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Why we don't know the size of our own clitoris

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

So how big are clitorises anyway?

Men obsessing over penis size is so common that it has become a pop culture cliché. A favorite subject of insecure men everywhere, a proverbial dick-measuring contest even popped up in the 2016 presidential campaign when the now-president-elect thought it was necessary to nationally defend the size of his own member.

More: 11 clitoris facts you'll think about the next time you have sex

But when you think about it, there really is no equivalent for women. Never once have I been out with the gals and we’ve assigned value or settled an argument based on the size of our clitorises. That would not only be logistically challenging, but basically impossible without an MRI, since most of the clitoris is internal. So how big are clitorises anyway?

In an excerpt from his new book If Our Bodies Could Talk, James Hamblin shed some light on the subject, providing dimensions for the average nonaroused clitoris (0.06 to 0.2 inches), indicating that during arousal it roughly doubles in volume. The glans — or the external part of the clitoris — is typically 0.09 to 0.17 inches wide and 0.15 to 0.26 inches long, and accounts for only about one-quarter of the organ.

More: It's about time kids have to learn about the clitoris in sex ed class

Interestingly, Hamblin noted that people on the smaller end of the clitoral size spectrum tend to have fewer orgasms — a relationship that does not exist for people with penises. And there’s good news for everyone: The clitoris actually gets bigger with age.

Unlike the penis, the clitoris has no reproductive purpose and exists solely for pleasure, with at least 8,000 nerve endings (the penis has about half of that spread across a much larger surface). So for us, size truly doesn’t matter.

More: Why sex actually gets better with age

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