last contractions of orgasm. This clitoral retraction reaction happens with universal consistency. It happens with every woman. Why does the clitoris always retract under the clitoral hood..... seemingly at the very time that it should protude the most and stand out proudly, front and center, to receive ALL the stimulation possible to facilitate an orgasm?

One author I ran across referred to the clitoral retraction reaction as an "anomaly". Another author referred to the clitoral retraction reaction as "peculiar" They are both right if the clitoris has only one purpose. The clitoral retraction reaction is an anomaly and is peculiar if the common assertion of one purpose for the clitoris is valid. If, on the other hand, the clitoris has another purpose, then perhaps the clitoral retraction reaction is not an anomaly and is not peculiar at all.

Two medical terms that Masters & Johnson use a lot are myotonia and vasocongestion. Myotonia is the inability to relax voluntary muscle after vigorous effort. Vasocongestion is the excessive filling of the blood vessels of a tissue or organ. A strong orgasm usually resolves both myotonia and vasocongestion within a few seconds or minutes.

In the words of Masters & Johnson: "The orgasmic phase is limited to those few seconds during which the vasoconcentration and myotonia developed from sexual stimuli are released.... Subjective (sensual) awareness of orgasm is pelvic in focus, specifically concentrated in the clitoral body, vagina, and uterus of the female and in the penis, prostate, and seminal vesicles of the male.... Pain and pressure stimuli are produced by severe unresolved vasocongestion of the pelvic target organs."

That last line is very important. What happens if the woman has NO orgasm and her sexual tensions are unresolved? Pain and pressure are produced by severe unresolved vasocongestion of the pelvic target organs. What are the long term physical effects, particularly for a woman's pelvic health, if this happens frequently, or consistently, in a long term relationship?

Blue balls is a slang term for the condition of temporary fluid congestion (vasocongestion) in the testicles accompanied by testicular pain, caused by prolonged sexual arousal in the human male without ejaculation. Some urologists call the condition "epididymal hypertension". Usually men will either masturbate to orgasm or take a cold shower to resolve their blue balls.

The female equivalent to blue balls (severe unresolved vasocongestion of the female pelvic target organs), has the slang term blue bean. Some women will masturbate to orgasm to remedy their unresolved sexual tensions. I don't know how many women would be willing to sit in a tub with 3 or 4 inches of cold water to resolve their vasocongestion (and thus avoid the downsides of orgasm), but probably not very many. 50-75 percent of women must have clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm, and many men will oblige either manually or orally. Some men are ignorant, don't care, or prefer the delusion that the "wham bam" of their penis satisfies their partner. Some women in an emotionally fragile relationship will fake orgasm (afraid to shatter her partner's belief that she is satisfied by his brief, selfish effort), therefore he doesn't know that he left his partner "high and dry", and the woman continues to suffer both physically and emotionally.

The answer to all of the above sexual dysfunction is, of course, karezza. With karezza, the myotonia is a non-issue because the focus is on relaxation without a goal. Any vasocongestion from sexual arousal is resolved by allowing the male/female polarities to have free reign during the quietness and relaxation of Penis In Vagina (PIV). Even when the conception of a child is desired, the calm, quiet approach of karezza would minimize the typical fallout from orgasm and ejaculation, and myotonia and vasocongestion would not be a significant issue as the couple remained joined peacefully for a period of time after climax.

Back to "severe unresolved vasocongestion of the pelvic target organs". Blood should always circulate freely and continuously throughout every part of the human body. 74% of the blood's circulation is the microcirculation -- through the capillaries. This cannot happen optimally with tension and congestion. It is recognized more and more that many degenerative diseases have a congestion component. A lack of oxygen in the blood produces pain. Frequent unresolved vasocongestion is not conducive to a woman's long term good health. Modern women already have a multitude of problems with the various organs of their reproductive system. What if women did not have a clitoris, were not able to orgasm any other way, and she and her partner had no knowledge of karezza? What if the pain and pressure of vasocongestion remained in her pelvic target organs for many hours instead of a few seconds or minutes after every sexual union? Could women's reproductive health deteriorate to the point that it negatively affected the future viability of the human race? At the present time, 15 to 25 percent of young couples that want to start a family are infertile and many OB/GYNs are staying very busy caring for a multitude of female disorders.

What about the curious universal retraction reaction of the clitoris in response to effective sexual stimulation? It's almost as if the little "jewel" is saying, in shyness, "I'm not the be-all and end-all to sexual satisfaction and fulfillment that you think I am."

