I recently started dating a 26-year-old female. I was a little surprised when she told me that she gets nothing out of oral sex, as that has been my typical method for getting my past partners off. Eventually, I was to discover that this was because she has no external glans (clitoris hood/head). It's just smooth skin where a clit would be. I was shocked when she showed me. She is probably the easiest person I've ever met to get to orgasm (thank God!), so this isn't a problem, just a mystery. I know that the clitoris is much larger than just the part you can see — the "head" — and she gets off on the feeling of pressure on and around where the glans would normally be, so I'm sure she has developed nerves and, I guess, has a clit under the skin. She assumed this was common enough, as none of her gynecologists has ever brought it to her attention. Have you ever heard of this? Is it common?
Clitorless Lad In Torment
"It's pretty rare, but yes, it happens," said Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University, a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, the author of Sex Made Easy (among other books), a frequent guest expert for Savage Love, and the only woman who has ever chased me around a room with a vulva puppet.
When a woman doesn't have an exposed clitoral glans, "there's usually other genital parts that haven't developed or have developed in atypical ways," said Herbenick. "But there have been a few case reports in which the women had other typically developed genital parts — labia, etc. — while the clitoris alone is missing or very small. Some of these women report erotic sensation in the clitoral area."
Should your girlfriend talk to a doctor about it?
"I haven't seen this woman's genitals specifically," said Herbenick, "but sometimes there is atrophy or even 'coverage' of the clitoris (for example, the hood fuses over the glans partially or completely) due to vulvar skin disorders such as lichen sclerosus. Some children have LS, and often it goes undiagnosed for years and, without treatment, her clitoral hood could have fused over the glans. A dermatologist or gynecologist knowledgeable about vulvar dermatoses could look into this possibility via a very small biopsy. (Doctors with expertise in vulvar health can be found through issvd.org.)"
Follow Dr. Herbenick on Twitter @DebbyHerbenick.
I'm a 21-year-old female college student going to school on the East Coast. Two days ago, I broke up with my manipulative, controlling, insecure, long-distance boyfriend of one year. I truly care for this man, but I need to live my life the way I want to, and that wasn't possible in this relationship. The problem is, he's been leaving voice mails, texting, and e-mailing me threatening suicide. I've told his mother about this, but I don't think she's taking it seriously. I feel horrible, but I don't want to talk to him because I refuse to get sucked back into his problems. How can I deal with this serious threat without getting personally involved?
Single And Worried
Your ex-boyfriend's mom presumably knows her son better than you do, SAW, and she isn't taking his threats seriously. So it's possible that he has a long history of manipulating people with idle suicide threats, essentially taking himself hostage to get what he wants. But if you're worried — maybe his mother is neglectful and/or nuts — you might want to listen to Episode 364 of the Savage Lovecast (you can find that episode, and 363 others, at savagelovecast.com). I took a question from a man whose girlfriend threatened suicide when he tried to dump her. Jill Harkavy-Friedman of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had some excellent advice for him. Summing it up: Alert his friends and relatives, and pass the AFSP's hotline number (1-800-273-TALK) on to them and on to the person making the threat. I would add: Don't respond to his texts or voice mails, consider blocking his number, and forward any truly worrying e-mails to his mother.
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