Did Da Vinci Omit the Clit? A History of the Clitoris – Deep Dive, Renaissance History

It’s a mystery: in Leonardo Da Vinci anatomical study of the female sexual organs, there is no hint whatsoever of the clitoris. Did Da Vinci really not know about the clit? Or did nobody in Renaissance Italy know about it? How could a culture forget such a thing?

Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/btnewberg. Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Animation by Maxeem Konrardy. Additional credits, references, and more at www.historyofsexpod.com.

Leonardo da Vinci - Vulva and Anus Verso The Male and Female Reproductive Systems c1508 Royal Collection

Leonardo da Vinci, Vulva and Anus, c. 1508 – from Royal Collection Trust

Da Vinci, Revised Vulva - Keele, p. 76

Leonard Da Vinci, Revised study of Vulva, after c. 1508 – in Keele, p. 76

References

Ali, Kecia. Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence. London: OneWorld, 2006.

Blechner, Mark. “The Clitoris: Anatomical and Psychological Issues.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Vol. 18, No. 3: pp. 190-200, 2017, July.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Cantebury Tales. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/milt-par.htm

“Clitoris Through the Years, The.” HuffPost. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/cliteracy/history

Da Vinci, Leonardo, Kenneth David Keele, and Jane Roberts. Leonardo Da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983.

Da Vinci, Leonardo. “Recto: The Vulva and Anus.” Royal Collection Trust. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.rct.uk/collection/919095/recto-the-vulva-and-anus-verso-the-male-and-female-reproductive-systems

Heggie, Vanessa. “Legitimate Rape  – A Medieval Medical Concept.” The Guardian. 2012, Aug. 20. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/the-h-word/2012/aug/20/legitimate-rape-medieval-medical-concept

Hinterkeuser, Guido. “The Body According to Leonardo Da Vinci.” Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. 2019, April 30. Retreived Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.mpg.de/13410126/leonardo-da-vinci-anatomical-world

“History of the Clitoris, The.” Nano.com. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://mynano.com/the-history-of-the-clitoris/

Kaldellis, A. A Cabinet of Byzantine Curiosities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Karras, Ruth Mazo. “Sexuality in the Middle Ages.” In: The Medieval World. Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson, Eds. New York: Routledge, 2001.

“Leonardo Da Vinci Anatomic Sketch Vulva and Anus.” VaginaMuseum.at. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: http://www.vaginamuseum.at/KUNSTundKULTUR/renaissance-leonardodavinci-en

Manheim, Noa. “The Devil’s Teat: A Brief History of the Clitoris.” Haaretz. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-devil-s-teat-a-brief-history-of-the-clitoris-1.6462676

Miletsky, Hani. “A History of Bestiality.” In: Bestiality and Zoophilia: Sexual Relations With Animals. Andrea M. Beetz and Anthony L. Podberscek, Eds. West Lafayette, IA: Purdue, 2005.

Moore, Alison M. “Victorian Medicine Was Not Responsible For Repressing the Clitoris: Rethinking Homology in the Long History of Women’s Genital Anatomy.” Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society. Vol. 44, No. 1, 2018.

Moss, Candida. “The History of the Orgasm.” The Daily Beast. 2017, Sep. 24. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-history-of-the-orgasm?ref=scroll

Nawas, John. “Sucker of One’s Mother’s Clitoris: A Study of a Classic Arabic Insult.” In: Islamic History and Civilization: Studies and Texts. Hinrich Biesterfeldt and Sebastian Günther, Eds. Boston: Brill, 2017.

Pappas, Leo. “Human Body Parts That Stumped Leonardo Da Vinci Revealed.” LiveScience.com. 2012, May 8. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: https://www.livescience.com/20157-anatomy-drawings-leonardo-da-vinci.html

Strabo. Geographica. Retrieved Feb. 2, 2020, from: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/home.html

Audio Credits

Podcast theme music mixed from “Gregorian Chant”, “Mystery Sax”, and “There It Is” by Kevin MacLeod

Additional music from “Minstrel Guild” and “Ibn Al-Noor” by Kevin MacLeod.

“Clit Files” skit mixed from “Arkte-X Theme Reaction” by Stephen S, “Muscle Car Start Idle and Drive Away” by Copyright Free Sound-Effect, “Car Peeling Out” by FesliyanStudios, and “Lighter Inhale/Exhale/Smoke Sound Effects” by BlvckWolf Media.

Image Credits

“Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci. Wikipedia.

“Recto: The Vulva and Anus” by Leonardo Da Vinci. Royal Collection Trust.

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