From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The clitoris (Greek κλειτορίς) is a sexual organ that is present in biologically female organisms. In humans, the visible knob-like portion is located near the anterior junction of the labia minora, above the opening of the urethra and vagina.
1615, coined in Modern Latin. The Italian anatomist Mateo Renaldo Colombo (1516-1559), claimed to have discovered it (De re anatomica, 1559, p. 243). He called it amor Veneris, vel dulcedo "the love or sweetness of Venus."
Recognition of existence
The clitoris has been rediscovered repeatedly over the centuries (Harvey 2001, Laqueur 1989). Over a period of more than 2,500 years, some have considered the clitoris and the penis equivalent in all respects except their arrangement. Medical literature first recognized the existence of the clitoris in the 16th century. This is the subject of some dispute: Realdo Colombo (also known as Matteo Renaldo Colombo) was a lecturer in surgery at the University of Padua, Italy, and in 1559 he published a book called De re anatomica in which he described the "seat of woman's delight". Colombo concluded, "Since no one has discerned these projections and their workings, if it is permissible to give names to things discovered by me, it should be called the love or sweetness of Venus."
Colombo's claim was disputed by his successor at Padua, Gabriele Falloppio (who discovered the fallopian tube), who claimed that he was the first to discover the clitoris. Caspar Bartholin, a 17th-century Danish anatomist, dismissed both claims, arguing that the clitoris had been widely known to medical science since the second century. Indeed, Hippocrates used the term columella (little pillar). Avicenna named the clitoris the albatra or virga (rod). Albucasis, an Arabic medical authority, named it tentigo (tension). It was also known to the Romans, who named it (vulgar slang) landica.
This cycle of suppression and discovery continued, notably in the work of De Graaf (Tractatus de Virorum Organis Generationi Inservientibus, De Mulierum Organis Generationi Inservientibus Tractatus Novus) in the 17th century and Georg Ludwig Kobelt (Die männlichen und weiblichen Wollustorgane des Menschen und einiger Säugetiere) in the 19th. De Graaf criticised Columbo's claims for this. (Harvey, Laqueur).
The full extent of the clitoris was alluded to by Masters and Johnson in 1966, but in such a muddled fashion that the significance of their description became obscured. That same year, feminist psychiatrist Mary Jane Sherfey published an article on female sexuality that described in detail the extensive nature of the internal anatomy of the clitoris and in 1981, the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Clinics (FFWHC) continued this process with anatomically precise illustrations. Today, MRI complements these efforts, as it is both a live and multiplanar method of examination.
- User:Jahsonic/Notes on the clitoris in literature of pre-modern Europe
- Erogenous zone
- Female reproductive system (human)
- Labium (genitalia)