Nearly all discussion around the clitoris has always been about pleasure.

Sat at the entrance to the vagina, the clitoris is sensitive and when stimulated can contribute to mind-blowing orgasms.

But a new study has turned the idea that a clitoris is dedicated only to pleasure on its head.

Dr Roy J. Levin, of Sheffield University, published a paper entitled: "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."

In it, he argues that the clitoris has "has both procreative (reproductive) and recreative (pleasure) functions of equal importance."

Doctor says the clitoris isn't just for pleasure

He said: "The often repeated mantra, that the sole function of the clitoris is to induce sexual pleasure, is now obsolete.

"The concept changes a major sexual belief, and the physiological evidence is now obvious."

Levin's study indicates that the clitoris sends signals to the brain once stimulated, which then trigger a women's reproductive system.

He says this enhances the vaginal blood flow and lubrication, as well as increasing vaginal oxygen and changing the position of the cervix.

The research outlines that this brings the cervix away from the "semen pool" and thus delays "sperm transport" in order to allow "sperm time to become mobile and activated to fertilise the egg".

In the abstract to his paper, the scientist explained: "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."

He added: "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."