Clitoral Size and Location in Relation to Sexual Function Using Pelvic MRI

J Sex Med. 2014 Apr;11(4):1013-1022. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12450. Epub 2014 Feb 13.


Introduction: The female sexual response is dynamic; anatomic mechanisms may ease or enhance the intensity of orgasm.

Aim: The aim of this study is to evaluate the clitoral size and location with regard to female sexual function.

Methods: This cross-sectional TriHealth Institutional Board Review approved study compared 10 sexually active women with anorgasmia to 20 orgasmic women matched by age and body mass index (BMI). Data included demographics, sexual history, serum hormone levels, Prolapse/Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire-12 (PISQ-12), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), Body Exposure during Sexual Activity Questionnaire (BESAQ), and Short Form Health Survey-12. All subjects underwent pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) without contrast; measurements of the clitoris were calculated.

Main outcome measures: Our primary outcomes were clitoral size and location as measured by noncontrast MRI imaging in sagittal, coronal, and axial planes.

Results: Thirty premenopausal women completed the study. The mean age was 32 years (standard deviation [SD] 7), mean BMI 25 (SD 4). The majority was white (90%) and married (61%). Total PISQ-12 (P < 0.001) and total FSFI (P < 0.001) were higher for orgasmic subjects, indicating better sexual function. On MRI, the area of the clitoral glans in coronal view was significantly smaller for the anorgasmic group (P = 0.005). A larger distance from the clitoral glans (51 vs. 45 mm, P = 0.049) and body (29 vs. 21 mm, P = 0.008) to the vaginal lumen was found in the anorgasmic subjects. For the entire sample, larger distance between the clitoris and the vagina correlated with poorer scores on the PISQ-12 (r = -0.44, P = 0.02), FSFI (r = -0.43, P = 0.02), and BESAQ (r = -0.37, P = 0.04).

Conclusion: Women with anorgasmia possessed a smaller clitoral glans and clitoral components farther from the vaginal lumen than women with normal orgasmic function.

Keywords: Clitoris; Female Sexual Dysfunction; Orgasmic Disorder; Pelvic MRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clitoris / pathology*
  • Clitoris / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Orgasm / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / pathology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vagina / physiopathology