Where is the clitoris?

Originally Published: October 27, 1995 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 10, 2014
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Hi Alice,

I have a stupid question. Where is the clitoris located exactly in the female's genitalia? If it differs per woman, what is the easiest way to locate it?

Thanks,
Can't find

Dear Can't find,

Your question is a far cry from stupid! The clitoris may be quite elusive to men and women who haven't fully explored their partner's or their own body. This little "joy button" deserves to be found, and below are some insights to improve your seeking skills. For starters, consider taking a look at a basic human sexuality textbook; or you can check out these diagrams from Scarleteen  to orient yourself to the female pleasure zones.

In order to find a woman's clitoris, you'll want to move towards the top of her labia (the outer and inner skin folds), but stay below the pubic bone. The glans of the clitoris — similar to the head of a man's penis, and even more sensitive — is the nodule you may see when a woman is not aroused, located between the inner folds of the vulva (labia minora), at the top. The clitoris is just the tip of a branching interior system of erectile tissue that runs down towards the vaginal opening. This tissue responds to sexual arousal by filling with blood and becoming harder and erect. As a woman becomes aroused, her clitoris will actually swell and retract underneath the clitoral hood, a flap of skin that is part of her labia minora. The size and shape of the clitoris varies from woman to woman, although its location remains pretty consistent.

The clitoris is the focus of pleasure sensation for most woman and is usually the place that, when stimulated, will bring her to orgasm. Identifying the clitoris may or may not be difficult for you to do by touch, but paying close attention to your partner's reactions may help you figure out if you're in the area and/or touching her in ways that she enjoys. If you're comfortable, talking with your partner is a sure-fire way to find her pleasure zones. Ask her to show you her clitoris. Ask her how she likes it to be touched or to show you how she touches it herself. Or you can put her hand on top of yours to guide you. Have fun exploring each other's bodies — if it's embarrassing, just remember your (and her) knowledge is for her pleasure!

Once you find the clitoris, you may stimulate it in many different ways — by rubbing, sucking, applying pressure, or using a vibrator or a dildo. Again, communication is key here because, although some women like direct touching on the glans of the clitoris, other women find direct touching hurts. Using a water- or silicone-based lubricant may ease friction (and add fun for you and your partner), but some women still find the glans to be too sensitive for direct touch. Further, focusing directly on the clitoris may also cause pleasurable sensations to disappear. So instead, try rubbing your partner on one or both sides of her clitoris, or wetting your fingers and rubbing them around and over her clitoris. Gently rub or pull the clitoris itself, or rub the hood or a larger area around the clitoris. Use one finger, then try several. Try different kinds of pressure and timing.

While the female genitalia may have many wonders, it need not be an enigma. Seek, touch, whisper, show, and you shall find!

Alice