Aug 16, 2016 | By Tess

If your memories from sex ed class revolve mostly around a condom being awkwardly rolled onto a banana, you are definitely not alone. Despite the comical aspect of the class, however, and kids inevitably stifling laughter when certain words are mentioned, sexual education is a crucial part of a child’s education, as it is important for them to understand how and why their bodies and changing and to give them an informed perspective on sex when they finally become sexually active. Unfortunately, in many regions of the world sexual education has been repressed and children do not get the proper education they need, which contributes to such ongoing problems as sexually transmitted diseases, and overall sexual inequality.

Fortunately, efforts are being made to make sexual education better. For instance, to help advance sex ed and to help equalize it within France, a country which has been criticized for its often sexist and male-centric approach to sexual education, sociomedical researcher Odile Fillod has developed a 3D printed clitoris which she is hoping will stimulate a higher level of education for students.

The clitoris, as many women will know, is the key to female sexual pleasure, but despite this, it has remained largely uncovered in sexual education courses. Fillod is hoping to shed some light onto the still taboo body organ to help both girls and boys understand every part of the female anatomy that comes into play during sex. To do this, Fillod has created an open-source digital 3D model for a life-size clitoris which can be 3D printed for demonstration purposes. Though a prototype of the 3D model was printed out of a rigid PLA material, Fillod notes that classroom models should ideally be printed from a more flexible material to better mimic human body tissue.

The 3D printed model, which shows how the clitoris is structured, with a crura (or legs), bulbs, foreskin, and a head, was modeled based on scientific descriptions of the organ and will help sexual education teachers to better explain how female sexual anatomy works.

In making the clitoris less taboo, growing children will learn that the clitoral organ is actually made from the same tissues as the penis but is located internally, which means that men and women are not actually fundamentally that different. The inspiration to actually make the anatomical model came when Fillod realized that even school textbooks in France do not depict the sexual organ in a correct manner. Spurred on by this inequality, Fillod set to work creating a 3D digital model of the clitoris with the help of the Fab Lab at the Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie in Paris.

Quite encouragingly, the 3D printed clitoris models will reportedly be integrated into a number of French sexual education courses for both primary and secondary schools as of this September. Additionally, because the 3D printable file has been made open-source, teachers anywhere could feasibly 3D print their own clitoris model to be integrated into their school’s sexual education curriculum (provided that they are not teaching in a restricted environment).

The ultimate hope is that the open-source 3D printable model will help educators to teach children about female sexuality which in turn will help to promote equality, both sexually and on a broader level, even socially.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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