Clitoris Information

All About The Female Genitals and Female Sexuality

In 1981, Shere Hite discovered that 26% - about a quarter - of all the thousands of women who took part in her research program study experienced orgasm frequently during vaginal intercourse, without additional stimulation of their clitoris by themselves or their male partner. This seems rather high. Since the study is over twenty years old, we must assume the figures are dubious - they certainly do not match the figures obtained from a survey on 

Shere Hite also reported that 19% of women rarely achieve orgasm during sexual intercourse, 16% of women would have an orgasm if they had clitoral stimulation at the same time, and about a quarter did not experience orgasm during intercourse at any time. In addition, 12% of the women were preorgasmic and 3% had never tried intercourse. Whether the figures are accurate or not, about 80% of women clearly do not enjoy an orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone.

1,500 women replied to an online survey at In answer to "Do you need extra stimulation to orgasm during intercourse?", about a quarter of women claimed they were able to reach orgasm though intercourse alone - about the same as in the Shere Hite study. So, if the evidence is to be believed, the number of women who can reach orgasm during intercourse remains stable at around  a quarter. But these numbers are out of line with all the other statistics reported on this subject, which give a much lower percentage of women reaching orgasm during intercourse (as low as ten percent or less).

The question is why women need additional stimulation of the clitoris to reach orgasm. For most women, the clitoris is very sensitive - but it just doesn't get stimulated during intercourse in the way that the penis does, since there is no direct friction to the clitoral glans. Very few women masturbate by playing with the vagina alone, although they often feel a desire to have something in their vagina when they are very sexually aroused. This suggests the vagina is less sensitive to sexual stimulation than the clitoris. And indeed, the vagina does not have as many nerve endings as the clitoris, and they are mostly distributed around the vaginal opening.

The penis receives direct stimulation from the wall of the vagina, but any movement of a woman's labia will only indirectly stimulate her clitoris. While thrusting of the penis moves the labia about, it may not touch the clitoris, and given that some women have very small labia, this clearly does not offer a direct route to orgasm during intercourse.

Of course, a woman's clitoris might possibly be stimulated by the man's pelvic bone and pubic mound as he thrusts inwards, but this seems to happen only rarely. With such disparity between the stimulation received by the clitoris and that received by the penis, the man usually reaches orgasm but the woman usually does not. This is a situation addressed by the sexual techniques described here, which offers mutual sexual satisfaction and orgasm during intercourse for men and women.

And the other thing is time - a man reaches orgasm very quickly. A woman needs between ten and twenty times as long from a standing start to get to orgasm. When a man is not only much quicker to reach orgasm anyway, but is receiving stimulation during sex of a much higher order than his partner, it is easy to see how a woman might never reach orgasm during intercourse.

Research has shown that women take far longer than men to become fully sexually aroused - even up to thirty minutes. Sexologists William Hartman and Marilyn Fithian found that it takes an average of twenty minutes for women to reach orgasm (at least in lab conditions). For many women, half an hour or more of sustained sexual stimulation is required before they move into the orgasmic range.

Couples should expect sex to last more than half an hour if the woman is to be fully satisfied. But this is not a bad thing, since physical affection is vital to a couple's bonding anyway, and the more non-sexual affection a woman receives before sex begins, the more likely she is to become truly orgasmic.

Size and sex

The size of penis a woman desires or prefers depends on what she is doing. Anal sex may require a small penis. Oral sex may require a small penis. And a woman's preference may not be so much around length as girth. A woman's sensitive vaginal tissue is to be found at the perimeter of the front edge of the vagina.

A bigger girth will stimulate a woman's G spot, clitoris and urethral sponge more, so she gets better sensations during sex. The "vaginal ache", a desire to be "filled up" which women get during sexual arousal, may be satisfied by having a large object inside the vagina. This may also lead to a bigger and better orgasm. A single finger or a small dildo may not be enough - a large penis or a large dildo may provide better feeling.

And of course, some women may prefer a large penis for purely psychological reasons: they see the owner of such a penis as having more masculine characteristics. And of course - a large penis can be sexually arousing to a woman. Having said that, a small penis is preferable for many women when they are offering their partner fellatio.

The Physical Changes of Sexual Arousal

Physical changes in the body before orgasm include (1) vasocongestion (the accumulation of blood in the breasts and genitals) which causes the breasts and genitals to become swollen, and feel warm or hot to the touch, a color change in the genitals and the start of lubrication of the vagina; and (2) myotonia or neuromuscular tension, which refers to the accumulation of energy in the nerves and muscles of the whole body. Myotonia is what we would call sexual tension -  not emotional tension caused by negative emotions! This is the sense of tightness, of accumulated tension, just before orgasm. It is the release of this tension which constitutes one of the most enjoyable aspects of orgasm. Inability to release the myotonia is a symptom of anorgasmia.

