You know those glossy magazine articles that write about those five simple steps to get her/him to squirt, have multiple orgasms, come back for more or accomplish some other sexual feat? Well, that’s a pretty good formula to sell magazines, but not so much a good way to approach sex or self-pleasure. While there may be some hard science behind what gives us pleasure, there is a whole lot of art, too. And even the science part is way more nuanced and diverse then a simple chart. However, these charts, lists, and guides can be helpful if you don’t know where to begin, are seeking to break out of a rut, or just try some new things. But it’s important to remember that sex (especially partnered sex) is an interaction above anything else.
Basically, this is a disclaimer to this week’s article about pleasing the clitoris. These are just tips. It’s not a definitive instruction manual. And where would the fun in that be anyway?
So this week, I’ll focus less on the specifics and more on the general approach. Next week I’ll go into some specific techniques and positions. Basically, think of it as style versus content.
The first step in pleasing something, is knowing the thing you are trying to please. As we discussed last week, that little nub above the vaginal opening is just the tip of the iceberg. The clitoris is the whole iceberg. Not only will having an understanding of the clitoris contribute to the effectiveness of your touch, but will also bring more confidence and connection to your touch. Stroking the very tip of the clitoris feels very different then following those strokes through a little deeper knowing that it extends much further into the surrounding tissues. So look at some diagrams and read last week’s article.
Clitorises are packed with nerve endings. They are very sensitive. Many clitorises do not enjoy being touched until there is some blood flow and sexual arousal going on in the first place. As I discussed in an earlier article, arousal takes on many forms and speeds. Arousal can come as instantly as a single sexy suggestion or thought, or may be built more slowly and sensually.
One fun approach to awaking the clitoris is by circling in. Stroking and caressing the thighs, pubic mound, labia, and otherwise generally around the clitoris can be titillating.
Another nice warm-up approach is by Appling broad pressure by firmly cupping the vulva with your hand. The palm of the hand provides warmth and skin contact while the heel of the hand can apply gentle indirect pressure on the clitoris and surrounding erogenous tissue. After sufficiently lubed and warmed up, the fingers can then also simultaneously stimulate the vaginal opening, the labia minora, or if pressed a little more firmly, the deeper erogenous tissues below the labia. These are just some suggestions.
3. Fine Tuning
The clitoris is a very densely packed area of intense sensation. The slightest variation of touch can be the difference between blowing our socks off or being really irritated. Pay attention to these differences. Stroking the clitoris vertically using two fingers on either side of the hood going in parallel motions feels very different then when you alternate the directions of the fingers in a cycling motion. Many people get more pleasure from one side of their clitoris than the other. The slightest adjustment in pressure or speed can go a very long way. If she says “slower!” and then you slow down, but then she says “faster!” right after that, that is indicative of many speeds in the middle you just skipped over! (Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.)
Have any of you heard of the “alphabet technique”? Well, it’s an oral sex “technique” introduced by the comedian, Sam Kinison. (You can find his skit on YouTube). This technique involves tracing the letters of the alphabet with your tongue over your partner’s clitoris. Well, this technique has mixed reviews and some people feel that this is a disconnected and not very pleasurable way of both giving and receiving oral sex. That said, an old flautist friend of mine used to send her girlfriend into outer space by tonguing flute compositions onto her clitoris. What both of these “techniques” have in common is creating an unpredictable assortment of tonguing patterns, and as your tongue is forming these patterns, it softens, hardens, widens and flattens, points and darts, and is basically consistently changing it’s overall feeling against the clitoris. Keep in mind, this level of unpredictability can actually be frustrating if your partner really just wants you to keep doing that one thing for a while. However, even that one thing can lose some of its potency after some time, so changing things up is generally a good idea to keep the sensations feeling new and exciting. (If your partner yells “don’t stop” as she’s about to orgasm, though, then don’t stop or change what you’re doing unless it’s an emergency!)
Just because most women require direct clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, does not mean that most women prefer only direct clitoral stimulation. Combining different kinds of stimulation can exponentially increase pleasure that just one or the other alone cannot achieve. G-spot stimulation combined with clitoral stimulation can be a divine combo. You can use your finger to massage the g-spot while licking and sucking the clitoris. Rear entry (doggy style) sex is a pretty effective position for g-spot stimulation while leaving the clitoris open for you or your partner’s fingers or a vibrator.
Many women enjoy vaginal or anal penetrative stimulation mixed with clitoral stimulation. I know several women who love having anal sex, but only if they are being simultaneously stimulated on their clitoris, otherwise it’s simply uncomfortable.
Combine clitoral stimulation with anything! An inner thigh massage and clitoral stimulation. Anilingus and clitoral stimulation. Nipple pinching and clitoral stimulation. I sometimes think of what clitoral stimulation is to other sexual activities is what salt is to food. It significantly enhances the flavor. Plus, we would die without salt. Well, that comparison may or may not be overly dramatic. In any case, I wonder if unsalted food would taste better if we ate it while having our clitorises pleasured.
If you don’t otherwise know for sure that your partner enjoys a firm and/or vigorous handling of their clitoris right at the beginning, it’s best to begin slow and gentle. A fully aroused clitoris oftentimes takes great pleasure in hard, vigorous, and direct stimulation. But this very same clitoris, when not fully aroused, will experience this same touch as uncomfortable or painful. So start slow and gentle (unless otherwise agreed upon) and increase the pressure and speed as the level of arousal is increasing (again, unless your partner likes it slow all the way through). The slow and gentle start also creates “space” to receive more subtle feedback. It can be during these slow and deliberate moments that we discover our specific sweet spots. However, increasing the intensity of the touch can be just as important in order to maintain or heighten pleasure, especially leading up to climax.
So next week, I’ll go over some fun things to do with a clitoris! This is the kind of learning with the potential for lots of fun homework.
Ally Booker is a pleasure activist. She is passionate about educating herself and others on cool sexuality related things like communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination, destigmatization, gender and sexual expressions, sex toy use and safety, and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her milling around her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St., 777-9434.