Erect Clitoris


Image Caption : Female Pelvis Showing Erect Clitoris : As a woman becomes sexually excited, her sex organs prepare for intercourse through changes in the circulatory and nervous systems. The pulse quickens, arteries dilate and blood engorges the erectile tissue of the clitoris. The role of the nervous system in sexual arousal is both conscious and unconscious. Although much of arousal begins in the brain and is communicated to the genital area, the biological conversation is two-way; sexual desire fuels genital arousal and genital arousal fuels desire.

Clitoris

An erectile structure homologous with the penis, situated beneath the anterior labial commissure, partially hidden between the anterior ends of the labia minora.

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

EXTERNAL GENITALIA

The external genitalia are the accessory structures of the female reproductive system that are external to the vagina. They are also referred to as the vulva or pudendum. The external genitalia include the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, and glands within the vestibule.

The clitoris is an erectile organ, similar to the male penis, that responds to sexual stimulation. Posterior to the clitoris, the urethra, vagina, paraurethral glands and greater vestibular glands open into the vestibule.

Illustration of female genetalia

Illustration of the organs of the female reproductive system

National Cancer Institute / NIH

External Female Genitals

The external female reproductive structures are referred to collectively as the vulva (Figure). The mons pubis is a pad of fat that is located at the anterior, over the pubic bone. After puberty, it becomes covered in pubic hair. The labia majora (labia = "lips"; majora = "larger") are folds of hair-covered skin that begin just posterior to the mons pubis. The thinner and more pigmented labia minora(labia = "lips"; minora = "smaller") extend medial to the labia majora. Although they naturally vary in shape and size from woman to woman, the labia minora serve to protect the female urethra and the entrance to the female reproductive tract.

The superior, anterior portions of the labia minora come together to encircle the clitoris (or glans clitoris), an organ that originates from the same cells as the glans penis and has abundant nerves that make it important in sexual sensation and orgasm. The hymen is a thin membrane that sometimes partially covers the entrance to the vagina. An intact hymen cannot be used as an indication of "virginity"; even at birth, this is only a partial membrane, as menstrual fluid and other secretions must be able to exit the body, regardless of penile-vaginal intercourse. The vaginal opening is located between the opening of the urethra and the anus. It is flanked by outlets to the Bartholin's glands (or greater vestibular glands).

The Vulva

This figure shows the parts of the vulva. The right panel shows the external anterior view and the left panel shows the internal anteriolateral view. The major parts are labeled.

The external female genitalia are referred to collectively as the vulva.

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Clitoral erection is a physiological phenomenon where the clitoris becomes enlarged and firm. Clitoral erection is the result of a complex interaction of psychological, neural, vascular and endocrine factors, and is usually, though not exclusively, associated with sexual arousal.


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