The Pussy Pump: What Is It?

Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame

When the accepted name for a sex toy is “pussy pump,” it’s difficult to keep things clinical, politically correct or simply polite.  After all, the use of slang to describe genital organs always changes the overall tone of a discussion. (That not always a bad thing in bed, of course.)

We’ll do our best to stay out of the gutter, though.

To be fair, “pussy pump” isn’t really a fair way to describe these wonderful devices – which aren’t really sex toys like vibrator or dildos, either.

Pussy pumps can be used on the vagina, the clitoris, or the entire vulva, and they’re more accurately described as sexual pleasure enhancers. They’re designed to increase sensitivity in specific areas of the vulva, making masturbation, intercourse and any other type of genital sex play more enjoyable.

Don’t be scared by the name or by what you might visualize. A pussy pump is easy and painless to use, and it doesn’t require you to insert anything anywhere (no, you won’t be pumping air into your vagina!). It’s also very different than a penis pump.

If you’re skittish, just withhold judgment for a bit while we walk you through the details, and explain what a pussy pump can do to boost your sex life.

We promise it’ll be worth it.

OK, What Is a Pussy Pump?

A pussy pump generally has three parts: a plastic chamber (often with a silicone rim) that is placed over the genitals, and a hose which leads to a hand-held pump. Most models are pumped like the old-fashioned blood pressure cuff a nurse might use, but there are also fancy ones with triggers and gauges. A few even have “extra goodies” built-in for sexual enjoyment, and we’ll get to those later.

Chambers are available in various sizes. Small ones are designed to cover the glans clitoris (the external part of the clitoris, which most people think of as “the clitoris”). Larger ones can cover the labia, the vagina or the entire vulva.

To use the pump, you place the chamber over the genitals to create a light seal, and then pump out air to create a vacuum. As you pump, the seal gets tighter, the suction on your genitals becomes stronger – and that increases blood flow to your genital area.

What does that mean for sex play? Using the pussy pump makes the clitoris, labia, vagina and/or vulval area much more sensitive than usual. And greater sensitivity, as we probably don’t have to tell you, results in more pleasure. It also gives the vulva that “engorged and ready for sex” look that many people love.

(To answer the question that might be hovering over this discussion: no, you don’t leave the pump on during sex – it’s only used ahead of time to make sex more enjoyable, although some people do include use of the device during foreplay.)

That’s the bare bones answer. For the science behind the pussy pump and how it can contribute to a more satisfying sex life, read on.

The Sexual Responses of Vulva Owners

You may not pay close attention to what your body is doing when you’re becoming aroused. It’s even more difficult in the midst of sexual play, when you’re focused on the pleasure that you (and your partner(s)) are experiencing.

Here’s what’s actually going on according to the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, who have categorized the four phases of the sexual response cycle.

Desire

During the “desire” phase, the body has a number of bodily or systemic physiological responses such as faster breathing, an accelerated heart rate, flushed skin and hardened nipples.

There are a number of genital responses as well.

The body begins releasing nitric oxide, which causes increased blood flow to the genitals. In turn, that causes swelling of the vaginal walls and the inner lips of the labia. The glans and internal parts of the clitoris like the corpora cavernosa, crura and bulbs of the clitoris all swell as well, since they’re made of erectile tissue. That swelling is sometimes observed on the glans as a small “erection.” Increased blood flow also leads to vaginal dilation and the release of vaginal lubrication.

Swelling makes the organs of the vulva feel more sensitive, which is why foreplay or the early stages of self-stimulation feel so darned good.

Arousal (Also Known as Plateau)

As sexual activity grows in intensity the increased blood flow continues, making external organs even more sensitive. In fact, the glans clitoris may hide under the clitoral hood at some point to prevent overstimulation by the penis or a sex toy, which could become painful.

Muscle contractions which began during the desire phase become stronger and may become spasms. The vagina produces even more lubrication (as do the labia) and the vaginal walls change color due to increased blood flow. The pleasure centers in the brain get involved, too.

Orgasm and Resolution

If you reach climax, the muscles throughout the vulva and vagina spasm violently, and squirting may occur. Naturally, measures like heart rate and breathing reach their peak, physical, neurological and mental pleasure soar, and that’s followed by the orgasmic release of built-up tension.

Post-orgasm, the blood that has flooded to the vulva and vagina recedes and the rest of your body returns to its “normal state.” That includes the loss of increased sensitivity in genital organs (although numbness may replace it), and a return to the vulva’s natural appearance and colors.

The good news for those with vulvas: many do not need the “refractory period” that penis-owners require; that’s why the former are often quickly ready for another go-round, while the latter need time to recharge.

Where the Pussy Pump Fits Into This Picture

One of the constants you probably noticed in the last section is that the key to optimal sexual pleasure is an increased flow of blood to the genitals. The pussy pump is designed to encourage and maximize that blood flow. That means the clitoris, vagina and vulva are faster to respond, and are more sensitive than usual, during sex play.

