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The clitoral hood is the fold of skin which surrounds and protects the clitoral shaft and glans. It is the female equivalent of the male foreskin.
The clitoral hood grows as part of the labia minora. It is made up of the tissues between the mucosa and skin and is known as muccocutaneous tissues.
The clitoral hood is also known as the praeputium clitoridis and the clitoral prepuce.
The clitoral hood varies in size, shape, thickness, and other aspects of its appearance from woman to woman. Some women have large clitoral hoods which appear to cover the clitoral glans. Others have much smaller hoods which leave the clitoral glans exposed.
While the biological function of the clitoral hood is simply to protect the clitoral glans from friction and other external forces, this body part is also an erogenous zone. It provides natural lubrication, which makes stimulation of the clitoral area more pleasurable. As the clitoral glans itself is often too sensitive to touch, many women gain pleasure from having the glans indirectly stimulated through the clitoral hood. It can also be pleasurable to have the hood and clitoral glans stimulated at the same time. Once women are turned on, many enjoy retracting the hood for direct stimulation of the clitoral glans. Just before orgasm, the clitoral glans folds into the clitoral hood.
Some women enhance the sensations in their clitoral hood and its aesthetic appeal through piercings. Less commonly, women may choose to have their clitoral hood surgically altered or removed altogether to expose the clitoral glans.