Shanna Katz on Fisting

Shanna Katz is a southwest based Board Certified Sexologist who provides sassy, dynamic, fun loving, crowd pleasing, witty and amusing sexuality education. From academic discussions on body positivity and sexual freedom and corporate trainings to fun-filled workshops on kink, cunnilingus and non-monogamy, she covers the spectrum of sexuality in her work.
Read on for Shanna’s in depth discussion of the pleasures and challenges of fisting, based on her extensive experience giving workshops, leading discussions, writing, and playing with fists.
I would say that of my more “hands on” workshops, fisting is definitely the fav; it is the most requested, and almost consistently sells out/becomes standing room only.  I’m always surprised by this, and then I realize, really, how many people get so see fisting up close and personal, in a healthy and safe environment, with good information? Not many.  And that, my friends, is why Vaginal Fisting for One and All gets people to come again and again. Not pun intended; I’ve had a lot of repeat students in my classes!

Let’s talk fisting.  One of my twitter followers oh so kindly pointed out that she’d looked for an article on fisting, or how to fist a vagina, or vaginal fisting 101 by me, and couldn’t find anything. I felt a little of a failure, and so, here it is.  While of course, coming to a class (mine or someone else’s) is obviously a more in-depth (oh, I’m so punny) experience, here are some great tips for those of you without the opportunity to experience fisting education up close and personal.

Firstly, when people think fisting, they often think of a big, angry fist, like the kind you’d punch someone with.  While some people do enjoy more aggressive fisting with a full fist (often called “punch fucking”, that’s not where you start off.  Make a big duck lip with your hand.  THAT is what you’re going to begin with (well, you begin with one finger, then two, and work your way up to the duck lips). Every vagina/cunt/etc is different; the direction that it will go in depends on the person. You might hold it right side up, upside down, or even sideways or on a diagonal angle.  It’s like putting a puzzle together, except it involves a hand and a opening instead of puzzle pieces. Exploring the vagina or exploring the cunt (whatever work you prefer), is part of the fun!

The key to fisting is to go slowly, as you’ll read more about below.  Slow and steady wins the race. It might not happen the first time, second time, even the first ten times you try. That’s ok.  This is not about who can get their hand inside their partner the fastest. It’s about a really intense and immensely enjoyable experience. If it doesn’t happen at first, enjoy the journey and the experience and the exploration, and try try again, using different angles, etc.

Once inside, you can curl your duck bill into a fist. You can SLOWLY (to begin with — ask your partner if they want to speed it up) move it in and out a little, you can knock like you’re gently banging on a door, you can roll your knuckles; experiment.  Figure out what the two of you enjoy doing best, and what feels the best for your partner.
On the way out, make sure you use a finger on the other hand to break the suction that often occurs, and then take time to pull out, possibly almost as much as you did going in.  The vagina/cunt area can be sore, or at least very sensitive.  Sudden movements are usually not appreciated.

Some people prefer being fisting after they’ve already had an orgasm or two; others prefer to just go for the gold. While being fisted, some people enjoy additional stimulaton of the nipples, vulva, clit or anus, with fingers or a vibrator; many people like to pair fisting with the Hitachi. Others don’t want to be touched. Ask. Always ask. Some people can orgasm once or multiple times with a fist inside them, others can’t.  There is no “right” way to enjoy fisting.

Fisting shouldn’t hurt. There may be some pressure, the feeling of being stretched, etc, but there should not be pain. If that is the case, slow down, add lube, ask your partner if they want you to back down a finger or two, etc.  Let the person being fisted (the “fistee”) make these decisions. It is their body that they’re dealing with here.

If done with patience, lube, an open mind and communication, fisting can be an absolutely amazing/intense/fun/enjoyable/spiritual/out of body/ridiculously awesome/etc experience. It’s not angry, aggressive, violent, etc (unless coupled with other types of sex play). It should be enjoyed.  Again, it’s not the holy grail of sex, but just one more amazing aspect that can be explored.

There are four ground rules:

Rule 1: Patience
Almost everyone with a vagina/cunt/front hole/whatever term your prefer *can* be fisted. However, not every vagina can be fisted by every hand, and not every vagina can be fisted right away. Sometimes, a hand is just too big, and no matter how much lube, relaxation, laughter, trust, patience, time, fun, etc there is, it’s not going to happen.
That said, most people *can* make it work with their chosen partner. This doesn’t mean that it’ll happen overnight. Sometimes it will. Sometimes it can take a few tries. And sometimes, this is a months long endevour. All of these options are perfectly normal; human bodies are obviously very different, and so is our ability to be fisted.  So don’t try to hurry it, to force it, anything like that.

Rule 2: It’s a journey, not a goal
Your body knows what is up; it’s usually somehow connected to your brain.  So when you think “ok, I HAVE to have that whole hand in here tonight, no matter what,” your vagina might be like “Um, ‘scuse me, but HELLLL NO.”  The more pressure you place on yourself to have a sexual goal (orgasm, ejaculation, fisting, etc), often times the more it stresses you out, begins to shut your body down, and make it impossible. Fisting IS super fun, but it should be one of those things that is fabulous if/when it does happen, but is not the end all, be all of sex.  Have fun getting two fingers in, fucking with three, exploring with four.  A whole hand is cool, but it’s not everything. Enjoy exploring each other, and if fisting happens, then great.
Rule 3: Lube
People always laugh when I say this, but I’m dead serious.  Some people produce a lot of natural lube, some people don’t (for various reasons; allergy meds, hormonal birth control, stress, etc). Natural lubrication is NOT an indication of turned on someone is. If you really want to know if they’re excited, and their sounds and actions don’t help you know, ASK THEM. Don’t use lube as a barometer.

