Hand sex — using hands and fingers to stimulate sexual pleasure — gets a bad rap, like it’s somehow less than other sex acts. But hands are incredibly versatile, intimate tools that can allow you to touch someone in exactly the ways they enjoy. Your fingers also receive a multitude of sensations which allow you to enjoy your partner’s body.
While many of us may have been experimenting with fingering since we were teenagers, that doesn’t mean we know how to do it well. Like any other kind of sex, fingering is a learned skill.
How to be good at fingering
Before stimulating a body, it helps to know some basic anatomy. Everyone is different, so learning anatomy doesn’t get you out of talking to your partner, but it’s a good place to start.
While the clitoris and the G-spot get most of the attention, the entire vulva is a potential erogenous zone. It’s important to pay attention to the whole area, not only because it can feel really good, but because pinpoint sensation on an area as sensitive as the clitoris is often overwhelming before reaching higher states of arousal. It’s really helpful to start slowly at the beginning to allow your partner to relax.
Try placing your hand over the entire vulva and just holding still. This allows your partner to get used to being touched and shows them things won’t progress too quickly. This is also a great time to focus on other forms of intimacy like eye contact, kissing, and touching the rest of their body with your other hand.
Once you’re ready for more, try moving the whole hand to provide uniform pressure. This helps wake up all the tissues and continues to enforce the idea that nothing will happen too fast.
Every time you want to progress to something new, check-in with your partner. For example, you can ask them things like, “Are you ready for your clit to be touched?” and “Are you ready for penetration?” You can also look for non-verbal cues, such as if they are moving your hand towards their clit, or if they are making exciting noises.
While you’re focusing on the entire vulva, you have the opportunity to stimulate the whole CUV complex (clitoral, urethral, vaginal). Properly speaking, it’s all these parts together that provide sexual pleasure, even if you access that pleasure from one pinpointed area.
The part of the clit you see from the outside of the body is just a fraction of what lies beneath. The clitoral legs and vestibular bulbs lie underneath the inner and outer labia and can be stimulated through external and internal pressure.
There’s as much erectile tissue in the clitoral complex as there is in a penis, but most of it is under the skin where you can’t see it swelling. Also, it can take longer to engorge than a penis, so it’s a great idea to spend time on building arousal so you can experience all of the pleasure that’s possible when this area of the body is fully engorged.
When you’re ready to focus on more direct clitoral stimulation, you still don’t want to go right for the head of the clit — that area is often too sensitive even when fully aroused. Instead, use the clitoral hood to your advantage and slide that tissue up and down the clitoral shaft, thinking of it like a tiny handjob on a penis. Especially once someone is aroused, you’ll be able to feel the clitoral shaft and that area is often very sensitive.
Ask your partner how they like to be fingered
As you’re trying fingering techniques, you’ll want to check-in and see how your partner feels about what you’re doing and what they might like done differently. While it’s always wonderful to ask someone how they’d like to be touched, not everyone will have the language to explain that. It’s often easier to give a choice between two things, like “harder or softer,” “faster or slower,” “left or right,” etc. Not only does this not require too much thinking right at the moment, but asking for that kind of feedback allows someone to say what they want with less fear of hurting your feelings.
Do you need to penetrate when you finger someone?
Good fingering doesn’t need to include penetration. Many people find it easier to orgasm from external stimulation. But internal stimulation can also provide a great deal of pleasure if it’s something you and your partner would like to try.
Once you get the go-ahead from your partner, continue the slow pace. Start with just one or two fingers and move very slowly, checking in as you go. If you’re interested in exploring G-spot stimulation, slide your fingers along the anterior wall of the vagina (up towards the belly) until you’re an inch or two deep and you feel a slightly different texture. Remember, everybody is different and there’s no way to find the right spot without talking to your partner and asking what feels good.
What you’re actually stimulating is the urethral sponge, an area of the CUV complex that is often the last to swell with arousal — so it’s best to wait until your partner is really turned on before trying this.
You’ve probably heard the advice to use a “come hither” motion with your fingers. And while that might get you in the right neighborhood, make sure you avoid using the tips of your fingers or fingernails, since they tend to poke and fingernails can cause damage. Instead, focus on using the pads of your fingers to either press upward in a rhythmic way or move in little circles. Again, check-in about what’s most pleasurable.
Don’t be afraid to bust out the lube!
In addition to your fingering techniques, lube is one of the greatest things you can incorporate to enhance the sensations and pleasure for yourself or your partner. Whether or not there is penetration involved, lube keeps things slippery and smooth and helps avoid too much friction or chaffing which can quickly become uncomfortable. You can start by dabbing a coin sized amount onto your fingertips or hand and then rubbing them together (this just helps bring the lube closer to body temperature as cold lube can sometimes feel a little startling when applied onto the vulva directly out of the bottle). Feel free to add more and more as you go. Some people like just a little extra slide, and others like it really wet! Whatever you do, remember to reapply as needed to keep things slick throughout your sexy time.
How to finger when your fingers get tired
If you’re doing this for a while your fingers are likely to get tired. It can help to work with the larger muscle groups like the upper arm and shoulder. To do this, hold your fingers and hand steady and pull upwards from those larger muscles. This will often be more sustainable and may also allow you to provide more intense stimulation for folks who enjoy that.
Use sex toys to take fingering to the next level
Using sex toys is not only a great way to intensify pleasure and take fingering to the next level, but it can also give your hand a break. Let the sex toy do the work for you.
There are several sex toys out there intended to simulate the sensation of fingering. Here are just a few of our recommendations:
- The Fun Factory Be One is a vibrating toy you can cradle between your fingers as an extension of your own hand. It has ridges that can tuck comfortably into your labia or underwear so you can also use it hands-free.
- The Satisfyer High Fly Finger Vibe is another finger vibrator with an ergonomic shape and pointed tip meant for targeted stimulation of the clitoris, nipples, perineum, or any other erogenous zone.
Be prepared for clean up
Keep in mind that some people experience squirting or ejaculation from this kind of stimulation, so it’s a good idea to lay a towel down first so you don’t need to worry as much about clean up. If you’re with someone who squirts, we recommend trying the Liberator Fascinator Throw because it’s a moisture-proof blanket.
The bottom line
Our bodies learn over time what pleasure looks like, and it can take awhile to get used to a new form of stimulation. Just experiment and have fun, and make sure to keep an open dialog about what’s working best. If you want to take fingering to the next level, consider exploring our catalog for sex toys to enhance fingering.