Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clitoris Evolution

It's hard to write a blog like this without seeming a little prurient.  Forgive me, but this is an important question to 50% of the world's population plus the cerca 98% of males that claim to be heterosexual.

How did the clitoris evolve?  Why does it seem so related but separate from the vagina (and therefore direct reproduction)?  Why isn't it in or a part of the vagina?  Is it just a baby penis?

By-Product: Maybe women  have clitorises for the same reason that males have nipples--we share a common developmental template.  You can't change the female mold because the male mold is so necessary for reproduction.  This template crossover is also the explanation of the G-spot, sometimes known as the female prostate.  One possible argument against this line of thinking is that the clitoris has more nerve endings than the penis, thus showing individuation, distinction and possibly selection for.

Imprinting:  Maybe it's current form wasn't shaped so much by successful copulation as it was maturation masturbation.  I would be interested to see a study of women from Sudan and Somalia that were victims of genital mutilation (the ritual removal of the clitoris and vulva) and see how their brains are possibly wired differently.  Though the study would be rife with confounding variables, it could be enlightening to see if there were differences in what they were attracted to and how much they enjoyed vaginal stimulation (as separate from other forms of stimulation).  Would they be wired the same or does the clitoris play a significant sexualization function in humans?

Secondary Stimulation:  Maybe its shape and function is to cause stimulation by pelvic or scrotal thrusting (depending on position).

Nice Guy Hypothesis:  Since I've read that it takes, on average, five months of intercourse to get pregnant, perhaps the women that are more discriminating about sleeping with men that are more foreplay accommodating end up with men that are better spouses and fathers.  Perhaps a man that pleases his woman as she wants also gives more food to his children and is a longer term mate.

In Other Animals:

  • Pigs have the clitoris where it makes sense--in the vagina.
  • Spotted Hyenas have clitorises as large as their counterpart's penis.  What's more is that they urinate, mate and give birth through it.  It also comes complete with a pseudo-scrotum and fat lumps shaped like testicles.  There are powerful muscles that cause the clitoris to retract in the females, but the shape and awkwardness of the set up still causes 20% of first time female pregnancies to end in the death of the mother.  Some scientists think that the clitoris size wasn't necessarily selected for, but the high testosterone was selected for among the females (it's higher than in males), which, in turn, causes the growth of the hyperclitoris pseudopenis.  

  • Spider Monkeys have the largest clitorises among the primates.  It's as long as the males penis, but has the urethral opening down the length of the clitoris creating a long slit.  Studies have suggested that the size and shape of the clitoris aid in the splash distribution of scent signalling urine while the spider monkey moves through the canopy.  


  1. Very interesting, succinct post. I wish, truly, that you would expand on many of the ideas that were brought up here. I have not read in any academic journals or periodicals any new information about this seeming misstep in human, female evolution.

    I believe an indexed look at our next possible genetic relatives, ape-ish primates, is merited. The human clitoris' location baffles me from an evolutionary perspective. I have lost many (2) nights of sleep thinking about this subject.

    Please update; will check back every day until new information is received.


    1. Have you considered the possibility that evolution may be untrue.

    2. O, definitely. I grew up thinking evolution was untrue.

  2. I would love to know more about that! Please let me know if you find anything out!

  3. Whilst I accept that the clitoris has evolved into an organ of sexual stimulation in humans what function does it serve in cattle and horses? This must be its original function.
    My hypothesis is that in four footed anamals it acts as a 'drip tip' like the pointed end of a leaf which prevents the leaf rotting after rain. In four footed animals the clitoris prevents urine flowing under the belly in order to prevent infection. Visit a milking parlour to see a cows clitoris functioning in this way.
    E Swift

  4. Fascinating thought, E Swift. Evolution sure has its way of making the most out of what it has! Thanks again for the comment and I can't believe I just Googled for pictures on this subject! haha

  5. Some imaginative speculation here I guess, but what if we're watching an 'organ' evolving into something? The clitoris could become something more in the long term, somewhat in the way it's taken different routes in other species.

    1. I love that! I'd love to know more about what is going on with other female apes! I know the penises of humans and chimps are pretty different--chimps have keratinized penises (weird!).

  6. The human clitoris isn`t at the right place. It should be nearer by the vagina, or even inside of it.

  7. well i need more info becuz my clit isn't where it should be o_o ANyways,,, Share more

  8. What's even more interesting is the enormous size of the clitoris. Commonly thought to be that tiny 'penis' hardly protruding from the clitoral hood it actually has relatively enormous erectile tissue 'sides' or 'legs' - known as 'bulbs' sometimes, descending down the sides of the vagina, generally about as long as the labia majora I think.

    What brought about that development? Where/why/how was that evolutionarily beneficial?


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