Clitoral Erection: Are Lady Boners Real?

Whether you call it a clitoral erection or a lady boner, it's a real thing that happens to women. Here's what to know about it.

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 12/11/2023
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Ever heard of a female erection? Do women get boners? Believe it or not, a lady boner is actually a legitimate thing, even though not many people talk about the occurrence.

Much like people who have a penis, people with a clitoris can get an erection too. In fact, some mechanisms behind female erection are identical to penile erection.

Quick FAQs

The term describes how the clitoris changes when a female is sexually aroused.

During arousal, different parts of the clitoris take on blood flow, causing an erect clitoris.

An erect clitoris generally feels pleasurable to women. The clitoris is more sensitive to the touch and possibly even tingly.

What is a lady boner, why does it happen, and should you ever be concerned? Here's a closer look.

What Is a Clitoral Erection?

A female erection (sometimes referred to as a "lady boner") is a phrase used to describe how the clitoris changes when a female individual is sexually aroused.

The clitoris can become swollen, somewhat enlarged, and denser due to blood flow engorgement.

While most people associate the clitoris with only the visible nub of flesh at the apex of the labia, the clitoris is much larger and more complex.

The clitoris is actually homologous in the embryonic stage to the male penis. However, as a female develops, the genitals take on different characteristics. 

The small nub of skin is the glans, which is where a massive network of nerve endings comes together.

Other parts of the clitoris include:

  • The clitoral hood - The fold of flesh that rests above the glans
    • Corpus cavernosum - Interior erectile tissues that run along the glans on both sides in an almost wishbone shape
      • Crura - Tissues that extend from the corpus cavernosum in long "legs" on both sides of the vagina
      • Vestibular bulbs - Spongy organs found beneath the crura on both sides of the vagina

      All parts of the clitoris are affected during arousal, and may even be associated with clitoral orgasm.

      How Does a Lady Boner Happen?

      The different parts of the clitoris take on blood flow during a state of arousal, which causes an erect clitoris.

      During arousal, vasocongestion (increased blood flow) affects the clitoral cavernosum, the vestibular bulbs, and the glans.

      The added pressure on these regions may cause the glans to slightly protrude, and the labia to appear more swollen and taut.

      Once orgasm is achieved, clitoral erection naturally subsides as the blood that once engorged the clitoris gradually filters back into your system. 

      This same action occurs even without orgasm as the state of arousal decreases.

      While the same physiological processes take place when a female becomes aroused, the extent to which female erection is noticeable can vary depending on the woman.

      Many women may not notice major outward changes at all, while some may recognize the clitoris appears larger and more pronounced.

      How Does a Clitoral Erection Feel?

      A female erection should not be painful or uncomfortable, but pleasurable.

      Most women who have an erect clitoris will simply feel like they are highly aroused. In effect, this is what is taking place from a physiological standpoint.

      The clitoris itself may become more sensitive to touch. It possibly might even be a bit tingly or as if the area is pulsating due to the heightened level of blood flow to the area.

      This can make sexual stimulation with a partner or even solo play more enjoyable.

      How to Make a Female Erection Bigger?

      Much like the penis, you can encourage blood to keep flowing to the clitoral area to maintain the erection. This may or may not cause the erection to get any larger.

      To encourage blood flow, simply try different forms of stimulation, such as:

      • Using a sex toy with suction technology, which may encourage more blood to flow to the clit

        What Are the Signs of a Female Erection?

        Unlike male erections, a female erection is not quite so obvious.

        The clitoris may grow and harden, but it will not grow substantially in length or change positions like a penis. Instead, the signs of a clitoral erection may include:

          • Engorgement of the external "bud" of the outward clitoris so that it looks slightly larger
          • Changes in color, such as a deeper red or pink color due to enhanced blood flow
            • Slight retraction of the clitoral hood, which makes the clitoris more visible
          • Swelling of the inner and outer lips of the labia
          • The vaginal opening may become lubricated

          Female Erection vs Clitoral Priapism - What's the Difference?

          Female erection should not be confused with clitoral priapism.

          Clitoral priapism (also referred to as female priapism) is a rare medical condition characterized by an extended clitoral erection that is not associated with either arousal or clitoral stimulation. 

          In other words, the clitoris remains engorged with blood even without arousal, thoughts of sex, or otherwise.

          Clitoral priapism symptoms may initially seem like nothing more than a female erection as described above. However, the symptoms persist even when arousal has surpassed.

          Symptoms of priapism in women can include:

          • Persistent clitoral swelling or engorgement that lasts for hours or days
          • Aching pain in the clitoris
          • Burning sensations
          • Heightened clitoral sensitivity

          What Causes Clitoral Priapism?

          It is not always immediately clear what causes priapism in females. The primary mechanism of action that causes the symptoms is incomplete lymphatic fluid drainage of the clitoral area when arousal is not a contributing factor.

          However, clitoral priapism can have a few potential causes, including:

          • Taking certain medications for depression, such as trazodone, fluoxetine, and citalopram
          • Alpha blocking agents
          • Taking 5H2 blockers

          Is Clitoral Priapism an Emergency?

          Yes. Clitoral priapism symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency.

          Seeking medical attention if a female erection does not subside within several hours is recommended.

          Even though clitoral priapism treatment is not well-established, it is important to have the symptoms assessed.

          Having an erect clitoris for a prolonged length of time can be painful and uncomfortable.

          Further, there is a chance that prolonged priapism in women can result in other complications.

          How to Treat Clitoral Priapism?

          Priapism in females may be treated in different ways depending on the severity of the symptoms, the patient's medical history, and other factors.

          When women experience prolonged clitoral erection, the treating physician will go over a series of questions to better understand the likely cause and how the treatment should be handled.

          Patients may be asked questions about:

          • Recent sexual activity
          • Known medical conditions
          • Any medications currently being taking
          • Duration or frequency of symptoms

          While there’s no established clitoral priapism treatment, the primary plan involves determining what is causing the problem, eliminating that agent, and offering pain management for the symptoms.

          For example, if the prolonged clitoral erection is thought to be caused by taking something like the antidepressant duloxetine, duloxetine treatment may have to be tapered off. 

          An alternate medication may be recommended. The doctor could also prescribe something for managing the discomfort, and then monitor for changes in symptoms.

          According to case reports, the condition seems to respond well to:

          • Using cold compresses or cooling pads
          • Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain management
          • Taking oral alpha-agonist medications (e.g. phenylephrine or phenylpropanolamine)

          It is also possible for the condition to subside without treatment. And, due to the fact that priapism in females may not always be discussed with medical practitioners, the prevalence of the condition is not clear.

          In at least one case study, localized injection of an alpha agonist was shown to be effective for priapism in women.

          Imipramine, which is a tricyclic antidepressant, can be used for treatment, especially in cases where women have symptoms seemingly related to other types of antidepressants.

          Do Clitoris Get Hard? Final Takeaways to Remember

          So, can women get hard? Yes, they can, even though not all women notice.

          Female erection is definitely possible due to the way the clitoris physically functions, but can look much different from male erection.

          While a clitoral erection does happen, most females will not notice a significant growth or size difference. Nevertheless, this is a perfectly normal occurrence.

          If a female’s erection doesn’t go away after a certain time, they may be experiencing priapism. Clitoral priapism should be treated as an emergency situation, so be sure to seek treatment if an erect clitoris lasts for several hours.

          Related Article

          The Promescent Team

          The Promescent Team

          Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.


          Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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          The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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