This is an excerpt from A New View of a Woman's Body, Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers, Feminist Health Press, Los Angeles, CA. Suzann Gage, illustrator.
As feminists, we wanted to remedy the neglect of women's sexuality and the misdirection of the interests of physicians and sex researchers. As part of a study with this purpose, we took off our pants and compared ourselves with illustrations in the most respected anatomy texts, both American and European. We found that we did have all of the parts of the clitoris shown, and more. Besides, not one of these drawings hinted at the wide variation in texture, size and color that we observed. We also observed the changes that occur during the sexual-response cycle when some of the study participants masturbated to orgasm. Then we compared our life experiences to the textbook version. Using self-examination, personal observation and meticulous analysis, we arrived at a new view of the clitoris.
We were pleased to learn that the clitoris has many distinct parts in addition to its visible structures, such as bodies of erectile tissue, muscle, nerves and blood vessels. The exterior of the clitoris, which is bounded by the hairy outer lips of the vulva, is easy to distinguish because its intricate, fleshly structures are hairless. These structures swell slightly when sexually stimulated. Beneath them are several spongy masses which fill with blood and swell greatly as sexual tension heightens, and layers of muscles which contract in unison at orgasm, forcing the accumulated blood back in to the body. The entire complex organ is richly supplied with blood vessels and nerve endings.
In all of the anatomy and sex education books we studied, there were several cross sections of the penis, but no cross section of the clitoris. This cross section shows very clearly the organs and other muscles involved in sexual response. The clitoris is in a nonerect, nonexcited state. Not shown are the clitoral muscles which are very much involved in orgasm.