So, what you’re saying is, one more theory can’t hurt right?
Recently however, one researcher and former staff member of the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield is arguing that this isn’t the only purpose of the clitoris. Roy J Levin, writes that it’s other reason is...you guessed it, reproduction!
While this argument might have some of us already on the defensive, it appears that this essay is to further the battle against the clitoridectomies that are “undertaken in a number of countries and cultures.” Of which versions include the psychological, symbolic, Freudian, ritualistic and medical clitoridectomy. It would seem, Levin is most interested in the latter.
So, what has the clitoris as a reproductive organ, Freud and clitoridectomy got to do with one another? And WTH is “tenting!”
In his lengthy The Clitoris—An Appraisal of its Reproductive Function During the Fertile Years: Why Was It, and Still Is, Overlooked in Accounts of Female Sexual Arousal, Levin shares key findings in 20th Century research, citing too the famous, Masters & Johnson. He lists ways that the clitoris, upon stimulation signals to the brain to set in to motion “a combination of changes in the female reproductive tract that creates its readiness to receive and process sperm to achieve possible fertilisation of the egg.”
These clitoris-brain-vagina changes are:
All these points, with a little assistance from Google, are somewhat self-explanatory. One point that struck us however is Activating vaginal tenting and ballooning which delays sperm transport from the vagina.
How does delaying sperm help with reproduction?
You may know that during arousal, the vagina tents, meaning it lengthens or pulls upward along with the cervix due to increased muscle tension. Meanwhile, ballooning to accommodate the male penis more comfortably and freeing up room for the semen because -
When the vagina tent and balloons, it gives the semen space to liquify, in order to move toward the uterus and then the ovum (female egg) . Given that only 30-40% of sperm, in one normal ejaculate, are forward moving, they need all the help they can get! In his appraisal, Levin argues that this is all usually set in motion by clitoral stimulation.
Levin touched on Signum Freud and his disdain for the female organ, which could be argued caused immeasurable ramifications for the medical and cultural understanding and emancipation of female sexuality. He does note, however, that “the detailed physiological responses of the female genital tract to sexual arousal were not yet identified and described” in Freud’s day. This does cause an aching amount of cognitive dissonance when we think how women may not have suffered if Levin’s findings were mainstream before Freud’s misogynistic prognosis of the clitoral orgasm as “immature” and a sign un mental illness. Would he have reconsidered and instead championed the female orgasm as important, nay crucial, to the survival of the human race?
Levin shares that some “apologists” have argued that the ramifications of female clitoridectomy mean only an impairment on a female sexual enjoyment and so that this procedure is comparable to male circumcision. Levin goes on to share some post-surgery and post-reconstructive surgery stats of women who have undergone some form of clitoridectomy. This type of research is still lacking. However, it is known that a variety of complications, disability and death can result from FGM.
Citing back to the reproductive role of the clitoris or rather the neurological and physiological effects of clitoral stimulation, Levin states then that “clitoridectomy creates not only sexual disability but also a reproductive disability.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
WHO predicts 200 million girls and women currently living have undergone clitoridectomy.
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