|Outer anatomy of clitoris.|
|A photograph of the human vulva, with the clitoris obscured by the clitoral hood and folds of the labia minora.|
In female human anatomy, the clitoral hood, (also called preputium clitoridis and clitoral prepuce), is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoral glans. It develops as part of the labia minora and is homologous with the foreskin (equally called prepuce) in male genitals.
This is a protective hood of skin that covers the clitoral glans. There is no standard size or shape for the hood. Some women have large clitoral hoods that completely cover the clitoral glans. Some of these can be retracted to expose the clitoral glans; others do not retract. Other women have smaller hoods that do not cover the full length of the clitoral glans, leaving the clitoral glans exposed all the time. As in the male, sticky bands of tissue called adhesions can form between the hood and the glans, these stick the hood onto the glans so the hood cannot be pulled back to expose the glans.
In most of the world, modifications are uncommon. In some African cultures, female genital cutting is practiced on young girls to suppress sexual pleasure. One possible modification that exists for the opposite reason is to have the hood pierced and insert jewellery, both for adornment and physical pleasure. Though much less common, other women opt to have the hood surgically trimmed or removed so as to permanently expose part or all of the clitoral head. Such a procedure is akin to male circumcision and is sometimes known as female circumcision, a term that is often confused with the practice of female genital cutting which usually removes extensive amounts of tissue, including the entire exposed part of the clitoris. Similar procedures were once rarely performed in "civilized" countries such as the United States as well, to discourage masturbation, but by the 1960s this destructive practice was recognized as abusive and discontinued.
Women with larger hoods can often
masturbate by working the hood to and fro over the clitoral
glans. Women with more compact structures tend to rub the
clitoral glans and hood together as one item. Sometimes the
glans clitoris is too sensitive to be rubbed with the hood fully
During sexual stimulation the hood protects the clitoral glans, from coming into contact with the male penis. The clitoral glans must be lubricated to allow the hood to slide over it effortlessly during sexual stimulation, and this lubrication is normally and naturally provided by sebum. If a woman's clitoral glans isn't lubricated the hood may not caress it during sexual stimulation, or she experiences pain rather than pleasure, as it may feel like sandpaper is being rubbed against her clitoral glans even when the lightest touch is applied. 
The content of this section is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (local copy). It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Clitoral hood" modified November 23, 2008 with previous authors listed in its history.