The Clitoris Has Been Lost to Science for Centuries, but It’s Making a Comeback
In October researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University announced that they approximated the number of nerve fibers in the human clitoris that are responsible for sexual pleasure—more than 10,000—for the first time ever. In comparison with the penis, which has been studied extensively, the vulva has been largely ignored in anatomical study.
“I mean, like, the general story of the clitoris is that it appears to have been lost and found throughout history,” says Rachel E. Gross, a science journalist and author of Vagina Obscura, a book that explores how science has long viewed the female body with a narrow focus on reproduction and how that’s changing.
It was only about 20 years ago that urologist Helen O’Connell comprehensively mapped the clitoris for the first time using microdissection and magnetic resonance imaging, proving that what we see above the surface is just a small part of the entire structure below.
Read the full story in Scientific American.
Meghan McDonough is a filmmaker and journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.
Co-published with Scientific American.