IT'S one of the most erogenous zones in the human body - and for decades thought to be the only organ intended for pleasure.
But now experts claim that the clitoris has another very important function - it is vital for reproduction.
Research published in Clinical Anatomy this week says that stimulation triggers an exciting wave of events, from the brain to the female genital tract.
The study’s lead author, Roy J. Levin, of University of Sheffield said that changes include increased vaginal blood flow, lubrication and an increase in vaginal temperature.
When taken together, the cascade of events is “of major importance in facilitating the possibility of reproductive success,” Levin writes.
He adds that the biggest plus in clitoral stimulation is when the cervix changes position. Doing so prevents semen from travelling into the uterus too rapidly, increasing the likelihood they’ll fertilise an egg.
And the findings aren’t just one big case for the female orgasm — they also add to the argument for ending a contentious human-rights issue.
Clitoridectomy, or female circumcision, has affected more than 200 million girls and women alive today across 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to the World Health Organisation, which has called on health providers to end the practice.
The practice should fall under increased scrutiny due to its effects on reproduction, Levin writes in the study.
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He says: “The often repeated mantra, that the sole function of clitoris is to induce sexual pleasure, is now obsolete.
“The concept changes a major sexual belief, and the physiological evidence is now obvious.”
This will all likely come as a shock to many men, almost half of whom cannot so much as identify a vagina.
- A version of this article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission