We can’t pretend that we’ve never used a mirror to look down there and figure out what the heck all of those parts look like. If you’re a vulva owner, you’ve probably looked down there and been very confused as to all the flaps of skin, parts, and different looks that you see there, especially when you start comparing your area to others that you see in porn and etc.
Have you ever noticed that random flap of skin right above your labia? Do you wonder what it is, and whether everyone has one? That flap of skin is called your clitoral hood, and it is a protective piece of skin around your glans clitoris. Just like the labia, this flap or fold of skin can vary in shape, size, and color between vulva owners. You may wonder if it looks normal in comparison to everyone else’s, but just like the labia and vagina in general, there really is no normal when it comes to your clitoral hood!
When we think of the clitoris, we often think of the glans, which is the area we receive pleasure from stimulation of. However, there is much more to the clitoris than just that!
Where is your clitoral hood?
The clitoral hood is at the very top of your labia. It typically protects or covers your glans clitoris. If you really want to see it, get a handheld mirror and sit on the end of your bed. Spread your legs (clothes off of course) and put a foot up to create some space. Hold the mirror angled in a way that you can see your vulva. Part your labia, and look at the top. You should see a little fold of skin that’s connected to your inner labia. This is your clitoral hood! This may be easier to locate when you are aroused, since arousal makes the glans clitoris swell.
What is the purpose of the clitoral hood?
The clitoris has many nerve endings. If you didn’t have your clitoral hood, the clitoris would be rubbing against your clothes and constantly aggravating your nerve endings all day long. The hood serves to protect these nerves and sensitive tissue from being irritated and aggravated all day long. It also produces sebum, which lubricates the skin and helps it move without irritating.
The clitoral hood also retracts in a way. When you are aroused, your glans clitoris swells, which will move your clitoral hood aside to expose it. If you have a larger hood, it may not move as easily. You can also get clitoral adhesions, which are when bacteria and sebum build up under the clitoral hood. Adhesions can be very painful if left untreated, so it is key to be sure to wash your vulva and clitoris well, to prevent any discomfort and build up. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing discomfort in this area, so that they may examine and remove any adhesions that exist.
Even though the hood generally retracts when you are aroused, you can also move it yourself. Place your fingers at the top of your labia, and pull the skin up gently. This should expose the glans clitoris.
Does your clitoral hood size affect your sexual pleasure level?
This is still unclear. Having a larger hood can prevent your glans from being stimulated as easily, but since you can retract it yourself, you can definitely work around this You can also apply pressure when stimulating over your hood, which may do the trick! There are also many positions that you can try to stimulate in different ways. Every woman is different, and some women prefer to have stimulation over the hood only, since they may find direct clitoral stimulation to be too intense or painful. Since there are many nerve endings, some may feel these sensations as painful rather than pleasurable.
What about clitoral piercings?
Clitoral hood piercings can potentially increase sexual pleasure and desire, but this is still very unclear. There are many kinds of clitoral hood piercings, and it is solely based on the individual person as to whether it will increase your sexual satisfaction or not. You never know until you try!
Stimulation and your clitoral hood.
Regardless of the size of your hood, you can still experience pleasure. It’s all about the way you move and stimulate!
Add lubricant. Even if you are already wet, lubricant can make a world of difference. Try using your fingers to rub your clitoris through the hood, and then using one hand to pull it back and expose the glans clitoris. Try using different movements, different pressure amounts, and different speeds to see what works for you. Some women enjoy taking their hood between their fingers, and rubbing it up and down. Vibrators are also a great way to stimulate, especially if you have a thicker hood.
Remember that sex is usually not enough to stimulate you clitorally, but there are positions that may be more pleasurable than others for you. Some women enjoy doggy style, as this allows them to stimulate their clitoris with their hands while having intercourse. Riding also allows your partner to do this for you.
Is there such a thing as a hood reduction?
If you have excess tissue over the clitoris, and experience yeast infections or discomfort during sex, you can be a candidate for a clitoral hood reduction. This is also known as a clitoral unhooding procedure. It is typically done with a labiaplasty, and reduces the size of both the clitoral hood and the labia minora by removing excess tissue. You may experience pain and discomfort while healing, and healing time varies from person to person. The complication rates are fairly low, and the patient satisfaction rates are very high.
When should you talk to your doctor?
If you experience discomfort, embarrassment, or you feel like your clitoral hood size is affecting your sex life, have an honest conversation with your doctor! They can make sure you don’t have adhesions, and refer you to a surgeon if you are interested in having a clitoral hood reduction. Remember, not two clitoral hoods look the same, and there is nothing wrong with having a larger or smaller one.