Fingering 101: how to finger yourself (or someone else!) properly

Want to learn how to finger to ensure it's sexy, fun *and* increases your chances of orgasm? Read on!

Female hands hold half a grapefruit. Oil is poured on top of the fruit. How to finger someone properly
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Learning how to finger yourself—and others—is an excellent sex skill to have; in fact, many would say it's essential. 

Using some of the best sex toys and app-controlled vibrators can be immensely satisfying, but sometimes, we prefer to skip the toys for something simpler, like hands-on stimulation. Not only is manual stimulation erotic and fun, but it's also free, and it doesn't require any batteries that could give up on us halfway through...  

Fingering yourself or another person with a vulva is a natural part of sex and a great way to, ahem, singlehandedly achieve an orgasm. In fact, if we had one piece of sex advice for you, it would be to do it more often! 

Whether it's utilized as a warm-up or the main event, fingering is exceptionally pleasurable but, if done wrong, it can be painful and uncomfortable. Plus, it can sometimes feel tricky to get right, especially as every vulva is different, and each person prefers different methods of stimulation. Fortunately, we're here with some fittingly handy tips to make the whole experience as seamless and pleasurable as possible.

How to finger 101: everything you need to know

If you've ever Googled "how to finger myself?" or "how do you finger someone else?" rest assured that you're not alone! In fact, it's one of the most commonly asked sex questions. And we've got all of the details you need to know for ensuring everyone involved is left feeling happy and satisfied. 

However, the most important thing to remember is to take it slow—whether you're fingering yourself or another person, it's vital to respond to what feels good and make sure to stop if something feels painful, or not quite right. 

What to do *before* fingering

While spontaneous intimate time is great, if you know you might be getting down to business, it can be helpful to ensure you've done a few things beforehand so that everything goes swimmingly, and that you don't experience any unnecessary accidents or even injuries:

  • Get clean—Fingering is fantastic; if you're properly prepared. It's important to cut your nails and thoroughly wash your hands before fingering. Infection can occur if the hands are dirty, and unmanicured nails can bruise the tissue around the vulva and the vaginal canal. 
  • Set the mood—Fingering is like any other sexual activity—it can help immensely to create a relaxed and of course, private space in which to do it, especially if you're learning how to finger yourself properly. If you're masturbating alone, make sure you're in a private area and feel comfortable, and that you won't be interrupted. If you're planning on partaking with a partner, you can also set the mood with music or naughty conversation.
  • Make sure your partner is comfortable—If you are wondering how to finger someone else (e.g. not yourself), one of the most important things is ensuring your partner is comfortable with and excited about what is about to happen. While most fingering encounters tend to happen spontaneously as you get down to *business*, checking in with your partner beforehand to make sure they are happy with what is about to unfold is always a really sensible idea—and will likely leave them feeling even more appreciated, loved and satisfied.

How to finger yourself and others properly

Hands-free vibrators are great, but often, it's actually your hands that can work the most magic in the bedroom. Let's get one thing right off the bat: all vulvas are different, which means you have to adapt your fingering technique to each individual person and their preferences for getting off. That said, the universal basics for how to finger—whether you're wondering how to finger yourself, or others—do apply.

Follow these steps for fun, orgasm-inducing stimulation:

1. Find a comfortable position

In order to properly enjoy fingering, finding a comfortable position that allows for maximum pleasure is essential. 

If you've ever wondered 'how do you finger yourself'? It's worth noting that lying down on a bed or flat surface with your legs spread open and bent at the knee is one of the best ways to enjoy the whole experience. However, you can also do it standing with one leg raised, to allow for easy penetration. The best, most comfortable position will vary depending on each person though—if you're fingering yourself, try a couple of different positions, and if you're fingering someone else, ask them how they might like to lay or sit. 

Couple's feet sticking out from under duvet in bed - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Frank and Helena)

2. Get lubed up

One of the biggest mistakes those without a vulva make when fingering someone else is to quickly progress to insertion, without ensuring their partner is properly wet or lubed beforehand. This is especially true if you or your partner are keen on insertion during fingering (as opposed to simply playing with or rubbing the outside of the genital area). Progressing with fingering before doing this, or skipping this part entirely, could result in a fair amount of discomfort and pain for your partner. 

So make sure to grab the lube, or work on stimulation without insertion beforehand, to ensure everything is as comfortable as possible. 

