A complete beginner’s guide to fisting

~*Because hands are free sex toys you already own*~.

sex, relationships, fisting, hands, masturbation, foreplay, sex, how to

When I think about fisting, the first thing I think about is that scene in Chasing Amy where she makes a hole with one hand and then shoves a fist through it with the other like, ‘Ta-da!’ and Ben Affleck’s character is like, ‘WTF???’ Because I too was like ‘WTF???’ when I saw her do that.

Actual IRL fisting, however, is not as simple as throwing a fist up someone’s vagina (or butt), because you pretty much can’t do that unless you have an ocean of lube and a super-relaxed vagina and maybe tiny hands. But what do you do instead?

When I consulted my queer friends on the matter, one woman, Samantha, 44, said that it’s not her thing personally, but she knows a lot of lesbians who do it. She says that since she’s been with her partner in a monogamous relationship for 11 years, they’ve definitely tried a lot of things during that time, with fisting being one of them. Her advice? ‘Use a lot of lube and a lot of patience. It isn’t something that can be rushed, and the fist can’t just be pummeled into your partner.’

Queer porn performer Andre Shakti says she loves fisting, and it’s actually her ‘preferred way to get off when I’m bottoming with a partner.’ Shakti also makes an excellent point about how rarely we hear about women fisting other women in movies. Most mentions of fisting in pop culture seem to be geared toward people making anal-fisting jokes that are centred ‘either around male homosexuality or around a man purchasing the services of a sex worker to be fisted,’ Shakti tells Cosmopolitan.com. So the idea of a woman penetrating another woman with her hand is often lost on mainstream media altogether.

Despite this, Shakti says she likes the feeling of ‘fullness’ and pressure when she’s being penetrated, and nothing else she’s tried has been able to give her a comparable feeling. Shakti feels ‘our hands are our best sex toys, yet they are often overlooked completely or seen as reserved exclusively for foreplay,’ and if you don’t have a penis, the idea of being able to insert an entire part of your body in a partner (or vice versa) can be incredibly intimate and erotic. Plus, not having to drop a ton of cash on a fancy vibrator or dildo because your hands are ~free~ is definitely an added bonus.

Carol Queen, PhD, co-author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone, says she’s always enjoyed fisting as ‘a very intense sexual act that’s all about appreciating fullness,’ though she cautions it shouldn’t be done too quickly, especially if the receiver isn’t that turned on yet. She also recommends as much communication as possible so you can know when your receiving partner is ready for more and when they want you to stop moving.

So without further adieu, let’s dive right in (pun totally intended) with some tips on how to fist your partner without her feeling like you’re punching her in the vagina.

1 Get some gloves first

Even if you wash your hands thoroughly, you want to make sure there are no abrasions from the nails or hangnails, explains Queen. It’s also super important to make sure the gloves fit well — any folds in the gloves could be uncomfortable for the bottom, adds Queen. And make sure the gloves won’t cause more of a problem than they intend to solve. If your partner has a latex allergy, go with a non-latex material.

2 Schedule time for aftercare

‘It’s a good idea to bring a fisting bottom down gently after the act, as well as staying in touch and checking in,’ says Queen. The reason being, fisting can be a very intense sexual act, especially if you’re new to it, she explains. And while vaginal fisting isn’t as likely to cause damage as rectal fisting, damage is still possible (especially if you don’t use enough lube or wear a glove!), and therefore, it would be the fister’s responsibility to help the fistee with that afterwards.

3 Start small

‘I tell my clients that small movements feel big,’ says sex therapist and sexuality professor Erika M. Evans. Once you’re inside, try moving your wrist in small circular movements, or use your knuckles or fingers to wiggle around ever so slightly to create different sensations, says Evans.

4 Not everyone will be able to receive the whole fist

Shakti says only half of her partners have been able to receive a full fist because their anatomy just couldn’t accommodate an entire hand. That said, those partners were happy to fist her whether or not they previously had experience doing it, so there are ways to get around that issue of their body being like ‘nah.’

