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If you have a clitoris or have a partner with a clitoris, you’d be wise to learn about the nerve-dense body part. Nicknamed the “pleasure nub,” the clitoris can help vulva owners experience a lot of pleasure.

While the clitoris is less of an anatomical anomaly than major media outlets may have tricked you into believing, learning a few touch techniques can help.

That’s why we reached out to experts and dug through the research to put together a guide for clitoral stimulation. Below, learn how to touch your (or a partner’s) clit in a way that’s seriously satisfying.

Plus, find out the truth about clitoral anatomy. (Spoiler alert: It’s more than just a tiny hotspot).

The clit is a nerve-dense body part responsible for many-a-orgasm.

“The clitoris has the most nerve endings per square inch of any part of the human body,” explains Caitlin V. Neal, resident sexologist for sexual hygiene and body care company Royal.

Actually, the clitoris serves no biological function other than pleasure, she says.

But that doesn’t mean it’s an unimportant structure.

“When we consider the importance of pleasure to the procreation of our species, the clitoris seems pretty vital,” Neal says. “Increasingly, modern science points to the vital role of pleasure in procreation.”

Good question!

The most common answer to this question is: The clit is the pea-shaped structure at the apex of the two labia.

And while that’s part of the clitoris, that’s only the external portion. There are actually external *and* internal components to the clitoris.

“On the outside of the body, you can find the glans of the clit, usually covered by a nifty hood that protects it from too much stimulation,” explains longtime sex educator Searah Deysach, the owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago that ships world-wide. “But inside the body, the clitoris has a whole hidden structure.”

It has legs (or crura) and vestibular bulbs that wrap around the vagina, she explains. The legs and the bulbs contain erectile tissue that expands when sexually aroused.

“The shape is often referred to as a wishbone, with some parts of the wishbone being visible on the outside of the body, but with the majority of it being hidden inside,” Deysach says.

(Some experts say the clit looks like an upside-down flower, with large petals extending inside the body that embodies the vaginal canal).

The clit ≠ a miniature penis

It’s true that there are anatomical similarities between penises and clits. However, the idea that a clit is *just* a pearl-sized penis is inaccurate.

In that regard, you don’t want to only touch the parts of the clit you can see the way you might touch a penis. Instead, assuming you or your vulva-having partner consent to it, you want to try stimulating the clit through internal play.

Knowing every part of your clitoris is kind of like putting together a unique outfit.

Each part of the body and the makeup below is different. Still, they all have the same parts:

  • Glans clitoris. This is the external nub many folks 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.
  • 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 enlarged 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.
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Illustration by Cristie Wilson

The G-spot is often described as a nerve-dense erogenous zone about 2 to 3 inches inside the vaginal canal, along the front wall.

Well, some research suggests that, rather than being a totally different entity from the clit, the G-spot is actually the place where the clit’s bulbs form the heart shape that hugs the canal. Meaning, the G-spot is a specific portion of the clit that can be stimulated internally.

“Vaginal penetration can feel great for the sensations it provides not only inside the vaginal walls, but also for the pressure it can put on the interior parts of the clitoris,” says Deysach. “Some people find that a combination of penetration and external clitoral stimulation can result in intense orgasms.”

1. Remind yourself that masturbation is totally healthy

Reading this guide to learn how to best pleasure your own clit? Before you read any further, take a breath.

Many people were taught that masturbation is dirty and dangerous, or something that should never ever be talked about.

So allow us to affirm: Masturbation is totally healthy and common.

You won’t go blind! You won’t get addicted! You won’t ruin yourself for partnered play! And, no, it’s not cheating on a partner, either!

Pleasuring yourself can also 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. Masturbating gives you a chance to explore what feels good, she says.

“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,” Sadat explains.

In other words, touching yourself can help someone else touch you better.

2. Start slow and soft

Sadat has one universal tip for clitoral stimulation: Give your body 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.”

When you do start touching your clit, start out with gentle strokes. Then, apply more pressure or speed as your body asks for it.

