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Sometimes, the female anatomy can feel like a confusing corn maze that you can’t quite crack. But according to new research, her pleasure zones are actually pretty easy to map out.
In a Clinical Anatomy study, 62 women rated their levels of sexual pleasure, orgasmic intensity, and ease of orgasm for different parts of their genitalia. How’d their hot spots stack up? Here’s what you need to know.
Her pleasure path starts at her lips.
Think of her lady parts as a target, with her labia majora (the larger lips) as the outer edge and her clitoris and vaginal opening as the bull’s-eye.
“From the outermost to the innermost part, you get increasing nerve density and increasing sensation,” says lead study author Justine Schober, M.D., director of academic research at UPMC Hamot in Pennsylvania.
In the study, women rated the vaginal opening as significantly more sensitive than the labia majora—which makes sense, since the opening is the spot that needs to be most primed for penetration.
“In order to prepare for sexual intercourse, you have to have some type of arousal mechanism,” which is usually stimulation around the vaginal opening, says Dr. Schober. As that area awakens—and lubrication kicks in—penetration becomes possible.
Don’t ignore her inner lips: The labia minora scored higher on sexual pleasure and orgasmic intensity than the labia majora. That’s partly because they’re more nerve-dense, but also because the inner lips are naturally wetter, says Dr. Schober.
For optimal sensation, target the inner side of her labia minora: Past research has shown that side is the most sensitive.
The larger her labia, the greater her sexual pleasure.
The vast majority of women in the study said their labia majora and minora are 3 inches long. But about 1 in 10 said their lips are large (4 inches) or very large (5 inches). And these ladies may be the lucky ones: The women with larger labia reported greater sexual pleasure in this area than those with small or average-sized labia.
The simple explanation? “[There’s] more area to contact—more nerve endings,” says Dr. Schober. Bonus: Larger-lipped women also rated the orgasmic intensity in their vaginal openings as “strong” or “very strong.”
The deepest part of her vagina is the most sensitive.
Deep penetration is awesome for both of you: Women said the deep interior of the vagina is highly pleasure-sensitive, even more so than the rest of the vaginal canal.
“That probably has something to do with pressure on the cervix,” Dr. Schober says. “Even people that don’t have genital skin sensitivity”—for example, a woman who is a paraplegic—“can orgasm through cervical pressure.”
To increase your odds of bumping against her cervix, go with rear-entry positions, which allow for deeper penetration.