What Are Clitoral Suction Sex Toys?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 05, 2023
3 min read

The clitoris is an important component of sexual arousal. It has the greatest number of nerve endings in the human body, and some research suggests that it may be the sole pathway to orgasm for people with a clitoris.

The clitoris has external parts, but most of it is located inside the pelvis. With sexual stimulation, blood rushes to the clitoris and the labia minora, which are the inner lips of the vulva. 

This extra blood flow causes the clitoris to become extremely sensitive. With enough continued stimulation, a person with a clitoris may experience orgasm

Clitoral suction sex toys help people to have these stimulation experiences. They create airflow and pressure around the clitoris, which encourages blood flow to the area. This causes increased sensitivity and may lead to orgasm. 

According to human sexuality professor Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D., quoted in Well + Good, clitoral orgasm is the easiest type of orgasm for a person with a vulva to reach.

Clitoral suction sex toys work because they provide what many people feel is just the right amount of stimulation, in just the right place. One sex educator, also quoted in Well + Good, refers to the feeling as similar to “the sensation of someone’s mouth creating suction around [the] clit.”

Because they’re designed to surround the clitoris, suction toys provide a different sensation than vibrators. One sex expert, quoted in Shape magazine, points out that vibrators stimulate the tip of the clitoris, which some people experience as the most sensitive part. Clitoral suction sex toys envelop the clitoris for what may be a less overwhelming experience.

It’s easy to confuse clitoral suction toys and pumps. Both create suction around the clitoris, but the mechanisms are different.

According to sex educator Lisa Finn, as quoted in Women’s Health magazine, clitoral pumps remove air to create a vacuum around the clitoris. This creates more suction than a clitoral suction sex toy, which works using air circulation.

Finn says that pumps and clitoral suction sex toys provide similar levels of pleasure, but the sensation with a pump is often stronger. It’s simply a matter of personal preference.

According to pelvic medicine specialist Michael Ingber, MD, as reported in Women’s Health, clitoral suction devices are safe to use. He suggests that you read the directions carefully and know how to decrease the suction, especially if you choose a pump over a suction toy. 

Talking to Your Partner About Trying Clitoral Suction Sex Toys

You can use clitoral suction toys on your own or during partner play. If you have a vulva, you may find that these toys help to increase your physical excitement before intercourse.

Ingber recommends that you practice with the toy yourself before trying it with a partner. That way, he says, you can start slow and increase the suction gradually, stopping if you feel pain. There have been rare reports of blood vessel and tissue damage from excessive pump suction.

He also suggests that if you use a clitoral pump with a partner, you control the suction yourself, so you can reduce it if it becomes too much.

It’s important to clean any sex toy, especially if you use it with a partner.  Hard plastic and silicone toys are easiest to clean with anti-bacterial soap and water. If your toy is 100% silicone, it may be safe for the top rack of your dishwasher. Read the instructions to find out. 

Avoid boiling your clitoral suction toy, since the high temperatures might damage the mechanism.