Dear Alice,

Ummm, I'm too embarrassed to ask the doctor or anyone, but my clitoris seems a lot bigger than every other girl's I know. Is this normal or should I see a doctor? Please answer me ASAP. I'm worried. Thank you so much!

Dear Reader,

You do not have to worry. Your clitoris may seem or be, in fact, bigger than other girls' you know. Sometimes, the adrenal glands that produce hormones during fetal development cause a woman to be born with a larger clitoris. However, this doesn't upset its function, as the purpose of the clitoris is to give pleasure (a clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings — that's more than a penis!). Nor do any two clitorises look alike. Similar to a penis, the clitoris also varies in size, with a wide range of "normal." Women's clitorises can be longer or shorter, thinner or wider, flat/less prominent or more obvious. The tip of the clitoris, known as the glans, may be visible or hidden. During arousal, the clitoris becomes swollen and changes position.

You didn't mention your age in your question, so it's unclear if you've ever been to a health care provider for a gynecological (pelvic) exam. If you haven't yet, this might be the time. Usually, you meet with the health care provider before you are examined, so you should have a chance to speak with the person first. You can mention your concern to the health care provider, write a note on your history form, or prepare a private note to be handed to her or him before you are examined, that can go something like this: "I am worried about something. This is really embarrassing to bring up. I am concerned about the size of my clitoris. I'm afraid it's too big." Chances are your provider will reassure you that it's within the normal range, and then s/he can address your fears as well as examine your anatomy.

In addition, you may want to peruse the following resources that include illustrations and photographs of the clitoris and vulva before you go to your appointment. The book Sex for One by Betty Dodson, the Genital Art Gallery on her website, and the 1978 version of I Am My Lover edited by Joani Blank can work wonders at demystifying, reassuring, and educating both women and men about the variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and parts of women's inner "hearts." If you have any more questions about the clitoris, the book, The Clitoral Truth by Rebecca Chalker can also be interesting.


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