Tag Archives: clitoris

3D Printers Are for Something Better than Porn

Debbie says:

france-3d-printed-clitoris-mFv

Paris-based researcher Odile Fillod is single-handedly educating the youth of France about the realities of sex and female anatomy with her new creation: the world’s first 3D-printed, anatomically correct clitoris.

The friend who sent me this article by Matt Nedostup at SomeCards found it on Facebook, and thought it might be a joke, but it is apparently a real thing in the world–and from my perspective a good one.

Laurie and I wrote about “clitoral studies” about a year and a half ago.  Although women’s sexuality has been getting some detailed attention for decades, and perhaps more in the past few years, real information is still quite obscure. Stephanie Theobald, writing about Fillod’s clitoral model in The Guardian (as linked from Nedostup’s article), says:

Clitoris activism is hot in France right now. The feminist group Osez Le Féminisme has been vocal in combatting the silence around it since 2011. While in Nice, a group of sex-positive feminists, Les Infemmes, has created a “sensual counter culture” fanzine called L’Antisèche du Clito or The Idiot’s Guide to the Clit. There are funny drawings of “Punk Clit,” “Dracula Clit” and “Freud Clit”, as well as facts about the organ.

When it comes to getting real information to children, especially pre-adolescent children, most people in the United States find the idea almost impossible to wrap our brains around — and even many sex-positive U.S. residents find the idea disturbing as well. My own position is that correct, detailed knowledge is always better than myths and old men’s tales, and I’m excited by what’s happening in France:

A recent report from Haut Conseil à l’Egalité, a government body responsible for gender equality, found that sex ed in public schools still teaches that boys are “focused on genital sexuality”, but girls “attach more importance to love.” Of course, scientists have known for years that boys and girls are both super into genital sexuality.

Fillod feels that her creation will help French girls understand their own bodies and overcome the stigmas against female sexuality that they’re taught by society/school/advertising/men/women/everyone.

We can only hope. Obviously a woman of radical ideas, Fillod took this one one step further by making the files for her printed clitoris open-source, i.e., available to anyone for free.

 Because of that generous decision, French elementary and middle schools will start using the model as a teaching aid starting in September.

Neither article says whether this is in some French schools or all French schools, or how the French public is reacting. I know that in the U.S., we are so confused and retrograde about teaching sex and sexuality that it’s almost impossible to imagine elementary school kids of any gender playing with a lifelike clitoris (or penis or vulva) for any purpose, let alone to understand “the realities of sex.” I will be watching this story to see if there’s backlash in France, and how it plays out.

In all probability, it will not lead to The Onion‘s satirical fantasy:

The Robert Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum officially opened its doors to the public Tuesday, drawing over 1,000 visitors with its interactive exhibits and youth-oriented activities aimed at making the photographer’s signature nude, explicit art more fun and accessible for younger generations. …

“Robert always wanted his work to affect the broadest possible audience, and by introducing children to the wonders of the human form and hardcore homoeroticism at a young age, we hope to instill a lifelong appreciation for his art,” said head curator Eileen Greco, dressed in the standard leather bondage harness worn by all Mapplethorpe Children’s Museum guides. “This museum is a celebration of everything Robert loved—from muscular male thighs to nylon cords wrapped tightly around one’s own scrotum—and our interactive exhibits make it fun for even the youngest child to explore and enjoy these themes.”

But it is kind of fun to imagine …

How to Suppress Women’s Clitorises–And How Not To

Laurie and Debbie say:

Although we are almost a decade apart in age, both of us learned a lot about female anatomy during the surge of feminist knowledge in the 1970s. In that period, Betty Dodson, the artist, became a well-known sex educator and teacher of masturbation skills for women; consciousness-raising groups everywhere encouraged women to examine their own vaginal anatomy with a speculum and a mirror, photographer Tee Corinne published The Cunt Coloring Book. If you were around the feminist world, cunts and labia and clitorises and vulvas were discussed, and examined.

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Under constant barrage from a masculinist culture, feminist language and discussion never went away, but in the mainstream, women’s issues were dismissed, trivialized, and suppressed. Joann Loulan’s Lesbian Sex, published in 1984, had the first diagrams of a clitoris that really explained how you feel your orgasms so far away from where you thought your clit was, and it came out from a small feminist press and was pretty much available only through small women’s bookstores.

When AIDS became an epidemic, we started hearing phrases like “anal sex” and “fisting” in at least semi-public discourse, and male sexual choices became the subject of subway billboards.  In the mid-1990s, thanks to the bizarre husband-maiming performed by Lorena Bobbitt, “penis” became an acceptable mainstream news word.

While all this was happening, cunts and labia and clits and vulvas never made the news, never were permitted in public discourse. And, as a result which the male culture is perfectly happy with, women have to work hard to learn anything important about our bodies. That’s why Amanda Chatel’s article at connections.mic, “Here’s What the Clitoris Actually Is … and What It Isn’t,” is still important more than thirty years after Betty Dodson started her crusade.

While there are plenty of spots on both men and women that serve as pleasure points (oh hello, penis), they serve other purposes, such as means for reproduction. The clit, on the other hand, does not serve a reproductive purpose at all; it’s just there to give women pleasure. 

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Among other things, scientific knowledge about the clitoris has grown (slowly) in those thirty-plus years. And your clitoris has grown along with the knowledge.

it has been suggested that the smaller the clit, the more difficult it is for women to achieve orgasm. However, even those with a small clitoris can have hope for the future, because unlike the penis, the clit grows with age. At 32, a woman’s clitoris is four times the size it was when she reached puberty; after menopause, it’s seven times the size was when a woman was born.

That’s the fact in Chatel’s article that neither of us knew. But it does explain some things …

Although there hasn’t been a lot of scientific clit study (wouldn’t you think it would be irresistible?), a 2009 French study performed sonographic studies on five women who stimulated their “quiescent clitorises” with “voluntary perineal contractions and with finger penetration without sexual stimulation.” Conclusion? “The special sensitivity of the lower anterior vaginal wall could be explained by pressure and movement of clitoris’ root during a vaginal penetration and subsequent perineal contraction. The G-spot could be explained by the richly innervated clitoris.”

Each time a new set of clitoral studies comes into the light, three things happen: we learn more facts, more people gain access to the facts, and the masculinist culture gets more nervous. Every time we learn more about how our bodies–and particularly our sexual bodies–are put together and function, we learn more about how to notice, recognize, and appreciate what we like … and what we have a right to expect. And thanks to the internet, it’s going to be a lot harder to keep this information out of women’s hands.