Get To Know The Clitoris
How to close the pleasure gap
It’s the body part with just one job – pleasure.
In fact, it’s the only body part known to have only this purpose.
It’s on around half all bodies in the world yet remains shrouded in mystery, so much so that many who own one don’t fully understand it.
Most think it’s small but it’s bigger than meets the eye and wields unrivalled power.
I’m talking about the clitoris.
It’s that concealed gem of the female anatomy waiting for it’s time to shine.
Why should you care?
Well, if female pleasure was a doorway, the clitoris is both the lock and the key. But it’s been ignored in medical teachings through time and for the most part is still ignored in bed.
The result? A pleasure gap between the sexes.
What is the pleasure gap?
Tales of women ‘faking it’ in bed are as old as time.
While 95 per cent of men usually or always orgasm during sex, it’s only the case for 65 per cent of women during heterosexual intimacy. This means around one in three go orgasm-less. (1)
No oh, oh, ooh! Just uh-oh.
This is the pleasure gap.
Why does it exist? Lots of reasons.
Most women don’t climax from penetrative sex, yet this is the form of sex that society is fixated on. Penis-in-vagina is often the only technique classified as actual sex, with everything else trivialised as foreplay.
Most women don’t climax from penetrative sex, yet this is the form of sex that society is fixated on
Think of the sexual ‘bases’, where sexual intercourse is home base. First is kissing, second is petting above the waist, and third base is petting or orally stimulating below the waist including touching the clitoris. The very label makes ending at third base seem as a job half (well, maybe three quarters) done.
It speaks to a sociocultural female pressure to please and sense of obligation to ensure male ejaculation in heterosexual encounters. There’s a sense of failure if the male doesn’t climax, or reach home base, that doesn’t apply the other way around, and a tendency towards women faking orgasms in service of male satisfaction.
Indeed, the commonest reasons for women to fake it are wanting their partner to feel more successful, or because they like him and don’t want him to feel bad. (Meanwhile, other women just want sex to end because they’re tired.) (2)
Compounding the problem is that men generally climax faster than women and assume this means sex is over.
Generally climax faster than women and assume this means sex is over
Consider findings that men usually ejaculate after 5.4 minutes on average, but women take more than double that time orgasm, at 13 minutes and 25 seconds on average (3, 4). So, even for women don’t want to fake it, a session might end before she even had a chance to get there.
What’s more, she might not know what she wants or how to ask for it, because of a lack of self-exploration, communication or both.
At this point you might be thinking that perhaps, the pleasure gap is just a problem for the young and inexperienced. It’s not. A study of men and women aged 18 to 59 years showed that the orgasm gap is consistent across ages. (5)
Okay, maybe the big O is simply more elusive for women in general? No, not when you consider the fact that more than four in five (86 per cent) of women engaging in lesbian sex consistently reach orgasm. (6)
So, are women just physiologically slower to reach orgasm? Nope. Research shows that when masturbating solo, both men and women reach climax after four minutes on average. (7)
And it’s not as though women are relying on penetration. When most women masturbate, they do so by stimulating their clitoral area. As few as one per cent of women masturbate by exclusively putting something inside their vagina. (8)
What does all this mean for you? Well, if you care about female sexual pleasure – your own or your lover’s – then you need to get to know the clitoris.
What is the clitoris?
The clitoris is the only body part known to exist solely for pleasure.
It is typically part of the female anatomy, visible to the naked eye as a pea-shaped nub near the top of the vulva. However, this clitoral glans is actually a small part of a much larger structure.
Extending from the glans to the vaginal opening are two bulbous extensions (vestibular bulbs), each with a wing (crus), making the clitoral structure look rather like a wishbone.
Although the clitoris is associated with the female body, it develops from the same bud-like formation as the penis in males.
During weeks one to six of gestation, the genital tubercle is common to both males and females. Then, from around week eight it develops into either a clitoris or penis under hormonal influences in the process of sexual differentiation.
