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We’ve been answering your questions for Sexual Health Awareness Month. If you missed some, catch up here.

Q: Can the size of your clitoris affect your ability to orgasm? I have a larger clit, and I’ve always wondered if that’s why I have difficulty reaching orgasm during vaginal intercourse. I can usually orgasm when using a toy, so I’m not sure why I can’t do the same during partner sex. Is there anything I can do to make orgasm more likely during partner sex?

The size of your clitoris won’t affect your ability to orgasm, but the size of your clitoral hood might.

If your clitoris is covered by a thicker hood, you may have to apply more direct pressure in order to reach orgasm. You may also be able to gently draw back your clitoral hood so that you can more directly stimulate your clitoris.

I find that using a high-speed vibrator, such as a Hitachi wand, works best.

If you only use a vibrator or other sex toy during masturbation, this could explain why you’re able to reach orgasm on your own but not with your partner.

This doesn’t mean that reaching orgasm during partner sex isn’t possible — just that a different approach may be needed to achieve one.

Internal vs. external clitoral stimulation

The clitoris is more than just the pea-sized nub that sits at the top of your labia. That’s just the external part, which is known as the glans.

The clitoris actually extends back into the body and around the vaginal canal. These “legs,” or crura, are made up of erectile tissue and form a V-shape inside the body.

Depending on your anatomy, you may experience a vaginal orgasm if the internal part of your clitoris is stimulated during vaginal penetration.

But generally speaking, solo or partner sex that doesn’t involve some form of direct or indirect clitoral stimulation won’t result in orgasm.

If your clitoral hood is thicker, your best bet is to incorporate more direct clitoral stimulation — either by using a high-pressure external vibrator on the area or by pulling back the hood.

Talk to your partner

It’s important to be open with your partner about what types of touch and pressure work best for you.

Talk to your partner about your desire to orgasm during partner sex, and share the techniques you typically use during masturbation to reach climax.

Be clear about your willingness to sex-periment together to discover which partnered positions and techniques are most likely to be pleasurable for you both.

Being open, relaxed, and confident in your needs and desires is the best way to bring about orgasm and other sexual pleasure.


Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, one of only a few programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Dr. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including O: The Oprah Magazine, HuffPost, Playboy, Women’s Health, Thrive Global, and Midweek Publications. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.