How to finger a woman: Safe, pleasurable sex techniques

Recently someone asked me how to finger a woman in a way that felt good and wouldn’t hurt her, and I realized that this information is rarely discussed and could be very important to some people. So I decided to share it with MSP readers, too. Here are some tips for safe, pleasurable vaginal fingering.

1. Make sure that your partner wants to have your finger in their vagina. In an ideal world, this would involve some type of verbal consent (as in, “is this okay?”) or more specific talks about what each partner wants or feels ready to do.

2. Make sure that you don’t have any rough edges or pointy parts to your finger nails. Ideally, your nails will be safely filed down. Be careful when cutting them with clippers or scissors as this can leave rough edges.

3. Go slowly. Slip your hand down your partner’s clothing/underwear or down against her mons pubis (the triangular area potentially covered with some pubic hair, depending on her pubic hair grooming style) and toward her vulva (the parts of a woman’s genitals that can be seen from the outside such as the labia/lips, clitoris, etc).

4. Spend time stimulating her before putting your finger inside her vagina. This may involve touching her mons, moving your fingers in her pubic hair, kissing her, stroking her inner thighs, whispering or saying something that arouses you both, or gently touching other areas of her genitals such as her vaginal lips/labia. Spending time (at least 10 minutes, but more is often helpful) in foreplay can not only feel exciting but can also encourage her body to release natural vaginal lubrication which can make fingering more comfortable, pleasurable and slippery.

5. Gently insert one finger. Unless your partner has asked for more than one finger or you both regularly enjoyusing more than one finger, it’s wise to start with one finger. It can take time for a woman’s body to produce sufficient vaginal lubrication (which can make fingering more comfortable and pleasurable for a woman), so go slowly. Insert one finger an inch or two inside her vagina and try gently pressing it against the front vaginal wall (the same side as a woman’s abdomen). This area is where the g spot has been described to be (1-2 inches inside the vagina, along the front wall).

6. Explore and assess. Once inside, explore what her vaginal feels like. It will likely feel warm and wet and the vaginal walls may feel ridged in places and smooth in others. I’d also recommend assessing her reaction. Is she making sounds, such as moans, that lead you to believe she likes what you’re doing? Is she giving you other non-verbal signs, such as rocking her hips or moving against your fingers, in ways that hint at how she’d like you to further stimulate her? Have you asked her how it feels (such as “How does this feel?”, “Is this too rough?” or “Does this feel okay?”) Remember: you don’t want to turn this into an inquisition, so don’t ask too many questions, but do find out how this feels to her.

7. Try different sex techniques, with feedback from her. You may be able to try slipping your finger further inside her vagina (don’t go too far unless she asks for it, as that can feel uncomfortable for many women given that the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus, is at the back of the vagina). You may want to try a gentle in and out motion with your finger. If she is considerably lubricated, you  might try using two fingers at some point. Remember: you can use an in&out motion or you can hold your fingers gently but firmly as you press against her front vaginal wall (the g spot area). Keep an eye on how she feels, how her body responds and what types of feedback she gives you.

8. Gently remove your finger. When you’re done fingering your partner’s vagina, gently remove your finger(s) from her vagina. You might keep touching her vulva or inner thighs, or you might move on to other sexual activities (such as oral sex, intercourse, or kising/making out) or this might be about all that you do together.

Two few things to note:
(1) some women bleed after finger stimulation, so try not to freak out if she or you notice vaginal bleeding after sex play. Do try to remain calm; it’s probably totally fine and  a result of small vaginal tears (lubrication and smooth finger nails are less likely to result in tearing). If it looks like a lot of blood, try to find a well-lit area (such as the bathroom) where you two can look and see if you can find the reason for the bleeding (such as a cut on her vulva). If there’s a lot of blood or if you find a cut that looks long or deep, she may want to go to the doctor. This level of bleeding is VERY rare, and not likely to happen as part of fingering.

(2) If a woman is new to sex, she may have mixed feelings about being fingered. Some may see it as an enjoyable, exciting part of their sexual exploration. Others may worry that they’ve done something wrong or may wonder if it makes them less of a “virgin” or if you (their partner) will think differently of them. Remember: being respectful and caring of your sex partner is admirable, so be as kind and warm as possible.

(3) If you have cuts or sores on your fingers, please don’t finger a partner as infections can be passed that way. If you both want to engage in fingering anyway, consider wearing a latex finger cot or glove to protect both of you from infections.

Have fun exploring! And if you have additional questions about sex, contact me. Your confidentiality will be respected.

Learn more in Dr. Herbenick’s book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction, and follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • http://sapphicowl.blogspot.com/ sapphic owl

    I enjoy reading up on sexual techniques, even if I think I already know what I’m doing. In the process, I run across quite a few lackluster articles. This one though…very well put together and right on.
    You covered a couple techniques, making sure you have permission, the wall vs stroking, among other things. Comprehensive and concise.
    I’m positive I’ll be passing this along. Quite enjoyable.

  • http://sapphicowl.blogspot.com sapphic owl

    I enjoy reading up on sexual techniques, even if I think I already know what I’m doing. In the process, I run across quite a few lackluster articles. This one though…very well put together and right on.
    You covered a couple techniques, making sure you have permission, the wall vs stroking, among other things. Comprehensive and concise.
    I’m positive I’ll be passing this along. Quite enjoyable.

  • http://theworldasiseeit.deviantart.com/ David

    I think one of the coolest things in the world is to be able to feel the inside of a woman’s vagina with fingers. It is like a world of exploration. Also, two fingers slightly massaging her ‘pick a spot’ during oral or vibration sex can make her sing to the heavens.

  • http://theworldasiseeit.deviantart.com David

    I think one of the coolest things in the world is to be able to feel the inside of a woman’s vagina with fingers. It is like a world of exploration. Also, two fingers slightly massaging her ‘pick a spot’ during oral or vibration sex can make her sing to the heavens.

  • jincy

    i started to masturbate when i m 15. now i m 21. sometimes i really feel like masturbate.here my question is i wont do fingering and too i will not insert anything to my vagina i ll just stimulate it.but i love doing it.in a day i ll do two times will it hurt my sex life when i start doing my first sex. does masturbation lead to bleeding r any sort of pain. does this is good to do..pls p[ls help me.

  • Kissass12_5

    what happen if u already had ur period dan hav sex and ur not a vergin and u started bleeding

  • Brian1948

    Masturbation is harmless and very enjoyable; don`t worry about it, just be gentle and take your time.