Sex among humans is not only about pleasure or reproduction, it is also about power and, predictably, it is female sexuality that has suffered most cruelly in this power play. It has been documented that mutilation of the clitoris (female genital mutilation, or FGM) is practised in over 50 countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and usually in the name of women’s purity, modesty and beauty. This demonstrates that some societies still fear women having sexual freedom; this has been the case for centuries.
Incredibly, many women have only recently discovered their clitoris! How did the taboo on acknowledging the existence and function of the clitoris come about? Let’s find our more.
The evolution of the clitoris.
All female mammals have a clitoris, not just humans. While its nature varies from one mammal to the other, among human females, it is a tiny projection above the genital opening, and varies in size from one female to another, similar to a human penis. and it does share some of the characteristics of a penis in the arousal state – in other words, it gets hard.
A French physician who dissected this organ for the first time in 1545, named it membre honteux—“the shameful member”, and assumed its use was only for urination. The debate that the female clitoris could have a function other than purely stimulating sexual pleasure has been going on ever since. Similar to fins being the ancestors of limbs, lungs being the descendants of gills, and men having nipples, the clit and the penis have common origins at the embryo stage.
The clitoris and the probability quotient.
Yale’s Gunter Wagner, the Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Professor Mihaela Pavlicev of the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, have theorised that orgasm is a sort of happy evolutionary gift inherited from older lineages of animals who only ovulate during copulation. Studies have revealed that female mammals experience orgasm through contractions in their genital walls during intercourse. Most female mammals have their clitoris inside the genital opening, while female humans, dolphins and a few other mammals with ovulatory cycles have the clit at the entrance of their genital opening, which helps stimulate the female before the intercourse can take place.
The clit helps stimulate sexual pleasure and attain orgasm, but that apart, the human clit helps a female’s sexual and reproductive health.
Queerness complements evolution.
Sexuality in an individual starts from as early when in the womb. When a child is born and begins to grow up, as observed in Freud’s theory of Child Sexuality – the “Anal phase” – a child of any gender begins touching its genitals as early as at the age of 18 months to three years. A child doing this is an attempt to explore sexual experience. These are our early stages of masturbation, which may or may not evolve in most human females given the societal taboos surrounding it. We may have noticed the Indian god Krishna being pictured with a coin attached to his waist-thread (aranjanam). The function of this coin is to draw the child’s attention away from its genitalia, and save its elders the blush. Since girl children are placed within boundaries of chastity, and are made to cover their bodies from an early age, they don’t need a coin on their waistband!
Traits of queerness like animals of the same gender mounting each other, parenting an offspring,etc., exist among penguins, mallards, monkeys and many other species. Transphobia and homophobia that exist only within human species are nothing but fear of the emergence of a modern society in which the values propagated by phobic individuals may cease to exist. Hence, these phobias lead to majoritarian heteronormative communities unleashing violence against people whom they identify as the queer.
The acceptance of queerness into society will boost genetic diversity as it helps to break away from endogamy. This will lead to emergence of modern societies in future! But how?
The clitoris of God?
The first three-parent baby was born in Mexico in 2016 through an experiment conducted by medical scientist Jhon Zhang of China. He used techniques that involved the transfer of mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA. Often called the “power plants” of the cell, the mitochondria convert energy from food into energy. Pronuclear transfer involves fertilising both the mother’s egg and a donor egg with the father’s sperm. Before the fertilised eggs start dividing into early-stage embryos, each nucleus is removed. The nucleus from the donor’s fertilised egg is discarded and replaced by that of the mother’s fertilised egg.
This technique helps cure diseases that are passed on to the next generation genetically, and has been legally approved in the United Kingdom. In another experiment, eight premature baby sheep were further grown in an artificial womb called the ‘Biobag’ which consists of electrolyte solution similar to that in the womb. These premature sheep turned out healthy and fine after four weeks. The science of Biobag could help premature child births in the future.
We know that the first form of reproduction was asexual, and that the much more complex form of sexuality found among the mammals came about much later. However, this form of cell multiplication process is an ongoing activity among all life forms even now. One other astonishing fact is that some female fish like guppies can store sperm sprayed by the male within their bodies until the optimal time for fertilisation, literally acting as a sperm storage bank.
All these facts and experiments of science hint at the possible of emergence of new reproductive sciences and modern societies that are already pre-seeded within life and nature. We do not know if god is aware of these scientific facts but at least we are! Whatever the future may hold for the clitoris, sexuality is a science and language, and not a subject to be considered taboo. A few global religions claim that their gods were born without intercourse taking place, while some others insist that sexuality itself is wrong or a sin. However, no follower of any of these religions and gods have ever been able to deny the pleasure of sex thus have either rejected it in fear or embraced it. If sexuality and clitoris are understood with no judgments of religion and god, it is never too difficult to understand how our political and religious leaders are influenced to behave as they do. We are not sure if god exists, but we are sure the clitoris does!