Dr. Charles Mayo Goss erased the clitoris from Gray’s Anatomy in 1947, when he edited the 25th edition of the definitive medical text. So began a longstanding departure of the clitoris from general accessibility and common knowledge. Since then, to educate oneself about the clit is an endeavor one has to consciously take on, more or less. The Cliteracy Project, an artistic movement that bills itself as "the overdue, under-told story of the clitoris," aims to change all of that.
Launched on the internet via the Huffington Post, the Cliteracy Project started as an underground art project from queer artist Sophia Wallace, but has since become a movement. In a comprehensive website and very visible website, Cliteracy is outlined in various categories, including history, anatomy, education and "sex today." A hashtag, #getclitorate, is also associated with the project.
It's not clear why the clit was expunged from Gray's, though I learned via Cliteracy that Freud was anti-clit, and his teachings were popular at that time. Freud said, “Elimination of clitoral sexuality is a necessary precondition for the development of femininity, since it is immature and masculine in its nature.” So there's that. Then again, Freud was apparently "overcome by 'clit envy,'" according to the "sex today" section of the website, so — who knows what his motives were.
From Claudius Galen, a famous doctor from the Roman empire, to last year's controversial study that purported that the vaginal orgasm and the G-spot are myths, Cliteracy's history section is a veritable walk down the memory lane of the clit. The page that covers anatomy includes fun facts; for example, did you know that the clitoris is the only human organ that exists just for pleasure? Or that a clit has twice as many nerve endings as a penis? Or that the clit's blood supply enables it to continuously engorge, meaning any and all clit-holders should be able to have multiple orgasms? There's also an incredibly informative video, which is worth watching and sharing with our partners and friends.
In a particularly fun infographic, the Cliterate Matrix, filed under "sex today," rates various clit-related happenings from "win" and "fail" to "ilcliterate" and "cliterate." Choice bits: Picasso’s Man And Woman With A Cat, which includes a bed frame with a vulva sketched on it (win, cliterate); Playboy's longstanding tendency of not featuring the clitoris of its centerfold models (fail, ilcliterate); and South Park's talking clit (win, ilcliterate — "Props to South Park for venerating the clit — but their animators could use a lesson in anatomy." Oops).
So — how to #getcliterate? Though it's definitely true that some of us are already pretty cliterate, the Cliteracy Project is about raising awareness of women's sexuality in all areas. From understanding the clit's exact anatomy and function to fluency in "clinguistics," or the teachings of the clitoris, there's a lot to learn out there. Cliteracy is a great jumping-off point, as are the videos contained therein. From there, the possibilities are endless, especially in the realm of experimentation.
Images: Helga Weber/Flickr; Giphy