Meet The Clitoris: Or, how to stop worrying and start loving

Wise Readers,

Once upon a time, in a land called Duana’s Office, a Penis-Size article erected LoveScience’s popularity among male readers in 30 nations.  Yet many were not reassured by the myriad meant-to-be-reassuring facts therein.  Instead, they bombarded the LoveScientist with letters that essentially said, “My size is [insert normal dimensions here], and I am scared I cannot satisfy [my wife/lover/anyone, ever].”  The underlying questions are always the same: Can I satisfy a woman?  Am I Enough?

One guy was so worried, he sent photos.  Plural.  (I did consider blocking him—cock-blocking, if you will.  But he was sincere in his angst, so I answered.  The rest of you better not try it, though.) 

Having looked at these questions from every angle, I can give you a confident answer.  But first you need to shift the focus from your sex organs to hers. 



Meet The Clitoris

Gentlemen (and some ladies), pardon the bluntness, but please examine your head—the one atop your shoulders.  Because I love peni, and the penis is important, but if you think its size is the end-all-be-all, you’re working from a flawed premise.  No, the end-all-be-all of female pleasure is the only organ in the world whose sole purpose is to please: The Clitoris.  You’ve doubtless heard of her before, and perhaps you know her well.  But if you think your size should satiate women’s needs, you’re missing the boat (aka the Clitoral hood).  It’s time to get better-acquainted with who The Clitoris really is, why she behaves as she does, and what you can do that will Satisfy, no matter what your size. 

Ms. Clit is part of the Vulva family.  Although most of her is demurely hidden, the portion you can see is exquisitely sensitive, having about as many nerve endings in her adorable little self as your entire penis; indeed, your penis and she were embryonically fashioned from identical stuff.  No other part of the vulva or its surrounds—including cervix, G-spot, and vagina— is nearly as sensitive or responsive as she is, just as no other part of you is as sensitive or responsive as your penis. 



How Women Satisfy Themselves

Don’t believe me?  Ask a woman who’ll tell you true, or just read the science.  In interviews and lab-based observations dating back from Alfred Kinsey in the 1950’s to Masters & Johnson in the 1960’s to now, only 20% of women occasionally put something (usually a finger!) in the vagina to give themselves an orgasm.  Most of those women cease using penetration during masturbation after sating their curiosity about it.  About 100% stimulate the clitoris every time, though. 

If Penetration With A Large Penis was such a big deal, don’t you think more women would use a big dildo during masturbation—not a skinny, short finger?  Maybe give themselves a good pounding?  And if The Clit can safely be ignored or stimulated as a mere afterthought/’foreplay’, or left there on its own to catch whatever attention it can during thrusting, don’t you think more women would ignore their Clits when they’re all alone and able to do whatever pleases them best? 

Nope.  When it comes to coming, Ms. Clit is the main event.  Great lovers acknowledge that fact, through their behavior and through their beliefs, no matter what their size. 



Most Women Don’t Come With Just Penetration

People are individuals, of course.  Some guys like their balls stroked or held; some appreciate a prostate massage.  Similarly, some women like a G-spot massage (with a finger!), and most enjoy partnered penetration.  But:

—even a two-inch penis (or a finger!) reaches the most sensitive portion of the vagina;

—the vagina, which is wired up for pressure only, is not nearly as sensitive as The Clit, which is richly vesseled and nerved for detail and nuance and pleasure;

—the statistically small number of women who need cervical stimulation (requiring a 5 to 6” penis to reach –which is average size) *still* want Clitoral stimulation too; and so,

expecting a woman to get off only from intercourse is a bit like expecting a man to come without anything directly touching his penis: it can happen for some, but not for most. 

Across several studies, only 20-30% of women come just with thrusting.  70-80% of women require direct clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm—sometimes, by mashing her Clitoris against your pubic bone or touching herself while you’re inside, but most often, even more directly: via your licking or stroking Ms. Clit with well-lubed tongue/lips/fingers/toys, in the precise manner your sweetie wants. 



Clitoral Real Estate: Location, location, location

Why don’t more women come more easily to thrusting?  Location, location, location.  In a bizarre cosmic joke, while your size doesn’t matter (much), her Clitoral real estate does—if penetration is the one option you’ll consider.  Any woman whose Clitoris is more than an inch from the vaginal opening* is unlikely to orgasm from penetration.  And that, Gentlemen, is most women. 

Before you transfer your measuring tape from yourself to your partner, though, please consider this.  Her real estate is not your fault.  It’s not hers, either.  And in my opinion, it’s a shame anyone considers a ‘failure’ to orgasm during intercourse a fault of any kind, on any level.  This is biological, and something you can deal with by freeing your mind and double-clicking her mouse, wherever it is.  It’s there, it’s fabulous, and it’s the Key To The Queendom.  And that is what matters. 


So, what to do?

There’s no getting around it.  You are going to have to communicate with the person you’re having sex with.  And maybe let go of a few preconceived notions.  

Men who write to me aren’t selfish.  They want to please a partner, and that’s a Very Good Thing.  But if you want to give your partner a sexual high that is real rather than faked or missed, that’ll involve a) abandoning highly incorrect porn-industry notions of The Immediately Orgasmic Woman Who Needs A Deep Dicking & Nothing Else, and b) establishing genuine intimacy with the real, individual woman you’re with.  

Genuine intimacy takes time; it’s not a just-met-you-but-the-sex-is-somehow-perfect thing, nor a we’re-in-a-relationship-but-we-don’t-discuss-sex-although-we-have-it deal.  It involves being comfortable knowing and being known sexually as in other ways.  It is willing vulnerability.  And it is the way to find out what your partner and Ms. Clit want.  

Ms. Clit has her own personality—so much so that I can’t tell you what she wants, other than wet attention, because each Clitoris likes to be complimented/complemented in her own unique way.  Many women prefer cunning linguists—guys who go down on them—as the most direct route to orgasm, but some are grossed out by the very idea of someone lapping away at their nether-petals.  Some will Show you but won’t Tell anything; you then have to watch closely and listen to her body language, breathing, and noises…languages of their own.  (And women who are reading this: Refusing to Talk to your partner is plain unfair.  Really.  Yes, it’s awkward to have to Speak of such things, but so is faking orgasms or not having them, right?)  

And guys?  Ms. Clitoris is on the outside of the vagina.  Where every part of you can reach. 

So here’s your answer:  Yes, you can please a woman.  You are Enough.  Open your communication, and your mind~the two places where size really does matter.  





*measured from the clitoral tip to the urethral opening, which is about halfway to the vaginal opening (You’re supposed to double the amount of distance between the clitoral tip and the urethral opening to get the total distance to the vaginal opening.  I think.).  This research was first done by Marie Bonaparte (yes, the princess, who was frustrated by the distant location of her own Pea), and later, studied by Dr. Kim Wallen, who is a guy and used Ms. Bonaparte’s data she’d collected from nearly 300 women.  This measurement requires a tape measure, a mirror, some flexibility, and good eyesight.  Or, you could just give good head and hand-jobs, encourage your sweetie to touch herself while you’re inside her, and stop worrying so much about penetration as The Only (or even the main) Way. 


Do you have a question for Duana?  Email her at Duana@LoveScienceMedia.com, and you’ll get a confidential, personal reply.  If your letter is ever used on-site, it will be edited for length and identifying details to conceal your identity. 

All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., and LoveScience Media, 2012.




Related LoveScience articles:

The Penis Size article: http://www.lovesciencemedia.com/love-science-media/when-size-matters-penis-size-and-womens-satisfaction.html

The Penis Size Q&A: http://www.lovesciencemedia.com/love-science-media/qa-from-when-size-matters-penis-size-and-womens-satisfaction.html


The author wishes to thank the following scientists and sources:

Mary Roach, author of Bonk: The curious coupling of science and sex, for her third chapter wherein she talks about the percentage of women who come during intercourse, the distance of the Clitoris from the urethra, and its relationship to female orgasm during intercourse.  Her interviews with Kim Wallen regarding the ‘rule of thumb’ (clitoral distance from urethra) in this article are a must-read. 

