Female Sexual Geography

When it comes to pleasuring a woman, knowing a little "sexual geography" goes a long way.

Every guy should have a "clitoral compass" and know his way around a woman's sexual anatomy.

At Good in Bed, we know that contrary to conventional wisdom--at least the kind that's as common as Ben-Gay and mildew in the men's locker-room--the clitoris is much more than just a "love- button," it's a sophisticated network of arousal that has more hot-spots than a latent volcano.

So stop thinking of the clitoris as a little bump, and start thinking of it as a complex network, a pleasure-dome, the Xanadu at the heart of female sexuality. With more than 8,000 nerve fibers, the clitoris has more of them than any other part of the human body and interacts with the 15,000 nerve fibers that service the entire pelvic area.

As science-writer Natalie Angier writes of the clitoral network, "Nerves are like wolves or birds: If one starts crying, there goes the neighborhood." So get them howling!

Let's take a tour of these female southern hot-spots: From the northern tippy-top of the clitoral glans (the "love-button," so to speak), to the western and eastern boundaries of the labia minora (her inner lips) to the southernmost regions of the perineum (the smooth expanse of skin just below the vaginal entrance) and anus, all of these areas are destinations in their own right.

Like a Greek column, the clitoris has three components--a head, a shaft and a base--with some visible parts on the surface of the vulva and other unseen parts inside the vaginal area. In their landmark work, A New View of a Woman's Body: A Fully Illustrated Guide, the Federation of Feminist Women's Health Centers identified 18 structures as part of the clitoris - that's right, 18! Make sure your itinerary includes lots of stops.

Some of the latest research even suggests the G-spot is nothing more than the back-end roots of the clitoris. Located atop the vaginal ceiling, with the diameter of a small coin, you can actually feel it swell during arousal. The G-spot responds to firmer stimulation than the clitoris, and though its stimulation will very likely enhance or deepen clitoral satisfaction, that won't happen independently of the clitoris. That brings us to the point that the most satisfying orgasms are the ones that combine clitoral and G-spot stimulation, also known as the blended orgasm.

You might be thinking, with all of these various roads to orgasm, which is the one best traveled?

As Dr. Emily Nagoski says in The Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms, "Luckily, the clitoris is everywhere you want to be. As exquisitely specific as it is sensitive, the clitoris demands trustworthiness, respect, and appreciation or it will not be tempted. Treat it with kindness, generosity, and patience, and you'll be rewarded. The brusque, the indelicate, and the inattentive need not apply. Above all, each clitoris has a different personality. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. Some like a pointy tongue, some a soft and flat tongue. Some like it direct and intense; others would flinch from anything more than the softest, most peripheral of caresses. But nearly all of them want to be warmed up."

Like Christopher Columbus sallying forth, your exploration of the female sexual anatomy will lead to the discovery of a whole new world. Know that every voyage is unique and enjoy.

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