A Vulva-Owner’s Guide to Clitoral Orgasms

Published: MAY 22, 2024 | Updated: MAY 27, 2024
This article covers everything you need to know about clitoral orgasms, including how to have one and how it differs from a vaginal orgasm.

“The bean.” “The pleasure nub.” “The love button.” “The clit.” No matter what you call the clitoris, this nerve-rich body part can provide intense sensations when stimulated — from a tantalizing buzz all the way to a powerful orgasm. In fact, the clitoris is a rare organ whose sole purpose is to provide sexual pleasure. 


If you have a clitoris (or a partner with one), you'll definitely want to make sure this under-studied part of the anatomy is getting the appreciation it deserves. Knowing how to properly interact with this pleasure center gives most vulva owners a one-way ticket to a mindblowing orgasm.

Consider this your roadmap of the clitoris — how to find it, activate it, and leverage it to arrive at an unforgettable orgasm. 

Where is the clitoris?

First things first: where and what is the clitoris? According to Planned Parenthood, the clitoris is “the pleasure center of the vulva.” It’s made of a sponge-like tissue that swells up when you’re all hot and bothered, and it has thousands of nerve endings that amplify your sexual arousal when it's stimulated properly. 


“The [clitoris location] has to be one of the most popular questions I’m asked,” intimacy coach and certified Sexual Health Professional Monika tells Kinkly. “The key is to be comfortable with actually looking at your vulva so that you may find it.”

Monika, who started Twisted Intimacy to facilitate a safe space to explore sensuality, recommends grabbing a mirror and placing it between your legs in any position that allows visibility to the vulva. 

“Look at the top portion of your vulva, you may see something that looks like a bean or a tip of your pinky finger,” Monika says. This is your clitoris. “It may be covered by a layer of skin called the clitoral hood, which can also give you a heightened sensation when stimulated.”


To get anatomically technical, you can find the glans clitoris (or external clitoris) above the vagina and urethra, at the junction of the inner labia. As Monika mentioned, it may be covered by a retractable layer of tissue. The rest of the clitoris is internal and connects to your glans. Everyone's clitoris looks a little different because each body is unique. Whether yours is the size of a pea or a thumb, it’s perfectly normal. 

What is a clitoral orgasm?

There are many different types of orgasms, each accompanied by a different set of response signs and sensations, and each type can be achieved with multiple different techniques. The clitoral orgasm, in the words of Kiana Reeves, Chief Education Officer at Foria, is one of the most common types. If you’re a vulva owner looking to achieve your first orgasm, a clitoral orgasm is a great starting goal.

“Here, pleasure or climax can be brought on by direct or indirect stimulation of the clitoris using a toy, the fingers, a partner’s tongue, or beyond,” Reeves tells Kinkly. “This can be done by touching the clitoris itself or touching it indirectly, by stimulating the outer labia or hood of the clitoris.”


TLDR: If you’re using clitoral stimulation to reach “the big O,” it’s a clitoral orgasm. Not to be mistaken for a vaginal orgasm, despite the fact that the vagina and the clitoris orbit in the same system. 

Vaginal vs. Clitoral Orgasms

The difference between vaginal and clitoral orgasms lies in the body part activated to bring you over the edge.

“A vaginal orgasm, sometimes called a G-spot orgasm, is experienced as a result of penetration, either by a partner, a toy, your own fingers, etcetera,” Reeves explains. “In the case of a vaginal or G-spot orgasm, penetration is required, which is one key difference.”


Rubbing or massaging the G-spot, resulting in an orgasm, can feel similar to rubbing the clitoris until orgasm is reached. For others, it may feel entirely unique. 

“For some, a vaginal orgasm may feel deeper or more pulsating compared to a clitoral orgasm, but again it differs for everyone,” Reeves says.

Every body’s response to pleasure is individual. If you haven’t had success obtaining vaginal orgasms or don’t find them to be as gratifying, you might still enjoy a clitoral orgasm. 


What does a clitoral orgasm feel like?

“Some feel a blissful, intense pleasure release throughout their pelvis, while others feel tingly sensations throughout their entire body,” Monika explains. “Some may also feel their toes curl, emit loud moans, silent moans, or even notice their bodies vibrating intensely. For some though, clitoral orgasms may feel too intense due to the sensitivity of the clitoris.”

