All About The Female Genitals and Female Sexuality
We often think of the female genitals as hidden from view, due partly to the way we are educated to think of female sexuality - it begins and ends with the vagina! So why might women be worried about the size and shape of their clitoris, labia and vulva?
The reality that girls and women have a vulva is less often referred to than the fact that men have external genitals - which are of course much more prominent.
The reality is that women's external genitals come in many textures, shapes, colors, and sizes.
A Time Of Growth and Change
During puberty a girl's genitals undergo a major transformation.
Even before breast tissue develops, the area of the vulva develops in response to greater estrogen.
Her inner and outer labia, clitoral hood and clitoris increase in size, in a rapid period of growth which also sees changes in the shape, color, and texture of the labia and the growth of pubic hair. You can see a fascinating array of clitoris pictures here.
The development of pubic hair also takes place at this time, so girls may be less aware than boys of the changes they are going through.
A girl is much less likely to explore her vulva than a boy is to explore his penis and testicles.
However, if a girl does examine her labia she may be concerned about these changes, and guilty about masturbation if she has been self-pleasuring.
There's a lot more about women's orgasm here.
The Natural Variation Of Female Anatomy
As women become more comfortable with exploring their body and genitals, they may find they have an unrealistic expectation of what the labia and vulva look like.
And since most books portray the vulva as discrete and the labia as small and neat, and probably pink, most women will not see images which resemble their genitalia particularly closely.
The wider availability of images of the female genitalia is, perhaps, a symptom of the widespread availability of internet porn. But with so much shame around the appearance, size and shape of the female genitals it may be helpful for women to look at clitoris pictures of other women's genitals. In doing so it is possible to appreciate and understand the enormous amount of genital diversity that exists.
Many women are concerned with the shape, size, and color of their inner labia, the labia minora.
For many - probably most - women, the labia minora are larger than the labia majora (the outer lips).
The color of the labia minora ranges from pink through to brown or black, and the texture may be thin and delicate or thick and wrinkled.
As the photographs clearly demonstrate, the inner labia come in many shapes and sizes. Inner labia that extend beyond the outer labia are normal in all races; but in Khoisan and San women distinctive labia minora which can extend up to four inches beyond the labia majora are normal.
Ignorance around labial size and shape is shared by many doctors, so these women may be viewed as deformed not only by themselves but also by doctors.
The inner labia can be modified; consistent traction or pulling on the inner labia may cause them to become permanently longer and thicker.
Body modification involves - among other sport - piercing the inner labia and hanging weights from them so as to extend them. However, this is unusual: and women's normal masturbation techniques do not generally change the shape of the genitals.
In some cultures women with large inner labia are seen as very attractive and desirable. This is because the labia are a sexual stimulus for men. The larger the body part, the greater the sexual stimulation.
The labia minora are naturally sensitive to estrogen, and the increased levels from adolescence onwards produce enlargement and increased sensitivity. Such a change also happens during pregnancy, both because estrogen levels increase during this time, as does the flow of blood through the pelvic regions is altered.
What size are normal labia?
Dickinson reports the following data (which begins to look like men's obsession with size in another form!)
When genitals look intersexual
Some normal and healthy women have a clitoris that looks very similar to a penis. (The penis and clitoris are derived from similar tissues in the embryo and exposure to increased levels of androgens in the XY embryo causes development of the male genitalia.
Any imbalance of hormones or errors in this process can cause the under-development of the penis or the over-development of the clitoris.
Surgical reduction of an over-developed clitoris is definitely not good: everyonel has the right to grow up and make his/her own decisions about what cosmetic surgery (if any) s/he wishes to have.
The true size of the clitoris is much greater than generally imagined. About seventy five per cent of the clitoris is hidden within a woman's body. Indeed, the average clitoris is approximately four inches long - like a flaccid penis.
The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (July 1992) reveals that from measurements taken on 200 normal women during gyno exams, the average width of the clitoral glans is 3.4 mm and the range is from 2.4 to 4.4 mm (0.09 - 0.17 inches). By contrast, the average length from top to bottom of the glans was 5.1 mm (0.20 inches) and the range was from 3.7 to 6.5 mm (0.15 - 0.26 inches). This is not large!
Dr. Robert Latou Dickinson' book Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy states that "normal" clitoris width is 3 to 4 mm. (0.12 - 0.16 inches) and the length is 4 to 5 mm (0.16 - 0.20 inches). But there is much variation, and some women have much larger clitoral glans. The definition of "normal" is often arbitrary.
The clitoris increases significantly in size during puberty, and of course during adult life as well. During puberty the glans of the clitoris increases in size by 1.5 times; from 14 to 19 it increases in size by 1.8 times larger (compared to the age of 14).
At the age of menopause - around 53 the clitoris is on average almost 7 times larger than at birth, and 2.5 times the size at age 19.
The visible part of the clitoris can be up to 2.5 inches (6.3cm) long and 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter. Obviously at this length they begin to look like a miniature penis.
Such clitorises are noticeable for their obvious erection. Using a clitoral pump often enough can cause an increase in size (and indeed is said to help sexual responsivity), as the tissues become persistently stretched and enlarged. You can find information about these on line.
Female athletes who have taken steroids to increase muscle mass seem to have this side affect, as do female to male transsexuals.
A bigger clitoris does not necessarily work better, but even if a woman wishes her sexual organs were bigger, there is no proven way of making the clitoris larger. It is true that if a woman feels good about the size of her clitoris and labia she will probably be more relaxed and sexually responsive.
But recall that our brains after our largest sexual organ! The brain plays a greater role in female sexual pleasure than the clitoris.
Long labia can be very embarrassing for a woman. One woman observed that she had always been acutely self-conscious about the size of her labia minora, 1.25 inches long, which made her feel very embarrassed and anxious. She needed constant reassurance from her husband. And and when she spoke to her doctor, the doctor just said they looked normal.
But a woman who is different from what seems to be normal may worry about it, and websites like this can provide reassurance. The woman mentioned above goes on to say her daughter is six and her labia seem to be developing like her mother's. She wanted to be able to tell her daughter the facts about women's genitals so she was spared the anxiety.
One of the most common problems that women experience is a yeast infection of the vulva and vagina. This can be caused by a variety of issues including sexual transmission from the woman's sexual partner and using synthetic underwear which retains moisture. Cure this problem now has solutions and information which may well help you to solve this problem.