Fingering 101: how to finger yourself or someone else properly

Wondering how to finger properly to ensure it's sexy and fun? Read on to find out how to use your digits for pleasure

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Learning how to finger yourself, and others, is an excellent sex skill to have. We love our collection of the best sex toys and app-controlled vibrators, but sometimes we prefer to skip the toys for something simpler—i.e., hands-on stimulation. Not only is manual stimulation erotic and fun, but it's also free and doesn't require any batteries.  

Fingering yourself or any other person with a vulva is a natural part of sex and a great way to, ahem, singlehandedly achieve an orgasm. For most people, fingering involves inserting one or more fingers into the vagina; however, it can also mean using your fingers to stimulate the vulva or vagina, without insertion. It's possible to have an orgasm from fingering alone if done right, though it is often done without reaching climax, as foreplay. You can also incorporate oral sex in your fingering technique, for super powerful orgasms.

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. Fortunately, we're here to teach you how to properly finger yourself and/or others, with fittingly handy tips below.

How to finger 101: everything you need to know

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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 there aren't any unnecessary accidents or even injuries:

1. 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. 

2. Set the mood 
Fingering is like any other sexual activity. If you're masturbating alone, make sure you're in a private area and feel comfortable and relaxed. If you're planning on partaking with a partner, you can also set the mood with music or naughty conversation. 

How to finger yourself and others properly:

Hands-free vibrators are great, but often, it's 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 do apply. 

Follow these steps for fun, orgasm-inducing stimulation:

1. Find a comfortable position

Lying down on a bed or flat surface with the legs spread open and bent at the knee is the best way to enjoy fingering. However, you can also do it standing with one leg raised, to allow easy penetration. In each case, make sure you're properly lubed up to avoid hurting yourself or someone else.

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2. Always start slow

Don't be too 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.

Start with one finger, and then add another slowly to your 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 use two fingers in the vagina and have the pinky finger in the anus.

3. Stimulate the clitoris

The majority of women don't experience regular vaginal orgasms—for that matter, did you know that orgasm and climax are not the same thing? Instead, most women find the clitoris as their main source of heightened sexual stimulation and orgasms, so it's important to stimulate the area if you want to know how to finger properly.

Rubbing the clit gently and adding pressure based on the other person's reaction is a great way to stimulate the vagina. If you're masturbating, pay attention to what feels good, and adjust your pressure accordingly.

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 more comfortable.

4. Try the curled finger motion

The curled finger motion is the best way to stimulate the G-spot. 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. 

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5. Maintain the rhythm

Maintain consistency if you're getting aroused or if the other person is encouraging you to do it. Adam Safron (opens in new tab), a neuroscience and psychology expert, explains that rhythm between sexual partners slowly builds up the sexual signals throughout the body and the brain, causing an orgasm.

Keep up the motion and only increase the pace when it's necessary. As you build up the tension to a climax, it's important to continue what you're doing. If you change up the technique, you might have to start over, so keep at it.

6. Use toys when needed

Don't be afraid to introduce toys to the mix. Choose toys that stimulate the clitoris, to increase the chances of reaching an orgasm. Clitoral gadgets also make it easier for you to focus on fingering if multitasking is challenging. Vibrating toys for the anus are also excellent for extra stimulation. 

Overall, fingering is sexy and feels amazing. It's incredible as foreplay with a partner, and it's a great way to masturbate solo. 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. Just find your rhythm—and remember, every vulva is different and will likely enjoy different techniques.

Amy Hunt is a lifestyle writer and editor, and was previously Lifestyle Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, 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.