Illustration showing fingering

Fingering is the use of fingers or hands to sexually stimulate the vulva, vagina, or the anus. It may be done for sexual arousal or foreplay, mutual masturbation, or constitute the entire sexual encounter. To "finger oneself" is to masturbate in this manner. It is analogous to a handjob (the manual stimulation of the penis), and may be used as penetrative or non-penetrative sexual activity.

Vaginal fingering is legally and medically called digital penetration or digital penetration of the vagina, and may involve one or more fingers.



Manual stimulation of the outer genitalia is the most common form of masturbation
Fingering as a practice for mutual masturbation

Massage of the vulva, and in particular the clitoris, is the most common way for a woman to achieve an orgasm.[1] The clitoral glans or shaft may be massaged, usually through the skin of the clitoral hood, using up-and-down, side-to-side, or circular motions.[2] The rest of the genitals are also stimulated by fingering.[2][3][4]


Fingering the vagina is often performed in an effort to stimulate the G-spot. The G-spot is reportedly located roughly 5 cm (2.0 in) up on the anterior wall of the vagina, forwards toward the navel. It is described as being recognized by its ridges and slightly rougher texture compared to the more cushion-like vaginal cavity walls around it. Fingering this spot, and in effect possibly stimulating the Skene's gland, is commonly cited as a method that may lead to female ejaculation.[5] Parallels are sometimes drawn with the fingering or other manipulation of the male prostate through the anus.[6][7]

Some women have cited the "come hither" approach as a significant catalyst to orgasm. This technique involves the middle finger, sometimes additionally the index or ring finger, making a hand gesture like "come here" with the palm facing upwards towards her pubic bone. Medical professionals suggest washing the hands before contact with the vagina, to ensure proper hygiene, especially when moving between different orifices.[8]


See also: Anal masturbation

Anal fingering

The practice may be pleasurable because of the large number of nerve endings in the anal area, and because of the added stimulation gained from stretching the anal sphincter muscles while inserting the finger. A good quality personal lubricant is advisable to both increase the pleasurable sensation and aid insertion. Some people prefer to simply stimulate the outer ring of the anus, while others will follow this by inserting one or more fingers. Fingering may be seen as an act in itself, or as an arousing prelude in preparation for further anal sex. Anal fingering can arouse the receiver, allowing them to relax their anus and prepare them for the insertion of a penis or any other sexual instrument. Anal fingering is also an effective way of stimulating the prostate in those who have it, and thus may bring the receiver to orgasm.[9][10][11] Anal fingering can also stimulate the perineal sponge in people with vaginas.

Safety and sexual assault

The practice is generally considered safe sex as long as there are no open wounds on the fingers. The nails should be trimmed and filed; long, sharp or jagged nails can cause cuts, injury, or severe infection. If there are cuts, infections, or open wounds on the fingers, extreme protection and care is necessary. If finger cots are used they may slip off and remain inside the receptive partner. The hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and warm water before practicing any other activity to avoid spreading bacteria or germs. In stimulating both the anus and vagina, separate latex gloves should be used for each to avoid cross-contamination.

Digital penetration against a person's will is considered sexual assault.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Kammerer-Doak, Dorothy; Rogers, Rebecca G. (June 2008). "Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction". Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 35 (2): 169–183. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2008.03.006. PMID 18486835. Most women report the inability to achieve orgasm with vaginal intercourse and require direct clitoral stimulation ... About 20% have coital climaxes...
  2. ^ a b Carroll, Janell L. (2009). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Cengage Learning. pp. 118, 252, and 264. ISBN 978-0-495-60274-3. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. ^ O'Connell HE, Sanjeevan KV, Hutson JM (October 2005). "Anatomy of the clitoris". The Journal of Urology. 174 (4 Pt 1): 1189–1195. doi:10.1097/ PMID 16145367. ((cite journal)): Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |laydate= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |laysource= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Cornforth, Tracee (17 July 2009). "The Clitoral Truth". Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  5. ^ Rabinerson D, Horowitz E (February 2007). "[G-spot and female ejaculation: fiction or reality?]". Harefuah (in Hebrew). 146 (2): 145–7, 163. PMID 17352286.
  6. ^ Zaviacic M, Jakubovská V, Belosovic M, Breza J (2000). "Ultrastructure of the normal adult human female prostate gland (Skene's gland)". Anat Embryol (Berl). 201 (1): 51–61. PMID 10603093.
  7. ^ Wimpissinger, F.; Stifter, K.; Grin, W.; Stackl, W. (2007). "The Female Prostate Revisited: Perineal Ultrasound and Biochemical Studies of Female Ejaculate". The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 4 (5): 1388–93. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00542.x. PMID 17634056.
  8. ^ "Pussy Fingering". Sex Project. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  9. ^ "The male hot spot — Massaging the prostate". Go Ask Alice!. 27 September 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  10. ^ Rosenthal, Martha (2012). Human Sexuality: From Cells to Society. Cengage Learning. pp. 133–135. ISBN 978-0618755714. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  11. ^ Komisaruk, Barry R.; Whipple, Beverly; Nasserzadeh, Sara; Beyer-Flores, Carlos (2009). The Orgasm Answer Guide. JHU Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0-8018-9396-4. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Woman accuses Kennedy Smith of sexual assault in civil lawsuit". USA Today. 26 August 2004. Kevin O'Reilly said the alleged assault consisted of "digital penetration" against his client's will.