Well, the five pleasure zones aren't new, but the nomenclature and mapping are. Scientists have dedicated years to studying and arousal and the vagina, including the “spots” they “discovered.” This includes the work of sexologist and sex and relationship coach Cari Oneal, PhD, who used her data-mapping skills from a past career as a mechanical engineer to chart pleasure zones of the vaginal canal so her clients and students could use it as a tool.
“The idea is if you know where each ‘hotspot’ is and can achieve an orgasm [or pleasure] by stimulation of that spot alone, then any combination or permutation of arousal spots become available to you,” she says. “Physical arousal, sex, and associated pleasures can be very technical, so if you want to understand them, you must be able to break them down.”
"The idea is if you know where each ‘hotspot’ is and can achieve an orgasm [or pleasure] by stimulation of that spot alone, then any combination or permutation of arousal spots become available to you."—Cari Oneal, PhD, sexologist
The other benefit of this discovery? More choice and opportunity for experimentation. For too long, vaginal pleasure and anatomy have been understudied and resulted in vagina owners experiencing fewer orgasms than their penis-having counterparts, thus contributing to the orgasm gap. Further knowledge of what works and feels good is only a benefit, says Angie Rowntree, founder of Sssh.com, an ethical porn company.
- Angie Rowntree, sex educator and founder of Sssh.com
- Cari Oneal, PhD, board-certified clinical sexologist and certified sex and intimacy coach
- Christie Cobb, MD, Arkansas-based gynecologist, intimacy expert, and sexual wellness doctor
- Rebecca Alvarez Story, sexologist and founder of Bloomi
- Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD, sex and relationships expert, author, and public speaker
This also is helpful because not everyone with a vagina likes the same stimulation during sex. “What works for one woman may not result in orgasms for another woman so it depends,” she says. Knowing about more zones to tickle just increases the chances of finding somewhere they enjoy. Curious to learn how to use this knowledge to maximize your or a partner’s pleasure? Read on for tips from sexperts about how to explore these six pleasure zones.
Get acquainted with the 6 pleasure zones of the vaginal canal
1. Vaginal entryway
Dr. Oneal eloquently calls this “using the front door.” Play around with entering and exiting the first inch or so inside the vaginal canal with fingers or toys. Because many of the nerve endings in the vagina are located within the first third of the vagina’s anterior or front wall1, which includes the entryway, Rowntree says it’s an especially ripe place to play or tease.
You might experiment with shallowing, or just inserting the tip of a finger, toy, or tongue into the entryway. Try this with Playboy Pleasure’s Ring My Bell Vibrator ($80), which has an insertable length of just 1 inch to really stimulate the opening.
The all-mighty G-spot is located two-to-three inches deep on the front wall of the vagina, near 12 o’clock, if you imagine the surface being a clock's face. Be sure to really focus on foreplay here, advises sex and relationship educator Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD (who goes by Dr. Tara), professor of relational and sexual communication at California State University Fullerton and host of the Luvbites by Dr. Tara podcast; because of the massive pleasure potential here, "it’s hard to have this kind of orgasm unless the whole body is ready," she adds. She says that fingering is generally an easier way to access G-spot pleasuring then P-in-the-V penetration.
To find the G-spot with your hand, “place your less dominant hand on your lower belly, on top of your uterus, to apply gentle pressure,” sexologist Rebecca Alvarez Story, founder of the intimacy marketplace Bloomi previously told Well+Good. “With your dominant hand slowly insert one or two fingers internally about one inch, curving your finger(s) towards your belly button.” You can think of this almost like hooking your fingers into a “C” shape.
To stimulate it, move your fingers as if you’re beckoning someone to come closer, or "come hither," says Dr. Tara. If you want to try a toy specifically for the G-spot, the We-Vibe Rave 2 ($139) comes highly recommended for its adjustability and 10 different vibration settings.
3. Deep spot upper
According to Dr. Oneal, the DSU (for short) is a favorite for its anecdotal powers in the realm of female ejaculation. How do you get there? Penetrate deeply, until you "bottom out" at the cervical cap, then back out about a half-inch. She’s found that “stimulating the upper wall is generally met with a lot of smiling by the receiver of the stimulation.”
If you’re having partnered sex with someone with a penis, Rowntree recommends trying aiming for sex positions that impart deep stimulation. “You’re probably going to want to try any variation of a rear-entry position or use a pillow or wedge to elevate your hips,” she says. Try the missionary split position, which involves lifting and straightening one leg over the giver's shoulder. Another position great for hitting the DSU? The indrani, which entails lying on your back and bringing your knees to your chest; your partner then penetrates you by leaning in front of you.
Just keep in mind that any type of any kind of deep penetration “can result in bleeding if the vaginal or vulvar tissue is torn,” gynecologist and sexual medicine specialist Christie Cobb, MD previously told Well+Good. Because of this, she advises experimenting with deeper stimulation gently and consensually, and making sure to communicate along the way to make sure nothing is too deep or uncomfortable.
If you’re looking for a sex pillow, Dame’s Pillo ($95) is an easy to use and comfortable option to elevate your hips to access the DSU.
