We’re often made to believe that pleasure comes from penises and vaginas—and that’s not untrue—but it is just the tip, as they say. Sexual anatomy is essential when it comes to pleasuring yourself and others, but it’s often overlooked and misinterpreted.
We’re taking a look at sexual anatomy through pleasure-colored glasses to highlight all the spots you should know.
Female sexual anatomy
The vulva is home to your external genitals, which happen to be where a lot of pleasure can be found. Contrary to lingering opinion, your vagina is not the gatekeeper of good times.
Pubic area: The land of bushes, brazilians, and for a brief time, bedazzling - the mons pubis is the top external part of the vulva.
Clitoris: Get this - the clit’s only purpose is to make you feel good. Made of a spongy tissue that contains thousands of nerve endings (more than any other part of the body), the clitoris swells when stimulated, lighting off all those nerves and leading to some amazing feelings.
Bladder opening: Just for peeing. Please don’t try to put things up here. Leave the bladder be.
Vaginal opening: While the vagina as a whole has insufficient nerve endings for sexual stimulation, the vaginal opening contains a higher concentration of nerves (90% of the vagina’s total count). When stimulated, the vaginal opening can feel quite good.
Clitoral hood: The layer of skin above the clitoris that protects it from the elements. Without your hood, the clitoris would be overly sensitive, causing irritation.
Inner lips (labia minora): Your inner lips are inside the outer lips and begin at the clitoris and run to the opening of the vagina. They are sensitive and when stimulated, swell up, providing pleasure.
Outer lips (labia majora): The outer lips are the folds of skin that surround the vaginal opening. They grow hair and can vary in color, length, and texture—all of which is normal. Just like the inner lips, the majora are sensitive to touch, providing pleasure.
Anus: Your anus is another area covered with nerves, making it sensitive to touch. Many people find pleasure in anal stimulation because of its high nerve count.
Cervix: While not known for being a pleasure center, there are people who find cervical stimulation enjoyable—some can even achieve orgasm from it. The cervix can be stipulated with a penis, finger, or sex toy. However, it’s important to go slow and be gentle. The cervix is far inside, past the vaginal canal, and can be uncomfortable or even painful to reach.
Bartholin’s glands: They don’t hold pleasure, but they do release a fluid that lubricates the vagina during arousal, so we think they deserve a shoutout.
Skene’s glands: Known as “female prostate glands,” the Skene’s glands release fluid during female ejacualtion.
Male sexual anatomy
Glans penis: Commonly known as the head or tip, the glans is the most sensitive part of the penis, making it the prime region to focus on for feel-good stimulation.
Erectile tissue (the shaft): Contrary to popular belief, the shaft of the penis isn’t where most of the sensitivity is held. So just catering to this part won’t get you too far—or your partner off. Light touching of the shaft is unlikely to generate much pleasure. However, firmer pressure plus attention to the glans together will feel amazing.
Testes: Testicles. Balls. Gonads. Whatever you want to call them, they can be a source of pleasure for men. Gentle touching or other stimulation can be enjoyable foreplay or a gratifying addition during sex.
The frenulum, or the underside of the head, is made of highly sensitive tissue that, when stimulated, feels great.
If you're looking to learn more about anatomical pleasure, a great way is to explore with yourself or a partner. While anatomy is one thing, pleasure and the way we experience it is another. So where some people may love cervical stimulation, others may find it uncomfortable. Some may adore testes teasing, and others not as much.
Don’t ignore the Erogenous areas…
Pleasure isn’t just found in the lower regions of the body. There are many sensitive locations, from your ears to your nippes–even the knees—that can provide pleasurable sensations that can amp up your foreplay. Here are a few to try the next time you’re feelin’ it:
The obvious zones
The unexpected (but oh so awesome) zones
When it comes to learning more about anatomy, remember this: communication is the key to sexploration. Happy trails!