3. Always start slow

Similarly, there's no need to be overly eager to insert the fingers in—start slow with foundational foreplay. This can help avoid overstimulation or orgasm anxiety (stress about or hyper-focus on reaching climax). Kissing and caressing while teasing the entrance of the vagina are great ways to start your fingering session with someone else. If you're flying solo, begin with some soft strokes on your vulva. These are great ways to help naturally lubricate the vulva before insertion, ensuring a comfortable and seriously pleasurable experience.

Once you and/or your partner feel ready, start by inserting just one finger, and then add another slowly to yours (or your partners) level of comfort. Most people start with the index finger and then add the middle finger; others use the middle finger and the ring finger. If you're flexible enough, you can even use two fingers in the vagina and have the pinky finger in the anus, if this is something you and/or your partner find exciting.

4. Stimulate the clitoris

The majority of women/people with a vulva don't experience regular vaginal orgasms (for that matter, did you know that orgasm and climax are not the same thing?) This is because an orgasm via penetration doesn't always 'hit the right spots' for most people with a vulva. Instead, most find the clitoris to be their main source of sexual stimulation and orgasms—so it's important to stimulate this area if you want to know how to finger properly.

To do this, rub the clit gently and add pressure based on the other person's reaction. Use the smooth base of your thumb to run the clitoris in soft circular motions as you finger the G-spot with the index and middle fingers. You can touch the clitoris directly if you or the other person are adequately stimulated and lubed up. Then, as you, or your partner, become more aroused, the vagina secretes more lubricating fluid, making penetrative fingering much more comfortable.

When it comes to different methods, some prefer a softer, lighter approach, while others prefer something more powerful and forceful. If fingering someone else, it's important to take note of how they react to what you are doing. And if you're masturbating, pay attention to what feels good to you, and adjust your pressure accordingly.

5. Try the curled finger motion

Want to know how to finger yourself to orgasm? Of course, you do. If so, the curled finger motion is a great technique and the best way to stimulate the G-spot. So it's well worth a try if you're looking for new ways to enjoy yourself (or to help a partner enjoy themselves) in the bedroom! 

The G-spot is on the upper side of the vaginal canal. It feels like a wet sponge and has a different texture from the rest of the vagina. Once you have the fingers in, curl them like you're telling someone to come forward, and repeat that motion as you apply pressure. If you're fingering yourself, your hand will face down instead of up but try to use the same motion. 

woman lying down and smiling in bed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Maintain the rhythm

One of the most important things when it comes to how to finger yourself, or how to finger others—especially if the goal is to reach orgasm—is to keep going if something is working well. Maintain consistency if you're getting aroused, or if the other person is encouraging you to do so. 

Repeated, pleasurable movements are the key to achieving an orgasm, so don't lose that rhythm! Adam Safron, a neuroscience and psychology expert, explains that rhythm between sexual partners slowly builds up the sexual signals throughout the body and the brain, resulting in an orgasm.

Keep up the motion and only increase the pace when it's necessary, such as if you feel close to an orgasm, or your partner is telling you to go faster. If you change up the technique, you might have to start over—so keep at it.

7. Use toys when and if needed

When thinking about how to finger yourself or someone else, don't be afraid to introduce toys to the mix. If you or your partner don't particularly enjoy manual stimulation, toys can be a brilliant alternative. 

Choose toys that stimulate the clitoris to increase the chances of reaching an orgasm—for some people, these can be even more pleasurable than fingering. Clitoral gadgets can also make it easier for you to focus on fingering if multitasking is challenging. And for those who like a bit of extra stimulation, vibrating toys for the anus can also be an excellent choice.

Though there are lots of things to keep in mind when doing so, the most important thing to remember is that fingering is a great way to connect with your body, or with your partner, and it should feel amazing

Whether you do it as part of foreplay with a partner, or it's how you masturbate solo, the only *real* rules are to take it slow, make sure everyone is happy, and do whatever feels good. As with any activity, practice makes perfect, so don't get discouraged if it takes a few tries and adjustments when you're learning how to finger yourself or how to finger others. Just find your rhythm—and remember, every vulva is different, and each person will enjoy different techniques.

Amy Hunt is a lifestyle writer and editor, and was previously Lifestyle Channel Editor at, having been with the brand since 2015. She is passionate about everything from entertainment to books, to homes, food and wellness. When she isn't editing, researching or writing articles, he's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware.