[Dash of SAS] Why I have a clitoris

Ana P. Santos

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Sexual organs have multiple purposes, but in one way or another exist to show and give love — in different forms.

Dash of SAS joins the Rappler conversation as a regular column on sex positivism. We’ll dish out bits of juicy insights and ask biting questions meant to provoke thought and rouse positive conversations about sexuality. Changing the way we view sex starts with the way we talk about it.



Ana P. SantosThe simple innocuous question, “What do you do?”  is a difficult one for me to answer.

I’ve found that the best way to answer is to “skew” my answer according to the one posing the question. To NGOs, women’s rights and school organizations, I’m a sexual health educator. To magazines, news agencies and research foundations, I am a public health journalist. The catch-all-answer-to-avoid-lengthy-explanations is simply, “the sex writer.”

On certain occasions, like when I have to give a talk, I usually start off with a bang (yep, pun so intended there) by saying that my job requires a fetish for oral sex—which, in my world, means talking about sex more than the average person.

Actually, I think the best way to answer that question is to describe what I do: I use various media to educate others about the concept of positive sexuality and create awareness for the sex-positive movement.

There are many theories behind the origins of the sex-positive movement and who exactly started it – Wilhelm Reich, Alfred Kinsey, they’re all up there in the annals of sex positivity. There are varying definitions and it is a concept that has evolved quite a bit, but let me pick out a definition by Carol Queen, sexologist and author of a number of books on human sexuality.

Queen describes the positive sex movement as “…the cultural philosophy that understands sexuality as a potentially positive force in one’s life. Sex-positivity allows for and in fact celebrates sexual diversity, differing desires and relationships structures, and individual choices based on consent.”

Divine right

In my work, I have contextualized that a bit for the local setting and have come up with another definition of sex positivity as “the divine right to show love, give love and make love.”

I use the word “divine” in that definition without hint of sarcasm, malice or irony.

And to substantiate this point, I will refer to the existence of my clitoris. Yes, that tiny bud of nerves—no bigger than the size of a pea—which is the epicenter of sexual pleasure; the steward of the female orgasm.

The clitoris exists for one reason: to be pleasured and in turn give pleasure. That is its raison d’être.

It has no other purpose.

Female human beings are not the only ones who possess a clitoris. There are other species in the animal kingdom who have their own pleasure nodes, but have them for different reasons.

The spotted hyena is known to have the largest clitoris in the animal kingdom; so large that it is sometimes referred to as a “pseudo penis.”

Female squirrel monkeys use their large clitoris to establish dominance in a group.

The subordinate females lick the clitoris of a higher-ranked female to signify obedience and subservience. Females also sometimes lick each other’s clitorises as a way of greeting one another.

Bringing life

Now, I’m not suggesting that our clitorises be used to signify dominance or that any mouth contact with it be made the new equivalent of “beso-beso” or its cultured counterpart, “air-kissing.”

But I do believe that the divinity who designed the woman’s body created it so that womanity could celebrate and relish her sexuality.

It is by no accident, but with great calculation and deliberation that the sexual organs meant for bringing life into this world are the same ones meant to give us pleasure.

Sexual organs have multiple purposes, but in one way or another exist to show and give love—in different forms.

Breasts are not meant to just be ogled at or fondled (or propel sales for push up bras); they are also a source of nourishment to a newborn baby. Nipples are designed for a newborn to latch on to and the areola serves as supplementary milk ducts for suckling of a baby. A woman’s bosom has been immortalized in literature and art as a symbol of comfort and security.

The much eroticized vagina is not meant to just receive stimulation from a partner, but also to serve as a birth passage.

During a conversation I had with Dr Junice Melgar, the executive director of Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, she pointed out that even the way that humans engage in sex is an indication of how we are meant to enact and enjoy the deepest of human connections. “Humans can (regardless of sexual orientation) engage in sex face-to-face, with arms wrapped one other for closeness and intimacy,” Dr Melgar told me.

Sans any drowsiness, aren’t we the only the only specie who wants to cuddle after sex, too?

It reminds me of the basic biology lesson that teaches us that there is nothing extraneous in the human body. There is nothing in the human body that does not have a purpose.

There is a divine reason why our bodies are created the way they are. Our heart is balanced by our mind and our character matched by our spirit; everything comes together to exult our capacity — our divine right — as humans to give love, show love and yes, make love.

There will be those who will beg to differ. But isn’t sexuality, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder?

There are monologues about vaginas. Now, it’s time to have conversations about clitorises. – Rappler.com

From starting out as a sex and relationship columnist in a men’s magazine, Ana P Santos has moved on — or grown up —  to be an award-winning public health journalist. Her series of reports on HIV and AIDS published in Newsbreak was named Runner Up for Best Investigative Report in the 2011 PopDev Media Awards. However, Ana considers being able to tell her mother that she has made a career for herself in sex, without engaging in (commercial) porn her greatest achievement. Read more of her work on www.sexandsensibilities.com (SAS) or follow her on Twitter: @dash_of_sas.

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Ana P. Santos

Ana P. Santos is an investigative journalist who specializes in reporting on the intersections of gender, sexuality, and migrant worker rights.