Here are some takes from Kinkly readers on what a clitoral orgasm feels like for them:

  • “I always masturbate using my clitoris, but I’ve had a couple different types of orgasm. I find that vaginal orgasms feel like they’re starting deep down, like from my tailbone, and make my whole body tremble. The clitoral orgasm feels more ‘on the surface.’ It’s more, kind of, zippy, like my body is covered in an electrical field.” – Allyson, 28
  • “I feel almost out of control when I have a vaginal orgasm — in the best way. It feels like I’m chasing something that I can’t see or envision until I go over the edge. When I’m playing with my clitoris, I feel more in control over the motion, which has a time and place.” – Evelyn, 37
  • “I have a really sensitive clitoris, so I spent a lot of my early sexual experiences trying to get into G-spot orgasms. Now, I masturbate while wearing my underwear because it provides this great friction and I don’t feel pain from over-sensitivity. Sometimes, my clitoral orgasms still feel on the verge of painful, but in a way that lights up my whole body. It’s like pain and euphoria had a baby.” – Chase, 31

How to Have a Clitoral Orgasm

Reaching orgasm is not a mile marker for having a fulfilling sex life. If you can’t achieve a clitoral orgasm, there’s no shame in this. However, if you’re looking to give this type of orgasm a shot, try new techniques for bringing yourself over the edge, or simply give the clitoris a little more TLC, there are techniques you can try. 

Set the mood

“With any sex or pleasure act, make sure you’re relaxed!” Reeves suggests as a starting point. “Set the mood with low lighting, a candle, soft tunes, a comfy surface, soft sheets, and any other favorite essentials, toys, or tools.”

If you’re planning to experiment with a vibrator, have that at the ready when you begin your play session. However, Reeves asserts that warming up with your own hands and fingers, “exploring that personal touch,” can feel especially nice at first. 

Start with soft, swirling motions

With one or two fingers, begin to play with your clitoris using soft circles or a gentle “come hither” motion — whatever feels best to you. 

“You’re just setting a baseline at this point, so it’s better to keep things light and gentle,” Reeves says. “Start in broad circles over the apex of the labia; you’ll feel a pea-like structure which is the external part, or glans, of the clitoris, as well as the protective hood covering it. Remember that most of this structure actually resides within the body.”

It can take your body time to sink into your arousal state. Give yourself a chance to ease into play.  

When it comes to pressure, get gradual

Slowly begin to apply more pressure as it feels right. Digging deep will help stimulate the internal clitoris as well. You can adjust speed and pressure according to how your body responds. 

“Some folks will prefer broader, sweeping motions with less pressure, while others will prefer quick, repetitive, small movements with more pressure, akin to vibration,” says Reeves. “As you grow to learn what you enjoy and what feels the best, you’ll be able to adjust your own movements or invite your partner to do so with greater ease and confidence.”

Don’t neglect the hood

The clitoris has over 12,000 nerve endings — some of these are in that retractable hood. Your individual hood has its own size, shape, and thickness that may impact your experience playing with the clitoris. 

Navigate around the hood to investigate what feels best. If you find clitoral stimulation too overwhelming, you can use your fingers or a toy overtop of the hood since it puts an additional layer of “protection” between your love button and the source of pleasure. 

Try clit tapping

Envision your index and pointer fingers doing a tap dance on your clitoris. While rubbing is the most popular way to activate this unique pleasure zone, tapping is just another way to arouse yourself via the clit. 

For some clitoris owners, the constant pressure of rubbing is too much, and tapping is a great way to relieve that intensity and unlock satisfaction without constant motion. Experiment with tapping your clitoris using one, two, or three fingers to see what makes your motor purr. 

Vary your position

The best position for clitorial orgasm is a hotly debated question. If you’re looking to incorporate a clitoral orgasm in partnered sex, you can make any position a bit more clitoral-friendly by simply using your hand to give your clit some TLC, making sure all of your sex organs are fully engaged. 

That being said, spooning during penetration, missionary, or the rhombus position might allow you or your partner more access for clitoral petting, ensuring that your sex capades aren’t fully centered on the G-spot

Listen to your body 

Ultimately, the goal of any erotic encounter, be it solo or with a partner, is to pursue what you like. Listening to your body from start to finish will be key as you seek a clitorial orgasm. 

“Try stimulating with your clitoral hood over your clitoris or pull back your clitoral hood and stimulate just your clitoris. Go as fast or slow as you like. See if you like more direct pressure on your clitoris,” Monika recommends. “Continue stimulating yourself until it feels like you have to pee. Breathe and keep stimulating until you feel a release.”

According to Monika, you may even feel varied pleasure based on which side of the clitoris you’re favoring.  

