Back to Basics: The Erogenous Zones of the Vulva
Contrary to what some may believe, the vagina is not an infinitely complex, mysterious part of the body nearly impossible to pleasure. The reason people may think that, though, is because women's health — and, more generally, the bodies and sexual wellness of those assigned female at birth (AFAB) — are criminally underresearched. There's just really not a lot of science-backed information out there about female orgasms or pleasure in general.
Sex education in the United States is also a mess, so it's no surprise that the way we even talk about our bodies is off. For example, when some people refer to the "vagina" (the internal canal that connects the vulva to the cervix and uterus or, in other words, where most people put sex toys, fingers, or penises during sex), what they actually mean is the "vulva," what Planned Parenthood defines as the "outer" part of the genitalia, including the clitoris, labia, vaginal opening, and the opening to the urethra.
So yes, knowing your body matters, but knowing how to get your body off is equally important. After all, familiarizing yourself with your anatomy and its erogenous zones is a great way to level up sex or your self-pleasure routine, especially when only a quarter of women are able to orgasm by vaginal penetration alone. Considering the majority of people need a mix of stimulation (and, of course, lots of attention to the clitoris) to access orgasm, it's clear the more you know about your body, the better.
For that reason, let's jump in and look at the parts of the body that can help maximize your pleasure.
Outside of the clitoris, this spot may be the most familiar. The G-spot is located inside the vagina, about a couple inches on the inside wall, closest to your belly button. But contrary to its name, the G-spot isn't necessarily a spot or like a button to push.
"The G-spot is not just one small spot; it's the general area inside a vagina that produces extra stimulation contributing to vaginal orgasm," sex and relationship coach Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, PhD, previously told POPSUGAR.
The best way to find the G-spot is to explore the area with your fingers and feel around for a spongy texture. (For context, this "spongy texture" is a lot like how a walnut would feel if you ran your fingers over its surface.) The best way to stimulate the G-spot is to use a "come hither" motion with one or two fingers. If you're aroused, the area will likely swell a bit upon your touch.
Once you've found the G-spot, using fingers or a curved sex toy is best. Experts recommend looking for something like Smile Makers's The Tennis Pro, which has a bulbed, angled head that's perfect for accessing the G-spot. As for positions, doggy style or missionary is also great for this kind of stimulation, but definitely check out POPSUGAR's guide to G-spot sex positions for more ideas.
Now that you've got a good idea where your G-spot is, it's time to introduce the A-spot — sort of like the G-spot's erogenous cousin. Formally known as the anterior fornix erogenous zone, the A-spot is a pleasurable patch of sensitive tissue located at the inner ends of the vaginal tube between the cervix and the bladder.
The best way to find the A-spot is to first locate the G-spot, then move up an inch or two and apply a bit of pressure. You probably won't feel anything texturally different about this area, so pay attention to any feelings of increased pleasure or sensitivity.
You can also pay attention to how wet you feel, since one study found that stimulating the A-spot had a positive effect on vaginal lubrication. It noted that after 10 to 15 minutes of stimulation, "around two-thirds of women who presented with chronic complaints of dryness and pain or discomfort during intercourse noted a significant positive physiological response," while another 15 percent responded with orgasm and "copious" amount of lubrication. So basically, the A-spot can help you get really wet — and may even help you access vaginal orgasm.
Use a sex toy or vibrator that's long enough to reach the A-spot, though a sex toy for the G-spot also works great here, too. As for positions, doggy is a great option, as is any position that allows for deeper access to the vagina.
The U-spot stands for "urethra" and is located on the vulva as an external part of the genitalia. The urethra is where you urinate from, and generally, it's a super sensitive area. Before you get any ideas though, note that you should not try to insert anything inside the urethra. Instead, the U-spot is meant to be stimulated by touching it externally.
Sensitivity is the name of the game with the U-spot, so experiment with a gentle touch, light pressure, tapping, a small vibrator on a low setting, or even oral stimulation here. Try missionary or your favorite oral-sex position for this erogenous zone. And, as with any part of the genitalia, you should touch this area with clean, washed hands or toys; otherwise, you could find yourself with a UTI.
Other Erogenous Zones
The vulva — and genitalia more widely — aren't the only areas of the body that deserve a lot of attention. Most people have an array of erogenous zones, and discovering them is a big part of the fun. If you're interested in finding out what nongenital areas turn you on, practice some patience and spend time with the rest of your body before jumping right to your vulva or vagina.
Massaging, kissing, licking, playing with different pressures, and tickling can all help you find out what brings sexual pleasure. Usually, the neck, nipples, low back, and inner thighs are all deeply pleasurable areas.
You might also consider the anus (or butt play in general), which doesn't necessarily mean anal sex. Spanking, kissing, massaging, or exploring sensation and temperature play (like using a warming lotion, a ticklish feather, or an ice cube on your thighs and ass) are all great ways to feel sexy and introduce new feelings and experiences during sex. For a more in-depth look at anal sex, check out POPSUGAR's guide to anal orgasms.
If you're still craving deep internal sex, cervix play (sometimes referred to as the C-spot or O-spot) involves touching the cervix with your fingers, penis, or a toy.
Just remember, not all of these suggested areas will work for you or your lover. The point here is exploration and discovery — and with a little patience, you'll find out exactly what turns you on.
— Additional reporting by Nicole Yi