The clitoris is, without a doubt, incredible. Not that we need any further proof of this, but relationship and sex mentor Colin Richards, and Clue researchers reckon there are nine more, pretty awesome, surprising things everyone should know about the not-so-humble clit.
It's way bigger than you think.
The size of the tissue underneath what's visible (which is only about a quarter of it) can be around four inches. Recently, MRI studies have allowed researchers to approximate the volume of a non-aroused clitoris as ranging from 1.5 to 5.5mm. When someone with a clitoris is aroused, the clitoris roughly doubles in size, increasing pressure on the nerve-dense area at the anterior vaginal wall. The glans alone (the bit you can usually see) averages 2.4 to 4.4 mm wide and 3.7 to 6.5 mm long.
It functions just like a penis.
When a baby is conceived, whatever sex, initially their genital tissue is exactly the same. It only begins to change into a penis or labia after around 12 weeks, meaning that the clitoris and penis are both comprised of the same things; erectile tissue, a foreskin (the clitoral hood), glans, and even a small shaft.
It has 8,000 nerve endings.
The vaginal tunnel itself doesn’t have much sensation, but there is a reason the clitoris is so sensitive, and that is because it has eight THOUSAND nerve endings. That's double the amount of nerve ending of the penis.
It keeps growing and never ages.
Just like the nose, the clitoris keeps growing past puberty. Not only that, it never actually ages. Aside from it growing with age, there is no physical difference between a 30 or 70-year-old clitoris.
It was (officially) "discovered" in the 1500s.
Anatomist Mateo Renaldo Colombo, an Italian professor, claimed to have discovered the clitoris. He called it amor Veneris, vel dulcedo—"the love or sweetness of Venus." Strangely enough, it had been known earlier to women and those who actually own one.
It's the only human organ specifically designed to give pleasure.
It's not designed to make people have an orgasm through penetration. The shape of the penis is exactly and as equally banana-shaped as the vagina, but only if the person with the vagina is penetrated from behind. Therefore, the most "acceptable" way of the human sexual penetration is the one when the clitoris is not stimulated at all.
Clitoral orgasms release A LOT of oxytocin.
Vagina-having people's hormone levels widely fluctuate to enable them to fall pregnant. To prevent hormones from causing negative side effects, the body contains a ''reset-button," aka the clitoris. By having a clitoral orgasm, a lot of oxytocin is released. While sexual arousal also slightly increases oxytocin release, only a real orgasm makes a substantial difference. And, the better the orgasm is, the more oxytocin is secreted.
It enlarges around the time of ovulation.
There is also some preliminary research suggesting the volume of the clitoris may change throughout one's menstrual cycle. One small study found clitoral size increased by about one-fifth in the days before, during, and after ovulation and decreased pre-menstrually—although more research on this is needed, and it’s still unclear if and how these changes might affect sensation.
There's a flower that looks just like it.
Clitoria ternatea, commonly known as Asian pigeonwings, is a small blue plant that's often used for medicinal purposes. In Ayurveda, an ancient system of Indian medicine, it's used as a treatment in female reproductive disorders.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.