So, it should come as no surprise that women can get an erection too. When a woman is turned on, the internal clitoris engorges with blood and expands, causing an erection. It is, after all, made of the same erectile tissue as a penis.
However, the clitoris contains around 8,000 sensitive nerve endings, double that in the glans (head) of a penis, so you can understand why it really does hold both the lock and the key to female pleasure.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, its power the clitoris has been largely ignored educationally and as a result, intimately.
But now that we’re finally getting to know the clitoris, we can close the pleasure gap.
How to have a clitoral orgasm
While no two bodies with a clitoris will have identical ways of stimulating it to the point of climax, there are some commonalities.
In a landmark study, sex educator and feminist Shere Hite found that almost three in four (73 per cent) stimulate the clitoral/vulva area while lying on their backs. Around one in 100 do so while lying on their tummy (5.5 per cent). (9)
Others (four per cent) prefer to rub against a soft object, such as a pillow, massage their genitals with running water (two per cent), or by pressing their thighs together rhythmically (three per cent).
Most women in the study used only external stimulation, with as few as 12 per cent sometimes or always slipping something into their vagina at the same time. Put another way, that’s close to nine in 10 women orgasming without the need for penetration.
That mightn’t be a cause for concern for the clitoral owner. Simply choose your style of stimulation and go for it!
Simply choose your style of stimulation and go for it!
But what about becomes of partnered sex? How do we close the pleasure gap?
Remembering that sex isn’t limited to penetration, the clitoral orgasm can be achieved through the use of fingers, mouths and toys.
Although they start life as the same structures, the clitoris does not grow up to be as strong and durable as a penis. The clitoris needs a more soft and precise touch. Hug, kiss and grind against the clitoral owner – this in itself can result in an orgasm because of how deeply clitoral fibres extend.
Press hard into your partner, massaging the area from her mons pubis (area over pubic bones) to pelvis with the base of your hand. Spend time massaging the labia majora (outer lips) and progress towards the clitoris. Explore the area with your fingertips. Some find this area too sensitive to be touched so pay attention. If this is the case, just slide your finger up and down the clitoral shaft gently. Use some water-based lubricant for enhanced glide, opting for flavoured if you’ll engage in oral action too.
Oral sex is often considered an entrée ahead of the main course. However, it’s an effective way to please a clitoral owner just right. The trick is to take it slow. Lick like a lollipop and suck softly at first then firmly. Be firm and steady, using a confident firm and repetitive tongue motion.
Pay attention to body language – it can reveal what your partner does and does not enjoy.
Pay attention to body language – it can reveal what your partner does and does not enjoy
And show that you’re enjoying it too. Go down with a freshened mouth, enthusiasm and playfulness. Don’t be afraid to get messy – oral sex is meant to be. Incorporate some flavoured lubricant and your entrée might just become dessert – the sweetest dish of them all.
Clitoral sex toys
Using sex toys is a tried-and-true method for clitoral owners to orgasm and can easily be transferred to partnered sex to the pleasure gap.
Whichever option you choose, always use it with a compatible lubricant (water-based is a safe bet) applied to either the body and/or toy. You might like to try a warming or cooling water-based lubricant for more exciting stimulation. Also ensure you sanitise your device with toy cleaner before and after use.
Whether you’re playing solo or with a partner, bullet vibrators are perfect for precise clitoral stimulation. These finger-like vibrators generally have a rigid shaft and tapered tip so you can target specific areas with ease and accuracy.
For broader coverage, use the flat edges of a bullet or experiment with a larger wand massager. These vibrators generally feature a rounded head and more powerful motor to intensify the stimulation. The long handle and flexible neck help you reach not only the sensitive clitoral area but also muscle groups in the neck, shoulders, back and legs when they need a soothing massage.
If you want to really intensify a clitoral orgasm, experience multiple in succession or in record time, try a stimulator that features air wave technology. Unlike traditional vibrators, these clitoral stimulators use air waves to delivering oral-like sucking and massaging sensations to the clitoris without directly touching it. Clitoral stimulators, such as the Pro 2 and the Pro 2 With Vibration, both by Satisfyer, are renowned worldwide for their fast, effective and powerful ability to encourage clitoral Os in the extreme.
