My Clit is a Diva and I’m Sorry-Not-Sorry

“Higher.”

He moves his fingers a centimeter higher on my clit, and keeps rubbing.

“No, higher,” I say again.

He looks at me quizzically. I grab his hand and move it where I want it. Ah, yes. That’s better.

A couple minutes later, his hand slides down to my opening and he pushes two thick fingers inside me, finding my G-spot and then my A-spot with ease. And that’s nice. Fuck, he’s good at that.

When he comes back up to my clit, though, he forgets everything he’s learned. Goes straight for the exposed bud in the middle of my folds. I wince.

Higher.

Without even looking at his face, I can feel his confusion in the slow way he drags his fingers upward an inch or two. Maybe this is the time when he’ll remember, when he’ll get it. I love that moment.

Later, after drinks and dinner and sly sex chats in a noisy pub, we walk back to his place together. Boots crunching in the snow, arms bumping against each other casually as we walk. “I think I’m starting to figure you out,” he says. “It seems like you like the shaft of your clit to be stimulated, not the clit itself.”

I brighten. “Yeah! Exactly.” And I want to hold his hand, but both of our hands are stuffed in our coat pockets to hide from the cold.

“In my experience, you’re definitely an outlier,” he tells me, “but it’s nothing I can’t work with.”

Later that night, he gets it just right, and I don’t even have to move his hand.

This is a process I’m used to. Because my clit, like me, is a finicky princess. It likes to be stimulated downward through the clitoral hood, or sideways through the inner lips. When I use vibrators, I usually hold them over my clit hood, or on one of my outer labia. My pussy can handle a lot, but one thing it cannot handle – one thing it actually hates – is direct clitoral stimulation.

I was inspired to write about this after reading JoEllen’s post about the Womanizer, a clitoral stimulator I tried and admittedly liked. In her review, she writes about her hatred for direct clitoral stimulation, and her distaste for the common sexual discourse which says, “Touch a woman’s clit and she’ll definitely come!” It got me thinking about how sexual outliers are often shamed, even within the sex-positive communities which claim to unjudgmentally accept all preferences and tastes.

As a sex toy reviewer and a routine user of vibrators, I’m often accused of having “desensitized” myself. When I explain to laypeople or even “sexperts” that I have trouble coming from the touch of a partner’s tongue, fingers, or dick, sometimes I’m told I should lay off the vibes for a bit and see if my sensitivity returns.

Granted, I am more sensitive when I take a vibrator sabbatical. And I make a habit of avoiding vibration and orgasms for 2-3 days before a scheduled encounter, so I’ll feel everything my partner does to me and reach orgasm more easily. But it’s not vibrators that made me this way. I think my body’s just naturally a tougher nut to crack.

You know how I know that? It’s because my orgasm difficulties aren’t related to a lack of sensitivity, they’re often caused by an excess of sensitivity. When a partner’s tongue grazes my exposed clit, it hurts and I get wrenched out of the moment. When a vibrator slides too low on my clit hood and makes direct contact with that bundle of nerves, I feel overloaded and have to crank down the power. When someone’s fingering me and goes straight for my clit, instead of spending time turning me on by touching the rest of my vulva first, I get overstimulated and that makes me feel numb. It’s like my clit panics and hides under a blanket, if by “hides under a blanket” I mean “gets desensitized by the onslaught of sensation.”

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve had an orgasm from oral sex. This is big news, considering how obsessed with cunnilingus I used to be. But, yes: the last person to get me off orally was my ex, with whom I ended things in late 2014. I’ve slept with several more people since then but none of them have made me come with their mouth.

I think that’s partly owing to how my body has changed: I tend to need more intense stimulation now than I used to, for a longer period of time, to reach orgasm – and tongues get tired sometimes. I also rarely come without some form of penetration these days, which – let’s be real – is a difficult thing to incorporate into cunnilingus and often isn’t done very well when people try, at least in my experience.

But the other reason, and maybe the main reason, I haven’t come from oral in ages is that I haven’t had a partner stick around long enough to learn how I like it. Most of my sexual flings in the past two years have been short-term or one-offs, always with people who had other partners at the time and therefore couldn’t be expected to keep my Very Specific preferences programmed into their muscle memory. My ex had time to learn my rhythms, signals, noises, and most importantly, how to lick my clit without causing me actual pain.

My clit needs to be romanced, seduced, won over. It needs you to play hard-to-get, while knowing the whole time that you’ll eventually give it what it wants. I want you to ignore my clit for a long, long time, while you kiss my mouth and neck, suck and lick my nipples, smack my ass and thighs, bite my mons and fleshy hips. I want you to shower my labia and vaginal opening with attention, because most people don’t. I want to be at the point of begging you and punching the bed and moaning in despair for at least five whole minutes before you even hint at going near my clit.

