What Is A Clitoral Pump? And How Does It Work?

    Updated 17 December 2021 |
    Published 08 April 2020
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Casey Tanner, MA, Sex therapist, The Expansive Group, Illinois, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Have you ever heard of a clitoral pump before? Let us enlighten you. When used in the right way, a clitoral pump can enhance your sex life, make your orgasms more intense, and give you a whole new type of sensation

    What is a clitoral pump?

    A clitoral pump is a sex toy designed to increase blood flow to your clitoris to temporarily enlarge it, which can be a great way to make sex and masturbation feel even better.

    The pump consists of a cylinder to cover the clitoris and a pumping mechanism that uses a suction motion to create a vacuum. As you pump, blood is drawn into your clitoris to enlarge it, mimic your body’s natural arousal response, and make the area more sensitive to touch and other sensations.  

    Clitoral pumps are generally pretty safe to use, as long as you make sure to read the instructions that come with the product and avoid any sore areas or broken skin. Most clitoral pumps are manual, so you have total control over the sucking action.

    Very occasionally, using the pump for too long can cause tissue damage, so the first thing to do to minimize risks is to make sure you know where the release valve is. This valve quickly releases all the pressure in the vacuum if you get a little carried away while pumping.

    Pumps are also very inclusive sex toys. They’re often used by trans men and non-binary people to experience temporary genital growth, which can contribute to feelings of gender euphoria (the sense that a person’s gender and body align) during sex. 

    How to use a clitoral pump

    While traditional clitoral pumps may look complicated, they’re typically quite simple to use. First, we’d suggest applying a small amount of water-based lube to the edges of the suction cup to help it stay in place and prevent chafing. 

    Once the cup is in place, you can begin using the accompanying pump. Start slowly and pump your clitoris/vulva until it creates a pleasant sensation. Make sure you know exactly where the release valve is on your clitoral suction pump so you can quickly release all the air when the time is right.

    You might get carried away with how good it feels, but most experts recommend only using your clitoral pump for a maximum of 10 minutes at a time. This is because pumping to excess can cause pain. If you start to feel sore or notice your genitals are turning a dark shade of purple, stop immediately and use the release valve. 

    If you engage in other sexual activities after the pump is removed, keep an eye out for possible changes. If you notice your clitoris or labia are noticeably swollen or discolored, and it’s long-lasting or painful, seek advice from a medical professional.

    Mastering your orgasm course

    Join a video course and learn about topics you care for

    Choosing the best clitoral pump for you

    Clitoral pumps come in a variety of different shapes and sizes to reflect the fact that we’re all different. You might want to experiment with a few cylinder sizes until you find the best fit that’s most comfortable for you.

    There are two different types of clitoral pumps: a manual one with a suction cup that’s connected to a manual pump and vibrating clitoral pumps that have a vibrating bullet controlled by a separate remote.

    When choosing any sex toy, quality should be your priority. We’d advise sticking to reputable brands and selecting something that matches your size and shape — even if that means spending a little extra money. Safety is key, and a higher-quality clitoral pump is more likely to perform better and be a lot safer. Here are some things to consider:


    While many clitoral pumps look similar, they do vary in size. If you like the idea of all the stimulation being focused on your clitoris, select a smaller cup size. If you want your entire vulva to be covered, you’ll need a larger device.

    Keep in mind that all clitorises are different shapes and sizes, and most reputable brands will feature measurements for each clitoral pump so you can match it to yourself as closely as possible.


    Virtually all traditional clitoral pumps are made from silicone (including both manual and vibrating clitoral pumps) because it’s flexible, soft, and comfortable to use. Silicone is also non-porous, meaning it’s super hygienic. As long as you wash your clitoral pump thoroughly after each use, you won’t have to worry about bacteria. 

    Clitoral pumps also come in a variety of colors, with plenty of bright or neutral options. Some are also transparent, allowing you to watch your clitoris change size with each pump.

    Combining a clitoral pump with a partner or other toys

    Clitoral pumps are sex toys, so it’s natural to want to use one with your partner. While this is totally safe, we’d recommend you be the one in control of the pumping mechanism, so you’re always controlling the pressure yourself. Also, remember to only use a pump prior to penetrative sex to aid with arousal and appearance, not during. 

    You can also use clitoral pumps alongside your other toys or your hands if you’re masturbating alone. After pumping to your desired level of stimulation, remove the pump, and use a vibrator or your fingers until you orgasm. 

    The clitoris is full of nerve endings — 8,000 of them, to be exact — and a clitoral pump significantly enhances sensitivity, so direct stimulation after you remove the pump might be a little too intense. The first few times you use a clitoral pump, start slowly and increase the intensity gradually. You can try adding in vaginal massage to experiment with different levels of stimulation. 

    A vibrating clitoral pump comes with lots of different speeds, intensities, and patterns, and it’s likely this will be enough to reach orgasm without any extra stimulation.

    Orgasms and pleasure

    Get answers to the most common questions, chat with our friendly chatbot and join other people around the world in secret chats.

    Learn more with Flo

    Clitoral pumps — The takeaway

    A real asset in the bedroom when used correctly, a good quality clitoral pump has the potential to transform your sex life. Built to boost sensation, it can enhance your orgasms and make a great addition to your sex toy collection.

    Just remember to be careful, read the instructions, and stop if you feel any discomfort.


    Josefson, D. “FDA approves device for female sexual dysfunction.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 320,7247 (2000): 1427.

    Prause N, Kuang L, Lee P, Miller G. Clitorally Stimulated Orgasms Are Associated With Better Control of Sexual Desire, and Not Associated With Depression or Anxiety, Compared With Vaginally Stimulated Orgasms. J Sex Med. 2016 Nov;13(11):1676-1685. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.08.014. Epub 2016 Sep 22. PMID: 27667356. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27667356 

    Billups KL, Berman L, Berman J, Metz ME, Glennon ME, Goldstein I. A new non-pharmacological vacuum therapy for female sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther. 2001 Oct-Dec;27(5):435-41. doi: 10.1080/713846826. PMID: 11554204. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11554204/

    History of updates

    Current version (17 December 2021)

    Medically reviewed by Casey Tanner, MA, Sex therapist, The Expansive Group, Illinois, US

    Published (08 April 2020)

    In this article

      Try Flo today