How to Finger 101: Everything You Need to Know From Technique to Lube

  • Posted on
How to Finger 101: Everything You Need to Know From Technique to Lube

Learning how to finger when you haven’t done it before, or even just fingering a new partner for the first time, can be really daunting without guidance.

For those who are unfamiliar with the sex act, fingering is basically using your hands (mainly your fingers, as the name implies) to stimulate different areas of the body. Less commonly known as finger sex and fingering sex, it can mean touching your partner’s clitoris, vulva, anus, or any other genital area in a way that feels good.


While it’s often portrayed as a part of foreplay in television and porn, fingering is often the main event for plenty of queer folks — and people in general! Even if it isn’t your primary sex act, it can be something that brings a lot of pleasure and joy to your sex life. That means it’s important to take it seriously and know how to do it right, especially because it can be downright painful if performed wrong.


Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel (unless you and your partner feel particularly inspired). There are some basic fingering tips that can make the process more enjoyable for everyone, from washing your hands to having a conversation about what your partner likes beforehand to using plenty of lube. Below, Carly S., a pleasure educator and Polly Rodriguez, gave us the rundown on all things fingering, from what it is to how to do it correctly.



What is fingering?

At its most basic definition, fingering is touching you or your partner’s genitals in a way that feels pleasurable. Whether we’re talking about touching a vulva, anal fingering, or any other iteration, fingering just means using your hands as another tool for sex.

“Fingering can truly mean arousal of any part of the body that gives you pleasure, but most often, is referring to the vulva, clitoris, vaginal canal, and anus,” Rodriguez explains.


Often, fingering is portrayed as just using your digits to penetrate your partner, but it can be so much more than that. While fingering can include penetration — hence why middle schoolers and weirdos call it “fingerbanging” (deep sigh) — a lot of it has to do with external stimulation. Rubbing the outside of your partner’s genitals can be just as important as internal sensation, if not more.


“Fingering typically means using your fingers to sexually stimulate another person's genitals,” Carly S. tells us. “That can be internally or externally, although I’d say most people tend to think of penetration when they’re talking about fingering, in practice it’s probably more external stimulation that’s occurring.”



How do I finger?

Now that you’re familiar with the journey you’re about to take, brushing up on how to actually finger might be useful. There is no exact science to fingering people because everyone has their own preferences on rhythm, speed, and sensation. That being said, there are some basic tips to consider before you jump into bed that may help you have a better time, all while feeling a little more prepared and comfortable.


Talk the talk before you walk the walk

The best way to know what your partner likes while getting fingered is asking them directly. Remember, asking questions doesn’t make you look unknowledgeable or inexperienced; it actually means the opposite. You’re going directly to the best expert there is on your partner’s pleasure: them.


“Before starting, you can tell your partner (and vice versa) where you like to be touched and in what way,” Rodriguez says. “Similarly, if there are any areas where you, or they, don’t want to touch or be touched. Asking for and providing consent can be arousing, too – you can show your partner how you like to be touched and even guide their hand.”


And remember, consent is always key. Before diving in, so to speak, make sure you and your partner are both vocally enthusiastic about proceeding.


Prepare your equipment

There’s almost nothing worse than going on a romantic date with your partner, perhaps for some tacos, only to get down to business later and accidentally burn them with your spicy, unwashed hands. That’s why it’s so crucial to wash your hands before having sex.


Spicy foods and edible detritus aside, washing your hands and clipping your nails before fingering (particularly if you’ve been doing something dirtier than usual beforehand like gardening or eating crawfish) can make the experience more comfortable for you and your partner. If you have long nails or acrylics, Carly S. recommends using latex or nitrile gloves and putting cotton balls under your nails to avoid sharp edges.


Consider using lube

While there’s always spit, a more reliable (and possibly sanitary) way to keep an area you're fingering slick is lubricant. If you’re using a silicone sex toy, condom, or dental, avoiding silicone lubes is the best way to avoid eroding them. If not, the type of lube you use is really up to your personal preference. Here are the water based lubes we carry at The Art of Loving.


“Lubricant is incredibly important and helpful when it comes to any type of arousal, but particularly fingering,” Rodriguez says. “Lubricant helps decrease friction when using your hands for internal or external stimulation and can help prevent irritation or any unwanted soreness.”


Start slow

You might be tempted to try to jump into the deep end — both figuratively and and literally — but don’t! Going slow, especially if it’s you and your partner’s first time together, can make fingering more enjoyable and help set the rhythm they like. Even if you like things hard and fast out of the gate, that doesn’t mean your partner will. Make sure to ease into it and ask questions along the way.


“As you begin, pay attention to your partner’s response,” Rodriguez says. “You don’t have to change up the speed at which you stimulate them. Fast is not always better, consistency in speed is underrated.”


Warm up and ease into it

As we’ve already established, fingering is as much about external stimulation as it is about penetration. That means focusing on their external genitalia can be a great way to start.


“Touch your partner's vulva, and lips before you go right for the clit or any sort of penetration,” Carly S. says. “Warming up their entire genitals will help blood flow and arousal which will make climax even stronger, and when fingering the back door don’t forget to rub the outside. Not only is it a treasure trove of nerve endings, but it helps the muscle relax if penetration is your goal.”


On that note, be sure to use the pads of your fingers on the exterior rather than your fingertips to start. While your fingertips may be fine for typing, they’re less enjoyable if they’re jabbing your partner.


“Broad fingertips tend to feel better for most folks rather than pinpointed, pokey stimulation,” Carly S. tells us.


Have fun

If you’ve followed these tips, and your partner is responding well, remember to enjoy yourself! A new sex act can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember you’re doing it for pleasure, not solving a Rubik’s cube. Once you get the hang of it, letting loose and having fun with your partner is what makes fingering so enjoyable. Remember to stay present and to not overthink technique too much.



Written by: Quispe López on Them