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_Obstetric Memoirs and Contributions_, vol. ii, pp. 217-226; also
Dickinson, loc. cit.) It was formerly thought that the clitoris
is easily enlarged by masturbation, and Martineau believed that
in this way it might be doubled in length. It is probable that
slight enlargement of the clitoris may be caused by very
frequent masturbation, but only to an insignificant extent, and
it is impossible to diagnose masturbation from the size of the
clitoris. Among the women of Lake Nyassa, as well as in the
Caroline Islands, special methods are practiced for elongating
the clitoris, but in Europe, at all events, it is probable that
the variations in the size of the organ are mainly congenital. It
may well be that a congenitally large clitoris is associated with
an abnormally developed excitability of the sexual apparatus.
Tilt stated (_On Uterine and Ovarian Inflammation_, p. 37) that
in his experience there was a frequent though not invariable
connection between a large clitoris and sexual proclivity.
(Schurig referred to a case of intense and life-long sexual
obsession associated with an extremely large clitoris,
_Gynaecologia_, pp. 16-17.) Of recent years considerable
importance has been attached by some gynecologists (e.g., R.T.
Morris, "Is Evolution Trying to Do Away With the Clitoris?"
_Transactions American Association of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists_, vol. v, 1893) to preputial adhesions around the
clitoris as a source of nervous disturbance and invalidism in
While the clitoris is anatomically analogous to the penis, its actual
mechanism under the stress of sexual excitement is somewhat different. As
Lietaud long since pointed out, it cannot rise freely in erection as the
penis can; it is apparently bound down by its prepuce and its frenulum.
Waldeyer, in his book on the pelvis, states more precisely that, unlike
the penis, when erect it retains its angle, only this becomes somewhat
rounded so that the organ is to some slight extent lifted and protruded.
Waldeyer considered that the clitoris was thus perfectly fitted to fulfill
its part as the recipient of erotic stimulation from friction by the
penis. Adler, however, has pointed out with considerable justice, that
this is not altogether the case. The clitoris was developed in mammals who
practiced the posterior mode of coitus; in this position the clitoris was
beneath the penis, which was thus easily able in coitus to press it
against the pubic bone close beneath which it is situated, and thus impart
the compression and friction which the feminine organ craves. But in the
human anterior mode of coitus it is not necessarily brought into close
contact with the penis during the act of coitus, and thus fails to receive
powerful stimulation. Its restricted position, which is an advantage in
posterior coitus, is a disadvantage in anterior coitus. Adler observes
that it thus comes about that the human method of coitus, while by
bringing breast to breast and face to face it has added a new dignity and
refinement, a fresh source of enjoyment, to the embrace of the sexes, has
not been an unmixed advantage to woman, for while man has lost nothing by
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