Fingering is the practice of using fingers to stimulate the clitoris, vagina or anus. Along with manual stimulaton of the penis, it is the most common form of mutual masturbation. To "finger oneself" is to masturbate in this manner.
Digital penetration is penetration (for example sexual penetration), with one or more fingers.
Massaging of the vulva, and in particular the clitoris is the most common way for a woman to reach and achieve an orgasm.
Vaginal fingering (also known as manual stimulation) may or may not end in orgasm; it also may or may not constitute the entire sexual encounter. It may be part of foreplay or part of a precursor to other sexual activities. These activities can provide sexual pleasure to a partner when penetrative intercourse is not possible or desirable.
Vaginal fingering is legally and medically called "digital penetration of the vagina", and may be enjoyed with one or more fingers.
Fingering the vagina is often enjoyed as a way to stimulate the G spot. Fingering the external tissues is more likely to lead to orgasm for many women, as these muscles are not controlled by the autonomic nervous system, meaning the response depends less on the psychological state of the woman toward her partner. The G-spot is located roughly two inches / 5cm up on the interior wall of the vagina, facing toward the belly button. It can most easily be recognised by its ridges and slightly rougher texture compared to the more cushion-like vaginal cavity walls around it.
Fingering the G-spot is a commonly cited method which can often lead to female ejaculation. This release of fluid can range significantly in quantity and force of expulsion, varying from woman to woman and also varying with different scenarios for each woman. The fluid following a G-spot ejaculation is released from the urethra but is not urine, as its contents do not come in contact with those of the bladder at any stage. This female ejaculate contains antibodies only found in the male prostate; leading to speculation it is a residual prostate. Similarities are sometimes drawn with the fingering or other manipulation of the male prostate through the anus.
Many women have cited the "come hither" approach as a significant catalyst to orgasm. This technique involves the middle finger, sometimes additionally the index finger, making the hand gesture of "come hither" with palm facing upwards against her pubic bone. There is no single G-spot technique preferred by all women.
Medical professionals suggest washing the hands before contact with the vagina, to avoid spreading bacteria and causing infections. Worthy of special attention is the washing of hands after any finger contact with the anus, to avoid the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
Fingering of the anus and rectum is commonly enjoyed in preparation of further anal sex. Anal fingering can arouse the receiver, allowing them to relax their anus and prepare them for the insertion of a penis or a dildo.
Anal fingering is an effective way of stimulating the prostate gland of males, and thus bringing the receiver to orgasm. Anal fingering can also stimulate the G-spot in women, through the wall separating the rectum from the vagina. Anal fingering is commonly enjoyed by both same sex and heterosexual couples. The practice is generally considered safe sex as long as a few basic precautions are followed: the hands should be clean and the nails trimmed and filed; long, sharp or jagged nails can cause cuts, injury or severe infection. If there are cuts, infections or open wounds on the fingers they should be covered with a latex or vinyl glove. Finger cots may also be used, but they may be more likely to slip off and remain inside the receptive partner. The hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and warm water before eating or placing them in the mouth. If stimulating both the anus and vagina, the hands should be washed between the two or a new latex glove used for each to avoid cross-contamination.
Forced digital penetration of the anus or vagina is considered a form of sexual abuse in most jurisdictions. In most common law jurisdictions, it constitutes battery, which is both a civil tort and a crime.