“I encourage you to explore which type of stimulation method and what side of your clitoris to stimulate in order to achieve pleasurable orgasms,” she says.

Consider your accouterments

It’s more than possible to reach a clitoral orgasm if all you have is your own hand. However, if you’re looking to jazz it up, you may want to grab a few accessories and head to the next level. 

Monika suggests a ph-balanced, preferably water-based, lube to your clit to slick things up while you play. There are also a variety of vibrators and supplemental pleasure products that might not only unleash an elevation of clitoral pleasure but take your overarching experience into full swing. 

Clitoral sex toys for the win

Whether you’re going for a clitoral orgasm on your own or with a significant other, investing in a toy can help you get there.

“There are so many clitoral toys out there to choose from, but I recommend exploring using air-pulsating clitoral stimulation toys or using a small bullet vibrator,” Monika says. “Starting at the lowest speed, place your toy over your clitoris. This can also be placed over your clitoral hood as well. Increase the speed or change the pattern of the toy.”

Pro-tip, she adds: “Try moving the toy from your clitoris, onto your labia, and back to your clitoris. Continue stimulation until it feels like you have to pee or there's blissful pressure building in your vulva. Breathe and continue stimulating until you reach orgasm.” 

Here’s a short list of clitoral sex toys to get you going:

  • NS Novelties Firefly Dream Glow: This clitoral suction toy gently laps at your clitoris to mimic the moves of a partner's tongue. With 10 vibration modes to try and explore, this adorable toy is perfect for experimentation. Plus, it glows in the dark!
  • FemmeFunn Dioni: Take your solo session to new heights with this finger vibe that transforms your hand into a full-on pleasure machine. Just slip it onto your digit and relish it as your hands become an instant vibrator. With 20 vibration modes and an ergonomic design, the Dioni is a perfect companion for reaching clitoral orgasm. 
  • Screaming O My Secret Vibrating Mascara: Does life on the edge speak to you? With this clandestine sex toy, you can achieve clitoral orgasm on demand. Designed to look exactly like your mascara wand, the super-soft tingly “brush” at the end of this vibrator can give your clit a totally new tactile sensation. 
  • Satisfyer Top Secret+: If you’re interested in accessing the full sensation of a vibrator caressing your G-spot and your clitoris at once, look no further. This panty vibe packs a punch with its ability to provide internal and external bliss. The perfect choice once you’ve mastered the clitoral orgasm and have your sights set on the blended "O"
  • Orion Vibe Pad 2: This little baby allows you to turn any household surface into a clitoral orgasm hotspot. Just place it down on any flat surface and angle your pleasure points on top. Featuring heating functionality, two vibration motors, and a flicking tongue setting, you can command your orgasm using the handy remote control. 
  • LELO Ora 3: Never sacrifice your clitoral pleasure. The Ora 3 is great for a splurge, with real-as-possible functions to simulate a mouth on your clit. This one is made to target clitoral stimulation, so your love button never goes underappreciated again. 
  • Sliquid H2O Lubricant: Enhance the use of any toy or your fingers with a water-based lube that emulates your natural lubrication. Sliquid is body-safe, non-staining, and unscented. Use a few drops on your clitoris and have at it with your instrument of choice. 

The Benefits of Clitoral Orgasms

However you achieve your orgasms, you’re going to reap the benefits. Having an orgasm opens the floodgates for feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, so you can feel happy and stress-free. Additionally, orgasms have been seen to improve sleep, connection with your body, and attachment to your partner.

You might be surprised to learn that these orgasm advantages are even greater when you’re experiencing them via the clitoris. Research actually shows that clitorally stimulated orgasms are associated with a more vibrant sex life, as well as lessened depression and anxiety when compared to vaginally stimulated orgasms.

The clitoris is an often overlooked pleasure powerhouse. Knowing how to find it, stimulate it, and enjoy it can totally transform your sex life. Whether your preference is your own fingers, a partner’s touch, or a favorite toy, clitoral orgasms are a fantastic way to explore your own potential for pleasure. Take some time to get to know your clitoris, sample different techniques, and embrace the sensations it can bring you.

Elizabeth Kirkhorn

Elizabeth Kirkhorn is a writer and essayist living in Manhattan. She is a graduate of The New School's MFA in Writing and currently lends her voice to a Creative Strategy Role at Dotdash Meredith, where she focuses on health & wellness brands. Elizabeth's writing spans a wide range of kinks and curiosities, and can be found on, MysteryVibe, Byrdie, and beyond. Elizabeth's personal passions include creating fetish content that's friendly and accessible to all...

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