On MeSH: Have Female Genitalia Fallen into Oblivion?

J Sex Med. 2013 Oct;10(10):2605-6. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12264.LME

On MeSH: Have Female Genitalia Fallen into Oblivion?

Martinez Pérez G, Shah S

Department of Physiatry and Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain.


…We could write to the MeSH section staff and propose a defi- nition. However, if we scrutinize each one of the ethnic groups in the world, we will come to different conclusions on what “clitoris” means. One can attempt to name a few. The clitoris is that part of the female genitalia that Rwandese men call rugongo and have to strike with the glans of the erect penis during sexual foreplay [3]. In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the clitoris is that part of the body where women perform cuttings and rub “love medicines” on the scars, aiming to increase desirability [4]. Since Mosotho women in Lesotho are aware of the importance of the clitoris in sexual pleasure, some girls consider the clitoris to be a part of their body they would prefer to elongate—instead of attempting to elongate their labia minora [5]. The clitoris is also what Somali girls have excised because it is thought of as the male part of the female body, which needs to be removed in order to humanize a woman [6]. This belief should not be foreign to Westerners; in 1561, the Italian botanist Gabrielo Fallopio established an analogy between the penis and the clitoris, and it was not until 1987 that somebody—the psychologist Josephine Lowndes Sevely—argued that these organs were not similar at all [2]!…

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