Boldly going where man has gone before

[Brief lecture for one of the meetings during the Gay Games Amsterdam.]

DELVING INTO UNKNOWN territories and meticulously exploring them is one of the things science is about. Sometimes, unknown territories are encountered where you would least expect to find them: right under your nose. For instance, between female legs.

“The clit? Unexplored?” you may well ask, and the answer is “Yes, the clit, unexplored.” I’m talking science here, mind you. There’s much we do not yet know about the clit. Please allow me to further your education.

Sixteen years ago, three scientists wrote a book about the female sexual organs. Ladas, Whipple & Perry had re-investigated old anatomical textbooks, had done some biological research of their own, had conducted a survey amongst a couple of thousand women and then came up with news that was earth-shaking to some scientists, caused a great number of jokes in the popular press and gave women’s magazines something to chew about for years and years to come. But what Ladas, Whipple & Perry found confirmed the experience of a vast amount of women:

» yes, there is such a thing as a vaginal orgasm;
» yes, women can ejaculate.

Their rediscovery was the G-spot – or, more accurately, the Gräfenberg spot, named after the German gynaecologist Ernest Gräfenberg who first described it in an article published in 1950. The G-spot is located just after the vagina’s entrance, behind the pelvic bone and the urethra, and consists of erectile tissue that is very similar to that of the male penis. When not erected, this tissue feels somewhat ribbed. Stimulating this spot with a finger, hand, penis or dildo will often lead to vaginal orgasm, sometimes even to ejaculation (or “squirting”, as many women prefer to call it). Ladas, Whipple & Perry suggested that the G-spot was actually part of the clit and postulated that the clit was thus far bigger than standard biology textbooks would have it.

[Of course, when I had finished reading their book, I tried to locate this G-spot; an endeavour born strictly out of scientific curiosity, I assure you. As a rationalist, I do believe in the advancement science, and yes, I too would like to go boldly where man has gone before. Within minutes my private research established that the G-spot existed. It was a classic, clear-cut case of senti, vidi, veni (I felt, I found, I came). Later investigations proved that I could add “ejaculati” to this small but important list of scientific assets. My personal record is ejaculating cum so forcefully that it reached my calves; both my lover and my mattress can testify to that.]

In the last week, this whole matter of spots and squirts was affirmed by two independent sources and put into a new, you might truly say larger, perspective. Helen O’Connor, an Australian urologist, did post-mortem research on the sexual organs of ten women, using 3-D photography. According to her findings, the clit is indeed far bigger than scientists have assumed. Internally, it consists of a pyramid-shaped mass of erectile tissue.

To quote from this week’s edition of the New Scientist: “The ‘body’ of the clitoris, which connects to the glans, is about as big as the first joint of your thumb. It has two arms up to 9 centimetres long that flare backwards into the body, lying just a few millimetres from the ends of the muscles that run up the inside of the thigh. Also extending from the body of the clitoris, and filling the space between its arms, are two bulbs, one on each side of the vaginal cavity.” The external tip or glans that we have always thought to be the whole of the clit is, and I quote again, “just the tip of the iceberg”.

And – no, there is no such thing as coincidence – icebergs happen to be the homestead of the second source that puts this matter of size and squirt into new perspective. Yesterday a major Dutch newspaper printed the news that in the past year seven female ice bears have been found that have small penises. These strange biological occurrences, the article states, are possibly caused by pcb’s: environmental chemistry may have affected these female ice bears’ genes. Clit or penis? And: nature or nurture? Whatever. It simply goes to prove that there’s a silver lining even to pcb-polluted clouds.

After having digested all this, there’s just two questions bugging me. Can these female ice bears ejaculate? And: is theirs bigger than ours?


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