How to Sexually Stimulate the Vagina - Part 1 of 5 - General Information and Lubricants

To learn about the vagina's sensitivity to sexual stimulation please see the article: Anatomy and Function of the Vagina.

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Often Overlooked

Woman Her Licking Fingers

When sexually stimulating the vagina we are often constrained by our expectations of reproductive sex rather than recreational and pleasure giving sex. Many years ago I was asked to provide feedback on an issue of a now out of print magazine produced by and for lesbians titled On Our Backs. Then publisher Deborah Sundahl wanted to know how the magazine might be viewed by men. During the course of our discussion I mentioned I didn't understand why there was a poem or article about hands, and one or more accompanying photos of hands, in a magazine about sex. Deborah explained, for lesbians their hands were their default pleasure giving appendage, and as a result deserving of special attention. As a pleasure giver, a lesbian may focus her attention around her hands whereas a man would more likely focus on his penis. The significance of this is, a hand is much more versatile than a penis.

When you consider the diverse needs of individual women, fingers and hands are perhaps more likely to fulfill them than a penis. That isn't to say a penis, or a dildo in a harness, can't and don't give women intense pleasure. Rather, when contemplating a woman's sexual potential, fingers and hands may more readily adapt to and fulfill that potential. Penises have limitations fingers do not, hence the popularity of a little blue pill, but penises most often have the benefit of being longer than most fingers, plus a penis is most often attached to a caring and romantic partner.

Varying Needs and Preferences

At any given time, most partnered heterosexual women have access to a single penis having a fixed shape, length, and texture, but as the surveys on this website clearly indicate, a woman's sexual needs and desires are most likely not rigidly constrained, but dependent on numerous context and time dependent variables. The surveys that ask women about Vaginal Sensitivity and Size Preferences and The Cervix & Sex provide us with an indication of what women enjoy, and don't enjoy, when their vagina is stimulated. From these surveys we can see that no sexual technique works equally well for all women, or men.

The survey titled Female Masturbation & Orgasm Part I allows us to see the majority of the survey participants began to explore their vagina and vaginal pleasure during their adolescence and teen years. This means they can tell and even show you what they enjoy, if given the opportunity.

The survey that explores Female Sexual Satisfaction provides us with an indication of how pleasurable vaginal stimulation and intercourse are for women, and the value and importance women place on their vaginal orgasms.

The survey that addresses Vaginal Sensitivity and Size Preferences indicates women have a potentially varying size preference when it comes penises and dildos. That preference is perhaps different during fellatio than vaginal intercourse, as 31% desired a large penis during intercourse but only 8% during fellatio. The significance of this is, the size of a man's penis is fixed, whereas he can change the number of fingers or the size of a dildo he uses to fulfill her current needs, if she happens to desire something larger or smaller than his penis.

The survey results mentioned in the article about the anatomy of the vagina may give the impression that bigger is always better, but we must acknowledge the survey participants had a wide range of sexual experience, have pelvic and vaginal muscles with varying degrees of flexibility, and vaginas and vulvas with different sensitivities to stimulation. For some, a single finger is sufficient to fulfill their needs, for others, an entire hand, at least a small one, may slip effortlessly inside. Please keep in mind the fact that fingers and hands also come in greatly varying sizes.

Readers should be aware of the fact that they won't know their own or their partner's preferences unless they explore and ask questions, as surveys tell us nothing about the needs of individual women, only the probability of something being true or untrue.

Vaginal Intercourse

"This means that the penis entering the vagina (if you are on your back) slides back away from your pleasure points, the clitoris and/or anterior vaginal wall (which may contain the G spot). That's why women usually tip up their hips during intercourse in the missionary position—in order for these areas to be stimulated by the penis on its way south."[1]

This is perhaps why 70% of women prefer a position other than the missionary position, according to a survey published in Glamour magazine. Twenty-eight percent preferred to be on top controlling how the penis stimulates their vagina, and twenty-one percent preferred rear entry, where the penis is likely directed at the front wall of their vagina. Providing added clitoral stimulation is also likely more challenging in the missionary position than the other two positions. In addition, rear entry positions potentially allow for deeper penetration, something many women enjoy. Sixty-five percent of women say they enjoy deep penetration, with thirty-two percent saying it is "yummy," but eleven percent or 1 out of 10 do not, or find it painful. Interestingly enough, a "large penis" isn't required for "deep penetration," as the average vaginal-vulvar passage is only 4 to 4 1/2 inches (10-11 cm) in length.

