Here's What You Need To Know About Fisting

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
People can be squeamish about putting big things inside of their vaginas or anuses, and rightfully so. The idea of putting a giant dildo, a big penis, or even an entire fist inside of you can be intimidating. Fisting, in particular, seems to be shrouded in a unique kind of taboo, which is unfortunate — if people knew more about the sex practice, more people who'd be into it would be able to enjoy it. If the idea of fisting is intriguing to you, there's no reason to let fear or sex negativity stop you from trying it out. You just need to learn exactly what it entails and how to prepare for it. (Hint: Lots of lube is involved.)
Just to clear up any lingering confusion: Fisting refers to an entire hand being inserted into an orifice. While often associated with vaginas, it's also done on anuses (which requires a lot of extra lube and preparation). "Fisting tends to be viewed as a more extreme sexual practice by some, but can be common in other communities," says Liz Powell, PsyD, an LGBTQ-friendly sex educator, coach, and licensed psychologist. And while sex positive people in general are non-judgmental about fisting, it tends to be more commonly celebrated in queer circles.
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Why are people into fisting?
When done properly, fisting can feel really good. Take it from Dr. Powell: "Fisting gives an unparalleled feeling of fullness. With the entire hand inside a hole, you can have far more tissue stimulated at the same time." She also says that lots of people like the psychological experience of being "stretched open." Plus, fisting can be an incredibly intimate experience for both partners. "Seeing your whole hand inside of your partner, and feeling the heat and strength of their body from the inside, is something many people enjoy," Dr. Powell says. "This is a form of penetration that allows for eye contact if wanted, and which allows the giver to be fully present in the receiver's pleasure."
Why does it freak some people out?
Unfortunately, many people have been taught by society that vaginas can stretch and become loose if too many things (or too large of things) are put into them. This has led to the sex negative, misogynistic notion of "loose women" (a.k.a. "women who are easy and have sex often," as Urban Dictionary put it). The good news is that this problematic conclusion is not only false, but it's based on a myth: Vaginal tissue is meant to stretch and return to its regular shape and size (for the most part), since it's designed to aid in childbirth, according to an Ob/Gyn interviewed by Glamour magazine.
So, as long as you're being mindful of your body and using proper preparation and enough lube, you can enjoy fisting, and your vagina should bounce right back. As for the sex negativity and sexism that feeds into the bias against fisting? That will likely take time to fix, but studies suggest that society is only becoming more accepting of a wider range of sexual behavior each year, so take that for what it's worth.
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How should I go about trying it?
Safe fisting requires patience, practice, communication, and, yes, plenty of lube. "No matter your gender or the hole you're fisting, be sure to go slower than you think you need to, and use more lube than you think you need," Dr. Powell says. She says that thicker, silicone-based lubes tend to work best, as water-based lubes can be sticky. Using latex gloves (black ones can be extra sexy) can also make fisting easier, since they prevent lube from absorbing into the skin of the fister's hand and help it slide in smoother.
If you and your partner are both into trying fisting (and you've talked about it), try starting with one finger and work your way up. Dr. Powell says it can be helpful for the receiving partner to take deep breaths as they're being fisted. If the receiving partner experiences discomfort at any point, step back and pause. After warming up the orifice by starting with one finger and adding more, you can move into fisting by having the giving partner create a "duck shape" with their fingers (meaning: fingers are straight and pressed together, like a duck's beak) to slide the hand in. They should move slowly and in conjunction with the receiving partner's breaths, and if the orifice is ready and willing, they can create an actual fist with their hand (by closing the "duck's mouth") and thrust the hand in and out at a more rapid pace. Again, maintain communication to make sure you're both comfortable the entire time.
As for removing the fist completely, Dr. Powell says that that can get dicier than the initial insertion. Rather than taking deep breaths, she suggests coughing during the fist removal. "This will cause the muscles to help push the fist out of their body," she says. "Removal is the time that is most likely to injure the fistee, so coughing helps their body work with you, rather than against you."
With enough love and lube, anything is possible — including fitting an entire hand in your vagina (without destroying it).
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