If you lack the funds for a basic human sexuality textbook, this Wikipedia article and all the other related ones linked above on The Clitoris are really good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoris.  Note that several studies show that 70-80% of human women require clitoral stimulation (fingers, tongues)—not only thrusting of a penis—to come.  The many human sexuality books and research summaries I own agree. 

If you have the funds, a new or used copy of any of the following human sexuality texts would be a great purchase; if you don’t have the funds, people do sell these for cheap on Craigslist and other person-to-person online sources:

Human Sexuality, 8th edition, by Spencer A. Rathus et al.; see pages 259-260 for specific information found by Kinsey and Masters & Johnson regarding women’s masturbation techniques. http://www.amazon.com/Human-Sexuality-World-Diversity-case/dp/0205786065/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348001291&sr=1-1&keywords=human+sexuality+in+a+world+of+diversity

Understanding Human Sexuality, 11th edition, by Janet Shibley Hyde & John D. Delamater.  The description of the many similarities between the clitoris and the penis on pages 64-65 are worth a read, as is the rest of the book.  http://www.amazon.com/Hardcover-Understanding-Sexuality-Eleventh-byDeLamater/dp/B0084QWU6E/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348001225&sr=1-7&keywords=understanding+human+sexuality+11th+edition

Our Sexuality, 11th edition, by Robert Crooks & Karla Baur http://www.amazon.com/Our-Sexuality-Robert-L-Crooks/dp/0495812943/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348001195&sr=1-1&keywords=our+sexuality+11th+edition+by+crooks+and+baur

And if you want a great sex manual, my favorite is Paul Joannides’ The Guide To Getting It On http://www.amazon.com/Guide-To-Getting-It-On/dp/1885535759/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348001102&sr=8-2&keywords=guide+to+getting+it+on  (The linked edition comes out this October, but there are earlier editions if you just can’t wait!)

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Reader Comments (12)

Well, Dr D, your humorous preciseness on sensitive information is truly ingenious! I always try to make sure I satisfy my partner before myself, figuring I am being above board, courteous and all that stuff. Now I feel armed, or maybe fingered, into being even better at that.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVincent

Dear Vincent, hi! Nice to hear from you. Thank you; your sense of humor is not so bad either, lol. You're expressing something a lot of men have written to me in private--the desire to provide great pleasure to The Other before The Self. That is indeed gentlemanly of all of you, and I think I can safely speak for many and perhaps most women when I say:

We appreciate your desire to please, your chivalrous placement of female response at the top of the list, and your willingness to keep learning and loving!


PS: There's a book from the 1990's (I think) called "She Comes First" that is about teaching men exactly how to stimulate the clitoris. Has anyone out there read it? I haven't, but I like the premise. Although Masters & Johnson claimed they never saw any two women masturbate the same way, it can boost a guy's confidence to go into The Situation with some techniques in place, yes? And then discard or improve upon them as the very particular person you're with indicates, by word or response.

September 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Wow, where to start with this topic. I think the main thing to be said here-- and I think all men who love to go down on their woman will agree with me-- is that this is the best way to know your lover, and, I think, the best way to build a LTR with your partners clitoris. Having one's mouth on you, whether you are male or female, is a closest physical indication you will ever get to their undivided attention. When you are going down on your partner, that attention is devoted to giving them pleasure. There is no substitute--manual stimulation, in my opinion, does not come close. It is a clear sign to your partner that you are giving them permission to let go and trust you. And you in turn have to earn that trust by learning their bodies. Depending on how your hands and tongue/mouth are on them, their whole pelvis is in subtle motion, responding to you, giving you clues to their mood, what they like, what they don't. Everyone is individually different this way, and not everyone responds the same way every time, the same movement may be pleasurable one Sunday afternoon but may be too sensitive early Monday morning, depending on what you have been up to, time of the month, whether you've shaved or not (if male), whether your partner feels clean or not... the combinations are nearly endless. The consistent problem with men, I feel (being one and all) is that so many of us want the "trick", the one thing that will always work, the combination that is 100% reliable. To this I say: she is not a video game. Her physical rules change daily, and you will have to learn them anew each time. There will be general things she likes, but you'll need to check in with her body, see where she is at, how she responds, and then give her what she needs.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllen Brickel

Dear Allen,

Brilliant post. And this? "The consistent problem with men, I feel (being one and all) is that so many of us want the "trick", the one thing that will always work, the combination that is 100% reliable. To this I say: she is not a video game. Her physical rules change daily, and you will have to learn them anew each time. There will be general things she likes, but you'll need to check in with her body, see where she is at, how she responds, and then give her what she needs."