Anything that affects blood flow or interferes with neuromuscular transmission can prevent myotonia and vasocongestion, which in turn may prevent sexual arousal and orgasm. A doctor's advice may be helpful if you think you cannot experience natural levels of sexual arousal.


Three variations of female sexual response. Number 1 shows multiple orgasm; 2 shows arousal up to the plateau level with no orgasm (resolution occurs more slowly); and 3 shows several brief drops in excitement followed by a rapid resolution phase. By Masters and Johnson in "Sex and Human Loving".

Sexologists have defined female sexual response in four phases, excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. These are definitions which artificially separate the process into phases you won't be aware of during sex: your sexual response cycle is different to the next person's and varies from one session of sex to the next. If, for example, you're on a date and become sexually aroused during the course of the evening several times, you may not even know about it - vaginal lubrication and feeling aroused in your mind do not always go together.

You may also experience sexual arousal and go into the so-called plateau phase during an intense session of - for example - sensual dancing, but you may then return to your non-aroused state before reaching home. And then you may quickly reach arousal and orgasm without even experiencing the plateau phase when you get home if you have sexual contact. VulvaVelvet has more information on all these subjects. There was also an interesting article on female ejaculation in the edition of New Scientist published on the 30 May 2009 in the UK.

Sexual arousal can involve these physical responses to emotional or mental or physical stimuli:

  • Vaginal lubrication within 10-30 seconds
  • The inner two thirds of the barrel of the vagina expands
  • The uterus and cervix move upwards
  • The labia majora spread apart
  • The labia minora increase in size and change color (they darken)
  • The clitoris increases in size and become erect
  • The nipples may become erect
  • The breasts may increase in size

Vaginal lubrication from the vasocongestion of the vaginal walls forms as moisture oozes out of the walls of the vagina. Small droplets of vaginal lubrication form inside the vagina and then collect together and flow out to cause a moistening of the whole vulval region. The smell of your vaginal lubricant varies with many factors, including where you're at in your monthly cycle and what you have recently eaten. Vaginal lubrication does not mean a woman is fully ready for intercourse, but conversely, the absence of lubricant during intercourse doesn't mean you're not aroused. Some women lubricate very little, and additional lube is needed to enjoy sex. Other women produce large amounts of vaginal lubrication, and get very wet. This is normal; such variation between women's bodies is normal.

The Kiss - Cunnilingus Advice!

(From the excellent book, She Comes First, by Ian Kerner, published by Souvenir Press, 2004. This is a complete guide to female sexual pleasure, and all couples who have differences in the speed with which they reach orgasm can benefit from the sage advice Ian offers. It's a complete guide to female sexual pleasure; for men who need to know the ways to pleasure a woman, this is essential reading.

  • Make your first lick a slow and tender "ice cream" lick from bottom to top. Make it long and lasting. Take it all in.
  • Start at the base of her vaginal entrance, the fourchette, and work your way up.
  • Take in the full length of her labia minora (inner lips) and let your tongue rest briefly against her frenulum, the area just under the clitoral head.
  • As you go over the head, brush it lightly as a feather, and then proceed to her front commissure (the area just above the head).
  • Push down on her commissure with the tip of your tongue and feel the sinewy clitoral shaft beneath it.
  • As you kiss her slowly from top to bottom, press your finger lightly against her perineum (the expanse of skin just below her vaginal entrance).
  • When you lick the full span of her vaginal entrance from top to bottom, place your hand atop her mons pubis and nudge it gently toward her abdomen. This will stretch the skin and tighten her vaginal entrance, enabling you to lushly encompass her sensitive inner labia as you lick.
  • As an alternative to the standard position, grab hold of her upper thighs prior to the first kiss and pivot her legs up into the air so that only her butt is touching the bed and her vulva is completely exposed.
  • No matter what your approach, take it long and slow, from bottom to top, and savor every step of the journey. Now that you've lavished her with the first kiss (that long full lick), let your tongue rest flat against the length of her vaginal entrance. Encompass her vulva with your tongue. Take a moment to let the experience of the first kiss resonate.
  • Make sure it's love at first lick.

Note that being able to reliably give a woman an orgasm via cunnilingus is a good strategy for men who wish to gain greater mastery of their ejaculation and satisfy their partner in bed.

The clitoris, labia and vulva: size and enlargement
Large labia, labia elongation, labiaplasty
All about the clitoris, labia and vulva
Female ejaculation, the clitoris and vulva
Clitoral vs vaginal stimulation and orgasm
How the clitoris contributes to greater sexual pleasure
Vaginal problems