How the Female Brain Responds to Genital Touch – And How It Varies Among Women

Female Brain Analysis Neuroscience Concept

The thickness of the cortical region varies among women, associated with its use.

The exact location of the brain area representing genital touch varies among women. The new research in JNeurosci also found the region was thicker the more frequently the participants engaged in sexual intercourse.

The somatosensory cortex devotes brain space to detecting touch for each part of the body. But the exact location of the female genital field in this map had been controversial. Previous studies produced conflicting results because of less precise mapping methods.

Interindividual variability of the genital somatosensory cortex in the MNI space. Credit: Knop et al., JNeurosci 2021

Knop et al. used fMRI to map the exact representation of female genitalia by measuring the brain’s response to a membrane vibrating over the clitoral region. The study was designed to take great care to avoid any discomfort the participants could experience when targeting such a sensitive body region. The somatosensory cortex represented the genitals next to the hips, matching the body’s anatomy. However, the precise location varied from woman to woman. The thickness of the genital field varied with the frequency of sexual intercourse, suggesting the region’s structure alters in relation to its use. These results allow for future studies examining the role of the genital field in healthy sexual function, sexual dysfunction, and especially in the long-term consequences of sexual abuse. Based on this precise mapping, future work can now potentially target the genital representation for treatment of clinical conditions.

Reference: “Sensory-Tactile Functional Mapping and Use-Associated Structural Variation of the Human Female Genital Representation Field” 20 December 2021, JNeurosci.
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1081-21.2021


View Comments

  • "The new research in JNeurosci also found the region was thicker the more frequently the participants engaged in sexual intercourse."

    It appears that the researchers did not account for, let alone correct for, masturbation or homosexual experiences as alternate stimulations.

Society for Neuroscience

Recent Posts

NASA Artemis I – Flight Day 10: Orion Spacecraft Enters Distant Retrograde Orbit

At NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Flight Controllers in the White Flight Control Room…

November 26, 2022

Unexpected Result: COVID-19 Vaccination Improves Effectiveness of Cancer Treatment

Clinical study on nasopharyngeal cancer with an unexpected result. Patients with nasopharyngeal cancer are often…

November 25, 2022

Today’s Spacewalk Thwarted by Spacesuit Problem

Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin were scheduled to conduct a spacewalk outside the…

November 25, 2022

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Completes First Flight With New Navigation Software

Compared to some of the other flights this past year, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s Flight 34…

November 25, 2022

Why Do Hurricanes Have Such Huge Destructive Energy?

Where does that energy come from? Landfalling North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) inflict significant economic…

November 25, 2022

Earth Might Be Experiencing 7th Mass Extinction, Not 6th – “A True Decrease in the Abundance of Organisms”

550-million-year-old creatures’ message to the present. Earth is currently in the midst of a mass…

November 25, 2022