Clitoris swells?

Dear Alice,

I have been able to locate exactly, with my tongue, my wife's clitoris. However, I find that even so, I don't feel it swell up. I wish it would. Is my problem technique? I would like very much to have physical proof that my wife is aroused even though we have strong communication and my wife lets me know how she feels.

Clitoris Swells?

Dear Clitoris Swells?,

When a woman is aroused, tremendous physiological changes occur not only in the clitoris, but in her labia, vagina, breasts, and beyond. Her muscles tense, her heart rate accelerates, and her blood pressure rises. The head of her clitoris not only swells, but also retracts, or "hides", under its hood. This may explain in part why you cannot feel your partner’s clitoris swell. In addition, you may be expecting it to change in size dramatically, the way a penis changes size. While the swelling may be much smaller in scale, it is certainly momentous in sensation!

By searching for physical proof of her arousal, you may be missing out on the pleasure of being involved in the moment. Rather than waiting for your tongue to ring the alarm (that is, “it’s getting bigger!”), it is important to pay attention to your partner’s whole body response. Her sounds, words, tastes, and shakes could give you a whole lot more than just the subtle sign of her clitoris swelling.

As for technique, each woman is different. Some women enjoy direct pressure to the clitoris, while others prefer indirect. Some like quick, hard strokes; others prefer long, languishing strokes. Some like circles; others like side to side, or a combination of the two. Sometimes women prefer that the movement changes as they approach orgasm, but need it to be consistent in order to build up to orgasm. All these options leave too much unsaid. Why not ask your partner what she prefers? Try experimenting to see what really gets her going!

To get more specific ideas on sexual stimulation, both of you can check out the related questions. Also, you may want to read The Hite Report, by Shere Hite, which describes how women feel and what they like sexually in their own words. In addition, books such as She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman, by Ian Kerner, and Because It Feels Good: A Women's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, by Debby Herbenick, can provide more information.

Rather than solely concentrating on your partner’s physical response (since it seems that she is certainly enjoying sex), try to lose yourself in your own feelings and sensations as well. This may take some pressure off of her, allow you to experience more pleasure, and leave her coming for more!

Last updated Jul 16, 2015
Originally published Feb 23, 1996

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