For most people, sexual stimulation and activity feels incredible – but a session with the pump beforehand makes it even better. 

How to Use a Pussy Pump

There are many very reliable models on the market. Whether you choose a Satisfyer Pro Pump, Pipedream Fetish Fantasy, Womanizer or Doc Johnson pussy pump (just a sample of the best pussy pumps on the market), they generally work in the same way.

The first step is preparation, so a good seal around the genitals can be ensured. It’s best to trim public hair where the chamber will be placed, and you should apply a water-based lube around the rim of the chamber. Also make sure the air release valve or mechanism (it’s usually an easy-to-use quick release valve) is tightened.

Now that you’re ready, place the chamber (some call it a suction cup) around the proper area so it seals firmly to the skin. Chamber size matters, since vaginal pumps and clitoral pumps are designed for different parts of the genitals.

It’s time to start the “pussy pumping” and get your blood flowing. Squeeze the bulb until you start to feel suction developing; you’ll want to keep one hand on the chamber the first time or two you squeeze, until you’re sure the seal is tight. Once you see your labia start to swell, you should begin to feel an unusual but arousing sensation in your genital area.

Don’t pump too much; you’re not inflating a bicycle tire! Go slowly, one pump at a time. Once you notice and feel the suction, only squeeze the bulb once or twice more. As you get comfortable using the pussy pump, you may want to leave the chamber in place for a few minutes, 5-10 minutes at the most. If you feel any actual pain, or are ready to remove the chamber, just hit the quick release valve on the pump once and the chamber will come right off. (Some pumps have a second release valve on the chamber itself.) 

You’re now ready to enjoy your newly-sensitive genital area. You may want to relax for a minute or two, however, to let blood flow resume normally. You’ll still be extremely sensitive, but the area will be dry due to the action of the vacuum pump. Using lube may be a good idea when you’re ready to play.

Don’t be afraid to get imaginative when using a pussy pump. Not only can the device get you ready for sex play, it can become a part of it. Watching the process of genital engorgement may be a turn-on for both you and your partner; at the more extreme end, there are BDSM possibilities as well. (We’re not going to list them – as we suggested, get imaginative!)

Your pump should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water after each use, and stored in a dry, cool place separate from other sex toys. Be sure that the device is waterproof, though, if you plan to submerge it or get any of the electronic components wet.

Types of Pussy Pumps

You already know that these devices are available in different sizes designed to increase blood flow to the clitoris, the vaginal opening or the entire vulva. If you’re willing to spend more money, you can find pussy pumps with interchangeable chambers to fit different areas of the genitals, and clit pumps which effectively simulate oral sex. 

Those aren’t the only choices you may see at your favorite toy store or website.

The simplest pumps consist of nothing more than a chamber, hose and squeezable bulb. Most chambers are made from plastic or similar materials, but higher-priced ones may be made from medical-grade acrylic.

If you take a step up in price, you can find models with air pressure gauges and/or squeezable handles; many people find the handle makes the device easier to operate, and perfectionists (or techies) may want to measure the optimal amount of pressure needed to sensitize each part of the vulva. Some units are accompanied by a separate vibe to complete the pleasure package, and others have ticklers built into the chamber to tease while they also engorge.

You find a hand pump difficult or clumsy to use? Look even further and you’ll discover electronic pussy pumps with lots of bells and whistles. They automatically do the pumping for you, with preset modes for differing amounts of pressure inside the chamber. Some (like high-end units from Kink Pumped) also have vibrating functions, allowing you to fully enjoy the benefits of an engorged clitoris or vulva while you’re increasing their sensitivity. Electronic and automatic vibrating pumps are usually USB rechargeable.

Is It Safe?

Modern pussy pumps are designed to be safe. Their quick release triggers allow you to immediately discontinue their use if necessary, and they are generally manufactured from high-quality or medical-grade materials. When shopping, be sure that chambers are free of phthalates (known to pose cancer risks), and that your lube is water-based and parabens-free.

The first time you use a pussy pump the feeling may be somewhat uncomfortable, but it’s simply a matter of getting used to a new and unfamiliar feeling. You won’t be damaging your genitals. If you feel actual pain, it’s likely that the pump is sucking on sensitive skin above or below your target area because you’ve placed the chamber incorrectly. Let the sore area calm down, reposition the chamber and give it another try. 

Do be careful, though. Go one pump at a time, don’t keep pumping once you’ve established a nice, strong vacuum, and disconnect the chamber if you feel any pain. Also, check with your doctor first if you have a history of vulvar health issues.

As long as you take those sensible precautions, your pussy pump can heighten sexual pleasure well beyond the “normal” experiences of sex play. It’s well worth placing on your wishlist.

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