Male and Female erectile tissue. However the Glans (head) of the clitoris (the part that you can see in the vulva) has very little erectile tissue, as it is mostly made up of very densely packed nerves. Image Credit:  Barbara Carrellas Urban Tantra

Male and Female erectile tissue. However the Glans (head) of the clitoris (the part that you can see in the vulva) has very little erectile tissue, as it is mostly made up of very densely packed nerves. Image Credit: Barbara Carrellas Urban Tantra

Erectile tissue: a type of tissue that, when blood flows into it, it doesn’t flow out, but instead holds on to the blood, causing the area to swell up like a balloon, making it extra sensitive.

When you start to feel turned on or excited, blood flow in the genitals increases and the part of the clitoris that is inside the body, in particular the clitoral bulbs, swells and has a kind of ‘erection’ that is similar to the penis.

However erectile tissue in the clitoris is slightly different to the male as you can imagine, in a few ways:

Firstly most of the erectile tissue in the female body is internal (inside the body), you can see if it is aroused or not by touching or looking at the vagina. As the internal portion of the clitoris straddles the lower-down (distal) vagina area, much pleasure experienced in the vagina is caused by this close relationship with the clitoris and urethra (sometimes called the ‘clitoral complex’, more on this later). To someone looking at the vulva this change in appearance will be subtler than a male erection but no less present or important. When a vulva becomes aroused there is also some moistness, around the vagina vestibule (near the vagina opening). This lubricant is made by tiny glands inside the body, called the ‘vestibular glands’.  

The penis’s erection is more ‘hard’ and solid than the clitoris, it builds up pressure that gets released when/if the penis orgasms and ejaculates (cums). Then the blood drains out of the penis, back to the rest of the body. This is why it usually takes more time for a male person to become aroused and his penis erect after an orgasm and ejaculation (after he has cum). It is also usually a pleasant but slightly tiring experience. However if a person learns to separate the orgasm from the ejaculation, then can have many orgasms, one after another.

The clitoris’s erectile tissue acts slightly differently: when a female orgasms the clitoris doesn’t automatically lose the pressure and swelling in the internal clitoris. This difference in erectile tissue is one reason why multiple orgasms are generally easier, or more common for people who have a clitoris. However the clitoris may feel a bit too sensitive to touch for a while after an orgasm, but generally can carry on receiving pleasure.

The clitoris doesn’t ejaculate, as the urethra does not run through the middle of the erectile tissue (like in the penis) and so the pressure doesn’t need to build and release in the same way. Instead the erectile tissue in the female sits either side of the vagina, inside the body, and likes gentle pressure, this is why this ‘snug’ feeling of penetration can feel great. Note this lovely ‘snug’ feeling is different from a ‘tight’ unpleasant feeling you can feel if you aren’t excited enough and don’t want vagina penetration.

(S. Winston, 2010).