clitoral stimulationShare on Pinterest
Design by Pichamon Chamroenrak

Knowledge is pleasure.

And if you have a clitoris, the more you know about it, the more options you’ll be able to explore en route to achieving satisfaction. (Or, if you’re aiming to please someone who has a clitoris, you can work with your partner to discover the techniques that take them to tingle town.)

We’ve reached out to experts and research to put together a guide for flying solo and giving or receiving some seriously satisfying clitoral stimulation. After all, getting busy with your own bod can help you chuck unwanted inhibitions.

Plus, find out the truth about clitoral anatomy. It’s more than just a tiny hotspot.

clitoral stimulationShare on Pinterest

Throw out any taboos or guilt surrounding masturbation right now.

You won’t go blind. You won’t get addicted. And, no, it’s not cheating on a partner. It’s more than about feeling great, too.

Pleasuring yourself has health benefits that go beyond the body — it can help untangle shame that affects confidence with yourself, partnered sex, or in a relationship.

“It’s hard to know what to ask for from your partner if you don’t know what you like,” says Diana Sadat, a sex therapist and clinical counselor in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Masturbation is a chance to explore what feels good. You may notice that stimulating in round patterns feels better than up and down, or that you enjoy stimulation using your inner labia over your clitoris rather than direct clitoral stimulation.”

Start out soft and slow and then apply more pressure or speed as your body asks for it.

A little teasing yourself can also amp up the pleasure and save on hand cramps. Begin, stop for a few seconds, and then delve back in. Repeat as necessary.

Positions and ways to stimulate your clitoris

  1. “Aye, there’s the rub.” Use your hand, fingers, or a sex toy to slide up and down or back and forth across your clitoris and clitoral hood.
  2. “Tap dance.” A gentle tapping motion on your clit and hood can help you slowly build to orgasm. Speed it up as you wish.
  3. “Get in the grind.” No hands required, and no need to take off your clothes. (It can be better if you leave those jeans on!) Straddle a pillow and grind your pelvis to get yourself there.
  4. “Peace pinch.” Use your first two fingers like a peace sign to softly pinch your clitoral hood and gently tug up and down, or slide your fingers in a back-and-forth motion.
  5. “Orbit the planet.” Use your finger to trace slow circles around your clit and hood, touching your labia in the process.
  6. “Fun zones.” Because of the unique shape of the clitoris, you may become aroused and even achieve orgasm by massaging other erogenous zones, on their own or along with the clitoris. Try your labia, vaginal opening, inner thigh, perineum, and anus. Lie on your belly and reach backward for easier access to everything, including the clit. This is also a great position to get your grind on while touching the rest of your sexy self.
  7. “Penetration station.” The internal structures of the clitoris encircle the vaginal canal, so penetrating your vagina with your fingers or a sex toy can bring bliss. Combine with any of the above external stimulating techniques for a double delight.
  8. “Good vibes.” You can use a vibrating sex toy to enhance or practice any method mentioned above. Vibrators can be especially good for those who need to put minimal movement on their hands or wrists. Use the lowest setting first and rev as desired.

Different techniques can elicit different types of pleasure, and how you go about stimulating yourself is completely up to you.

Sadat just has one universal tip: Give your bod a chance to warm up.

“It takes your clitoris some time to get aroused and for blood to begin to flow,” she explains. “So begin to stroke around your clitoris, touching your labia without directly going for the clit for a bit until you feel ready for that type of stimulation.”

Share on Pinterest

Before we go any further on this stimulating topic, we’ve got to debunk the inaccurate concept that the clitoris is just a mini, pea-sized version of the penis.

As reported by the Atlantic, the clitoris is actually shaped more like a wishbone.

But even that comparison doesn’t come close to celebrating its glory. The full anatomy of the clitoris looks like an upside-down flower with large petals extending inside the body that embrace the vaginal canal. It can even become erect when aroused.

So in that regard, don’t focus only on what you see and can touch externally. If we touched penises based on that mentioned myth, we’d only be touching the tip and missing out on bigger pleasures.

Is the G-spot really another C-spot?

That elusive ‘G-spot’ is not hiding inside the vagina like a secret unicorn.

Research indicates that it’s likely the place where your clitoris meets the anterior (front) vaginal wall. This is where the clit’s bulbs form a heart shape that hugs the canal.

So for people who have vaginas, the orgasm probably really is all about the clitoris, but we can stimulate it indirectly from inside the vagina, directly from outside the vagina, or both.

If you’re wondering how to find that spot internally without turn-by-turn directions from Siri, you’re not alone.

According to Our Bodies Ourselves, you should try reaching about a third of the way from the vaginal opening and playing with a mix of pressure and stimulation on the front (or upper) wall to see what feels good. It may take some practice and experimentation to locate.

Don’t get frustrated if vaginal penetration doesn’t make you come, even if you’ve found that extra sensitive internal trigger spot.

