I'm late for coffee with a sexologist to talk about the G-spot, the C-spot, and the A-spot all in the name of female pleasure. When I meet Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., a sexologist and relationship expert, and begin talking loudly about all things vagina, the large party of men seated behind us are clearly horrified. Ten bucks says it’s because they’ve never found anyone’s G-spot, let alone heard of an A-spot.
Then again, while much digital ink has been spilled over the elusive G-spot, I had no idea what an A-spot (or a C-spot, for that matter) was either before sitting down for a deep exploration of the female anatomy. So many women struggle with shame over self-pleasure, let alone pleasure during sex, and don’t feel that getting to know our bodies is either necessary or acceptable. I bought my first vibrator at 22, and set the “right” scene—lacy black bra, flickering candles, low-beat music—to test it out. I mostly just felt weird under the covers with myself.
Before we got technical about the G-, C-, and A-spots, O’Reilly and I talked basics. “First give yourself permission to feel pleasure that is not sexual,” she says. How often do you sigh when you step into a hot shower? Make a sound in the back of your throat with that first sip of wine or bite of chocolate? How are women supposed to react to and engage with sexual pleasure when we can’t do the same with nonsexual sensation? The road to owning your pleasure starts before anyone gets naked.
“The most important part is identifying where on your body you as an individual experience pleasure,” says Leah Millheiser, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn and female sexual medicine and menopausal health expert at Stanford University. "Putting the emphasis on spots can cause a lot of stress. Women go seeking them out, and when they can't get there, they think there's something wrong with them."
No matter where you are in understanding the anatomy of your pleasure, don’t feel pressured to get too hung up on any one hot spot. I’ll admit I’ve had more than one chat during which a friend’s mouth drops in horror when I admit I’ve never had a G-spot orgasm. Close that mouth, girl. Everyone’s orgasm is different. Explore those spots if you want, or don’t—do whatever feels good. It’s your pleasure, your body.
Personally, I’ve always been confused by the mythical G-spot, which is often painted as the holy grail of orgasm. I asked O'Reilly to clear it up.
What is the G-spot?
There's some debate among sex researchers as to whether the G-spot even exists—at least in terms of an actual physical “spot” somewhere in your anatomy. In a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2017, researchers found no evidence of a “macroscopic anatomic structure.”
Instead, the G-spot is thought to be part of the larger clitoral complex (more on that later), part of a network of pleasure hot spots.
How to find the G-spot
If you wanted to stimulate the G-spot, you'd reach into the vagina—not very deep—and curl your fingers up toward the wall of your stomach. Think of a “come here” motion.
"If you wait until you're aroused to do this, the area feels more textured than the rest of the vaginal canal," O'Reilly says. She recommends a dual stimulation vibrator like The Nova for exploring the G-spot.
Best G-spot sex positions
To access that hard-to-reach angle, straddle your partner's penis (or a sex toy) and lean back. Think cowgirl but at a 45-degree angle.
Variations of doggy style (i.e., any sort of penetration from behind using either a penis or a sex toy) also offer the perfect angle to stimulate the G-spot.
C-spot may sound exotic, but really it's just another name for your clitoris.
What is the C-spot?
Your clitoris is a whole wishbone-shaped area that runs down either side of your vaginal opening. That “little bump” that feels like a bean sits right at the apex of your clitoral complex and is known as the C-spot. “Its sole function is to create pleasure and ultimately lead to orgasm,” says O’Reilly. The C-spot is typically the most sensitive part of your clitoris, but it's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to having a clitoral orgasm.
How to find the C-spot
There are a lot of options for stimulating your C-spot—the old tried-and-true hand method (“Use the tip of your finger to roll around that area for direct stimulation,” O'Reilly says) or, of course, toys. We-Vibe’s Melt uses something called “pleasure air technology” to pulse around the clitoris with increasing intensity. “A small bullet vibe with a flat tip is also a good option," O'Reilly says.
Best C-spot sex positions
The best sex positions for the C-spot are ones that allow manual access to the area. In other words, go for sex positions that allow you or your partner to stimulate your C-spot with your hands or a sex toy. Try missionary (slide your hand down for some self-pleasure), cowgirl (allow your partner to stimulate your clit while you control the depth and speed of penetration), or spooning (where one—or both—of you can stimulate your clit).
Still with me? Good. Let’s talk A-spot.
What is the A-spot?
Research all on all three spots is limited, but the A-spot—also known as your anterior fornix erogenous zone—is particularly underexplored. The A-spot is located further up into the vaginal canal, above the G-spot and closer to your cervix.
How to find the A-spot
“A lot of people find that having the A-spot stimulated is uncomfortable, just like many of us feel that hitting our cervix is uncomfortable,” O’Reilly says. As with a cervical orgasm, hitting this spot requires deep penetration. Start by finding your G-spot and then move about two inches deeper (up) into the vagina. You may need to use a sex toy if your fingers aren't long enough.
Best A-spot sex positions
The sex positions that are best for hitting the A-spot are those that allow for super-deep penetration (just like the G-spot). Try standing with your hands on the wall, the bed, or a table for support while your partner enters you slowly from behind using a penis, a sex toy, or a strap-on.
Haley Swanson is a writer based in New York City. Contact her at haleyswanson.com or follow her @haleyaswanson.
We’re more sex positive than ever. But we still haven’t erased some fundamental truths: Women’s bodies are still policed, sex education is still lacking, and talking about sex still carries a stigma. It’s created a whisper network around sex and made the very mention of the words female pleasure enough to make you blush. So this week we're discussing good sex and why it matters. Our mantra? Owning your sexual pleasure is power.
Originally Appeared on Glamour