Women's techniques for making vaginal penetration more pleasurable: Results from a nationally representative study of adult women in the United States

PLoS One. 2021 Apr 14;16(4):e0249242. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0249242. eCollection 2021.


The study purpose was to assess, in a U.S. probability sample of women, the specific ways women have discovered to make vaginal penetration more pleasurable. Through qualitative pilot research with women that informed the development of the survey instrument used in this study, we identified four previously unnamed, but distinct, techniques women use to make vaginal penetration more pleasurable: Angling, Rocking, Shallowing and Pairing. This study defines each technique and describes its prevalence among U.S. adult women. Weighted frequencies were drawn from the Second OMGYES Pleasure Report-a cross-sectional, online, national probability survey of 3017 American women's (age 18-93) sexual experiences and discoveries. Participants were recruited via the Ipsos KnowledgePanel®. Data suggest that 87.5% of women make vaginal penetration more pleasurable using 'Angling': rotating, raising, or lowering the pelvis/hips during penetration to adjust where inside the vagina the toy or penis rubs and what it feels like. Approximately 76% of women make vaginal penetration more pleasurable using 'Rocking': the base of a penis or sex toy rubbing against the clitoris constantly during penetration, by staying all the way inside the vagina rather than thrusting in and out. About 84% of women make vaginal penetration more pleasurable using 'Shallowing': penetrative touch just inside of the entrance of the vagina-not on the outside, but also not deep inside-with a fingertip, sex toy, penis tip, tongue, or lips. Finally, 69.7% of women orgasm more often or make vaginal penetration more pleasurable using 'Pairing': when a woman herself (Solo Pairing) or her partner (Partner Pairing) reaches down to stimulate her clitoris with a finger or sex toy at the same time as her vagina is being penetrated. These data provide techniques that are at women's disposal to make penetration more pleasurable-which can enable women to better identify their own preferences, communicate about them and advocate for their sexual pleasure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Coitus / physiology
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Orgasm / physiology*
  • Pelvis / physiology
  • Pleasure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Vagina / physiology*

Grants and funding

This study was funded by For Goodness Sake, LLC (https://www.fgsake.org/). The funders had a role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, and in preparation of the manuscript.