The glans (//, plural "glandes" //; from the Latin word for "acorn") is a vascular structure located at the tip of the penis in male mammals or a homologous genital structure of the clitoris in female mammals.
The exterior structure of the glans consists of mucous membrane, which is usually covered by foreskin or clitoral hood in naturally developed genitalia. This covering, called the prepuce, is normally retractable in adulthood.
The glans naturally joins with the inner labia, and the frenulum of the penis or clitoris. In non-technical or sexual discussions, often the word "clitoris" refers to the external glans alone, excluding the clitoral hood, frenulum, and internal body of the clitoris.
Gender differences in humans
In females, the clitoris is above the urethra. The glans of the clitoris is the most highly innervated part of the external female genitalia.
Gender differences in other mammals
In spotted hyenas, the female's pseudo-penis can be distinguished from the male's penis by its greater thickness and more rounded glans. In both male and female spotted hyenas, the base of the glans is covered with penile spines.
In the development of the urinary and reproductive organs, the glans is derived from the genital tubercle.
- OED 2nd edition, 1989.
- Entry "glans" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
- "glans" at merriam-webster.com
- Carroll 2012, pp. 110–111, 252; Di Marino 2014, p. 81
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- Catherine Blackledge (2003). The Story of V: A Natural History of Female Sexuality. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-3455-8. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
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