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?”
“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.
- You Say Virginia, I Say Vagina
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- Dad’s Advice to Son: Deciding When You’re Ready for Sex