Louisa Lorenz was already 25 years old when she discovered what the actual size of the clitoris is. Very quickly she learned that she was not the only one who didn’t know it because here is still a lack of knowledge and education about the clitoris and her anatomy. Without further ado Lorenz decided to change that. She used her bachelor’s thesis to do research on the topic and has been giving workshops about the clitoris for the past six years.
With „Clit. Die aufregende Geschichte der Klitoris“ (Clit. The Exciting History of the Clitoris) she has now written a book that makes her knowledge more accessible and to educate the readers about the clitoris and her cultural history. In her book Lorenz does not only transmit her knowledge about the anatomy but also does away with common myths surrounding the topic (as for example the invention of the vibrator).
One of these common myths which has also been repeated in feminist literature (see for example Liv Strömquist) is that the true size of the clitoris was only discovered in 1998. Lorenz shows that the knowledge about the clitoris’ true size has been around for centuries and that it just did not catch on in society as a whole. Indeed the knowledge about the clitoris was often more multifaceted in past centuries than one might think.
„Clit. The Exciting History of the Clitoris“ also shows that when we’re talking about the clitoris we’re never talking about ‚just‘ the clitoris. We’re also talking about how religious, psychoanalytic, medical and feminist discourse have shaped our understanding of gender roles, sex, relationships and bodily autonomy. Especially interesting for me was the observation that the penis and the clitoris are in fact just the gendered terms for a complex of erectile tissue that all people have.
Aside from the first chapters about anatomy, which were a bit too dry for my personal taste, the book gives an interesting, feminist view on the clitoris and highlights how her history has significantly impacted gender relations. Lorenz consciously focuses on a Western European, white context but also acknowledges connections to racist discrimination. I liked that the book also used trigger warnings and content notes when it came to sensitive topics.
Although I had a lot of previous knowledge on the topic due to my interest in feminism and my studies, Lorenz didn’t only manage to transmit new knowledge but also to show me new connections that I wasn’t aware of before. While doing that her language is accessible so that the book is also easy to understand for people who have not read as much on feminist and gender issues.
Overall „Clit. The Exciting History of the Clitoris“ is an insightful and interesting read that does away with common myths surround the clitoris and sexuality. Lorenz‘ book manages to convey a broader understanding of gender and the cultural and historical discourses around gender relations. I think the book is a must read for all people who are interested in feminist topics and for all those who just want to learn more about lust, anatomy and gender.
Thank you Heyne Verlag for this review copy! You can learn more about the book here.