Aug 102011
 

Well, friends! It’s time to hit the way back time machine and think about a post I wrote more than a year ago, about the clitoris in your head – that is, the representation of the clitoris in your somatosensory cortex. I wondered at the time whether the cortical representation of the female phallus had an equivalent degree of hyper-innervation compared to male phallus as the actual peripheral nervous system had.

Well, now we have brain magnet evidence (paging Andrew Wilson for a rant about why fMRI isn’t anything like as useful as journalists think) that the clitoris is in the same place as the penis.

Hurray! (But no surprise!)

Yet I still haven’t found the answer to my question. Being a nerd, I went and tried to read the actual paper, but my academic affiliation doesn’t gives me access to the journal. I’ll have to ILL it.

Disappointment. (But no surprise.)

So the question we want to answer is: is the neural representation of the clitoris equivalent to the size or the innervation (or both or neither) as that of the penis? I don’t even know if it’s POSSIBLE to determine whether or not the itty bitty clit is represented more in the brain than the big wacky penis. But even if it’s the SAME in the brain, that’s still about 8 times more brain per cubic centimeter of tissue.

Which seems to me to be question worth answering.