I can't find my girlfriend's clitoris, can you help me find it?

Question: I can't find my girlfriend's clitoris, can you help me find it?

Answer: It can be challenging to locate a woman's clitoris, because the female genitals come in thousands of different shapes and sizes. Each is unique, and to make matters even more challenging, there are clitorises that are very small and hidden within concealing folds of skin. There are even clitorises that you cannot see or feel; a woman may only be aware of any area of her vulva that is sensitive to touch. Many women do not know where their clitoris is located, and as a result, what it looks like, since they were not been permitted or encouraged to examine their vulva during childhood. For these reasons, do not feel bad if you cannot find your girlfriend's clitoris, or your own, when you first go looking.

To find a woman's clitoris you first need access to it. This means a woman has to undress, and spread her legs comfortably apart. This is not something you should do by slipping your hand inside her underwear, especially if she still has her pants on, in the backseat of a car. You also shouldn't do this in the dark, as you will want plenty of light shining on her vulva.

There are clitorises that are simply too small to be felt. Everything will feel soft, warm, and moist. If a woman's clitoris is erect, taking into consideration whether her clitoris has this characteristic, it is usually easier to find; since it will feel firm to your touch, not soft and spongy like the tissues that surround it. (Lacking a layer of fibrous tissue, the clitoris reportedly can't become truly erect, like the penis, only firm.) If what you feel is hard and unmoving, then what you have found is her pubic bone.

To find a woman's clitoris you should first locate and identify her inner labia, because her clitoris is located at the point where they meet, near the top of her genital cleft. Some inner labia merge at the bottom of the clitoral glans, at a point called the frenum, others merge with the hood, and others do both. It may not be possible to tell exactly where the inner labia end and the hood begins. There are women who have almost no inner labial tissue, in this case you have to look for the clitoris itself. The annotated photographs shown below should help you identify the different structures.

Annotated Photo of Vulva

The above photograph shows what a woman's vulva may look like when the labia are not spread open. In this case the woman has shaven her pubic area so things are easier to see. It is not necessary for a woman to trim or shave her pubic area, it is a matter of personal choice.

A woman's clitoris is located near the top of her genital cleft. In the above photograph you cannot see her clitoral glans, as is frequently the case. You only see the hood of her clitoris, under which is her clitoral glans and shaft. The hood normally conceals and protects the sensitive clitoral glans. Her inner labia project slightly beyond her outer labia, much less than in some cases, but more than others.

Annotated Photo of Vulva Annotated Photo of Vulva
Annotated Photo of Vulva Annotated Photo of Vulva

The four photographs shown above reveal the vulva when the outer labia, labia majora, have been spread open. The inner labia and clitoral hood are clearly visible. You will note the clitoris in all four cases is located just above where the inner labia meet, even if you cannot see the clitoral glans itself.

In the top two photographs you can see the clitoral glans. In the first photograph the woman is exposing her clitoral glans by using her finger to pull back the hood. In the second photograph the hood fits more loosely, it stays retracted after it has been pulled back.

In some cases you cannot retract the hood to see the clitoral glans, and this is perhaps the case in the bottom two photographs.

In some cases the hood extends an inch (2.5 cm) or more beyond the clitoral glans, or the opening in the hood is too small to permit access to the clitoral glans. This is not normally a problem, nor does it necessarily interfere with a woman's sexual pleasure. Please see the article about clitoral adhesions to learn more about this.

Additional annotated photos are available in the article about locating the vagina.

Annotated Photo of Vulva

Some women have genitals that are well developed, and all the structures are clearly defined and easily identifiable, as shown above. In this example, the clitoris and inner labia are above average in size. The four vulvas shown above are what may be considered "average" in size.

There is no advantage or disadvantage to having small, average, or large genital structures, they all work equally well; the differences are cosmetic, not functional. The only advantage to having large labia or clitorises is that they are usually easier to locate, but not necessarily easier to stimulate in a pleasurable manner.

The clitoral shaft is often concealed by the hood and other surrounding structures. To locate it you will likely have to feel for it using your fingers. In some cases, it helps if you start examining her clitoral area before she becomes sexually aroused, and experiences the associated blood engorgement.

If you lightly grasp the hood and slide your fingers gently around you may feel the clitoral shaft becoming engorged with blood, as she becomes sexually aroused. In most cases this will be easy to detect, as the average clitoral shaft is about three quarters of an inch (1.9 cm) in length and a little less than one quarter of an inch (6 mm) in diameter.

In some cases you may only notice what feels like a blood vessel filling with blood, and in others the clitoral shaft may be too short to locate. The illustrations shown below demonstrate how to examine the clitoral shaft with your fingers.

Clitoral Examination 1 Clitoral Examination 2
From the book A New View of a Woman's Body. Copyright 1981, The Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers. Illustrated By: Suzann Gage, L Ac, RNC, NP. ISBN 0-9629945-0-2 Pbk.

Take your time and go slow, and do not become discouraged if you cannot initially locate her clitoris, or identify her clitoral glans and shaft. It may take some time and experience before you can distinguish between all the different structures of her vulva. All the folds of skin and variations in size and shape can be deceiving.

For more information on the anatomy of a woman's genitals please see the articles about Locating the Vagina, Clitoral and Labial Size, Anatomy of the Vulva, and Anatomy of the Vagina.

Last reviewed June 2, 2015
Published April 14, 2001