We don’t need to tell the vagina-owners in the room that the clitoris is our sexual pleasure capital. Literally, its sole purpose is to exist to feel good and we respect that kind of thirst.
Despite what porn and the movies would have you believe, the majority of women and people with vulvas cannot reach orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. Say it louder for the people at the back.
Sixty percent of vulva owners in the UK say that clitoral stimulation is key to climax with a partner, whilst 64% say it is key to climax during masturbation.
To sum up, then: our clitoris is a big, huge throbbing deal – touch it enough times and sure enough, a genie will appear and grant all your wildest wishes, so why is our most powerful pleasure spot so misunderstood?
Let’s circle back to sex education for a hot minute. Traditional sex ed does an excellent job of neglecting the importance of pleasure in sex, particularly where women and vulva-having people are concerned.
It’s no coincidence that we grow up confusing our vulva and vagina because the female anatomy is only ever defined against the a heteronormative, penetration-centric societal norm but we are so much more than a semen bag-drop or child-bearing receptacle, my friends.
In a study commissioned by Smile Makers at the end of 2020, surveying 1,000 of women over the age of 20, only 12% said they had received a sex education that had equipped them well to understand their pleasure and 78% did not have access to either pleasure-positive sex education or other sources of information on the topic of pleasure.
We’re calling out traditional sex ed – time to get with the programme (that’s pleasure-based sex ed btw) and give our clitorises the airtime they deserves.
Clitoracy – The Mission to Make the Clitoris Known:
To fully understand clitoral orgasms and their pleasure-giving superpowers, we need to get up close and personal with our anatomy. Contrary to popular belief, the clitoris is much bigger than the little nub we think it is, like an iceberg, there’s a lot more going on under the surface. It is a sprawling underground empire, equipped with 8,000 nerve endings. That’s nearly twice the amount found in the head of the penis but please, do carry on teaching us about wet dreams and boners.
These structures have erectile tissues and much like the penis, they swell as you become aroused.
You see, our clitoris has legs. We’ll give you a second to let that sink in. It has two legs/roots, two bulbs, glans, nerves, blood vessels, a shaft and the capacity to become erect, so not like a tiny button at all, more like a structure that wraps around the vagina like a wishbone. These structures have erectile tissues and much like the penis, they swell as you become aroused. The part we see and often assume is the clitoris in its entirety is the pea-sized glans clitoris and clitoral hood which varies in size from person-to-person.
As the clitoris swells in size upon arousal, it can press against the anterior wall of the vagina around an area known as the G-spot. As the current state of science explains it, it is an erogenous zone through which both the vagina and the clitoris come in contact. This is why internal stimulation can partly be clitoral stimulation as well.
Setting the record straight on clitoral orgasms vs vaginal orgasms:
Turns out, they’re all one and the same after all (a school bell sounds, your work here is done, you can all go home). Vaginal orgasms are often credited as the best type of orgasm – we can all blame Sigmund Freud for that one – but as the vast majority of us who can’t reach orgasm without clitoral stimulation would suggest, those elusive vaginal Os are pretty hard to come by. Literally. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, a whopping 75% of us need clitoral stimulation to orgasm.
Recent studies have pooh-poohed the idea that two types of orgasm even exist and that however they happen, it’s always down to the clitoris. Just how much land can one clitoris own?
Even vaginal orgasms reached via penetration are technically clitoral orgasms
To break it down, then, even vaginal orgasms reached via penetration are technically clitoral orgasms and knowing what we know now about the size of the clitoris, it makes perfect sense. The pleasure is all coming from the same place, it’s just being stimulated in different ways.
That’s not to say vaginal orgasms are a complete fabrication, they’re just a fairly rare phenomenon and the credit almost certainly belongs to – you guessed it – ya golden girl, The Clit.
When it comes to stimulation, everyone has their own modus operandi. Some people like the whole palm of the hand to be involved, for others, it’s a combination of less pressure and soft touches or intense vibrations directly on the clitoris. Each vulva-having person has their preferences and there’s no rule of thumb (or finger, or vibrator) where your pleasure is concerned, which is why communication and experimentation is basically what’s going to get you all the way to tingle town.
Don’t be afraid to explore what makes you feel good whether you’re going solo or enjoying coupled sex. Pleasure can be found in all kinds of mysterious places, from using the flow of water from the shower head to making your pillow work hard but play harder. Get curious! There’s no right or wrong way to get your clit-kicks.
Best positions for clit stim
Stroking, massaging, vibrating and licking can all vary in intensity depending on your position. Some people find having their legs totally relaxed and stretched out gets them there, while others prefer being on all fours or on their stomachs against a pillow they can rub against. There’s no magic formula for clit stim.
During penetrative sex, clitorises can often get ignored and we do not accept that kind of neglect around here. There are plenty of positions you and your partner can have a go at to make sure your clitoris is always front and centre.
The Snake – lie on your front and stimulate your clitoris with a toy or your hands whilst a partner or a dildo enters from behind, let them slither in. Sorry, we’ll see ourselves out.
Spooning – whether it’s you or your partner reaching round, there’s plenty of access to the clitoris in this intimate position, just make sure you go full open sesame style with that top leg so your clitoris isn’t smuggled away. It’s basically a glorified cuddle and we’re here for it.
Downward doggy – now there’s a yoga move we’re heavily invested in. Lower your chest to the bed, keeping your hips raised whilst your partner or dildo enters you from behind. Your partner can reach around and stimulate your clitoris or you can pleasure yourself with your hands or a vibrator of your choice.
The Bridge – admittedly, the one’s not for the faint-hearted because it’s basically a Les Mills body conditioning class but getting into the bridge position with your back resting on the bed and your feet flat leaves your clitoris wide open for action.
Reverse Cowgirl – using your hands to balance, lean back so your partner can reach round with their fingers and caress your breasts and clitoris. Yee-haw.
Clit-block the shame game
We are so sick of women and vulva-owners carrying shame – shame for masturbating, shame for menstruating, shame for not being able to reach orgasm, it’s a tale as old as time isn’t it?
There’s enough pressure to reach certain goals in life, let’s not make having orgasms one of them.
It may be cliché but exploring your body and enjoying sex is as much about the exploration of selfhood as it is the grand finale and sure, whilst orgasms are great, feeling yourself in both the literal way and the Nicki Minaj way is where the real magic happens. There’s enough pressure to reach certain goals in life, let’s not make having orgasms one of them.
And whilst we’re on the subject of orgasms, how IS the Duke of Hastings lately? We’re a nation in mourning after the tragic Bridgerton Season 2 news and we’re going to need him to drop some fresh material as a matter of urgency.