The reason for this rigamarole, you see, is that it amps up my sensitivity while also increasing what I can handle. If I’m halfway to coming by the time you make clit contact, I will almost certainly come at some point. What guarantees me not coming is if you jump straight to my clit and short-circuit the whole system. Be careful. Approach with caution. Don’t cannonball into the pool; just trail a few fingers in the shallow end and see what happens.

My ex understood this. He also understood how to use his lips and tongue around the periphery of my clit instead of stroking it directly. He knew when to wander away from my clit for a while, to lick my opening or nibble my labia, so the main attraction could take a breather and gain back that original fervor to be touched. And when the time came to buckle down and do identical tongue-circles for a couple minutes to actually get me off, he knew how to do that too.

Once, he asked me, “Is there ever a situation in which you want me to lick your clit directly?” My first instinct was to shout “NO! NEVER!” but when I thought about it some more, I reconsidered. “You can try it, as long as you’re very gentle,” I told him. After that, he would occasionally – as sparse punctuation in a widely varied cunnilingus session – pull my clit hood back and press the lightest, softest, slowest of licks to my exposed clit. It felt almost like an act of kink: I was giving him the power to do something potentially painful, and he was doing it without hurting me. I trusted him, handed over a particular power I rarely trust partners with, and he used that power for good. It was kind of magical.

Going down on someone with a picky clit is a complicated business, man. It requires showmanship paired with tenacity. Decorum married to determination. A sense of flair, and some elbow grease. But yeesh, those orgasms were worth it.

In fact, since my ex, I haven’t had any orgasms with partners that didn’t involve me assisting in some way: holding a vibe to my clit, or rubbing it with my fingers. Because, as I said, none of them were in my life long enough to learn what I like, remember it, and get good at it.

But I live in hope that I will have another partner who’ll put in the time, effort, and brainpower to figure me out. Who’ll get to know my clit’s weird ways, the same way he gets to know mine. Who’ll learn me like a video game, patiently, and never get annoyed that there’s no cheat codes.

Because, dammit, my clit’s an outlier, but it still deserves pleasure.

  • LuciIV

    You have just articulated my experience exactly. And it’s really shitty when partners find it all too hard to figure you out – and don’t just ask/do what you ask – and then complain that you’re taking too long and then shame you when you just touch your own damn clit instead :/
    Needless to say these are ex partners.

  • Dahlia Rae

    This! Exactly! I often say I’m hard to get off, but my love insists you just have to know how to do it. I guess we are outliers, but not alone!

  • Ann St. Vincent

    My own isn’t as sensitive but I love discourse that can help remind us all that we can be oh-so-different in how we need to be touched and played with. I know men have their idiocyncracies, but perhaps in a narrower range. I’m always amazed that men can figure any of us out 🙂

  • Jen

    I thought it was only me!! Thank you for this.

  • ClioPersephone

    Oh my god I thought it was just me! But the way you talk about “short circuiting” is exactly me! This honestly changes how I feel about my clit (and my apparent ability to never get off on oral). Thank you for writing this.

  • Sara Testarossa

    Thank you for writing this post. I think it’s important for people to understand how much variability there is between individuals. It irritates me when sex tip articles and stuff don’t give any caveats about how different people are *different* in ways like you describe.

    I experience similar and sometimes the same things you do with clitoral stimulation. I only more recently started using wand massagers higher, not touching the glans of the clitoris, to see if that would work for me because I’ve had orgasms become elusive too many times from my clit saying “nope nope nope too much, you’re not even gonna have an orgasm from g-spot stimulation now, we’re shutting down and so are all our neighbor erogenous zones. Haha”. The result – super effective!

    One thing that I have different experience with I find kinda interesting: you said “And I make a habit of avoiding vibration and orgasms for 2-3 days before a scheduled encounter, so I’ll feel everything my partner does to me and reach orgasm more easily.”
    The opposite works more for me, for some reason. I have found that I’m more likely to be able to reach orgasm with less effort/at all if I at least orgasm the same day or day before (I still try to avoid strong vibration directly on the glans clitoris because that can cause issues). But I think that’s because for me orgasms are not easy to come by in general and are usually hard-won. Yay antidepressants, boo sexual side effects. I’m close to being done switching over to one that has much fewer/lower risk for sexual side effects but it’s been a long weaning process because my old one has horrible withdrawal symptoms. I’ve read the withdrawal being likened to withdrawal from heroin for people who go cold turkey o_0

    Oh and funny thing – sometimes my glans is not sensitive at all until I’m super super super aroused, but then the other day it was too sensitive to want to be touched early on in a sexual encounter. I was surprised and it ended up making us have to do things differently, but it all worked out.

    Anyway thanks again for this post… I think I need to refer a few people to it so that certain points might hit home 🙂

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  • FieryRed

    YES.

  • Inés

    So interesting – I’d say this describes me and honestly I would not be at all surprised if it is commonplace, but that people are just to shy to talk up or express what they prefer. Thanks for writing this post – tis great 🙂 discovered your blog through YouTube on your appearance on “What’s My Body Doing?”