5 Get ready to purchase (and use) all the lube in the store

Shakti says that even if you think you’ve put enough lube on both your hand and your partner’s genitals, apply more. She recommends using a silicone lube as it’s much slicker than water-based lube and is thick enough for fisting. She also says to make sure to leave lots of time to relax and experiment with your partner, because fisting is ‘definitely not something to try during a lunchtime quickie,’ partly because it can also be super messy. Which leads me to my next point…

6 You’re going to want to lay down some towels because it’s about to get wet

As a precaution, you might want to arrange some dark-coloured towels on the bed beforehand, because with all the lube you’ll be using, the odds that it’ll leak all over your sheets are very good indeed. Better safe and dry than wet and sorry.

7 Real talk: Trim your nails and take off your nail polish

If you’re the fister, Shakti says you want to make sure your nails are short, rounded, and filed, and your hands are recently washed clean, and free of cuts, abrasions, rough edges, and nail polish (because duh, it’s going inside a body). You can also use latex or nitrile gloves, and if you really don’t want to cut your nails, you can always wrap the tips of your fingers in medical gauze or stuff the tips of your gloves with cotton balls to ‘pad’ them so your partner doesn’t get clawed in the worst possible place to get clawed.

8 Do not use fisting gels with numbing agents!

Wilde says a lot of anal-fisting lubes have numbing agents in them, but it’s a horrible idea to use them, particularly with vaginal play, because it can stop the receiver from being aware when something isn’t going well for them or is painful. The person being fisted should always be able to feel everything so they can stop play if something becomes uncomfortable, so skip these gels for sure.

9 Communicate every step of the way, especially if you’re new

Wilde says that if you’re being fisted and something feels great, tell your partner, and the same goes for anything that hurts or is uncomfortable. Shakti also recommends having a safe word since fisting can be so intense. It’s just good to know you have the lines of communication as open as, well, your vagina is when it has a fist inside it.

10 Make sure your partner is as aroused as possible beforehand

This is definitely not a sex act where you want to rush foreplay, so take your time and use smaller toys or even just a few fingers to get them wet and aroused. Basically, the more aroused she is, the bigger, wider, and wetter she’ll become, which will make it a lot easier to get your whole fist inside her when you get to that point.

11 Add one finger at a time like layers of a cake

Wilde recommends starting however you normally would sexually, and then move up one finger at the time until she can comfortably accommodate four of your fingers. Then, you can then start to move your thumb into position to create a ‘beak’ shape with your fingers and your thumb (basically pulling your pointer and baby finger together underneath your middle finger.) This allows your hand to be tapered, which is easier for slowly inserting to your partner. At that point, it’s just about getting past your knuckles, because then your full fist will form pretty naturally once you’re inside.

12 Use your knuckles like they’re a part of the sex toy that is your hand

Shakti says that it can often be tough to get past the knuckles when you’re inserting them, but once you do, you can use them to rock back and forth and put pressure on the internal part of the clitoris. You can also play at the edge of the vaginal opening, bringing the knuckles in and out, which Shakti says is her favourite sensation in fisting, so you know it’s good.

13 How many things can you do while fisting? So many things

Now that you’re inside your partner, you can experiment by rotating your wrist gently, making small movements with your fingers, and rocking your knuckles up and down as mentioned before, and feel free to keep reapplying that lube when she needs it.

14 The person who’s just been fisted might end up feeling like her vagina just ran a marathon

After you’ve been fisted, Shakti says it’s possible your vagina will get incredibly sensitive, and you might even be a little sore for a day or two afterwards. Using lots of lube, going slowly during sex, and drinking lots of water after always helps to alleviate the discomfort, but it can still happen. Queen says you also might see some blood depending on how vigorous the sex was, or if the person is on hormone replacement therapy (which can change the delicacy of the tissue for some people), but it should stop. Queen adds that fisting injuries are pretty rare (though she does say to exercise extreme caution if the person you’re fisting has had a complete hysterectomy or vaginoplasty), but if you continue to bleed, even if it’s just a regular drip, go to the ER as soon as possible.

15 Whatever you do, go slow as hell when you’re coming out of your partner

Shakti says that people who haven’t fisted before tend to want to yank their fist out of their partner’s body right after they’ve orgasmed, but it’s super startling and very painful for the person you’ve just fisted. She recommends just remaining still and then massaging the outside of her vagina with your other hand to relax the muscles while you slowly and carefully work the other hand out. You can also give your partner a vibrator to use on themselves to distract them from what could be a painful removal scenario, transforming it into what fisting should be overall, which is super fun and awesome.

Feature image: OLINDANA / GETTY IMAGES

This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com

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