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The Quickie
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If you happen to catch a sex scene in a Hollywood blockbuster, chances are you’ll see the female protagonist moan, writhe, and—so the implications of her actions suggest—orgasm from likely minimal warm-up, and solely through penetration. With such commonplace depictions of “what sex is,” it’s no wonder that so many people think that vaginal penetration is the be-all and end-all of sexual experiences.

The reality, however, is that only 20-30% of people with vulvas experience orgasms through vaginal penetration alone. The other 70-80% need clit stimulation to get there. This isn’t, of course, a knock against vaginal penetration—it can, and does for many many people, feel fantastic! But to finish, the vast majority of people with vulvas need the clit to be directly stimulated by a tongue, finger, or toy.

Only 20-30% of people with vulvas experience orgasms through vaginal penetration alone. The other 70-80% need clit stimulation to get there.

Adding clitoral stimulation to penetration is a great combination for maximizing pleasure. The clit can be stimulated with a finger or a vibrator, while a dildo, penis, or finger is inside the vagina. An orgasm that comes from both internal and clit stimulation is called a “blended orgasm.”

But while clit stimulation is the decided go-to for pleasure and orgasm, that doesn’t mean it’s always straightforward.

Troubleshooting Common Clit Stimulation Challenges

Stimulating the clitoris is often the surefire way to orgasm-ville for people with vulvas—but what happens when it’s not working for some reason or another? Check out these common issues with clit stimulation below, and find out how to troubleshoot what might be going awry:

The Clit Feels Too Sensitive

  • Touch the vulva more broadly, rather than focusing directly on the clit.
  • Rub through the clitoral hood, rather than on the head of the clit directly.
  • Rub to the side of the clit, rather than on the head.
Too much friction can make clit touch feel unpleasant, but lube can make everything more slippery and enjoyable.
  • Try some lube—too much friction can make clit touch feel unpleasant, but lube can make everything more slippery and enjoyable.
  • Use lighter, gentler pressure.

The Clit Isn’t Sensitive Enough

  • Rub the head of the clit directly. To do so draw back the skin of the clitoral hood and touch the clit underneath.
  • Try stimulating the frenulum—this is the underside of the head of the clit that looks like an upside down V. This area can be highly sensitive for some people.
  • Use lube: Lube can heighten sensation. With lube you may also be able to press harder or faster, giving more sensation.
  • Try a vibrator. Vibrators can be enjoyable for people who don’t find other touch stimulating enough.

Pain Or Discomfort On The Clit From Rubbing

  • Use lube—a silicone lube is long lasting for lengthy sex or masturbation sessions.
  • Use a lighter, gentler pressure.
  • Take a break and come back to it.

The Clit Gets Numb During Sex

  • Take a break.
  • Try “edging”—rather than providing continued stimulation, pause regularly. This can be tantalizing and gives your clit a break from getting overworked.
We often think that more pressure will mean more sensation, but that’s not always true. Strong pressure can make the clit feel numb. A light pressure can feel more teasing and stimulating.
  • Vary the stimulation on your clit. Try switching from a vibrator to a finger. Or trying switching from back-and-forward strokes to circles.
  • Use a lighter pressure. We often think that more pressure will mean more sensation, but that’s not always true. Strong pressure can make the clit feel numb. A light pressure can feel more teasing and stimulating.
  • Try “edging”—rather than providing continued stimulation, pause regularly. This can be tantalizing and gives your clit a break from getting overworked.

You’re Nearly There… But You Lose Your Orgasm!

  • Keep the pressure and rhythm consistent when you’re nearing orgasm. Try not to change technique at a crucial moment.
  • Focus on the pleasure and sensations. Worrying that you won’t orgasm, or that you might make a weird face when you orgasm can really put a dampener on your pleasure. It can be hard, but try and relax, and feel the sensations in your body.

Taking “Too Long” To Orgasm

Keep the pressure and rhythm consistent when you’re nearing orgasm. Try not to change technique at a crucial moment.
  • Tell your partner it’s important that you don’t feel rushed.
  • Focus on sensations and reduce mental distractions. This can be tough, but it can really help.

Not Getting Enough Stimulation To Climax

Many people require the intense stimulation of a vibrator to orgasm. If it’s what you need, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. If a partner is uncomfortable about you bringing a vibrator into the bedroom, explain to them that using a vibrator solo and/or with a partner is both extremely common and something that feels fantastic for you.

Many people require the intense stimulation of a vibrator to orgasm. If it’s what you need, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.

While the clitoris can be a pleasure-maker of mythic proportions, remember that everyone’s anatomy is different and unique. What works for someone else may not work for you—and that’s totally OK! Take some time to experiment, troubleshoot, and, above all, to thine own self be true.

Related Articles:

What Is The Clit?

How To Buy A Sex Toy

How To Find The Clit

How To Orgasm

How To Use Lube

Top 10 Tips For Having An Orgasm

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Video transcript

For most clitoris owners, keeping consistent movements and pressure on the clitoris is what's gonna make them orgasm. So if you're doing all kinds of like difficult things all around there, it can get confusing, it can also get messy. I've had people who have done the alphabet technique on my clitoris and their letters end up being too big and they're kinda doing the K, like here's my clitoris, and they're, the K is here, and the L is here, and I'm like, uh, I have my clitoris right here, let's just stick to right there. When in doubt, when in doubt, just rhythmic circles, rhythmic horizontal and vertical strokes with the tongue, and you're gonna be really golden. Unless you're asked for something difficult, in which case obviously be open to that. Be willing to try new techniques, see how people are feeling about it, people being your partner, I mean. And it's all about experimenting.