Clitoral hood

Clitoral hood
Clitoral hood
Clitoris outer anatomy.gif
Outer anatomy of clitoris.
A photograph of the human vulva, with the clitoris obscured by the clitoral hood and folds of the labia minora.
Latin preputium clitoridis

In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood, (also called preputium clitoridis and clitoral prepuce), is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoral glans. It develops as part of the labia minora and is homologous with the foreskin (equally called prepuce) in male genitals.



Shows the sub-areas of the clitoris. Areas include clitoral glans, body, crura. Also shows vestibular bulbs and corpus cavernosa.

This is a protective hood of skin that covers the clitoral glans. There is no standard size or shape for the hood. Some women have large clitoral hoods that completely cover the clitoral glans. Some of these can be retracted to expose the clitoral glans; others do not retract. Other women have smaller hoods that do not cover the full length of the clitoral glans, leaving the clitoral glans exposed all the time. As in the male, sticky bands of tissue called adhesions can form between the hood and the glans, these stick the hood onto the glans so the hood cannot be pulled back to expose the glans, and as in the male, strongly scented smegma can accumulate.


In most of the world, modifications are uncommon. In some African cultures, female genital mutilation is practised as a rite of passage into womanhood or to improve the appearance of the genitalia [1]. One possible modification that exists for the opposite reason is to have the hood pierced and insert jewellery, both for adornment and physical pleasure. Though much less common, other women opt to have their own hood surgically trimmed or removed so as to permanently expose part or all of the clitoral head. Similar procedures[which?] were once performed on many children in Western countries such as the United States as well,to discourage masturbation and many other preventive diseases tagged to it, but by the 1960s this destructive practice was recognized[by whom?] as abusive and discontinued.


Women with hoods covering most of the clitoris can often masturbate by stimulating the hood over the clitoral glans, an action which is homologous to masturbation in the male with a foreskin. Those with smaller, or more compact structures tend to rub the clitoral glans and hood together as one item. Normally, the glans clitoris itself is too sensitive to be stimulated directly, such as in cases where the hood is retracted. This increased sensitivity due to their nature as internal structures is also found in younger intact males, particularly before full retraction around puberty has occurred.

The clitoral hood also provides protection to the clitoral glans like foreskin on the penile glans. During sexual stimulation, the hood may also prevent the penis from coming into direct contact with the glans clitoris, which is usually stimulated by the pressure of the partners' pubis. Most mammals and primates approach copulation from the rear instead of the common frontal position that humans often assume, so the clitoral stimulation is directly created by glans contact with the scrotum at the base of the penis and the different contractions of its corrugated dartos muscles. The clitoral glans, like the foreskin must be lubricated by the naturally provided sebum. If a woman's clitoral glans is not lubricated the hood may not caress it during sexual stimulation, or the female may experience pain rather than pleasure.

See also


  1. ^ Link text, "Engaging Cultural Differences: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies," Chapter 11, Schweder, et al., 2002.

External links

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