Last Updated On August 4, 2021

 

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This piece is an updated edition of my 2016 World Goddess Day presentation, 25 Hooded Figures. I’ll be giving this talk live on twitch Monday August 9, 2021 at 7pm est, along with a pleasure hunt website walk-thru and Q&A, please join me! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever is an annual event taking place in Ithaca NY in the beginning of September to join in celebrating World Goddess Day. On this special day, beginning in the early morning and spanning into the afternoon there is an ongoing community wide scavenger hunt. The hidden treasures are 3D printed anatomically accurate clitorises, twenty five of them. The GPS coordinates and photos in-situ are posted online and participants respond in real time with which hides have been discovered and share wonderful photos and comments. This event serves as an awareness exercise encouraging people to investigate the biology and sociopolitical aspects of the clitoris as well as doing personal related work on feminine identity, body image, and sexuality. All are welcome to participate and everyone has a different take-away. Some people take away a curiosity about why they can’t say the word without deep embarrassment and some people take away an actual clitoris model that they will inevitably have to explain to someone else. All of this unearthing is valuable. Lets travel back in time together to 2016 when we were if not innocent, maybe a little bit innocent-er.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I initially read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini-ban mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive. But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I found that the blueprints are open-source! I went from happy in a “oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” kind of way to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way. I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean. I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology. But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost! I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh 2016. You are adorable.

Six years ago, I provided the open source blueprints to a 3D model service and had the finished product shipped to me. Now, we have our own in-house printer and do it ourselves. Our clitoris prints are happily free-ranging all over our house in anticipation of the hunt, un-boxed as nature intended. When I say “our”, I’m speaking of my family and most specifically of my husband Robert. When I brought this big unwieldy dreamy subversive idea to him in 2016, he quietly began to skillfully and respectfully create scaffolds keeping the whole concept intact and workable. This year, his gifts were especially appreciated. Since we had numerous operational issues with using facebook for this event last year coupled with our growing disillusion about facebook in general- we went rogue with a brand new extension of the Illuminous Flux website dedicated to the hunt! The day of the event we go out hiding together. He fully supports my need to do things in a way that is spiritual congruent but maybe not always practical. He handles the getaway vehicle, provides muscle if needed, and keeps me hydrated. When I think about us at our best, this is my reference point. This is optimal Snyder. What does it have to do with clitorises? I’m not sure although we are still unaware of the full potential of the clitoris and perhaps its unveiling presents more gifts than we could possibly conceptualize. Praise Goddess!
Back to 2016..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up. That evening, I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises! When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine (for now anyway).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This project has a lot to do with delight. This endeavor mirrors the clitorises themselves- they are exclusively built for pleasure. It is sad that our society dismisses and suppresses pleasure, play, and rest. It is unhealthy and unnatural on a societal level and I see the toll it takes in the heavy lidded gaze of pretty much every adult I know. Sometimes if I experience playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m playing hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gives me so many opportunities for joy practice. Wonder is good medicine. As is rest. Rest like an olympic athlete. Grind culture is garbage and it produces garbage. The constant stream of content regurgitation is unsustainable and culturally toxic. The widespread worship of busyness and martyrdom and numbing serves the patriarchy. Be as the clitoris- recline, engorge, delight in your multitudinous nerve endings. Let the sacred divine feminine stir a lightness in you and inspire freedom and rebirth. Praise Goddess!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after the unboxing my son (15 at the time) settles himself at the table with his laptop. “What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box. All of a sudden, shit gets real. This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone! I felt the realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head. In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices. Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart. After listening for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are my favorite bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men have questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the dumb commentary “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is- a man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery prior to 1998! Also- shut up and step aside.

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children- which is an interesting pairing with my other life as a children’s librarian in which I am fearful that parents may be alienated by my work as a clitoris advocate. Its an interesting world out there, so much work to do around our fractured selves. I hope the conversations had with children stemming from this event brings increased integration to the next generation.

Here is a beautiful snapshot from a friend: “My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor. I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness. I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel. However. Let us not forget, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like. It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man. (This is a bit of an outdated reference, go ahead and fill in the blank with the latest bullshit). Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business. I honor both sides of this coin.

I also want to fully acknowledge that I am aware this project is triggering for some. I am not talking about superficial disapproval, I am talking about trauma. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through terrible trespass and generational misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I am so sorry. And I encourage every participant in this event to hold this awareness to their hearts, extend comfort to others and to recognize their own level of healing. The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic.

And this is where I experience what I call “the flood”. The flood exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. You lose sleep. And you mumble to yourself. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious? For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring. WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?! “The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.” Think about this for a minute. 1998. We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable. ***One more time. 1998.

