Fingering is one of the best ways to pleasure a female-bodied person. It allows you to give her really targeted, focused stimulation, and can be one of the best ways to help her have an orgasm. Compared to oral sex or intercourse, it's also relatively non-taxing for the giver. Here's what you need to know to finger a woman.
Make sure she's on board
Like any other sexual activity, step one is to make sure she enthusiastically consents.
Attitude is everything when it comes to fingering. So many women struggle to receive, and worry about their partner not enjoying the time and effort that fingering takes. If you're a man, keep in mind that many women feel pressured to have intercourse be the main event, and erroneously believe that they should get the most pleasure from intercourse itself. Your partner may think of fingering as a "lesser than" activity. You can help set her at ease by letting her know you want to finger her, and that you have all the time in the world. Focus on staying relaxed and genuinely enjoying yourself. She'll notice it, I promise.
Wash your hands before touching her bare skin. You don't want to run the risk of spreading germs to her body. It's also important to have short, filed nails. Sharp nails or jagged hangnails can really ruin the mood.
It's also good to have an idea of what you're going to be touching. The term for the exterior portion of her genitals is the vulva. Women have two sets of labia — the outer labia and inner labia. The outer ones have hair on them (unless she's removed it), and the inner ones don't. Her inner labia join near the top of her vulva. The clitoris should be located around there — it's a small nub of skin that can range in size. Some clits are large and protruding, while others are small and hidden under a small flap of skin called the hood. Further down, you'll find the entrance to her vagina.
Get into position
I recommend sitting up with your back against the wall or headboard, with your legs outstretched or slightly bent. Have her lie between your legs, on her back, with her feet close to the wall or headboard. This position is fantastic because her vulva should be right in front of you, within arm's reach. You can see what you're doing, and give her focused stimulation. You can easily swap between hands, if one arm starts to get a little fatigued. You can also stay in this position for a long time.
Warm her up
Before you even venture near her vulva, spend plenty of time teasing her and getting her excited for more contact. So many people (men especially) underestimate the lead-up, but many women say that the teasing is their favourite part of being fingered. Spend tons of time kissing her and playing with the rest of her body. Grind your body against her crotch. Take her pants off, but leave her underwear on. Run your palm up and down her labia. When you take her underwear off, continue using your entire hand to stroke against her labia, without parting them. Finally, part her labia with one fingertip, and continue that back and forth motion.
I can't recommend lube highly enough. The tissues of the vulva are quite delicate, and fingering can often be uncomfortable if there's not enough lubrication. Lube prevents any uncomfortable pulling or tugging of the skin, and also amplifies the sensation. I think silicone-based lubricant feels best against the skin, especially for fingering. I highly recommend investing in a nice bottle to keep in your bedside table.
Explore her clitoris
Once she's really enjoying herself, you can start focusing on her clitoris. Most women love clitoral stimulation, and need it to reach orgasm. Women tend to be divided into two very broad camps - women who like direct clitoral stimulation, and women who don't. The clitoris is exquisitely sensitive, so some women feel more pleasure when it's touched directly, and others feel more pleasure when it's stimulated indirectly. Neither is "better" or "worse"; they're simply personal preferences. It's best to start with indirect stimulation. Start off by slowly circling her clitoris, without directly touching it. Make your circles tighter and tighter, until you start grazing against the clitoris. If she pulls away or tells you to be softer, stick with the indirect stimulation. If she likes the more direct stimulation, you can continue the circular motion directly over her clitoris. Or try stroking a finger diagonally across her clitoris.
And other areas too
Although clitoral stimulation is typically what feels best for women, you still want to get other parts of her body involves. Play with her breasts, thighs and hips. You can also take breaks away from her clitoris to tease her. Try dipping one or two fingers into her vagina. If you're dextrous, you can even try fingering her vagina with one hand, and her clitoris with the other.
Give her time
Aim to finger her for about 20 minutes, especially if she's a new partner or has never had an orgasm with you. This gives her time to relax into the experience.
It's great to want to give her an orgasm, but don't pressure her to have one. She can still enjoy herself and feel a ton of pleasure without having an orgasm. You can get this point across to her by telling her, "I'm just going to keep going. You tell me whenever you want me to stop." Most women need consistency to reach orgasm, so once you find something that seems to be working for her, stick with it.
I hope this article is a helpful introduction to fingering, but keep in mind that getting feedback from the human being in front of you is far more important than memorising my instructions.
There are two ways to get feedback - verbal and non-verbal. I think verbal is best, but I also know it can be challenging for a lot of people. If you want to get verbal feedback from her, try to avoid broad questions like "what do you want?" You want her to be able to focus the majority of her attention on feeling good in that moment, not on trying to answer open-ended questions. Instead, try two different techniques. For example, circling around her clitoris and stroking diagonally across it. Ask her, "do you like it better when I do this or this?" If you're in some sort of ongoing relationship, you can also ask her for feedback at some other time.
If you're going for non-verbal feedback, pay attention to her body language. If she pushes back against your hand, it probably means she wants more pressure, more speed, or more direct contact on her clitoris. If she squirms against your hand, or seems to be re-adjusting her body, it's probably because you're being either too direct or too indirect. If you weren't touching her clitoris at the time, try touching it more directly. If you were touching it at the time, switch to indirect. Keep an eye out for anything that deepens her breathing or makes her moan.
This article has been updated since its original publication.