Dr. Oneal says cervical stimulation isn't everyone's favorite pleasure zone, but that for some, it's unquestionably the best. Stimulating the cervix has potential for lots of sensation because it has three types of nerve endings. When exploring cervical stimulation, Rowntree says it’s key to communicate and go slowly so you can monitor your comfort level. “Some women have no feeling there and others find it extremely sensitive and uncomfortable, so always communicate with your partner,” she advises. This is especially important if you're having sex with someone with a penis on the larger side, because the penetration can quickly become too much.
To access it, penetrate deep into the vaginal canal until you can’t go any farther. At that point, you'll know you’ve found the cervix, says Dr. Oneal. In terms of which positions to try? Dr. Tara recommends lifted missionary, which involves putting the legs on the shoulders, to deepen the sensation.
5. Deep spot lower
The DSL (not to be confused with the high-speed network technology) can be reached by penetrating to the cervix then pulling back by about a half-inch, advises Dr. Oneal. This spot can be found vaginally or anally, and Rowntree says you can “turn your toy around and go ‘posterior’” to stimulate it. In terms of sex positions to hit the DSL? Dr. Tara recommends rear entry positions like doggy or reverse cowgirl.
In opening up the list of pleasure zones to include the vulva, that Dr. Oneal says the clitoris can certainly be considered as a sixth hotspot. It boasts thousands of nerve endings for the sole purpose of sexual arousal and pleasure, so she recommends playing here for even more pleasure.
There are many fun ways to stimulate the clitoris. “By itself, the clitoris can be stimulated manually, orally, or with a vibrator,” says Rowntree. Lick, suck, kiss, and stroke it either yourself or with a partner. While pretty much any vibrator could work to stimulate the clitoris externally, you might check out specifically designed clitoral sex toys, such as the Satisfyer Pro 2 Generation 3 ($79.95), which is known as a "clit sucker."
This “clit sucker” comes with two heads, one for sucking and one that feels like “liquid air,” plus 11 pressure wave modes and 12 vibration programs.
How can you stimulate these pleasure zones?
Now that you know where to go, how do you figure out what to do? Luckily, the possibilities for pleasure are endless here, says Rowntree. Use your lips, tongue, and toys. “Depending on where you’re adventuring anatomically, you can enjoy manual stimulation with the fingers or opt for playtime with a wide variety of sex toys," she says.
However, just remember that some sex toys are only for external use, like on the vulva, and won’t work for penetration. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using different types of vibrators, and seek out toys that work best for what you’re hoping to try. “Always ask your friendly pleasure product retailer for recommendations if you are unsure,” she adds.
Dr. Tara also recommends pleasure mapping, which is when you and your partner try stimulating each pleasure spot together and sharing your feedback. "When you're giving feedback, you can give a hell yes, maybe, and no to take inventory and learn how to turn your partner on better," she says.
Dr. Oneal notes that pleasure preferences are highly personalized. Furthermore, there’s no single way to stimulate each pleasure zone, so she recommends exploring until you find what you like. Try out pressure, speed, direction of stimulation (side-to-side, circular, clockwise, counterclockwise), temperature, etc. In other words? Experiment. With that, go play with each pleasure zone to find what feels best.
FAQs about pleasure zones
Which are the most sensitive parts of a woman's body?
As mentioned, every woman is different when it comes to which parts of their body are most sensitive when touched. Not sure where touch makes you shiver? The best way to find out is a little self-discovery through trying out new masturbation ideas and exploring with others, says Rowntree. Why not experiment with how you might play with boobs, for example by having someone lick them or squeezing them yourself? Play around with different sexual penetration techniques to see which (if any) delight you the most.
Don’t limit yourself to just the genitals, either. “Don’t forget the ears, lips, neck, breasts, nipples, inner thigh, buttocks, feet, fingers, and belly,” she advises. You might even try one of the lesser known erogenous zones, like the forehead, the spot between the breasts, or where your abdomen meets your thighs.
Which spots do most people enjoy being pleasured most?
According to Rowntree, there’s no universal answer for which pleasure zone is, well, most pleasurable, to everyone. It’s important to “communicate openly and frequently with your partner” to learn exactly what they like and don’t like. “Beyond the matter of consent, it’s important to realize that not every person likes the exact same things or the same level of intensity, so never assume and always ask,” she adds.
Kissing, for example, is one way to turn up the heat. "Apart from the genitals, I think most people love stimulating the lips through kissing, which is why kissing and making out are such a huge part of a romantic and sexual encounter," says Dr. Tara.
How deep is the G-spot?
It might seem like it’s a secret hidden treasure you have to dig for, but the G-spot isn’t buried deep inside the vagina. In fact, Rowntree says it’s “located approximately two inches along the anterior wall of the vagina.”
There might be some pressure to “find” the G-spot, and panic if you’re not able to. Rowntree says this doesn’t mean your sex session is doomed or lesser in some way. While G-spot stimulation feels great, it’s not the only area that can elicit pleasure. If you’re having trouble finding it or don’t enjoy that kind of stimulation, try something else.
- Li, Ting et al. “Anatomic distribution of nerves and microvascular density in the human anterior vaginal wall: prospective study.” PloS one vol. 9,11 e110239. 7 Nov. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110239
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