Please make the clitoris less mysterious.Sex / May 14th 2017  at 07:56AM   /   0

Dear KC, in my (admittedly limited) experience, when it comes to oral sex every woman likes something different. There doesn't seem to be one surefire technique for successful cunnilingus. Or is there? If so, please share! When I ask for guidance, my partners are not as helpful as you'd expect. (In fact, if you could explain that, I'd also appreciate it.)

It would be my pleasure (so to speak). 

The first thing you should know is that, yes, different women like different styles of touch. Preferences vary vastly from woman to woman, however there are a handful of techniques that should cover most bases. Learn those and you'll be fine, as long as you have open lines of communication and are willing to adjust to your partner's needs. (Discovering what those adjustments are is a separate matter, which I touch on at the bottom of this post.)

Though not all women like cunnilingus, most do when it's done well. That said, a woman who hasn't explored her own body or spent time masturbating alone, will usually be harder (even impossible) to please. If that's the case, it's honestly not your fault. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own orgasm(s), and it's vital you and your partner understand that. A woman who has experience masturbating, and the ability to concentrate for an extended length of time (however long she needs to, whether that's 30 seconds or 30 minutes) is at least trying to do her part. Also, for the record, orgasms aren't the only way to experience sexual pleasure (roughly 10% of women don't orgasm at all), BUT since that's what you asked about, that's what I'll answer.

There is so much information out there these days, it can be overwhelming. I'll recommend a couple favorite resources, and leave it at that for now:  the book She Comes First and especially the amazing website OMGYes (complete with simple yet detailed instructions for a variety of techniques, plus a great many beautifully shot videos). I'm also impressed by the helpful (advanced) techniques taught by The School of Squirt

In the interest of keeping it simple(ish), here are my top 3 cunnilingus tips:

  1. Start slow (and soft) 
  2. Deduce what works best for your partner, then stick with that style 
  3. Get feedback; adjust as needed

START SLOW (and soft)
I mean this in a number of ways. First, take your time getting from introductions on a first date, to being naked and between her legs in the first place. 

Once there, don't immediately target her clit with your hand or mouth, which can be an uncomfortable shock to her system. In fact, don't put your hand anywhere on her genitals until you've taken time to stimulate nerve-endings along her inner thighs, outer labia, and pubic mound.

From there, move slowly inward (toward the center, meaning inner lips, clit, and vagina), careful not to tug, yank, or swipe delicate moist flesh with dry, rough, aggressive hands and fingers. It's not a crime to be a bit clumsy, but once you've triggered a woman's pain response, her guard will automatically go up. Once her guard is up, her impending orgasm will likely go from merely elusive to completely MIA.

The key word here is "tease." You both know where your tongue &/or fingers are heading, so let her indulge in a little anticipation. Don't rush it, but instead, make her ache for direct contact. Everything you do from that point on, will be more intensely pleasurable for it.

Finally, intensity of pressure is a personal thing. Some women prefer a touch as light as a gentle breeze. Others prefer, and even require, significant pressure. It's less jarring to start with a light touch, then intensify as needed. Start out too rough, and no level of touch will feel light enough afterward (because she won't trust you not to hurt her, by then).


Whether your partner is an expressive, skilled communicator or not, you should eventually figure out which style of touch she responds to best. When I say "stick with it" I mean with whichever general pattern elicits the most positive feedback.

Options include circles, flicks, figure eights, paint-brushing, and a host of others. Types of touch include vibration, sucking, gliding, pressing, rubbing, feathering, and others. As for areas of contact, there's over the hood, under the hood, a combined technique, and ways of stimulating it indirectly through surrounding areas, steering clear of the clit entirely. Some women prefer clockwise motions, others counterclockwise. For many women, one side/area of the clit is more sensitive than the other (hint: try the 2 o'clock position, which tends to be popular). 

Lots of options to choose from there, so ... have fun with that.

As she becomes more aroused, you'll (most likely) want to intensify your speed and pressure, while sticking with the same pattern. Meaning, if she's a circle girl, stick with the circular motion. If she likes the flicking, stick with that. Combos are popular! But that's for you two to work out. I can't begin to describe the varieties of touch or how light & slow or fast & hard to be with any of them, at any point in time, with individual woman. Like you said, they all like it a little different. 

I can only describe what I like, but for the record, I recognize my responsibility to do so with each new partner, just as you'll need your partner's feedback to figure out her preferences. 


Because individual preferences differ, good sex requires communication (in and out of bed).

It doesn't hurt to ask "yes or no" questions ("Do you like this move? Do you like that speed and/or pressure?"), but you'll probably have more luck with an either/or format ("Do you prefer it THIS or THAT way?")

Please note, it's rarely helpful to ask "Are you close?" since most women (and men) will hear "Why is it taking you so long to come?" (whether or not that's what you meant). Instead, at the beginning of a sexual encounter, make an agreement that your partner will announce when she's close. Also, that she'll announce the need for a different type of touch, whether softer, harder, faster, or some other new way. A way she then must explain! (While it may initially feel awkward, to just her or to you both, it will also be empowering in the end, not to mention effective.)

If you've tried everything and she can't seem to explain how to do what she likes, ask her to show you, either on her genitals and clit, or on your hand (using your knuckle like her clitoris, and two of your fingers as if they were her labia).

Above all, be patient and understanding, especially if she starts to get tense. Women get performance anxiety too. Pleasuring her isn't about feeding your ego. Women aren't video games and orgasms aren't points to be racked up or boasted about to friends (or silently in your own head). When men take that type of egocentric approach women sense it, and it tends to (justifiably) shut down their arousal. 

As for why women don't speak up about what turns them on, see my post on Frank Kermit's blog. In short, this is a longstanding phenomenon that needs to end as soon as possible, but until it does, most men should know that women worldwide struggle to state their needs and ask for what they want. And nowhere more so than in bed.

Hopefully this knowledge alleviates some of the stress and self-blame men feel when their partners don't orgasm. I also hope it motivates and enables them to help their partners open up and have fruitful talks about sexual desire and techniques for better arousal. 

It's not men's job to read women's minds, but in the interest of good sex, it's helpful to understand this incredibly common struggle women go through, and find ways to support them through it. When women feel safe, they're more likely to open up about what they like, which creates a win-win and more orgasms for everyone. 

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