Another premium air-tech toy brand is Womanizer, with some clitoral stimulators in the range featuring Smart Silence Technology that automatically turns off the device when it’s removed from the skin. So, if someone walks in mid-play, they’ll be none the wiser.
For those who enjoy penetration along with clitoral stimulation, rabbit vibrators are a go-to. These vibrators feature an insertable shaft with an external attachment that traditionally resembles bunny ears, hence the name rabbit, however, it can take other shapes.
For those who enjoy penetration along with clitoral stimulation, rabbit vibrators are a go-to
Because the clitoris runs deep inside the pelvis, the shaft of a rabbit vibrator can actually stimulate the g-spot, an area two to three inches inside the vagina on the front wall. This, my friends, leads to a blended orgasm, aka bliss or more formally, a simultaneous clitoral and g-spot orgasm.
Wearable couple’s vibrators and rings
While almost any clitoral toy can be used as a couple’s toy if you hand over control to a partner, some are specifically designed for this purpose. The most practical options are vibrators that she or he can wear during intercourse for mutual satisfaction and to true closure of the pleasure gap.
The most popular wearable for her is a C- or U-shaped vibrator, which allows one end to be inserted in the vagina while the other sits over the clitoris. The We-Vibe Chorus is a prime example, with an adjustable fit that helps it stay in place even while you’re changing sex positions, and customisable vibrations that can be controlled using a squeezable remote or smartphone app. We-Vibe’s Chorus is sex-tech at its best.
For him to wear, the We-Vibe Verge is a clear standout. This couple’s ring is placed at the base of the penis and testicles, where it provides a comfortably firm fit that helps him last longer and stay stronger while delivering rumbly multi-speed vibrations to her clitoris. It can also be controlled via smartphone app, so even when they’re apart she can choose his sensations for surprise-filled action.
The power is yours, clit-erally
Now that you know the clitoris, her power and her preferences, get comfortable giving it the attention it deserves. Pleasure is its whole raison d’être!
So, explore all the ways a clitoris likes to be treated and help us close the pleasure gap between the sexes one orgasm at a time.
(1) Frederick, D, St John, K, Garcia, J & Lloyd, E 2018, ‘Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample’, The Archives of Sexual Behaviour, vol. 47, pp. 273-288, viewed 28 September 2020, DOI 10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z
(2) Murray, S 2019, ‘Why Women Fake (and No Longer Fake) Having Orgasms’, Psychology Today, 25 September, viewed 28 September 2020, https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/myths-desire/201909/why-women-fake-and-no-longer-fake-having-orgasms
(3) Dobson, R 2019, ‘The average woman takes 13 minutes and 25 seconds to orgasm during sex, 90% say being on top is better – but one in six NEVER climax’, Daily Mail, viewed 28 September 2020, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7094769/Does-woman-orgasm-13-minutes-25-seconds-Yes-yes-yes.html
(4) NHS 2019, ‘Ejaculation problems’, 24 July, viewed 288 September 2020, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ejaculation-problems/#:~:text=A%20study%20looking%20at%20500,how%20long%20sex%20should%20last.
(5) Arnold C, 2019, ‘The Orgasm Gap: Why It’s Time To Close It Once And For All’, Women’s Health, 27 July, viewed 28 September 2020, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/a28470037/orgasm-gap/
(6) Frederick, D et al (n 1)
(7) Bracken, C 2019, ‘Why you should shake up your masturbation routine’, Triple J, 28 May, viewed 28 September 2020, https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/the-hook-up/why-you-should-mix-up-your-masturbation-routine/11157644
(8) Mintz, L 2018, ‘Masturbation 102: How Women Pleasure Themselves’, Psychology Today, 25 June, viewed 28 September 2020, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stress-and-sex/201806/masturbation-102-how-women-pleasure-themselves