The small, visible protrusion on a woman's vulva that most of us call the clitoris is actually only a tiny part of the whole organ. The clitoris is much larger, most of it resides invisibly inside the body. This fact has been alternately discovered and then excised from medical and common knowledge over recorded history, and wasn't rediscovered again until just recently.
The clitoris is the only organ in the human body known to function solely to produce pleasure. Attitudes towards sexual pleasure and the status of women affected its study throughout history. Despite the work of feminist clinicians in the 1970's and 1980's, it wasn't until the nineties that Australian urologist Helen O'Connell and her colleagues initiated the mainstream medical profession's rediscovery of it for our time, and it took until just a few years ago to see it fully mapped via MRI and other non-invasive imaging technologies.
The internal clitoris contains nearly as much erectile tissue as a man's penis. When a woman is sexually aroused, the bulbs fill with blood and partially encircle the opening of the vagina. Researchers are attempting to understand how this process, as well as the function of the female prostate gland, may challenge long held beliefs about the nature of female orgasms. Surgeons have devised new techniques that may be able to restore some function to women who've been subjected to genital mutilation.
An essential part of sexual empowerment is gaining a full understanding of one's anatomy. A new, more complete view can impact a woman's sexual-self identity and confidence. We all have the right to know about and celebrate such a powerful part of ourselves. That's the purpose of this project. After Dinner Party is a multi-disciplinary, multimedia, multi-venue educational endeavor intended to introduce as many women as possible to the beautiful, winged-wishbone shape of the clitoris.