Special Spots

So many potential erogenous zones, so much confusion. To hear some speak, they profess to know the secret to satisfying EVERY woman, though the survey results mentioned above would tend to counter those claims. Many women do have common areas of sensitivity, but not all. Certainly seek out these areas, but if you don't find them, or their stimulation doesn't result in mind blowing orgasms, don't consider yourself or your partner abnormal or broken. As the survey results mentioned in the article about anal sex point out, many women find other areas of their body more sensitive to stimulation than their vagina. Don't expect instantaneous results or orgasms either, as exploring and understanding the erotic potential of these areas may take a considerable investment of time and energy. Even if these pleasure producing areas do exist, the brain is still the largest and most controlling sexual organ.

Potential Pleasure Spots (See Their Location on MRI):

A-Spot - Location: Anterior Vaginal Fornix (Bladder or perhaps the tail end of prostate gland?)
G-Spot - Location: Front Vaginal Wall (Prostate Gland)
U-Spot - Location: Above and Alongside the Urethral Opening (Front of Prostate Gland?)

All these potential erogenous zones, in my opinion, are potentially related to a woman's urinary organs. Read more here and here.

Methods of Stimulation

When stimulating the vagina we should first consider the types of stimulation it is sensitive too, as dictated by the nervous systems present. The outer third of the vagina is potentially sensitive to the full range of sensations, the inner two-thirds perhaps only pressure, pain, or indescribable sensations. The types of stimulation the body is sensitive to is addressed in the article about the female sexual nervous system.

Getting to Know the Terrain

Before you attempt to sexually stimulate the vagina it is best to know a little bit about the subject at hand. The anatomy of the vulva and vagina are addressed in other articles on the website. And while the article about locating the vagina is directed at women, men will find the information of value too, as you will need to know how to locate your partner's vagina, and be prepared for potential obstacles along the way. Every vulva is unique, and to prepare yourself for all the variety that exists, it is a good idea to view the numerous photos of vulvas that are presented in the body image section of the website, and to learn how to distinguish all the different features.

Ask for a Guided Tour

As I mention above, the majority of teens and women, at least those who took part in the surveys on this website, indicate they began to explore their vagina during puberty, and likely started stimulating it in pleasurable ways at the same time, or during their teens years. This means they probably know how best to stimulate their vagina, even if they are inexperienced or a virgin. It is beneficial then to ask your partner how she likes to stimulate her vagina, and to demonstrate what works best for her. This will increase the probability of you fulfilling her wants and needs. If she doesn't know, or is too embarrassed to disclose this information, then the article about locating the vagina and the information presented below will provide some insight into helping you discover what works best for her.

Vaginal Lubrication

When women are asked in our surveys:

"How satisfied are you with your ability to experience vaginal lubrication?" 10-17% (1 to 2 out of 10) are dissatisfied to some degree because of inadequate lubrication. Source 1 Source 2

"How often do you experience vaginal dryness during penile/vaginal intercourse during partnered sex?" Of those who have experienced intercourse, 67-71% experience vaginal dryness at varying degrees of frequency. Source 1 Source 2

"Have you ever experienced vaginal dryness during penile/vaginal intercourse?" Of those who have experienced intercourse, 62-65% indicate "Yes," 29-30% indicate "No," and 5-6% indicate "Maybe." Source 1 Source 2

"Did you experience vaginal dryness during your first experience of intercourse?" 22-27% (1 out of 4) indicate "Yes." Source 1 Source 2

"Did you use additional lubrication [during your first experience of intercourse]?" 16-17% indicated "Yes" and 78-80% indicate "No." Source 1 Source 2

The need for additional lubrication during vaginal stimulation becomes apparent when we consider the differences between recreational and reproductive sex. In the wild, the majority of female animals aren't the least bit receptive to sex unless they are ovulating, and their mind and body motivate them to seek out or be receptive to a sexual partner. There are of course exceptions to this statement. Even then, there is often a mating ritual that further arouses their attention and desire. After all of this, the actual act of sexual intercourse may only last a few seconds, because the activity increases the risk for predation, and/or the male has more than one female partner to impregnate during a short mating season. To the best of my knowledge, the male's penis is also kept moist inside a foreskin prior to erection and penetration, which would help with the insertion process. During reproductive sex in the wild, the vagina is likely well prepared in advance of penetration, the male's penis is lubricated, and lubrication need only be present for a very short period of time to facilitate intercourse.

