In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood (also called preputium clitoridis and clitoral prepuce) is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the glans of the clitoris; it also covers the external shaft of the clitoris, develops as part of the labia minora and is homologous with the foreskin (equally called prepuce) in male genitals. The clitoral hood, like the foreskin, is composed of muccocutaneous tissues; these tissues are between the mucosa and the skin, and they may have immunological importance because they may be a point of entry of mucosal vaccines. The clitoral hood is also important not only in protection of the clitoral glans, but also in pleasure, as it is an erogenous tissue.
1 Development and variation 2 Stimulation 3 Modifications 4 See also 5 References 6 External links
Development and variation
Variation between women in the development of the clitoral hood: Top row: the clitoral hood of these women is covered by the labia majora when standing upright Bottom row: women with protuding clitoral hood
The clitoral hood is formed from the same tissues that form the foreskin in human males. The clitoral hood is formed during the fetal stage by the cellular lamella. The cellular lamella grows down on the dorsal side of the clitoris and is eventually fused with the clitoris. The clitoral hood varies in the size, shape, thickness, and other aesthetic areas. Some women have large clitoral hoods that completely cover the clitoral glans. Some of these can be retracted to expose the clitoral glans, such as for hygiene purposes or for pleasure; others do not retract. Other women have smaller hoods that do not cover the full length of the clitoral glans, leaving the clitoral glans exposed all the time. As in the male, sticky bands of tissue called adhesions can form between the hood and the glans; these stick the hood onto the glans so the hood cannot be pulled back to expose the glans, and, as in the male, strongly scented smegma can accumulate. Stimulation
Shows the sub-areas of the clitoris. Areas include clitoral glans, body, crura. Also shows vestibular bulbs and corpora cavernosa.
Normally, the clitoral glans itself is too sensitive to be stimulated
directly, such as in cases where the hood is retracted. Women with
hoods covering most of the clitoral glans can often masturbate by
stimulating the hood over the clitoral glans; those with smaller, or
more compact, structures tend to rub the clitoral glans and hood
together as one item.
The clitoral hood additionally provides protection to the clitoral
glans, like foreskin on the penile glans. During sexual
stimulation, the hood may also prevent the penis from coming into
direct contact with the glans clitoris, which is usually stimulated by
the pressure of the partners' pubis. Most mammals and primates
approach copulation from the rear instead of the common frontal
position that humans often assume, so the clitoral stimulation is
directly created by glans contact with the scrotum at the base of the
penis and the different contractions of its corrugated dartos muscles.
The clitoral glans, like the foreskin, must be lubricated by the
naturally provided sebum. If a woman's clitoral glans is not
lubricated the hood may not caress it during sexual stimulation, or
the female may experience pain rather than pleasure.
Shows a vertical piercing of the clitoral hood.
In most of the world, clitoral modifications are uncommon. In some cultures, female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced as a rite of passage into womanhood, is perceived as an improvement to the appearance of the genitalia, or is used to suppress or reduce female sexual desire and pleasure (including masturbation). FGM was performed on many children in Western countries, including previously in the United States, to discourage masturbation and reduce diseases believed to relate to it. One modification that women often perform of their free will is to have the hood pierced and insert jewellery, both for adornment and physical pleasure. Though much less common, other women opt to have their own hood surgically trimmed or removed so as to permanently expose part or all of the clitoral glans. See also
^ a b Sloane, Ethel (2002). Biology of Women. Cengage Learning.
p. 32. ISBN 0766811425. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
^ Crooks, Robert; Baur, Karla (2010). Our Sexuality. Cengage Learning.
p. 54. ISBN 0495812943. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
^ Mulhall, John P. (2011). John P. Mulhall, Luca Incrocci, Irwin
Goldstein, Ray Rosen, eds. Cancer and Sexual Health. Springer.
pp. 13–22. ISBN 1-60761-915-6. Retrieved 23 June
2012. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
^ a b c Cold, C.J.; Taylor, T.R. (1999). "The Prepuce". British
Journal of Urology. 83 (1): 34–44.
^ a b Carroll, Janell L. (2009). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity.
Cengage Learning. pp. 118 and 252. ISBN 978-0-495-60274-3.
Retrieved 23 June 2012. The clitoral glans is a particularly sensitive
receptor and transmitter of sexual stimuli. In fact, the clitoris,
although much smaller than the penis, has twice the number of nerve
endings (8,000) as the penis (4,000) and has a higher concentration of
nerve fibers than anywhere else on the body... In fact, most women do
not enjoy direct stimulation of the glans and prefer stimulation
through the [hood]... The majority of women enjoy a light caressing of
the shaft of the clitoris, together with an occasional circling of the
[clitoral glans], and maybe digital (finger) penetration of the
vagina. Other women dislike direct stimulation and prefer to have the
[clitoral glans] rolled between the lips of the labia. Some women like
to have the entire area of the vulva caressed, whereas others like the
caressing to be focused on the [clitoral glans].
^ Link text, "Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural
Challenge in Liberal Democracies," Chapter 11, Schweder, et al., 2002.
^ Momoh, Comfort (2005). "Female Genital Mutation". In Momoh, Comfort.
Female Genital Mutilation. Radcliffe Publishing. pp. 5–12.
^ Koroma, Hannah (30 September 1997). "What is Female Genital
Mutilation?". Amnesty International. p. 2. Retrieved 25 April
^ "Female genital mutilation".
World Health Organization
Anatomy photo:41:02-0202 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "The Female Perineum: The Vulva"
v t e
Female reproductive system
hemorrhagicum luteum albicans
Theca of follicle
Corona radiata Zona pellucida Membrana granulosa Perivitelline space
Germinal epithelium Tunica albuginea cortex
Cumulus oophorus Stroma
Isthmus Ampulla Infundibulum Fimbria Ostium
Ovarian ligament Suspensory ligament
Gartner's duct Epoophoron
Vesicular appendages of epoophoron
Uterine cavity Fundus
External orifice Cervical canal Internal orifice Supravaginal portion Vaginal portion
Myometrium Perimetrium Parametrium
Round ligament Broad ligament Cardinal ligament Uterosacral ligament Pubocervical ligament
Fossa of vestibule of vagina Vaginal fornix Hymen Vaginal rugae Support structures Vaginal epithelium
Anterior commissure Posterior commissure
Vulval vestibule Interlabial sulci Bulb of vestibule Vaginal orifice vestibular glands/ducts
Bartholin's glands/Bartholin's ducts Skene's glands/Skene's ducts
Crus of clitoris Corpus cavernosum Clitoral glans
G-spot Urethral sponge Per