Let’s get Cliterate
Here’s what we know: a whopping *93% of people with vaginas enjoy clitoral stimulation during sex. In fact, it is the most preferred type of erotic stimulation by far. (*Female Sexual Pleasure Study, Attitudes and Usage, June 2019).
In short, if you have a clitoris, or you plan to have sex with someone who has a clitoris, make sure to give it some well-deserved attention.
Get Literate About Your Clit
It wasn’t until 10 years ago that we even had access to a 3-D image of the entire clitoris. Commonly thought of as just the tiny, hooded glans, (aka “the button”), the clitoris is actually much larger than that. The majority of the structure is internal, made up of the body, the crura, and the bulbs. The body is the internal continuation of the glans. The crura extend from the body to the left and right, wrapping around the vaginal opening. The bulbs extend from the front of the crura, wrapping around the front of the vaginal canal. They connect at the front of the vaginal canal; this is also known as the G-spot. (You can learn more about G-spot orgasms here).
The clitoris is the most innervated organ in the human body, with over 8,000 nerve endings bundled into a 10-centimeter large anatomical wonder. It is made up of erectile tissue and becomes enlarged when aroused. Some people liken it to the female equivalent of a penis, but that is incorrect. The clitoris is much more complex than that. In a study in 2005, the American Urological Association stated “Clitoral pharmacology and histology appear to parallel those of penile tissue, although the clinical impact is vastly different.''
So, you’ve got this powerhouse of pleasure between your legs; you might as well put it to good use! Getting familiar with your own anatomy will benefit you and your sexual partners. The more you can understand and articulate what it is that you enjoy, the more fun everyone will have.
First and foremost we can’t stress enough the importance of using a good lube. Always, friends: lube, lube, lube it up. Even during solo play, adding some extra moisture to your most sensitive areas is going to give you a better experience. It can eliminate potentially painful friction and enhance sensations. So go ahead and squeeze some on.
Now what? Start slow. The clitoris is mainly made up of erectile tissue, which means it takes a little time to become fully aroused. This is why foreplay is a necessity! You can even try stroking around the clitoris a bit before directly stimulating it; this often helps build arousal.
We surveyed over 1,000 women about the specific kind of stimulation they like on their clitoris, and here’s what they had to say:
- 61% prefer a sucking motion or oral sex
- 58% prefer pulsing or vibrating
- 54% prefer an up-and-down stroking motion on top of the glans
- 50% prefer circle or oval strokes around the glans
- 45% prefer a side to side motion
- 41% prefer strokes in wide circles or ovals
- 32% prefer pushing in one spot
- 26% prefer flicking or thrusting
- 21% prefer tapping
- 13% prefer pinching
- 12% prefer a diagonal motion
- 12% prefer biting
That’s a lot of information, but the bottom line is this: try some things out and don’t be afraid to experiment! Differing speeds and pressures can provide a variety of experiences. We also asked our study’s participants about speed and pressure. Here’s what we learned about the most enjoyable speeds:
- 33% prefer a build-up from a slow to a fast speed
- 24% prefer the speeds to alternate
- 23% prefer a medium speed
- 10% prefer a fast speed
- 9% prefer a slow speed
As for the most commonly reported amounts of pressure, we found that:
- 39% prefer a mixture of different amounts of pressure
- 33% prefer medium pressure
- 17% prefer firm pressure
- 12% prefer light pressure
We encourage you to use this data to inform your own explorations. We all get stuck in sexual ruts from time to time. We find something that works for us and stick with it, because well, it works. But just because there’s one type of stimulation that works for you doesn’t mean that’s the only one. Keep exploring and experimenting! Who knows, there might be a form of stimulation that surprises you.
Whether you’re experimenting with a partner or during solo play, adding adult toys into the mix can spice things up even more. Especially hands-free toys such as Osé, which is designed to feel like human fingers, mouth, and tongue. While Osé is most well known for helping people experience blended orgasms, it can also be used to stimulate the clitoris alone. There are a few ways to do this. You can bend the flexible G-spot massager out of the way while keeping the clitoral stimulator in place. Additionally, it’s possible to turn off the G-spot stimulation and only use the clitoral stimulation settings. Adult toys such as Osé can help you discover more about your body and your preferences, enhancing your own experience and making it easier to articulate them to a partner. It might take a bit to find exactly what you enjoy, but when you find something that feels great, keep going! Your body will reward you.
Benefits of Orgasms
These powerful orgasms not only feel fantastic, but they actually have some health benefits. Quite a few hormones are released during an orgasm, including oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins. Oxytocin and endorphins, which help lower cortisol levels, are natural stress relievers. This reduction in stress can help you sleep better and reduce inflammation in the skin, making for a clearer appearance. Dopamine and endorphins, two of the “happy hormones” are natural mood boosters and help you relax. You might also experience pain relief due to the increased levels of endorphins in your system; endorphins are a natural pain reliever.
Now that we’ve covered the how and why of clitoral orgasms, you might be wondering what they actually feel like.
La Petite Mort
Orgasms are sometimes euphemistically called “The Little Death”. Technically this refers to the period immediately following an orgasm, when your body is recovering from the physiologically demanding event it just experienced.
Clitoral orgasms are characterized by rapid contraction and release of the uterine and vaginal muscles and can last anywhere from 10-30 seconds. These contractions can happen as rapidly as one per second. During orgasm, your heart rate increases as does your blood pressure, which is why your skin may flush.
Many women report clitoral orgasms being fairly localized to the pelvic region and any referred sensations (sensations that are felt elsewhere than the originating source), to be on the surface of the skin. Heightened sensitivity of the entire body and “aftershocks” are also common immediately following a clitoral orgasm.
And there you have it—the clitoral orgasm. Giving some extra attention to the clitoris, which developed solely to give us pleasure, can be a gamechanger. While clitoral orgasms are the most commonly reported type of orgasm, there are others! You can learn more about the other types of orgasms, such as the Blended and G-spot orgasms, by reading our sexual health guide.