In October, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University announced that they approximate For the first time, the number of nerve fibers responsible for sexual pleasure exceeds 10,000 in the human clitoris. In contrast to the penis, which has been extensively studied, the vulva has been largely ignored in anatomical studies.
“I mean, like the general story of the clitoris, it seems to have been lost and found throughout history,” says Rachel E. Grossscience journalist and author vaginal acne, The book explores how the scientific community has long focused narrowly on reproduction of the female body and how that is changing.
Almost 20 years ago, urologist Helen O’Connell made a comprehensive map The clitoris is the first to use microdissection and magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate that what we see above the surface is only a small part of the entire structure below.
Clitoral anatomy is still making its way into medical textbooks, thanks in part to the advocacy of a woman named Jessica Pin, who lost clitoral sensation in 2004 after undergoing plastic surgery on her labia.
“I realized that surgeons were doing operations they had no anatomy training, they were never taught,” Pin wrote in an email. “Every anatomy textbook I can find omits the dorsal nerves of the clitoris. Every obstetrics and gynecology textbook I can find omits them. They are not described anywhere in the plastic surgery or obstetrics literature. In women They are not considered in the literature on genital cosmetic surgery. Surgeons are blind to nerves.”
Pin believes what she underwent was a “preventable form of genital mutilation” caused by “carelessness and taboos around female sexuality”.
Until the mid-20th century, clitorectomy, or the removal or reduction of the clitoris, was performed openly in the United States and Great Britain to prevent masturbation. In the mid-19th century, such operations were used as a “cure” for “hysteria” and attitudes such as “aversion to conjugal sex” and “extreme aversion to husbands.” Today, at least 200 million girls and women in 31 countries have undergone genital mutilation, also known as female genital mutilation or FGM, according to UNICEF estimates.
In California, gynecologist Marci Bowers, who specializes primarily in gender-affirming surgery, performed clitoral reconstruction surgery on survivors. While genital mutilation has been shown to cause severe pain, bleeding, infection, urinary problems, and childbirth complications, little research Its impact on sexual function and its solution were investigated.
“When you consider that this affects 200 million women around the world, it’s getting very little attention,” Bowers said. “It was really interesting when I started interviewing patients who had undergone FGM, and their primary motivation for having the procedure wasn’t even sex or sexual sensations; it was a sense of their identity being stripped.”
In the fifth and final episode scientific americandocumentary series sexual problems, We caught up with Bowers and one of her patients to understand what it means for science to prioritize female pleasure.