Most of us grew up in a clitoris-less world. She did not get mention and was overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic. Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis? When your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages like:
“your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from: “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is: “and neither is your consent”.
Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive. The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”. This skewed narrative totally erases a whole spectrum of sexual relationships and gender identities. Reclaiming the clitoris is an important personal journey but collectively its reclamation means rescuing our bodies from the machine. These limiting beliefs affect all of us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This event is about both- speaking out against injustice and bringing about the energy I (we) want to see. It is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. Marija Gimbutas was my original patron saint of clitorises. She was an archeologist that unearthed numerous goddess statues and extrapolated that there existed gynocentric cultures in neolithic Europe that were peaceful and valued equality and honored women. I was struck by the image of so many undeniable goddess statues in all their diverse forms but also, I appreciated Gimbutas’ professional journey during which some people were very drawn in by her work and inspired by it while others were clearly repelled and challenged by it and actively attacked it. I feel there are parallels with this event. Some people come closer,- get excited, become curious, crave involvement while others have a much harder time relating to it- responding with disgust or embarrassment. My thought is that over time, with consistent exposure, things and ideas become normalized in a culture. So every year I vow to inoculate my community with 25 clitorises.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance. I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications. I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did. But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wished to be surrounded. Like Archeologist Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues! I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right? It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness. This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

The following has become a little prayer I tell myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every GPS notification. 

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.
Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!
These 25 Hooded Figures are harken us back to our own bodies.
Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.
Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.
This is our evidence.
This is our truth.
This is our divine feminine inheritance.
Praise Goddess.
###

 

Last Updated On August 4, 2021

 

 

This piece is an updated edition of my 2016 World Goddess Day presentation, 25 Hooded Figures. I’ll be giving this talk live on twitch Monday August 9, 2021 at 7pm est, along with a pleasure hunt website walk-thru and Q&A, please join me! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever is an annual event taking place in Ithaca NY in the beginning of September to join in celebrating World Goddess Day. On this special day, beginning in the early morning and spanning into the afternoon there is an ongoing community wide scavenger hunt. The hidden treasures are 3D printed anatomically accurate clitorises, twenty five of them. The GPS coordinates and photos in-situ are posted online and participants respond in real time with which hides have been discovered and share wonderful photos and comments. This event serves as an awareness exercise encouraging people to investigate the biology and sociopolitical aspects of the clitoris as well as doing personal related work on feminine identity, body image, and sexuality. All are welcome to participate and everyone has a different take-away. Some people take away a curiosity about why they can’t say the word without deep embarrassment and some people take away an actual clitoris model that they will inevitably have to explain to someone else. All of this unearthing is valuable. Lets travel back in time together to 2016 when we were if not innocent, maybe a little bit innocent-er.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I initially read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini-ban mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive. But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I found that the blueprints are open-source! I went from happy in a “oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” kind of way to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way. I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean. I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology. But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost! I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh 2016. You are adorable.

Six years ago, I provided the open source blueprints to a 3D model service and had the finished product shipped to me. Now, we have our own in-house printer and do it ourselves. Our clitoris prints are happily free-ranging all over our house in anticipation of the hunt, un-boxed as nature intended. When I say “our”, I’m speaking of my family and most specifically of my husband Robert. When I brought this big unwieldy dreamy subversive idea to him in 2016, he quietly began to skillfully and respectfully create scaffolds keeping the whole concept intact and workable. This year, his gifts were especially appreciated. Since we had numerous operational issues with using facebook for this event last year coupled with our growing disillusion about facebook in general- we went rogue with a brand new extension of the Illuminous Flux website dedicated to the hunt! The day of the event we go out hiding together. He fully supports my need to do things in a way that is spiritual congruent but maybe not always practical. He handles the getaway vehicle, provides muscle if needed, and keeps me hydrated. When I think about us at our best, this is my reference point. This is optimal Snyder. What does it have to do with clitorises? I’m not sure although we are still unaware of the full potential of the clitoris and perhaps its unveiling presents more gifts than we could possibly conceptualize. Praise Goddess!
Back to 2016..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up. That evening, I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises! When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine (for now anyway).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This project has a lot to do with delight. This endeavor mirrors the clitorises themselves- they are exclusively built for pleasure. It is sad that our society dismisses and suppresses pleasure, play, and rest. It is unhealthy and unnatural on a societal level and I see the toll it takes in the heavy lidded gaze of pretty much every adult I know. Sometimes if I experience playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m playing hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gives me so many opportunities for joy practice. Wonder is good medicine. As is rest. Rest like an olympic athlete. Grind culture is garbage and it produces garbage. The constant stream of content regurgitation is unsustainable and culturally toxic. The widespread worship of busyness and martyrdom and numbing serves the patriarchy. Be as the clitoris- recline, engorge, delight in your multitudinous nerve endings. Let the sacred divine feminine stir a lightness in you and inspire freedom and rebirth. Praise Goddess!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after the unboxing my son (15 at the time) settles himself at the table with his laptop. “What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box. All of a sudden, shit gets real. This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone! I felt the realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head. In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices. Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart. After listening for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are my favorite bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men have questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the dumb commentary “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is- a man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery prior to 1998! Also- shut up and step aside.

