Fisting!

This piece originally appeared in the No Experience Newsletter Issue #280 (Aug 12, 2015) Starting this month I am the sex columnist for No Experience with a new column out every week To subscribe and get it in your inbox 3 times a week send your email address to noexperiencenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. If you have a sex question you want answered in an upcoming issue, email me at rachels1088 [at] gmail [dot] com.  

Fisting is one of the few sexual acts that can be performed by virtually any two consenting parties, regardless of their genders, gender expression or sexuality. It’s most often practiced in the gay and lesbian communities but it can happen in a heterosexual partnership as well. Fisting has a reputation of being extreme and kinky and not suitable for most couples however It involves a good deal of trust and can be incredibly loving and intimate. It’s not inherently violent and if it feels painful you’re probably doing it wrong. It’s also not primarily about dominance although it can be used in sub/dom play. When done safely and correctly, it can be a fun and pleasurable experience for any couple.

So what is exactly is fisting? First, it’s not like how it’s depicted in most mainstream porn, which often uses fisting as a violent form of domination. In fact the UK has actually banned fisting in pornography because it is “potentially life threatening.”  If you’re fisting the right way, however, it should be neither violent nor dangerous. As Courtney Trouble writes,in general, fisting is all about a hand and a hole listening to each other very closely.” Fisting is the term used to describe the insertion of four fingers and thumb of the fister into the vagina (or asshole) of the fistee. The fister’s hand should not be in the shape of an actual fist. That’s punching. Think of it more like a beak or a cone shape. Once inside, the fister can try to form a fist if that feels right for both partners.  For beginners, the best course of action is to introduce the fingers one at a time and slowly build up to the whole hand.

   The vaginal muscles will actually “accept” the hand into the body, drawing it in. The fistee experiences a feeling of fullness and what many consider a pleasurable sense of pressure. The fister can often feel the pulsating muscles and heartbeat of the fistee. Often the hand stays still but occasionally there is some pulsing or light thrusting involved.

  Both parties should be relaxed and comfortable before beginning. This goes for any and all sexual acts and I cannot stress this enough. If you want to do something with another person, whether it’s kind of vanilla or a bit more risque you both need to be comfortable and ready for it, and you both have the right to change your mind at any point. Fisting is no different. In addition to trust, fisting requires plenty of patience and time. It might not work the first time, and shoving a hand inside someone’s bodily cavity is a terrible idea.

  As far as safety is concerned, fisting is relatively low risk in terms of STIs but if you’re not fluid bonded with your partner or if you’re at all concerned about cuts or sores then you can use a latex (or other material, such as nitrile) glove. Gloves won’t absorb lube the way skin does so it may be easier to use a glove. Whether or not gloves are involved, the fister should trim and file their nails to a smooth, comfortable length.

  Like with many sexual acts, this should not be an overtly painful experience but a small amount of pleasurable pain might be involved. Often the feeling is one of fullness, or a sense of pressure. Since muscles are being stretched this might include a small amount of pain. Every person has a line between pain that feels good and pain that doesn’t. The fistee should pay attention to the way their body feels and both parties should be ready to pull back or stop entirely if it ever becomes too much.

  Use a water or silicone-based lube. Then add more lube. And then some more. Reapply often and spread it around. Basically you should be using a lot of lube (especially if you’re going the anal route).  As with many sex acts that involve the insertion of anything anywhere, lube is important, often mandatory. It won’t feel good if it’s too difficult to get the thing, in this case one partner’s hand, inside of the other partner.

  The body will react differently every time, and it’s important to not go into the act of fisting with a clear cut goal, but to simply enjoy the experience and find pleasure in that. A lot of the way we think about sex is framed around an end goal, usually an orgasm, when we should be thinking of the whole thing as an enjoyable pleasurable event taking place.

A special note about vaginal stretching. Yes, the vagina will stretch, but that’s OK. The biological vagina is designed to pass a baby and it’s meant to stretch. It will go back to its original dimensions (a bit faster if kegels are involved) post fisting but please don’t stress over vaginal tightness as a standard of female sexual attractiveness because that is some messed up misogynistic garbage talk.  

 Fisting can establish a deep connection between partners and requires a lot of trust. It’s often not done as a casual kind of thing because of the level of intimacy it involves. So if you’re interested in fisting talk to your partner and go about it carefully and conscientiously. When done right it can a beautiful and erotic experience that can enrich your partnership and your sex life. Happy Fisting!

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