A female erection is generally defined as when the clitoris is stimulated, and blood flow increases its size (see the SexEd.net Clitoris Topic), but it differs in the firmness or hardness of an erect penis. The stimulation could be sexual or non-sexual, physical or mental, from vibrations from a sex toy or moving car, or they can occur during sleep or at other times.
The clitoral structure is mostly hidden and, except for a small portion, the hidden parts tend to look like a double-legged wishbone. Since most of the clitoris is hidden within the body, the erection may not be noticeable to some or may manifest in other anatomical changes to the vulva for others. Other responses may include increased sensitivity to the area, lubrication of the vagina, and orgasm.
Some live with a condition where the clitoral erection lasts for an extended period of time and occurs without apparent sexual stimulation. For some it may be distressful or painful, and medical intervention may be necessary. Menopause, surgery and health issues also may affect arousal and erections in some women (see the SexEd.net Female Sexual Dysfunction Topic).
Slang terms for a female clitoral erection are Lady Boner, Female Boner, Girl Boner and Morning Bean.
The following excerpts should offer more information on female clitoral erections.
“Directly beneath the mons pubis and between the labia majora is a small structure of erectile tissue known as the clitoris. It is capable of some enlargement caused by increased blood pressure during sexual excitement and is considered homologous (comparable in structure) to the male penis, only on a much smaller scale. Unlike the penis, the clitoris does not contain the urethra for excretion of urine; it does have a rounded elevation of tissue at the tip known as the glans clitoridis. …”
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, britannica.com, 8/22/2022
- What Is A Clitoral Erection?
“Like the penis, however, the clitoris and parts of the vulva are composed of erectile tissue. This means that stimulation, particularly sexual arousal, will cause blood flow to these organs to increase. In women, this has a variety of results, including vaginal lubrication and clitoral erection; this can cause the clitoral glans to partially or fully emerge from beneath the clitoral hood. … Although rare, other events than sexual arousal can result in a clitoral erection. Any prolonged motion or vibration involving the pelvic area, even walking or the use of some motorized vehicles, can accidentally create this effect.”
Alan Rankin, thehealthboard.com, 8/21/2022
“Except for your glans, your clitoris consists of erectile tissue that fills with blood and expands when stimulated. This erectile tissue is similar to the tissue in the penis. When you’re aroused, the crura and the vestibule bulbs can expand so much that they cause your labia to swell. Your swollen labia may partially or completely cover your glans. Or, the swelling may cause your glans to stick out more.”
Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org, 4/25/2022
- All About Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)
“Persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) can cause symptoms similar to what you may feel when sexually aroused, such as clitoral swelling or erections. It can also generate unexpected orgasms, even without sexual thoughts, desire, or stimulation. … A 2021 research review showed that approximately 0.6% to 3% of females worldwide have the condition. … If you have PGAD, symptoms occur in the absence of sexual desire, can significantly interfere with daily activities, and cause distress, anxiety, and depression. … If you live with PGAD, it may be helpful to understand that what you are experiencing is not your fault. The arousal symptoms you may experience are not caused by an uncontrolled desire for sex.”
Kimberly Drake, Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, CST, psychcentral.com, 10/12/2021
- What Is Corpora Cavernosa?
“Women also have two corpora cavernosa, which are the erectile tissue of the clitoris. The clitoris is made of glans at the top of the vagina. Attached are the two corpora cavernosa that sit over the clitoral bulbs on either side of the vagina, like a wishbone. The tissue is filled with blood vessels and nerves that become swollen and full of sensation during sex and arousal.”
Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, webmd.com, 6/17/2021
- The Insane Truth About Clitoral Erections And Your Body’s Response To Arousal
“The clitoris itself might be more sensitive than the penis with around 8,000 nerve endings … Now, the phrase clitoral erection is a misnomer because the clitoris doesn’t increase in firmness exactly the way the penis does. A man’s body literally makes his shaft firm. It might be more fun if it did, however! Instead, the clitoris becomes engorged with blood and increases in size because of that.”
Adriana, badgirlsbible.com, 1/29/2021
- Clitoral Priapism
“Clitoral priapism is an unusual sexual health problem, a medical emergency, closed compartment syndrome, associated with new onset clitoral pain and significant personal distress. Clitoral priapism is associated with clitoral genital arousal that persists for hours or days, despite the absence of sexual desire, thoughts, fantasies, or sexual stimulation.”
Irwin Goldstein, MD, sandiegosexualmedicine.com, 12/2/2020
- Why Men Wake Up With Erections
“It’s also important to highlight the counterpart phenomenon in women, which is much less researched. Pulses of blood flow in the vagina during REM sleep. The clitoris engorges and vaginal sensitivity increases along with vaginal fluidity.”
Dr. Sergio Diez Alvarez, newcastle.edu.au, 10/22/2020
- Clitoris Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
“When someone with a clitoris is aroused, the clitoris roughly doubles in size, increasing pressure on the nerve-dense area at the anterior vaginal wall. The glans alone (the bit you can usually see) averages 2.4 to 4.4 mm wide and 3.7 to 6.5 mm long.”
Cosmopolitan.com, cosmopolitan.com, 2/12/2020
- The Clitoris—An Appraisal Of Its Reproductive Function During The Fertile Years: Why Was It, And Still Is, Overlooked In Accounts Of Female Sexual Arousal
“Stimulating the clitoris activates the brain to instigate changes in the female genital tract, namely, the enhancement of vaginal blood flow that increases vaginal luminal pO2, vaginal transudate (lubrication) facilitating painless penile penetration and partial neutralization of the basal luminal acidic pH, vaginal tenting, and ballooning delaying sperm transport and allowing semen de-coagulation and capacitation (sperm activation) factors to act until arousal ends (often by orgasm induction). All these genital changes taken together are of major importance in facilitating the possibility of reproductive success (and thus gene propagation) no matter how or when the clitoris is stimulated—they reveal its overlooked reproductive function. Of course, also commensurate with these changes, is its activation of sexual pleasure. The clitoris thus has both procreative (reproductive) and recreative (pleasure) functions of equal importance. Clitoridectomy creates not only sexual disability but also a reproductive disability.”
Roy J. Levin, onlinelibrary.wiley.com, 11/5/2019