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What Is Fingering?

Fingering means using the fingers to stimulate another person's genitals. 

The clitoris is the most sensitive area for fingering because it has so many nerve endings, two to three times more than the penis.

The vagina does not have as many nerve endings as the vulva, but certain areas may respond to touch. Some people also may enjoy anal finger play, since the anus also has many nerve endings.

Other Names for Fingering

Digital sex is another name for fingering. It’s also sometimes called manual sex or manual stimulation.

Myths and Misconceptions About Fingering

Some people might use fingering as a form of foreplay only, but for others, it’s the preferred type of sexual contact. For example, partners who want to avoid pregnancy may use fingering as a way to be sexually intimate. Also, women who don’t want to have vaginal sex during pregnancy may prefer fingering instead.

Safety Advice and Special Considerations

Fingering is a low-risk sexual activity, but you should still use safe practices. It’s important to remember that it is possible to pass sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and other infections through fingering.

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It’s a good idea to wash your hands before you and your partner begin. You can also use barriers over the fingers, such as gloves or finger cots, to lower the risk of an infection.

If you and your partner are practicing anal fingering, use a finger cot or rubber glove for anal play and discard it before you move on to touch other areas.

The vulva and anus are tender areas and get easily irritated. Use lube for fingering. Also, make sure your fingernails are trimmed and smooth if you are going to insert them into a partner's vagina or anus.

FAQs About Fingering

Can You Stimulate the G-Spot Through Fingering?

The Grafenberg spot, or G-spot, is a sensitive area on the front wall of the vagina. Contact with this area is sexually pleasurable for some people, but others don’t enjoy it. Scientists still debate whether the G-spot actually exists, though.

Can You Stimulate the Prostate Through Fingering?

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The prostate is a gland that makes some of the fluid that’s in semen. A finger inserted in the anus can stimulate the prostate. Some men can reach orgasm this way. 

Can Fingering Help Women Have More and Better Orgasms?

Fingering is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stimulate the clitoris, which can play a role in female orgasm. A study of over a thousand women in the United States found that 18% of them could reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone. Around 37% said that stimulation of the clitoris was necessary for them to orgasm, while another 36% said that it improved their orgasms.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "The G-spot: A modern gynecological myth."

The Center for Growth: "Manual Stimulation Philadelphia."

Columbia University: Go Ask Alice: "Mutual masturbation."

Columbia University: Go Ask Alice: "The male hot spot: Massaging the prostate."

Healthy Women: "Sex During and After Pregnancy."

Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy: "Women's Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94."

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health: "Sexual Practices, Risk Perception and Knowledge of Sexually Transmitted Disease Risk Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women."

Planned Parenthood: "Abstinence and Outercourse."

Planned Parenthood: "Surgical Gloves and Finger Cots: Not Just for Doctors and Not Just for Fingers."

Planned Parenthood: "Where is the G-spot and what does it do?"

Scientific American: "The Clitoris, Uncovered: An Intimate History."

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