Human females, and a few of their close evolutionary relatives, on the other hand are said to engage in sexual intercourse for many reasons, with hormonally and ovulation driven sexual desire not being a significant motivator [reference]. When women permit sex there may be little to no mating ritual (foreplay) to sexually arouse them, yet intercourse is expected to last several minutes, so both partners have the opportunity to experience orgasm. As a result of these factors, and those mentioned below, it shouldn't be surprising then that the majority of women indicate they have experienced vaginal dryness during intercourse at some point in their life.

Additional factors contribute to the occurrence of insufficient vaginal lubrication. A woman's level of sexual arousal must be sufficient throughout the entire sexual experience to produce the required lubrication, despite numerous environmental, personal, relational, and social factors that may adversely influence its production. Since a woman's sexual lubrication predominantly originates inside the vagina, a woman's vulva and clitoris may not be lubricated at the onset of the sexual experience, even though it is commonly recommended for her partner seek out and stimulate her clitoris. The amount of the lubrication produced within the vagina may not be sufficient in quantity to reach the vulva to facilitate pleasurable vulvar and clitoral stimulation, nor passage of the penis through the vulva and introitus to the vagina. Especially if the man is circumcised, his penile glans may not be lubricated to aid in the insertion process, as the pre-ejaculate may have been wiped away on surrounding objects. This is why recreational sex pretty much requires the use of additional lubrication, to lubricate the vulva and clitoris, not just the vagina.

Note: Many of the statements made in the preceding paragraph are supported by our survey about Female Sexual Arousal. Current Results - Archived Results

Your choice of lubricants primarily depends on whether you will be engaging in penile-vaginal intercourse that necessitates the use of a latex condom, which should include the vast majority of young and dating couples. The reason being, "oils" cause latex condoms to breakdown very quickly, preventing them from acting as a barrier to sperm and STD's. These lubricating oils though are likely readily available to young couples, more so than "latex safe lubricants." This results in a bit of conflict between what most young couples have access to versus what would improve the quality of their sexual experiences. As a result, couples may find sex more enjoyable and easier to facilitate if they don't engage in intercourse, allowing for the use of a wider range of lubricants.

Here you can see which lubricants are latex condom safe, and which are not.

Latex Safe
- Aloe-9
- Spermicides
- Glycerin
- Saliva
- Water
- Silicone lubricant
- Egg whites
- Lubricants made specifically for condoms, including:
  • Astroglide
  • KY Jelly
  • Aqua Lube
  • Wet

Not Latex Safe
- Baby Oil
- Cold Cream
- Massage oil
- Petroleum jelly (i.e. Vaseline)
- Vegetable or mineral oil
- Hand and body lotions
- Suntan oil and lotion
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Vaginal yeast infection medication
- Whipping cream
- Edible oil, including:
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil

Note: "Polyurethane condoms are made of a type of plastic. They are thinner than latex condoms, and so they increase sensitivity and are more agreeable in feel and appearance to some users. They are more expensive than latex condoms and slightly less flexible so more lubrication may be needed. However both oil and water based lubricants can be used with them." Source

Another factor to consider when choosing a lubricant is whether it contains glycerine. Women who are prone to yeast infections, and anyone who currently has a yeast infection, are advised to avoid personal lubricants with glycerin. Glycerin is a sugary liquid, and while there is no proof that glycerin will cause a yeast infection, lubricant manufacturers, and health conscious sex toy retailers recommend that you avoid lubricants with glycerin if you are prone to yeast infections. (A friend mentioned she had to use olive oil during her masturbation sessions, as other types of lubrication caused a yeast infection to develop.)

Sex Tip: Water-based lubricants can dry out becoming tacky to the touch. You can rehydrate these lubricants by adding a little water. To facilitate this, keep a small bowl or spray bottle containing water nearby during your sexual activities. If you already share body fluids, saliva can also be used, but some lubricants have an unpleasant taste.

Another latex safe option is silicone based lubricants. Unlike water based lubricants these do not dry out, and as a result last a long long time. As with lubricants containing glycerine, there is unsubstantiated concern that they may cause a yeast infection in some women. The reason being, their long lasting quality results from their not being water soluble, meaning a woman's natural vaginal fluids can't easily wash them away after the sexual experience. This may interfere with the normal protective vaginal environment.