What Are Clitoral Adhesions?
Hello friends, today we are going to talk about the clitoris and why it may be important to touch it! You may have heard that it is bad to touch your clitoris and that you need to wait until marriage. This is wrong—it can be helpful to touch the hood of the clitoris to prevent adhesions from forming (and thereby preventing pain and other complications.)
Let’s start by reviewing what the clitoris is. The glans clitoris (commonly referred to as the clitoris), is the structure most involved in female sexual response. (Aerta, 2018). The clitoris is an organ that plays a large role in female sexual pleasure and is commonly a key element for women to achieve orgasm (Garcia-Mesa, 2021). From the outside, you can see the glans clitoris, but this is only a small part of the entire organ. The glans clitoris is surrounded by skin (the clitoral hood), which helps to cover and protect the clitoris, but moves out of the way when sexually aroused.
Clitoral adhesions form when hood of the clitoris sticks to the surface of the glans clitoris at one or more spots (Aerta, 2018). We want to avoid clitoral adhesions from forming for several reasons. To start, they can be very uncomfortable and can be associated with persistent foreign body sensation--like having something in your eye (Aerta, 2018). Clitoral adhesions can be very sensitive during sexual activity and cause pain (Aerta, 2018).
In addition to being uncomfortable, clitoral adhesions can prevent adequate drainage and lead to masses and infections, pain, hypersensitivity, and other conditions like persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) (Aerta, 2018).
The possible risk factors for developing clitoral adhesions include trauma to the perineum, infections, dermatological conditions such as lichen sclerosis, insufficient sex steroid hormones (Aerta, 2018).
If you have developed a clitoral adhesion, it can often be treated on an outpatient basis (Aerta, 2018).
To prevent clitoral adhesions from forming, keep the skin moving! While you can place pressure directly on the clitoral hood, many people find direct pressure uncomfortable and that’s ok. Be creative and explore what works for you. Just remember to slide that skin every now and then to keep if mobile and flexible.
Please keep in mind the information in this blog is not medical advice and should not replace examination and treatment by a licensed healthcare provider. If you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your providers.
Ready to learn more about your pelvic health? Here are some helpful resources:
Watch Netflix for Your Pelvic Floor at Pelvic Flicks
Watch our YouTube playlist Female Sexual Dysfunction & Your Pelvic Floor
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics
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For providers, join our Ambassador Program to gain access to our many online courses, including:
An Overview of Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction with Dr. Heather Jeffcoat, PT, DPT
Pelvic Floor Therapy Management & Treatment for PGAD/GPD (Persistent genital arousal disorder/genito-pelvic dysesthesia) with April Patterson, PT, MSPT
How to Prepare Your Clients with Vaginas for Sex for the First Time with Dr. Janelle Howell, PT, DPT, WCS
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT
Aerta L, Rubin RS, Randazzo M, Goldstein SW, Goldstein I. Retrospective study of the prevalence and risk factors of clitoral adhesions: women’s health providers should routinely examine the glans clitoris. Sex Med. 2018;6(2):115-122.
Garcia-Mesa Y et al. Glans clitoris innervation: PIEZO2 and sexual mechanosensitivity. J Anat. 2021;238(2):446-454.