The clitoris has agency.
It doesn’t just get stuff done to it, it does stuff.
7. Move it all about. The vulva is not just a threshold to other places – it’s an active, complex, and variable sensory situation. Like the muscular vagina, the parts of the vulva (namely, labia, clitoris, perineum, and anus) are all parts you can move. You can pull in, push out, bear down, cinch up, go left, go right. You can flatten, pulse, clench, and open. Doing any of these things will likely affect the clitoris, sometimes directly, other times by being adjacent. You may get the urge to pee, you may become aroused, or relaxed, or all of the above. As with any motor skill: you get better with practice. (So there’s no reason you’re not moving it around right now if you’ve got a clitoris).
The hidden agenda behind this directive? The clitoris has agency. It doesn’t just get stuff done to it, it does stuff. Imagine the implications: If we “know” our sex organs to be passive, only as holes or vestibules or limp guileless flesh that have things done to them; if we don’t use active verbs for them (like push, pull, jump, backflip, kick ass); if they await their fate and the best we can do is to say “yes” or “no” when the time comes – how does that shape our sexual being, period?
Well, I don’t want none of that. Especially not when penises get all active verbs, all the time. Not when I know that perspective can change the experience of the perceived thing (thank you Wayne Dyer, and whoever you paraphrased). And definitely not when over and over I see clitorises and vulvas and vaginas do and feel amazing things.
So, if we know differently – if we know that we are powerful beings, full of the potential to experience deep pleasure, bliss, awe, ecstasy, peace, and transcendence – then I think we have the responsibility to try. Why else would we be here?
Which brings me back to moving the clitoris (I hope you went for that logic leap and that you're still with me).
So while each one is different, vulvas are generally very resilient. Which means that it may be pleasurable to tug or pull on the parts around the clitoris. You can tug on the labia (pinch a small area or grab a handful; take one or all of the folds), or pull up on the skin above the vulva (to anchor the clitoris onto the pelvic bone). If there is enough of a hold, inner labia can be tugged too – up, down, away from the body, in circles. You can gather flesh around the clitoris to squish it. You can spread the same flesh flat and away to expose it more. And of course, your vulva/labia/parts can tug back! There’s an active verb for ya.
8. Play with hot and cold. Warmth and chill can be fantastic sensations. They heighten and dampen some sensitivities, which in turn dampen or heighten others.
Warmth and chill are also full of meaning and memories: some that are entirely visceral, many very pleasurable. For example, warm and moist sensations spreading from your crotch are eerily reminiscent of having peed yourself. Which can bring up shame, guilt, fear, being cared for, being in trouble, being in diapers, being carefree. All of which can be pleasurable or not. (Don’t knock a turn-on unless you really have to).
A cold breeze in the crotch? Rich fodder for remembering running bare-bummed as a child. Or going commando in a summer dress. Or, walking home smugly the morning after a wild night with what’s-their-name.
In practical application, try a range of temperatures: A cold or warm pack on the vulva (wrap it in a towel or sheet for a clean surface and/or to control the intensity). Chilled fingers and warmed fingers, or some of each. A tongue or lips just after drinking iced or warm water (go easy on sugary drinks and beer – they are feasts for yeast). Ice itself if you can take it. Warm breath close-up. Soft cooling breath from further away. And, if you can manage it: Lie naked in the sun and let the rays warm up your bits.
Whatever you do, start moderately and take care of yourself/each other. Hot and cold can both burn if too extreme or done for too long.
9. Pat it. I looked for a different word but I really can’t find a better one. Something about the word just makes me wince. Alas, patting is what I mean.
A derivative of last week’s #4 “Touch it all different ways”, patting is specifically staccato. It involves impact – big or small is up to you. At the right time and with measured intensity, it can be totally exciting. As per usual, how and when and how hard all depend on the clitoris in question. Also as usual is that good, open communication is a given here, especially if the clit is not your own.
With patting, we’re talking a spectrum of possibilities. It could be a teeny weeny tap with a fingertip (or, if it’s too much, place one finger on the clit, and tap another on top), a constant patting over the entire vulva with several forefingers, or even a sure-handed smack (when you’re sure all is good). Remember that most of the clitoris is actually internal, and patting can surprise the nerves below. Many clitorises love it, especially in the context of other sexual goings-on.
10. Engage in exploratory head. The difference between this and “regular” cunnilingus is that, if there was any expectation of the giver to be “good” or the getter to be thrilled, in exploratory oral sex these pressures are off. To really take the stress out, paradoxically, set an alarm. My vote is for 20 minutes minimum, and depending on your attention span, 2 hours can be very nice. The rule is: Anyone can pause or stop things at any time for any reason (there can be many: Chafing, orgasms, over-sensitivity, emotional triggers; the need to pee, catch your breath, arch your neck differently, shift that leg that’s fallen asleep). But generally, try to keep going.
Exploration assumes that we don’t know. It’s investigative, fuelled by curiosity and shared discovery. You can do this with partners new or old. Even with your love of 5 decades you can muster wonder. Start with things that you think are less stimulating and intensify.
Lick, flick, suck (start gentle), nibble (start very gentle), glide, stroke, press, graze, and pulse. Cover the whole vulva not just the clitoris. Use the tongue’s tip, use its flatness, use lips and teeth and noses and fingers. Vary the speed, pressure, area of contact, direction, movement, and stillness. Go through the excellent though cliché “alphabet trick”. Say the letters out loud if you like, it’s a joint investigation after all, not a trick to deploy on the unsuspecting.
And, what else is new? Communicate. Rate sensations on scales of 10. Change one variable and compare before vs. after. Propose what-ifs and evaluate the experience. Contrast X to Y. Take notes (spoken, mental, written, video, etc.). Don’t aim to orgasm at all. And pee afterwards (it kicks out the bacteria that may have gotten mushed into the urethra during your session).
As if this wasn’t educative enough, you also get to practice asking for consent and giving feedback. No matter how deeply we believe that consent is sexy, which it is, it’s hard to operationalize sometimes. So practice is good.
I was going to finish all 7 points this week but I got long-winded. The last 3 are for next week then!