by noosfera, published

Clitoris by noosfera Nov 8, 2016



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This is an anatomically correct 3D model of the whole clitoris and the vestibular bulbs. It also has the realistic average size of the organ, 10cm. The blue clit was printed with 50% of the size.

This project was developed by Odile Fillod and designed by Mélissa Richard, for educational purposes, since the real shape of the clitoris remains, until today, a mystery to many people.

Feel free to share and print it under the cc-by-sa-nc licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Learn more and see the original project (in french): http://carrefour-numerique.cite-sciences.fr/fablab/wiki/doku.php?id=projets:clitoris

  • If you use this model, please share a pic your clit with us! -

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i've made a few of these for friends who wanted to have that and over time, the bulbs gets loose... and looking at the model, it's normal as they are 2 distinct volumes.

Hello Noosfera, I am concerned by the way you present this model, because:

  • the model was not designed by me but by Mélissa Richard (based on my instructions), under a cc-by-sa-nc licence, as you can see on http://carrefour-numerique.cite-sciences.fr/fablab/wiki/doku.php?id=projets:clitoris;
  • there is no such thing as an "internal" and an "external" clitoris; the clitoris is an external organ; it is just that most of it is hidden;
  • this model shows the clitoris and the attached bulbs (usually called "vestibular bulbs"), not the clitoris only;
  • it should be made clear that if this blue 3D clit is 50% of the original size, it is no longer anatomically realistic;
  • the article by Minna Salami contains several errors (three-dimensional MRI scans available in 2009 have not "produced the most accurate representations of the clitoris", the crura are not "about 10cm long", the clitoris does not "encircles the vagina", Helen O'Connell mapped it out in 1998, not "Helen O’Toole" - in fact, she confirmed in 1998 that the detailed description by Kobelt published in 1844 was accurate).

Thank you so much for your comment! I am sorry I got so many things wrong. I will re write the description as soon as I get to a computer. is there any more info you would like me to add to the description?

Thank you for your quick answer, and don't be sorry: many journalists and bloggers have published erroneous claims about the clitoris, and you cannot guess that they are wrong. You may also write, instead of "anatomically accurate", that it is a stylized but anatomically correct and life-size model (that is to say 10 cm long from the tip of the glans to the end of one of the "legs", which is a realistic average size).

Do you mind if I ask a few questions as long as you're correcting the record? I've printed dozens of these for sex educators around the world (even sending some back to France!) and I'd love to provide any corrections to the information going out.

How are you measuring the 10 cm? Is it from the tip of the clitoral glans, around the corpus cavernosum, and down a crus or are you measuring tip of the clitoral glans directly to the tip of a crus? The difference is a 30% larger model size on each dimension, which equates to a model with about 120% more mass. I put a picture of the difference in the "I made one" section.

At what age is this about the appropriate size? Some articles I have read indicates it increases as much as 900% over the course of a sexually mature woman's life. Is this model based anywhere in that range? Do you happen to know the normal variation in size?

You said that the vestibular bulbs are not part of the clitoris. I understood all of the structure represented in this model was clitoris, just as the different components. Can you tell me what is clitoris and what is not?

You mentioned that it does not encircle the vaginal canal, which matches my understanding. But it does surround the vaginal canal to a large extend because of the bulbs running on either side under the labia majora, correct? Is this a matter of it not encircling the vargina because it does not connect at the bottom, or is this further issue from the misunderstanding of what constitutes clitoris and not clitoris?

Thank you! I will propagate your answers!

Hello Slaymeister. Of course I don't mind answering your questions.

  1. 10 cm is from the tip of the clitoral glans, then around the "elbow" or "angle", and down a crus. In the scientific litterature, the clitoris is never measured from the tip of the clitoral glans directly to the tip of a crus. I have determined that 10 cm was a realistic average size based on various sources (see below).

  2. Neither the average size or the normal variation of the human clitoris are established, because the available studies were made on too small samples, and they apply different methods for measuring it. As a matter of fact, their results are quite different. For instance:

    • according to O'Connell (1998), the body is 2 to 4 cm long and the crura 5 to 9 (but she does not give any estimate for the average or the variation in total length; one can just infer that it is comprised between 7 and 13 cm);
    • according to Aubin (2002), based on a postmortem dissection study, the glans was 4 to 6 mm long, the body was about 3.2 cm long, and the crura was about 4 cm (which would make a total length of about 7,7 cm);
    • according to Ginger & Yang (2011), the body (including glans, here) is 5 to 7 cm long, and the total length (body + crus) "can be 10 cm or more";
    • according to DiMarino et Lepidi (2014), based on a postmortem dissection study, in their sample the glans was about 5 mm long, the average body size (glans excluded) was 3.24 cm + 1.28 cm (before/after the elbow), and the cura 3.7 cm (which would make a total length of about 8,7 cm);
    • according to Vaccaro et al (2014), based on a sample of 20 living and sexually active adult women (MRI study), the average total length was 11.6 cm;
    • according to Paul (2015), the total length is "9 to 11 cm".
  3. These are adult sizes. I have never, ever read any scientific support to the notion that the size of the clitoris "increases as much as 900% over the course of a sexually mature woman's life". I would be very interested to know where you found such piece of information.