Now, a growing number of women around the world, some who have been happily orgasmic for most of their entire adult life, have found a better way; they are finding complete sexual fulfillment through karezza, without any involvement of the clitoris. At the same time, many or most of the same women also have a clearer understanding of their own sexual past -- of what was actually happening in their brain and the rest of their body each time they unknowingly released a neurochemical firestorm in their own body through a clitoral/genital orgasm.

Are there any other important reflex mechanisms in the human body that only respond when needed or induced? What about the vomit reflex? I'm in my late 50's and I've only vomited less than a dozen times in my entire life. Yet, every single time I vomited, it may have saved my life. Whether I had eaten something toxic, or ignorantly or carelessly eaten something very indigestible, or grossly overeaten, doesn't matter. My body reflex kicked in and emptied my stomach. If someone lived in a pristine environment and was taught to eat healthfully and carefully, it is possible that they could live their entire life without ever vomiting. Yet, the reflex is there, if needed. What if the society I grow up in and live in teaches that it is "normal" and "natural" to induce vomiting after every meal? How would the long term digestive health of the individuals in that society be affected? I knew someone with an eating disorder whose teeth were destroyed by the frequent exposure to stomach acid. So, the indiscriminate inducement of a natural body reflex can often have negative consequences, whether recognized or not.

Our society very actively and forcefully teaches in every way possible that it is "normal" and "natural" to induce an orgasm whenever one gets "the urge" by means of whatever form of friction is most readily available. At the same time, a growing number of couples are finding another sexual path -- one that meets all of their needs, without any of the negatives that usually spring from an induced orgasm.

In closing: "....the clitoris never ages. Once it matures, it maintains its sexual peak for the rest of a woman's life." It is always there; always available as a SECOND BEST OPTION to resolve the sexual tension and congestion of the sexually active woman who has not yet found and embraced the beauty and sustainability of karezza.



Lots of Interesting Pieces Here!

Thanks, blissed. Lots of fascinating research by you in this. Fine food for thought.

I use overeating as my analogy as something that is possible, common, and 'natural,' but near-universally viewed as to be avoided. Maybe not as powerful and grabbing as emesis, but a bit easier to stomach (rimshot) in conversation.

Yep, I think we have been brainwashed/programmed to pursue orgasm, to keep us weak, needy, divided, and in pain, as we make more maleable slaves that way.

Thanks John G.

I appreciate your feedback.

There are many, many parallels between food and sex -- great point on overeating analogy!

I believe people in high places, religious and otherwise, throughout history, have suppressed sexual wisdom for the sake of power and control.

All the Best!

So, I was thinking..

So, I was thinking..

what if this retraction of the clitoris during orgasm is simply due to the muscle contractions that happen when a woman reaches this level of excitement? The structures of the vagina tighten and contract with pleasure, maybe this pulls down the clitoral hood?

Or actually, another thought I just had... When a man climaxes, too much stimulation during orgasm and right after is actually uncomfortable, too intense.. Maybe this is just an evolutionary adaptation to something similar in women..?

As the owner of a clitoris,

I think your last explantion is especially sound. Unless you want to put women off of sex entirely, you don't want to vigorously rub a very sensitive set of nerve endings already in a high state of arousal. Of course, just as men often develop "death grip" masturbation as their brains grow desensitized, maybe similar things can happen to women, fueling a desire for rougher/kinkier stimulation.

Additional statements on indirect clitoral stimulation

"Three study subjects available to the investigative program have demonstrated the facility of orgasmic response to breast stimulation alone, as well as to coital, clitoral body, or mons area manipulation....

The physiological responses that develop in the clitoral glans and shaft during the four phases of the sexual cycle are the same regardless of whether the clitoral body is responding to direct or indirect stimulation.....

Direct stimulation results from manual or mechanical manipulation of the clitoral shaft or glans. Indirect stimulation develops from mons area manipulation or the stimulation of any other erogenous area of the female body, such as the breasts." Human Sexual Response, page 67.

The statements above (and Human Sexual Response's overall coverage of female sexual response) are based on the combined active observations, of both William Masters & Virginia Johnson, of 382 female study subjects through 7,500 complete female sexual cycles. Virginia Johnson was also one the early female study subjects, so, in all likelihood, she was very familiar with all of the personal aspects of her own clitoral response as well.