Clitoral hood

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Photograph of the human vulva showing the glans clitoris. In many cases the clitoral hood completely covers the glans, as seen in the photo.

In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood, (also called preputium clitoridis and clitoral prepuce), is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoral glans. It develops as part of the labia minora and is homologous with the foreskin (equally called prepuce) in male genitals.


This is a protective hood of skin that covers the clitoral glans. There is no standard size or shape for the hood. Some women have large clitoral hoods that completely cover the clitoral glans. Some of these can be retracted to expose the clitoral glans; 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.


In most of the world, modifications are uncommon. In some African cultures, female genital cutting is practiced on young girls to suppress sexual pleasure. One possible modification that exists for the opposite reason is to have the hood pierced and insert jewellery, both for adornment and physical pleasure. Though much less common, other women opt to have the hood surgically trimmed or removed so as to permanently expose part or all of the clitoral head. Such a procedure is akin to male circumcision and is sometimes known as female circumcision, a term that is often confused with the practice of female genital cutting which usually removes extensive amounts of tissue, including the entire exposed part of the clitoris. Similar procedures were once rarely performed in Western countries such as the United States as well to discourage masturbation, but by the 1960s this destructive practice was recognized as abusive and discontinued.


Women with hoods covering most of the clitoris can often masturbate by stimulating the hood over the clitoral glans, an action which is homologous to masturbation in the male with a foreskin. Those with smaller, or more compact structures tend to rub the clitoral glans and hood together as one item. Oftentimes, the glans clitoris itself is too sensitive to be stimulated directly, such as in cases where the hood is retracted. This increased sensitivity due to their nature as internal structures, is also found in younger uncircumcised males, particularly before full retraction around puberty has occurred.
The clitoral hood also 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 instead stimulated indirectly often by the pressing of the individuals' pubis. The clitoral glans, like the foreskin must be lubricated by the naturally provided sebum, found in and accumulating in smegma, for sliding and effortless gliding during sexual stimulation. If a woman's clitoral glans isn't lubricated the hood may not caress it during sexual stimulation, or where the female may experiences pain rather than pleasure, as it may feel like sandpaper is being rubbed against her clitoral glans even when the lightest touch is applied. [1]

See also



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