In a recent study on the female orgasm, only 18 percent of American women said that vaginal penetration alone could give them the big O. Other respondents in the study said they either needed direct clit stim (about 37 percent) to get them there, or that it greatly ramped up their climaxing pleasure (about 36 percent).

Re-cap: Clitoral anatomy 101

  • Glans clitoris. This is the external nub we think of when picturing the clitoris. Even though it’s ‘the size of a pea,’ it holds thousands of nerve endings.
  • Clitoral hood. We all like a good hoodie, and the clitoris is no different. The labia minora connect to form the clitoral hood. When you’re aroused, the hood retracts slightly to expose the glans. If you have a hooded clitoris, don’t worry, its normal.
  • Clitoral body. The clitoral body is internal. It connects to the glans and is suspended from the pubic bone via a ligament.
  • Corpora cavernosa. The clitoral body consists of two corpora cavernosa that become erect during arousal.
  • Paired crura. The clitoral body branches off to form two appendages. These “legs” straddle the urethra and the vaginal canal and become engorged with blood when you’re turned on.
  • Vestibular bulbs. The vestibular bulbs form an upside-down heart shape, with the urethra and the vaginal canal at the heart’s cleavage. The bulbs reach through and behind the labia, around the vaginal canal, and toward the anus. They also swell when you’re hot and bothered.

Knowing every part of your clitoris is kind of like putting together a unique outfit. Each of our bodies and the makeup below is different.

For some people, playing with the clitoral hood brings pleasure, while for others, the vestibular bulbs bring on all the sensation. You don’t have to address every part, just the ones that work for you.

And that may change as you age or explore, and it may be different when you’re with a new partner.

If you’re the clitoris owner, don’t be shy about letting on about your stimulation likes or dislikes. There’s also no shame in making all the contact you want with your own clit during a sexual encounter!

If you’re dating someone with a clitoris, don’t be afraid to ask about your partner’s desires too. Frame the question around how invested you are in discovering their pleasure points and taking the time to do so — without placing pressure on them to perform.

Experimenting (with consent), vocalizing (no, you don’t have to be a screamer unless you want to), and listening to desires are all equally important when it comes to having sex with someone.

That go-to spot that felt good last week? It may have moved two inches over to a new spot!

You just never know, and that’s why we’re giving out all the options on giving and receiving clitoral stimulation.

How to focus on the clitoris during partner play

1. Be handsy

Many penetrating positions (whether using a penis, hand, or toy) allow for either a partner’s hand, your own hand, or even both, to play with the clitoris and clitoral hood.

2. Pillow props

Grind your clit on an artfully placed pillow or bunched-up blankets while your partner penetrates your vagina with a penis, toy, or fingers from behind.

3. Furniture fun

Use the furniture for support, especially when you want to stimulate yourself with your hand during a from-behind penetration.

Kneel on a pillow on the floor and lean your bod against the mattress so you don’t have to balance with one arm. A headboard or sofa back work well too.

4. Ride and glide

Your partner’s pelvis is a great tool for clit stim. It can help if your bae is in a seated or slightly reclined position when you straddle them and slide up and down, rubbing your clit and hood on their pubic bone or belly.

For added oomph, you or your partner can place a lubed-up finger or thumb beneath the clit. Vaginal penetration with a penis or toy is optional but can heighten the fun.

5. Reverse the ride

The reverse cowgirl position has you straddling your partner, facing away from them. If you and your partner both have a clitoris, slide several pillows under your partner’s pelvis to do the ride and glide in reverse while also tilting their clit toward you for easy hand or even oral access.

If your partner has a penis, opt for vaginal penetration. Your partner can also reach a hand around and stimulate your clit, or you can do it the way you like best.

6. Thigh high

This is a twist on the reverse cowgirl position. Instead of straddling both your partner’s legs, straddle just one.

Your partner should bend their knee so you can ride up and down the thigh. Vaginal penetration with a penis, hands, or toy works well here.

7. Tongue twister

Try oral action, with the tongue gently circling the clitoris and hood with a mix of pressure.

If a certain technique doesn’t get your headspace on cloud nine, alone or with a bed mate, don’t stress.

Clitoral stimulation isn’t a one-size-fits-all ritual. Mix it up until you find the position, pressure, and rhythm that feels good to you.

Playtime possibilities

  • Switch the direction of your rub.
  • Add or subtract pressure.
  • Alter or mix techniques.
  • Speed or slow the rhythm.
  • Change the number of fingers.
  • Add or change toys.
  • Switch between external stim and vaginal penetration.

Keep in mind that we’ve only had 3-D imagery of the full clitoral structure for about a decade when researchers finally produced a sonography of it. That means before 2008, not much was understood about the clit’s really cool internal parts and how they interact with the rest of the genital area.

And we’ve still got a lot to learn about it.

Scientific research may lag behind on studying the clit, but that’s all the more reason for you to do your own independent (or partnered) study on what gets you off!


Jennifer Chesak is a Nashville-based freelance book editor and writing instructor. She’s also an adventure travel, fitness, and health writer for several national publications. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill and is working on her first fiction novel, set in her native state of North Dakota.