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16 September 2016

How a 3D printed clitoris could change women’s sex lives

The latest technology to aid the sexual revolution? A simple model, used to teach schoolchildren.

By Stephanie Boland

Never seen a model clitoris before? No, I hadn’t either. But a new innovation in French schools means that thousands of school children will soon be able to.

The model clitoris was created using 3D printed technology and aims to correct myths about the size and shape of the sexual organ.

Most people are familiar with the idea that the clitoris can be found above the urethra, between the labia minora. What many people don’t know, however, is how far it extends inside the body.


One of the models of a clitoris. Photo: Greatist

Even dictionaries get this wrong. The “simple definition offered by Merriam-Webster suggests the clitoris is a female sexual organ that is small, sensitive, and located on the outside of the body in front of the opening of the vagina, which, as the new model shows, is innacurate. (At least it’s not as unhelpful as the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines the clitoris as a homologue of the male penis, present, as a rudimentary organ, in the females of many of the higher vertebrata”. Good, thanks.)

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Aside from the loftier goal of treating women’s anatomy as equally worthy of discussion, the model clitoris stands to improve our understanding of sex, regardless of gender. For people with female genitalia, and those who have sex with them, it makes it clear how penatrative sex can be orgasmic. 

For women who want to show their partners what feels good, the model provides an easy way to explain what’s going on beneath the surface – and, accordingly, the different types of touch that can be pleasurable.

It’s taken me 26 years to come across a model of women’s genitals, but I’m glad to. After all: I’ve seen enough model penises to last a lifetime, and they’re just a homologue of the female clitoris – right?