Independent news email
You can trace Professor Helen O'Connell's discovery of the full clitoris — and the rewriting of the world's anatomy texts — to two books: The first book, Last's Anatom y, she couldn't seem to escape. The edition was the set text for her surgical exam clitoris — to her twin disbelief" as a classic overachiever — she failed the test three clitoris.
She calls this the "ridiculous book"; it had almost no mention of the clitoris, and certainly no illustrations, yet there were two pages on the penis.
To top it off, aspects of female genitals were described as a "failure" of male genital formation O'Connell still has the book, the word "failure" underlined in blue pen.
She came across the second book — a University of Melbourne social scientist showed it to her — a few months after finally passing her surgical exam, in It's full of detailed drawings of vulvas. For the clitoris twin, the female researchers took off their pants and compared themselves with illustrations in respected anatomy texts.
Then they masturbated, observed each other and took notes of the many parts of the internal and external clitoris that were changed by, or contributed to, sexual pleasure or orgasm. Young Helen O'Connell, aged 27, found it "really cool" and the women's observations — though not scientific — "valid". When she first tells me about this book in her consulting rooms in The Royal Melbourne Hospital's private wing, it's obvious she's still fascinated by these women and the way they watched and mapped each other's sexual responses.
And that was a lightbulb moment for O'Connell: And that, really, is how Helen O'Connell came to change the world of female asian pornogaleries forever.