London – The clitoris doesn’t exist solely for sexual pleasure but has a reproductive purpose too, an expert claims.
Professor Roy Levin of the University of Sheffield reviewed dozens of studies and concluded that the clitoris helps to create the "best possible conditions" for becoming pregnant.
In the journal Clinical Anatomy, he says that stimulating it activates changes in the reproductive tract.
This readies it "to receive and process sperm to achieve possible fertilisation of the egg."
The changes include "a shift in the position of the cervix… which prevents semen from travelling into the uterus too rapidly, thus allowing sperm time to become mobile and activated to fertilise the egg."
Professor Levin added: "The often repeated mantra, that the sole function of clitoris is to induce sexual pleasure, is now obsolete – the physiological evidence is obvious."
The clitoris was first mentioned in Western medical literature in 1545, but its sexual function was not recognised until 1559.
When it comes to the intimate body part, a recent study also found that female dolphins may be able to experience the same pleasure from sex as humans.
Scientists found that female bottlenose dolphins have large and well-developed clitorises which are located close to the opening of their vaginas, meaning that any penetration would stimulate them and could cause an orgasm.
Some scientists believe that working out whether the females in a species can orgasm is a good indication as to whether sex is pleasurable because females do not need to orgasm to become pregnant.