The Clitoris-An Appraisal of its Reproductive Function During the Fertile Years: Why Was It, and Still Is, Overlooked in Accounts of Female Sexual Arousal

Clin Anat. 2020 Jan;33(1):136-145. doi: 10.1002/ca.23498. Epub 2019 Nov 5.


Stimulating the clitoris activates the brain to instigate changes in the female genital tract, namely, the enhancement of vaginal blood flow that increases vaginal luminal pO2 , vaginal transudate (lubrication) facilitating painless penile penetration and partial neutralization of the basal luminal acidic pH, vaginal tenting, and ballooning delaying sperm transport and allowing semen de-coagulation and capacitation (sperm activation) factors to act until arousal ends (often by orgasm induction). All these genital changes taken together are of major importance in facilitating the possibility of reproductive success (and thus gene propagation) no matter how or when the clitoris is stimulated-they reveal its overlooked reproductive function. Of course, also commensurate with these changes, is its activation of sexual pleasure. The clitoris thus has both procreative (reproductive) and recreative (pleasure) functions of equal importance. Clitoridectomy creates not only sexual disability but also a reproductive disability. Clin. Anat. 32:136-145, 2019. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: capacitation; clitoris; evolution; increased vaginal blood flow; reproduction function; reproductive fitness; sexual arousal; vaginal lubrication; vaginal tenting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arousal*
  • Circumcision, Female
  • Clitoris / anatomy & histology*
  • Clitoris / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Reproduction*
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Vagina / physiology*