That said, fisting requires lube. Natural lube is great, but over time, people tend to run out, dry up a little, your hand (if you’re not wearing a glove) absorbs a lot of the lube, it gets sticky, there isn’t as much as you’d like.  And so on.  So get some. Both water based and silicone based lube are great for fisting; usually, the thicker, the better. I personally love Maximus, which is a gel-like water based, glycerin free lube in an easy access pump bottle. Sliquid Organics is a great all natural lube, and Eros Bodyglide is my favorite silicone lube.

Make sure it’s easy access, because you only have one free hand. Pump tops are great, other wise, remove the top before you begin. Make sure you have lube all the way around your hand, and keep adding as needed. If water-based lube dries out, just add water (spit, squirt gun, spray bottle, etc) to reactivate it. If you still need more lube, add more. It is very difficult to have TOO much lubrication during fisting.

As a side note, using latex or nitrile gloves during fisting can make it an even better experience. You don’t have to worry about rough skin or hang nails hurting the fistee, and the fister’s hand won’t get all prune-y.  Also, gloves don’t absorb lube, so a little bit will go a longer way. And of course, gloves are great for having safer sex, so you aren’t worrying about the transfer of any fluids.

Rule 4: Communicate
You HAVE to communicate, especially the first couple of times you do this. This is NOT the time to try out the new ball gag and bondage. Communicate.  Talk, feel, touch. However you and your partner communicate, make sure you do it.  Have the fistee let the fister know how things are going, whether they need more time/stimulation/lube before moving to the next level, or whether they want the fister to go all the way. Make sure the fister communicates whether they’re getting a hand cramp, getting tired, need a drink of water, etc. You think I’m joking, but when you’re trying to stick a whole hand into a relatively small hole, communicating is really really important.

Once you get towards the very end, when it’s almost all the way in, many fisters like to check in with the fistee, asking them whether they should push their whole hand in past that stubborn area, or whether the fistee wants to ease down onto the fisters’ hand. It can go either way, but make sure both of you know which it’s going to be; other wise, it can be a bit awkward.

Don’t feel like you can’t add vibration or manual stimulation of the clit, the anus, the nipples, etc. Whatever feels good is the “right” way to treat that body, so enjoy.  Also, keep in mind that post-fisting, the fistee should urinate, because peeing reduces any chances of getting a urninary tract infection (post-penetration peeing should be done with any type of penetration).

Fisting Q and A (questions I’ve actually been asked at workshops):
Q: Will fisting ruin me for “normal” sex?
A: NO! Of course not.  Just because you’ve been fisted doesn’t mean now you can ONLY be fisted and won’t enjoy other types of sexual activity. People who have been fisting can and do enjoy oral sex, anal sex, oral-anal sex, cocks, dicks, dildos, fingers, vibrators, butt blugs, shower heads, hot tubs and more.  In fact, even if you fist on a regular basis, and then take some time (a month +) off of fisting, you may have to start up all slowly again.  The body is an amazing thing, and vaginas/cunts are very elastic. They go right back to where they were.
Q: Can I be fisted if I’ve given birth?
A: Yes! You might even have an easier time of it.
Q: Isn’t fisting just for gay men?
A: I love fisting, and I’m not a gay man. Seriously though, everyone can enjoy some kind of fisting if they’re interested.
Q: What about PC muscles/kegel exercises?
A: Having strong PC muscles can help with strong, longer and more frequent orgasms, and have help with ejaculation/squirting/gushing in some people. If you’re being fisting and do some kegels, the fister can definitely feel it around their hand, which feels cool, and the fistee might experience some more intense sensations.
Q: Can you double fist someone with two hands?
A: If both they and their body is up for it, certainly! It can be lots of fun, either with two hands from the same person, or a hand each from different people.
Q: Can someone be anally penetrated at the same time they’re being fisted in the vagina/cunt?
A: Yes, just a) make sure there is lots of lube, and b) be careful.  That wall of skin between the vagina and anus is strong but a bit delicate; too much aggressive play on both sides at the same time could cause tears and soreness.
Q: Can I be fisted after a hysterctomy?
A: Check with your doctor, but in most cases, after you are healed, yes. I’ve talk to people at my workshops who have had (or whose partners have had) hysterectomies.  Some have had not problem with it (and have found it easier with more space), and others have found that it becomes more difficult. Again, always check with your doctor, whether it’s new rope ties on someone with arthritis, breath play with someone with asthma, or putting a fist in someone what has surgery.
Q: I have a catherter — can I be fisted?
A: Check with your doctor. In most cases, yes, but it’s very important to check with your doctor before doing so (see above). The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has a list of kink friendly professionals, and FetLife has many good referrals to kink friendly professionals as well.
Q: Do you have a book about fisting?
A: Not yet, but I’d love to write one. In the mean time, there is a great book called Hand in the Bush; The Art of Vaginal Fisting by Deborah Addington.