Dear Dr. Emily,
It’s my first time going down on a vulva! I have absolutely no idea what to do or what will feel good. Any tips? I really want to do a good job.
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First of all, congratulations! I think you’re going to have a marvelous time. Now, let’s arm you with some vulva technique.
One key to pleasuring a vulva-owner is–you guessed it—attention on the clitoris. But! That doesn’t mean you can’t explore other areas. In fact, for maximum enjoyment, you absolutely should attend to everything around that famous pleasure button, for a very practical reason: you don’t want it to get desensitized. More on that below.
One more note, before we dive in. I’m about to give you five helpful methods for vulva oral play, but before you try any of this with a partner, pose a question to them: “what are you into?”
You may get an enthusiastic and open-ended response, such as: “all of it!” But you also may get some very useful and specific guidance, like: “I love being fingered and licked at the same time.” Regardless, it’s always great to normalize the “what are you into?” question, so that we all get in the habit of asking what our partners enjoy.
I also recommend checking out some straight-up vulva anatomy pictures, so you know where everything is located! There’s no shame in doing this type of legwork beforehand. Trust me, it’s cool to educate yourself about it! AND education itself can be a huge turn-on, especially if you use ethical porn as a form of “homework.” While many porn sites aren’t super realistic, Bellesa Plus (AKA the Netflix of Porn) has 50+ channels of erotica and they all portray pleasure in a way that feels grounded, real, and hot AF. If you’re not sure what to do, watch the professionals for a little inspo.
Now then, who wants to delight a vulva-owner? Here are five fun things to try:
Did you know that there are over 4,000 nerve endings in the clitoris? That makes it one very sensitive piece of sexual real estate – and easy to desensitize, if you spend too much time on it. So instead of going for the gold, try rubbing your partner’s vulva over their underwear, or even over their jeans/dress/what have you. The fun thing about this maneuver is that it can (discreetly) be done in a public setting, like at the movies or in a parked car.
Whether you plan on going further, or you’re simply trying to build up some erotic tension for later, rubbing over the clothing can excite your partner in a subtle way. This is a fantastic place to start your consensual vulva exploration, since it’s low-stakes and allows for immediate feedback—such as them putting their hand over yours, encouraging the pressure.
The Slow Build
Now we’re moving into digital stimulation territory! (I.e., using your fingers.)
As its name implies, this technique is all about the build-up. Start by inserting one finger and pulsing up and down, and then slowly add another finger, possibly a third…even a fourth. The unspoken rule here is “listen for feedback,” and the telltale signs of pleasure being had: moaning, heavy breathing, etc. Vulvas come in all shapes and sizes, and for some, four maybe too many! So listen for cues, and don’t be afraid to ask consent questions along the way (which in my opinion are super hot): “how’s this?” “Do you want more?” Questions like that.
For an added pleasure whammy, start to back off after a bit and then start over again with the “slow build.” If your partner’s lying down, you can pair this technique with oral stimulation too, using your tongue on the clitoris while your fingers are inside.
Also, just because you’re going “down” doesn’t mean you can’t use your hands. Hands are amazing tools! Speaking of tools, why not use a toy to add to the sensations your partner is experiencing? The Pom from Dame is a great option. It has five rumbly patterns, all of which are great for helping play with that “slow build.”
Search for the G-Spot
Many vulva owners are curious about the g-spot orgasm or “g-area”, which (in some cases) has been known to lead to squirting. Yay!
It’s easier to have a g-spot orgasm if you’ve already had a clitoral orgasm, as the g-spot is engorged and more sensitive. To try this, insert a toy or finger into your partner’s vulva, and make a “come here” shape with finger, curling it towards their belly. For many vulva-owners, the G-spot is about halfway between the vaginal opening and the cervix (see: anatomy pictures).
If your partner’s getting close to orgasm, they can “bear down” with their pelvic floor muscles to encourage squirting: G-spot stimulation triggers the release of fluid (not pee) from the Skene’s glands in the urethra, usually at orgasm.
The Kivin Method
If you’ve never heard of the Kivin Method, let us be the first to tell you about how ah-mazing it feels to a vulva owner. It’s a twist on traditional oral sex, so let’s get you into position:
The first step is to approach the vulva from the side so that the giver is lying perpendicular to the receiver, rather than in between their legs. Once you’re in position, use your index finger and thumb to raise the clitoris and keep it in place while you lick. In some instances, this positioning might reveal two small bumps on either side of the clitoral hood, known as “K points.” If you can feel them, use your tongue to gently sweep across these areas. (But don’t stress if you can’t find them—not all bodies have detectable K points).
A huge perk to the Kivin Method is the accessibility—you’re licking horizontally, rather than vertically. Try a few different licking techniques (circles, up-and-down, sucking), and be sure to pay attention to your partner’s feedback. Until they say the words “don’t stop,” feel free to use some tongue variety. BUT if they tell you not to stop, they’re probably close to orgasming, in which case, keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Repetitive movements are really helpful to facilitate orgasm, especially when it’s close.
Pro tip? Add flavored lube. System Jo has some amazing options that literally taste like dessert. Seriously, they’ve got watermelon, espresso hazelnut, double chocolate, and even creme brulee. It’s “dessert” for both of you.
Ah, face sitting: a win-win for everyone involved. The giving partner will lie down on their back (comfort!) while the receiving partner does what the name suggests: sits on a face. However, despite the name, it’s actually not so literal: think of it more as face kneeling. Otherwise, you’re not going to have a ton of room to breathe! It’s all fun and games until someone loses oxygen.
Since the receiver is more in control here, suggest that they put their hands on the headboard or wall, to help maintain balance. Your hands are totally free though, so use them any way you like—grabbing their hips, for example.
There are so many ways to pleasure a vulva, but these five techniques can definitely guide your first foray. Remember to ask them what they like, keep listening for feedback—then, relax and enjoy!