  4. Although some scientists suggest one may change the meaning of the word "clitoris", current consensus in the scientific litterature is that the word "clitoris" should be used to describe what has always been described as the clitoris (from the 17th century), that is to say the glans + the corpora cavernosa making the body & crura. However, it has been established (from the 19th century) that what may be called the "bulbo-clitoral organ" or "bulbo-clitoral complex", that is to say the clitoris + bulbs, is homologous to the penis, and that it is relevant to consider this whole "complex" to understand sexual function, especially because the bulbs are connected to the clitoris through a veinous plexus. That is why I chose to include both in my model(s), described as clitoris + bulbs here: http://carrefour-numerique.cite-sciences.fr/fablab/wiki/doku.php?id=projets%3Aclitoris.

  5. As regards the crura of the clitoris, they do not run on either side of the vaginal canal: they are attached to the ischiopubic bones. As regards the bulbs, they do run on either side of the vaginal canal, but they do not encircle it. Indeed, they are far from connecting at the bottom.

Hoping this helps and looking forward to reading from you,

Thank you! This information is very helpful!

About the increase in size, I was mistaken in that I had read 700% rather than 900%. However, in following references cited by articles, they all tend to be press rather than scientific. The link from the article where I originally saw this is now a dead page.

This article comes up as a source for about 80% of the other articles I checked, but it is not credible as a source and it does not cite a source. http://www.alternet.org/9-interesting-things-you-may-not-know-about-clitoris So is this just an urban legend? Also, the 700% seems to be from birth to menopause, not from sexual maturity to menopause.

Thank you for the link to your page! That is where I originally found the model I have been using for prints. I will spend some more time on this page with Google Translate. Thank you!

Incidentally, three more of my prints of this model went out with yesterday's mail, two of them are already slated to be used immediately in some anatomy classes for adult men and couple counseling. Your model is getting good use in education here in North America, though not in public school settings.

One frequent request that I get is for a print showing the homologous nature of the clitoris and penis. I have been providing a link to pictures like this: https://goo.gl/images/OO1vq8, but I have been looking for a printable companion piece that would allow students a tactile connection to this concept. Do you know of one?

Yes, as far as I know, it is a urban legend since: 1) I could not find any scientific source cited in the articles that spread it; 2) I have read quite a lot of scientific articles on the clitoris, and I have never read such a thing; 3) Some of the dissections of the clitoris used in these articles are from old women, and their clitoris do not appear to be longer.

Rem: there are other fanciful or hypothetical pieces of information in the alternet.org article, like "At about 12 weeks, each baby’s genitalia begin to differentiate into a penis or labia" (wrong) or "The clitoris contains at least 8,000 sensory nerve endings. To put that into perspective, the penis has about 4,000" (probably wrong, based on Natalie Angier's book published in 1999, whose source was a book edited by Thomas P. Lowry in 1976 where she read: "It appears that the clitoris has more nerve fibers than the penis; approx. twice as many fibers counted near the base of the clitoris as compared to the penis in sheep (4,000 per side vs. 2,000) and cattle (7,733 vs. 4,033)."

As regards designing a model of an average WHOLE penis, that is something I wanted to do in order to show the homology. Indeed, I do not know of such a model - and the pictures above are not accurate enough, the bulb being too short on it. I could not do it, but I am now working with someone on that project. I hope it will be ready by the end of February. What we plan to do is also to create a (free) html page with these 3D clitoris & 3D penis side by side, whith legends and the possibility to virtualy handle (rotate...) them.

I'm very interested in an anatomically correct 3D model of a clitoris. Did you do this? There is another one here (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1498267) but I am having trouble printing it.

Anatomical Clitoris
by AMS3188

That sounds fantastic! As you get done with the model, I would love to have a copy of the files! I sent you a friend request on Facebook to keep in touch on this. When you post the files here, they will quickly get removed from search results, but I can help you publish the links in other places.

Done. If you have anything else to add, please feel free to tell me. And also, thank you so much for your amazing project !!

Poor "smurfette". Hope she didn't suffer during the ablation !