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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Pillowtalk- Tried and true? Tips for masturbation when the clit’s not it


Dear Pillowtalk, 

I have always heard that when I masturbate, I should rub my clitoris to get the most effect. But my clitoris is way too sensitive – when I rub it, I get jangling nerves all down my legs, as if I had hit my funny bone. It is very unpleasant, bordering on painful. Is this normal? Why does it happen? What are some other masturbation techniques I could try instead?

This is normal, yes! I hope this is also reassuring to some of our readers, because it is much more common than you might think, and there are definitely strategies to work with your body to find pleasure that doesn’t include rubbing the clitoris. However, I want to start by offering you a few theories as to why you’re experiencing this before discussing some of your options.

So first, it’s pretty normal to feel things in the “wrong place” as well as in the “right place.” For example, there’s a spot on my neck that will make my ribs itch if I touch it. You already mentioned the “funny bone,” where a hit to your elbow will make your whole arm and hand hurt. In that case, you’re striking a nerve against bone, and the nerve (understandably) reacts. In your case, it’s possible that your clitoris is overreacting in the same way and sending a signal through one specific path of nerves down to your foot. 

That clitoris foot connection you described is more common than you’d think. At least, I’ve heard of a handful of people who describe the same phenomenon you do. It seems like it comes with varying degrees of pain and pleasure, though, which is where we might run into more complicated theories about how your brain interprets sensation.

One thing about the foot-genital connection that might help explain your situation is the location of those two body parts on the somatosensory cortex (SSC), a region of your brain that differentiates and interprets sensation in different parts of your body. When your mouth gets touched, for example, the lips, tongue and face portions of the SSC “light up.” Same goes for your genitals, which are conveniently located near the foot section of your SSC. See where I’m going? It’s possible that your brain is making a reasonable but inconvenient connection between the nerves in your clitoris and your feet.

But onto the actual issue at hand (or foot!). It might be possible to stimulate the clitoris differently. Instead of rubbing, try tapping or bouncing your fingers against the hood of the clitoris. That’s another thing. It could help to limit direct contact with the glans of the clitoris. The hood (which is just the soft, thin covering of the glans of the clitoris) may be able to muffle the intensity a bit. Also, arousal might help tamp down (or recontextualize) the sensation a bit. If you’re not already aroused, it can be hard to get your genitals to feel the sensation sexually. Try moving clitoral stimulation to the back of the line, and get your engines revved up a little first.

Another option is to target an entirely different sexually sensitive body part. This can be anything you find pleasurable! Stroking your skin, kissing, nipple or lip play and neck kissing are all common options for non-genitals. In terms of vulvas, using some lube and exploring with your hands while avoiding the clit is a good place to start! Your labia minora are very sexually sensitive, and your labia majora can always do with a massage! The vagina and g-spot is an option, as is the anus, and the whole area under the clitoris! Your clitoris also has a shaft and two roots that extend back into the body that can be stimulated via the vagina, especially if you use a vibrator.

Those are just a few of the many ways you can experience sexual pleasure without directly stimulating the clitoris. I’m sure that you’ll find plenty more on your own! I also want to add that it’s okay not to want or feel sexual pleasure. That doesn’t make you or your body bad or defective! Pleasure exists in many ways all around us, and sexuality is just one aspect of it. 

So, off you go for some experiential learning! As always, come back with more questions!

Have a question for Elleri? Send it to to http://bit.ly/2LZTHeY or scan our QR code here!

Have a question for Elleri?

Send it to to http://bit.ly/2LZTHeY

or scan our QR code here!

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