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children- which is an interesting pairing with my other life as a children’s librarian in which I am fearful that parents may be alienated by my work as a clitoris advocate. Its an interesting world out there, so much work to do around our fractured selves. I hope the conversations had with children stemming from this event brings increased integration to the next generation.

Here is a beautiful snapshot from a friend: “My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor. I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness. I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel. However. Let us not forget, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like. It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man. (This is a bit of an outdated reference, go ahead and fill in the blank with the latest bullshit). Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business. I honor both sides of this coin.

I also want to fully acknowledge that I am aware this project is triggering for some. I am not talking about superficial disapproval, I am talking about trauma. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through terrible trespass and generational misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I am so sorry. And I encourage every participant in this event to hold this awareness to their hearts, extend comfort to others and to recognize their own level of healing. The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic.

And this is where I experience what I call “the flood”. The flood exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. You lose sleep. And you mumble to yourself. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious? For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring. WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?! “The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.” Think about this for a minute. 1998. We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable. ***One more time. 1998.

Most of us grew up in a clitoris-less world. She did not get mention and was overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic. Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis? When your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages like:
“your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from: “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is: “and neither is your consent”.
Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive. The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”. This skewed narrative totally erases a whole spectrum of sexual relationships and gender identities. Reclaiming the clitoris is an important personal journey but collectively its reclamation means rescuing our bodies from the machine. These limiting beliefs affect all of us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This event is about both- speaking out against injustice and bringing about the energy I (we) want to see. It is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. Marija Gimbutas was my original patron saint of clitorises. She was an archeologist that unearthed numerous goddess statues and extrapolated that there existed gynocentric cultures in neolithic Europe that were peaceful and valued equality and honored women. I was struck by the image of so many undeniable goddess statues in all their diverse forms but also, I appreciated Gimbutas’ professional journey during which some people were very drawn in by her work and inspired by it while others were clearly repelled and challenged by it and actively attacked it. I feel there are parallels with this event. Some people come closer,- get excited, become curious, crave involvement while others have a much harder time relating to it- responding with disgust or embarrassment. My thought is that over time, with consistent exposure, things and ideas become normalized in a culture. So every year I vow to inoculate my community with 25 clitorises.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance. I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications. I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did. But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wished to be surrounded. Like Archeologist Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues! I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right? It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness. This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

The following has become a little prayer I tell myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every GPS notification. 

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.
Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!
These 25 Hooded Figures are harken us back to our own bodies.
Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.
Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.
This is our evidence.
This is our truth.
This is our divine feminine inheritance.
Praise Goddess.
###

Last Updated On August 4, 2021

This piece is an updated edition of my 2016 World Goddess Day presentation, 25 Hooded Figures. I’ll be giving this talk live on twitch Monday August 9, 2021 at 7pm est, along with a pleasure hunt website walk-thru and Q&A, please join me! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever is an annual event taking place in Ithaca NY in the beginning of September to join in celebrating World Goddess Day. On this special day, beginning in the early morning and spanning into the afternoon there is an ongoing community wide scavenger hunt. The hidden treasures are 3D printed anatomically accurate clitorises, twenty five of them. The GPS coordinates and photos in-situ are posted online and participants respond in real time with which hides have been discovered and share wonderful photos and comments. This event serves as an awareness exercise encouraging people to investigate the biology and sociopolitical aspects of the clitoris as well as doing personal related work on feminine identity, body image, and sexuality. All are welcome to participate and everyone has a different take-away. Some people take away a curiosity about why they can’t say the word without deep embarrassment and some people take away an actual clitoris model that they will inevitably have to explain to someone else. All of this unearthing is valuable. Lets travel back in time together to 2016 when we were if not innocent, maybe a little bit innocent-er.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I initially read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini-ban mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive. But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I found that the blueprints are open-source! I went from happy in a “oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” kind of way to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way. I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean. I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology. But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost! I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh 2016. You are adorable.

