When it comes to making a person with a vulva orgasm, most folks need more than plain old penetration. Your penis is great and all, but only a quarter of vulva owners routinely come during vaginal intercourse—which means a lot of people need some form of clitoral stimulation in order to climax.
Packed with nerve endings, the clitoris is one of the most sensitive erogenous zones. It has around 8,000 nerve endings, which is double the number in a penis, FYI. So what can you do to give your partner a mind-blowing clitoral orgasm? Well, for starters, make sure you know where to find the clitoris: at the top of the vulva, just under the spot where the inner labia meet. The clitoris also extends up to 5 inches inside the body—in fact, experts are beginning to recognize that the so-called “G-spot” is linked to the clit —but for today, we’ll focus on that rosebud-shaped spot at the apex of the labia.
And now, to stimulate the clitoris. Sixty-seven percent of women who took part in an Indiana University study prefer stimulation in or around the clitoris, not directly on it. If you’re not sure what your partner prefers, remember this universal piece of advice: ask them!
Surprise your partner tonight with one—or all—of these clitoral stimulation tricks, using not just your tongue, but also your lips, fingers, and toys. And don’t forget: there are a number of sex positions where you can reach around and stimulate your partner’s clit with your fingers or a vibrator during penetration. There’s no reason why penetration and clit stimulation have to be separate; the two can (and should!) exist in perfect harmony.
1. Suck and Nibble
Instead of just licking her, use your lips and tongue to suck on her clit.
“The entire vulva consists of sensitive nerve fibres,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. “So being able to suck on the glans or the head of the clit and lightly nibble on her inner and outer labia, or suck a little on labia, will stimulate the nerve fibres.”
The sucking will also lead to increased vasocongestion, or more blood flow, to the vulva and the clitoris—”like a little vacuum pump,” Kerner says.
2. Draw circles
In that Indiana University study of 1,055 women, 3 out of 4 women said they love it when you trace little circles on or around the clit. You can use your tongue, your finger, or two fingers—or all of the above.
Sofiya Alexandra, co-host of Private Parts Unknown, a podcast exploring love and sexuality, calls this motion “rock around the clock.” She notes that some women prefer the six o’clock to midnight aka “the downtown express,” which is when you trace from the bottom of the clit to the top under the hood. “I’ve found that light pressure from six o’clock to midnight with the tip of a tongue can cause leg-shaking pleasure,” she says.
3. Add a pulse
There’s a reason why so many vibrators come with pulsation patterns: The clitoris typically loves to be stimulated with a variety of rhythms, explains, Courtney Kocak, who also hosts Private Parts Unknown. “So instead of just rubbing up on the clit with zero cadence or intention, add a gentle pulse to your movements,” she says. “If you need some inspiration, think of those morse-code operators in the old war movies and focus on providing the little nub below the clitoral hood with gentle waves of pressure.”
While you’re drawing those circles, try “hinting”—focusing on the area near her clitoris, and only occasionally coming in for a direct touch. In that same Indiana University survey — which was used to create the website OMGYES—7 out of 10 women said they were into this technique.
“Use one finger flicking all around the clitoris, but not directly on it,” says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author and founder of sexpert.com. “To bring your partner to orgasm, once she is at the height of pleasure, you’ll want to maintain a steady consistent stroke.”
5. Pick a Side
When it comes to clitoral stimulation, 4 out of 10 women have a preferred side, the same survey found. Ask her if there’s a side she likes better—and if she’s not sure, experiment on both.
6. Use your imagination.
When you’re flicking your tongue over her clitoris, imagine you are painting a fence from top to bottom, says Cadell, “alternating between up and down.” Next, “go into the windshield wiper move of using your tongue to go side-to-side.”
7. Don’t Forget the Shaft
While a lot of attention is spent on the tip of the clitoris—the part located at the top of the vulva—it also has two “legs” that extend up to five inches inside the body, known as the “shaft.”
“Slide your fingers to either side of her clitoral shaft,” Dr. Cadell explains. “Pull and push the clitoral hood across the clitoris and move in circles, diagonals, and spontaneous un-choreographed fashions so as to stay unpredictable.”
8. Play the Harmonica
Once your partner is in the midst of an orgasm, add some oral vibration to her experience.
“Make your lips into an O and take her clitoris in your mouth,” Cadell suggests. “Then make humming sounds as you suck on her clit, as if you are playing a harmonica, so that she can feel the warm, wet vibrations.”
9. Bring on the Waterworks
We’re not talking about vaginal ejaculation or golden showers here. Water play is one of the first methods many women use to get off when they start masturbating at an early age in the privacy of their bath time.
“Water play is important,” Cadell says. “When using a handheld showerhead, let the water spray over her body in between her legs, then move it closer to her clitoris, moving the water stream back and forth.”
10. The Penis Massage
If you’re hard, try using your erect penis to rub up against her clit.
“This is good if you are laying side-by-side facing each other … or even on your knees above her, holding the tip of your penis in your hand to massage and rub her clit,” Kerner says. “She can also grab your penis and use it like she would a sex toy on her clit.”
11. Speaking of sex toys…
Kerner recommends the We-Vibe 4 Plus as the best couples vibrator for clitoral action. With its U-shape, one end is inserted into her vagina, and the other end rests on her clit. If she wears it during intercourse, you can feel the vibration as well. And with the mobile app, you can stimulate her without even being in the same room. Give her a clitoral orgasm while you’re away on a business trip, halfway around the world.
12. Lip Service
If she’s not into direct clitoral contact, try stimulating her inner labia.
“Touching or sucking her inner lips actually pulls on the clitoris, and it’s really useful for women whose clitoris gets too sensitive,” says Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., author of A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex.
13. Arousal Oils
There’s an array of arousal oils and balms designed to bring tingling or heating sensation to her clit. ON Natural Arousal Oil for Her is a popular choice.
“Go slowly with trying these out,” Mintz advises. “Some women are too sensitive, and the sensation can be too intense.”
14. Switch up the setting
Want an all-access oral sex experience? Shanna Katz, M.Ed., a board-certified sexologist and author of Oral Sex That Will Blow Her Mind, previously gave Men’s Health this tip:
Have her sit on a countertop, a sturdy table, or a laundry machine; if you kneel on the ground in front of her, you’ll be able to your lips, tongue, and hands as much as you want. Plus, she’ll be able to get a good look at you between her legs.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US.