No clitting! We need to talk about clitoris transplantation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last two decades, genital transplants have emerged as another type of quality-of-life transplants. Successful allogenic transplantations of the uterus, ovary, testicle, and penis have all been reported. Yet, there is no discussion of clitoris transplantation in the medical literature, mass media, and everywhere else I searched. This surgery could be used for cisgender women who have a clitoral injury or disease or who have undergone female genital cutting. I examine the gender norms regarding sexuality and reproduction to show how they shape surgical advancements. My point in this paper is not to take a normative position on status of current genital transplantations. Rather, I highlight that their existence is due, at least in part, because they align with dominant gender norms: penis and testicle transplantations reinforce the importance of men's virility and the existence of “normal” male genitalia, whereas uterus and ovary transplantations uphold the conflation of women and reproduction and the strong valuing of women's fertility. That medical advances reflect cultural values is not a new claim. What is new in this paper is the discussion of how sexism norms—regarding the invisibility of the clitoris and the devaluing of women's sexual pleasure— has engendered various types of genital transplants, but not clitoris transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-845
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • clitoris
  • gender norms
  • genital surgery
  • transplantations
  • women's sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


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