Clitoris — where is it? Why doesn't it work?

Originally Published: May 10, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: August 27, 2009
Share this

Dear Alice,

I really don't know where the clitoris is. I have tried many times to touch my girlfriend's clitoris, but she can't feel anything. Of course, she can't get any feeling from intercourse. What can I do now?

—Searching for the Wild Clitoris

Dear Searching for the Wild Clitoris,

Let's start at the top... of the vulva that is. An easy point of reference for beginning the journey is a woman's pubic hair (or the area where pubic hair would be, if she removes the hair). If you think of a straight line extending from a woman's nose, through her belly button, and on down, you will bump right into the clitoris, just after passing through the pubic hair and between the outer lips of the vulva. Move slowly, the clitoris is small and you could breeze past it.

Once you're in vulva territory, look for a small, roundish nub that rests near the top of the two inner "lips," or labia. The clitoris may be partly or fully covered by a loose stretch of skin (the clitoral hood). Using your eyes is one way to find the clitoris, but remember that you have five senses that can help in your search. If your partner gives you the green light, consider using your fingers, tongue, and lips to gently and slowly explore the area. As your partner becomes aroused and blood flows into the genitals, the clitoris may become noticeably larger. Of course, communication is also one of your best tools — you can ask your partner to let you know when and where she feels pleasure. Keep in mind that finding the clitoris is a worthy goal, but the entire vulva can be a sensitive and sensual area with many pleasure points.

If you're lost, you can ask if your partner would like to do a little handiwork herself — many women first find their clitoris while masturbating (alone or with a partner). Since she's on the receiving end of all the nerves concentrated into the tip of the clitoris, she's in the best position to know when her "button" is being pushed. Visual learners can check out Planned Parenthood's diagrams of the female and male anatomy.

After lots of exploring, your partner is not able to find her clitoris or is concerned about not having any sensation, she could consider speaking with a health care provider. Students at Columbia can call x4-2284 or log on to Open Communicator to make an appointment. Lots of women and men have had trouble finding the clitoris, so you're in good company. But remember, exploring is part of the fun, so take your time, communicate, and enjoy yourselves.

Alice