Imo, that advice cannot be improved upon. Well-done!


September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

There's nothing like a good word-of-mouth referral to make a man's day.


September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom


Pass it on?

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Well, here's a woman's reaction to this wonderful column...I've been wondering when Ms. Clit was going to be addressed. I agree with Duana...Allen's comment is right on-the-money...or whatever it needs to be on ;-) May I just say that, from the time we were married (yes, we waited; we're not only old but we're old school) my sweetheart asked me to tell him where the Spot was. I did. Need I say more? He was so excited to go down on me and find that special button...now let me point out that Allen is quite right. Not every time is the same...sometimes I was ready, sometimes I just wanted to cuddle, feel him inside my body, and bring him satisfaction & ecstasy. We gals are sorta funny that way...depends on the day, the mood, the level of intoxication etc.

I must point out that I found the button when I was a child...about 6 years old. I knew nothing of Sex, I just knew it felt good. That's just the way we're made, guys. And I was never a Passion Flower...all the columns about teenagers having a problem controlling their hormones are a foreign language to me. I loved Romance. Cuddling. Kissing. I was never, ever Hot to Trot, much to the dismay of several guys who thought I was. I was outgoing & friendly & comfortable with touching....OK, I was a flirt. But when I fell in love with my soul-mate, Katie Bar the Door...I finally knew how it felt to Want someone.

We're oldsters now, my sweetie has Parkinson's. But we are still intimate. Penetration is seldom successful....but, oh my, there are SO many ways we can make love!!! And it feels SO GOOD. Thanks to Ms. Clit, I enjoy our times together...and I know his Spots as well. He's quite sensitive, as he was born at home, not circumcised. Talk about nerve endings!!!

Thank you Dr. Duana, for finally addressing a very important part of pleasurable intimacy, and for helping all those guys out there realize why size really, really does NOT MATTER.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

Carmen, thank you, thank you, for a fantastic post! May you and your Sweetie enjoy living and loving for yet many more years.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Simple, everyman should know this fact about women period. I know its a blanket statement but if a man has paid attention to all the romantic interludes and to all the partners and to all the pron videos, it would be quite evident that Ms Clitoris holds the key for extreme pleasure at multiple levels. Tip - Don't use the fingertip, use the second part of the finger after the finger tip joint. Softer and less likely to accidentally lacerate with the finger nail.

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGC

Excellent 'blanket statement', GC ;).

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

PS: GC, I do have to ask what porn you know of that teaches how give pleasure to women, though. ? Porn is often credited with fostering men's ignorance and insecurity. Ignorance, by showing--over and over and over and over and over--that women respond, always and immediately, to heavy thrusting with little or no clitoral stimulation; insecurity, by showing men with peni the size of a fire extinguisher.

The implicit message? "If Your Dick Is Huge, She Will Come. (And if she doesn't come, you're too small.)" I cannot tell you how often I hear from men who watch porn and are dissatisfied with their size and their partner's responsiveness. Research I've written about before would indicate there is probably a causal connection there--not merely correlational. My hypothesis? Watching porn causes men to feel worse about themselves, not just about their real-life partner.

Which makes me wonder: Where is the porn that shows women's sexuality--responsive slowly, to gentle and consistent clitoral attention and just a regular penis if any at all--accurately? And does this porn show average-size (about 5 -inch) guys' peni?

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuana C. Welch, Ph.D.

A quick comment ma'am,
My skill at giving a woman an orgasm jumped leaps and bounds after I took an A&P class back in the 90's. I am of avg size and by no means special. I realized early on that some women are grinders...Only about 2 out of 10 women I have been with get off to penetration alone. As the years have gone by, I have become QUITE skilled at oral. In "short" pun intended. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
take care
P.S. supposedly we went to school together...i have no recollection of that, but congrats on your continued success.

September 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersoldiermurse
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