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Female Anatomy 101

By Dr. Barb DePree Expert HERWriter Blogger
time to take female anatomy 101 Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

As a gynecologist, I’ve studied a lot of anatomy, including some that makes other folks blush. I sort of forget how uncommon it is for women to know exactly what parts they have “down there.”

I shared a textbook with a friend who was helping me with some writing for MiddlesexMD. Both she and I thought of her as a pretty sexually literate, certainly sexually experienced woman. Her reaction to the illustration of the clitoris was too good not to share.

I nearly passed the illustration over, because, what’s to know at my age? I’ve lived with this equipment for 50 years. I’d like to think I know my way around it. But this illustration colored in the entire structure of the clitoris. Not just the glans, but also the shaft and the crus clitoris, or crura.

Excuse me ... the shaft? and the crura?

No ... please picture me picking my head up like a prairie dog, looking around my office, and asking the air ...

“The shaft?!”

“And the crura!?!”

Somehow in all my curious, bookish, research-happy past, I never learned more about the clitoris than about the little button—the glans—the part that sticks out from the prepuce at the top of the labia.

Who knew my clitoris had legs? And a shaft, even?

But yes, indeed. It’s practically a little penis under that hood. With long, long legs that extend waaay back toward the perineum, which fill with blood when I’m aroused.

Now, of course, the cool, rational part of my mind tells me I have enjoyed my crura—and possibly even the shaft—because they’ve been there all along. But I would have liked to know about them from the start. I can’t help but wish for a few years back in which I could quite clearly visualize my long, leggy crura.

What can we do with this information? Well, with age, the clitoris loses some sensitivity. We may find it useful to use warming oils and gels or vibrating sex aids to increase stimulation to the clitoris as we prepare for or engage in sex.

And of course, to do that, it really does help to know where it is. Back to the books ...

Thanks for that, Julie!

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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