Moms in Babeland

Yes Virginia, There is a Clitoris

We recently asked our Facebook friends what they learned about sex growing up, and it became clear that the clitoris was (and is) given scant attention in most birds and bees talks that happen both at school and at home. How can there be a curriculum in sex ed, or any talk that touches on the basics of sexual pleasure, that fails to mention the clit?!

Apparently there can be, and it’s not uncommon. And as many of our Facebook friends pointed out, not having information left them to make up their own stories about their bodies. Here’s what Liz said: “The first time I saw mine, I thought it was a little tiny penis and I had been born a hermaphrodite and my parents just never told me.” We read many stories about kids who thought they had a disease, a growth,  or felt something was wrong with them.

I’m not sure whether parents are assuming kids are learning sex stuff in school or teachers think kids are learning about it at home, but it’s better to seize the reins and be pro-active! Better to be annoyingly thorough than leave gaps in their knowledge.

Not only do people need to know that the clit exists, but what it is for. Here’s another Facebook post: “I JUST learned a few years ago that most women don’t orgasm from penetration alone and that the clit needs stimulation. WTF? I wish I had known that when I was younger.”

It’s easy to imagine the frustration she (and probably her partners) felt. That frustration and feelings of inadequacy could so easily be avoided by straightforward info about the clit and how it works. The clit is the only part of the human body that exists solely for pleasure. That’s a good message for our kids. Sex is supposed to feel good! It’s not something to be endured, tolerated or regretted.

It’s a little more difficult to talk about sex for pleasure than sex for baby-making, but we can do it in little age appropriate bites as we go along. My son is only 5, but he already knows that women have a clit. We want it to be something he has always known.

Here’s how it went:

“You know how it feels good when you touch your penis?”

“Uh-huh”

“Women have something that feels good too. It’s part of the vulva called the clitoris. We don’t pee through it, it’s a part that feels good.”

And that was it. Mission accomplished. At least for the time being. Sometime down the road there’ll be more detailed conversations, but I think we’re good for now.

Books are also a great way to fill in the gaps! Grade school kids will find the clit (and other good sex info, delivered cartoon style) in It’s Perfectly Normal, teens will find it in S.E.X., and young adults will find it in our own book Moregasm.

If you’re interested in the a more historical and scientific discussion of the clitoris, pick any of these great books: Bonk by Mary Roach, The Technology of Orgasm by Rachel Maines, and The Clitoral Truth by Rebecca Chalker.

Related posts:

  1. You Say Virginia, I Say Vagina
  2. To Give or Not to Give an 18 Year Old Girl a Vibrator? That is the Question…
  3. Dad’s Advice to Son: Deciding When You’re Ready for Sex

6 Responses to “Yes Virginia, There is a Clitoris”

  1. Jacky says:

    I have a family friend who has informed her now teenage daughter since she was young that she is lucky enough to have a body part that is strictly there for pleasure. Love it!

  2. Conrad says:

    The downside to knowing this information at a young age is that no one else does, so they all think you are crazy.

  3. Sarah says:

    Great post, and timely – I just taught my sex ed students about the clitoris yesterday! :) I would feel morally wrong teaching the anatomy lesson without it, or without discussing the importance of being familiar with your own anatomy (both to make it easier to tell if something is wrong, and to figure out what makes you feel good).

  4. [...] Moms in Babeland is an effort to address sex after parenting, and a good one at that. Last week, the quad behind the blog conducted an informal survey of their Facebook friends to get a sense of what they had learned in sex ed. [...]

  5. [...] was my own discovery of said drugstore vibrator that taught me what an orgasm felt like and what my clitoris was. I experienced that bliss with no shame and a healthy sense of adventure, but if I hadn’t [...]

  6. [...] her sexuality. If your kids are learning anything at all in school regarding sex, chances are the location of the clit, and how to pleasure it, are not on the curriculum. Most schools’ sex education is limited to [...]

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