3. Explore a variety of techniques

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

Here are a few different clitoral stimulation techniques you might try:

  • “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.
  • “Tap dance.” A gentle tapping motion on your clit and hood can help you slowly build to orgasm. Speed it up as you wish.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “Orbit the planet.” Use a finger to trace slow circles around your clit and hood, touching your labia in the process.
  • “Fun zones.” Because of the unique shape of the clitoris, you may become aroused and even orgasm by massaging other erogenous zones on their own or along with the clitoris. You might try touching your labia, vaginal opening, inner thigh, perineum, or 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 yourself.
  • “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.
  • “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.

4. Try stimulating the clit through internal stimulation

If you enjoy internal stimulation, why not try stimulating the clit from the inside?

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, but it can be well worth it if you find that extra sensitive internal trigger spot.

1. Ask for guidance

If you’re dating someone with a clitoris, don’t be afraid to ask about your partner’s desires.

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.

You might say:

  • “I’d love to watch you touch your own clit, so I can learn how you like having it touched.”
  • “Do you enjoy the pressure I’m using right now? Or do you want it softer or harder?”
  • “Which sensation feels best? This [demo]? Or this [demo]?”

2. Get handsy

Many penetrating positions allow you space to stimulate the clit while having partner sex. The missionary, amazon, and spooning sex positions are especially good for this.

So, you might reach between your partner’s legs and play. Or, you might invite them to do the same.

3. Pull in pillow props

Grinding against something can be super pleasurable for clit owners who enjoy pressure.

If your partner is a pressure-seeker, consider artfully placing a pillow or bunched-up blankets under their pubic bone. Then, allow them to hump and pump the prop while you penetrate (or lick!) them from behind.

4. Get freaky with furniture

Use your surroundings to help you get into an optimal position. Headboards, sofa backs, and countertops are all your clit stimulation BFFs.

You might, for example, rest your back against the headboard or couch. Then, have your partner straddle your hips, grabbing the back for support. Their clit is now within perfect reach for you to put the tips above into practice.

5. Ride and glide

Your pubic mound and thighs can be a great tool for clit stimulation.

Get into a seated or slightly reclined position, then encourage your partner to slide up and down your thigh, belly, or pubic bone.

For added oomph, you or your partner might incorporate lube. Added slippery stuff will reduce uncomfortable friction and increase the feel-good glide.

6. Reverse the ride

The reverse rider position has your partner straddle you, but you’ll be facing away from them.

If you have a penis or strap on, you can use this position to vaginally or anally penetrate your partner. As you thrust, your partner can reach their hand between their legs to rub their nub.

If you and your partner both have a clitoris, slide several pillows under the bottom partner’s pelvis. This will alter the angle of your hips just enough that clit-on-clit contact becomes possible. Hot!

7. Thigh high

This is a twist on the reverse rider position. Instead of having your partner straddle both your legs, have them straddle just one.

This will allow them to ride up and down your thigh. Vaginal penetration with a penis, hand, or toy works well here.

8. Tongue twister

Does your partner enjoy oral? Use your tongue to gently circle your partner’s clitoris and hood with a mix of pressure.

Another option is to use an oral sex stimulation or air suction toy, which creates a similar sensation to oral sex when used with lube.

9. Add in a sex toy

“For some people, no matter how much pressure they use with their hands, it’s just not enough to produce an orgasm,” says Deysach.

For these folks, sex toys — and particularly vibrators — can really help achieve orgasm.

“Placed right next to or on top of the clitoris, vibrators can provide a sensation like no human body can, and for lots of people, this results in quicker, often more intense orgasms,” she says.

10. Keep it varied

Don’t be shy about mixing it up until you find the position, pressure, and rhythm that feels good to your boo.

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

Try not to stress! Whether during solo play or with a partner, if a certain technique doesn’t take you to cloud nine, that’s OK.

Remember: Clitoral stimulation isn’t a one-size-fits-all ritual. And there’s still a lot to learn about it.

Researchers didn’t produce a 3D image of the full clitoral structure until 2008. Before then, not much was understood about the clit’s really cool internal parts and how they interact with the rest of the genital area.

So while scientific research lags behind on studying the clit, 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 medical journalist for several national publications, a writing instructor, and a freelance book editor. She earned her Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill. She’s also the managing editor for the literary magazine, Shift. Jennifer lives in Nashville but hails from North Dakota, and when she’s not writing or sticking her nose in a book, she’s usually running trails or futzing with her garden. Learn more at her website, or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.