Six years ago, I provided the open source blueprints to a 3D model service and had the finished product shipped to me. Now, we have our own in-house printer and do it ourselves. Our clitoris prints are happily free-ranging all over our house in anticipation of the hunt, un-boxed as nature intended. When I say “our”, I’m speaking of my family and most specifically of my husband Robert. When I brought this big unwieldy dreamy subversive idea to him in 2016, he quietly began to skillfully and respectfully create scaffolds keeping the whole concept intact and workable. This year, his gifts were especially appreciated. Since we had numerous operational issues with using facebook for this event last year coupled with our growing disillusion about facebook in general- we went rogue with a brand new extension of the Illuminous Flux website dedicated to the hunt! The day of the event we go out hiding together. He fully supports my need to do things in a way that is spiritual congruent but maybe not always practical. He handles the getaway vehicle, provides muscle if needed, and keeps me hydrated. When I think about us at our best, this is my reference point. This is optimal Snyder. What does it have to do with clitorises? I’m not sure although we are still unaware of the full potential of the clitoris and perhaps its unveiling presents more gifts than we could possibly conceptualize. Praise Goddess!
Back to 2016..
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I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up. That evening, I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises! When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine (for now anyway).

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This project has a lot to do with delight. This endeavor mirrors the clitorises themselves- they are exclusively built for pleasure. It is sad that our society dismisses and suppresses pleasure, play, and rest. It is unhealthy and unnatural on a societal level and I see the toll it takes in the heavy lidded gaze of pretty much every adult I know. Sometimes if I experience playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m playing hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gives me so many opportunities for joy practice. Wonder is good medicine. As is rest. Rest like an olympic athlete. Grind culture is garbage and it produces garbage. The constant stream of content regurgitation is unsustainable and culturally toxic. The widespread worship of busyness and martyrdom and numbing serves the patriarchy. Be as the clitoris- recline, engorge, delight in your multitudinous nerve endings. Let the sacred divine feminine stir a lightness in you and inspire freedom and rebirth. Praise Goddess!

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There is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after the unboxing my son (15 at the time) settles himself at the table with his laptop. “What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box. All of a sudden, shit gets real. This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone! I felt the realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head. In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices. Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart. After listening for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are my favorite bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men have questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the dumb commentary “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is- a man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery prior to 1998! Also- shut up and step aside.

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

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Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children- which is an interesting pairing with my other life as a children’s librarian in which I am fearful that parents may be alienated by my work as a clitoris advocate. Its an interesting world out there, so much work to do around our fractured selves. I hope the conversations had with children stemming from this event brings increased integration to the next generation.

Here is a beautiful snapshot from a friend: “My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)”

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I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor. I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness. I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel. However. Let us not forget, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like. It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man. (This is a bit of an outdated reference, go ahead and fill in the blank with the latest bullshit). Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business. I honor both sides of this coin.

I also want to fully acknowledge that I am aware this project is triggering for some. I am not talking about superficial disapproval, I am talking about trauma. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through terrible trespass and generational misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I am so sorry. And I encourage every participant in this event to hold this awareness to their hearts, extend comfort to others and to recognize their own level of healing. The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic.

And this is where I experience what I call “the flood”. The flood exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. You lose sleep. And you mumble to yourself. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

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I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious? For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring. WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?! “The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.” Think about this for a minute. 1998. We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable. ***One more time. 1998.

Most of us grew up in a clitoris-less world. She did not get mention and was overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic. Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis? When your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages like:
“your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from: “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is: “and neither is your consent”.
Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive. The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”. This skewed narrative totally erases a whole spectrum of sexual relationships and gender identities. Reclaiming the clitoris is an important personal journey but collectively its reclamation means rescuing our bodies from the machine. These limiting beliefs affect all of us.

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This event is about both- speaking out against injustice and bringing about the energy I (we) want to see. It is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. Marija Gimbutas was my original patron saint of clitorises. She was an archeologist that unearthed numerous goddess statues and extrapolated that there existed gynocentric cultures in neolithic Europe that were peaceful and valued equality and honored women. I was struck by the image of so many undeniable goddess statues in all their diverse forms but also, I appreciated Gimbutas’ professional journey during which some people were very drawn in by her work and inspired by it while others were clearly repelled and challenged by it and actively attacked it. I feel there are parallels with this event. Some people come closer,- get excited, become curious, crave involvement while others have a much harder time relating to it- responding with disgust or embarrassment. My thought is that over time, with consistent exposure, things and ideas become normalized in a culture. So every year I vow to inoculate my community with 25 clitorises.

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So tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance. I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications. I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did. But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wished to be surrounded. Like Archeologist Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues! I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right? It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness. This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

The following has become a little prayer I tell myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every GPS notification. 

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.
Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!
These 25 Hooded Figures are harken us back to our own bodies.
Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.
Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.
This is our evidence.
This is our truth.
This is our divine feminine inheritance.
Praise Goddess.
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