One of my partners once gleefully bragged in a workshop we were co-facilitating, “My girlfriend has four holes I get to fuck.” It’s true. I’ve two bonus holes–my inguinal canals. And guess what? You do, too. I am here to show you how you, too, can be a four-way doll (if you so choose) through a sexual activity called muffing.
But before I get too deep, a note on language: throughout this article, I will use certain technical terms to describe anatomy and how to engage in muffing in risk-aware ways (e.g., external gonads, outer labia). I do this for the sake of precision, but please use your own terms for your parts. For example, I use the term labia to refer to my external gonads, and I refer to my inguinal canals (more on those later!) as my holes or my front holes.
Muffing... is a way of fucking someone from the front by stimulating, either externally or via penetration... two orifices called the inguinal canals.
What is Muffing?
The term “muffing” was coined by Mira Bellwether in her foundational zine Fucking Trans Women (2010), but the practice Bellwether described can be identified as a pleasure practice (chiefly as part of genital massage) in numerous cultural traditions.
Muffing, simply put, is a way of fucking someone from the front by stimulating, either externally or via penetration (the technical term is “palpation”), two orifices called the inguinal canals.
All bodies possess inguinal canals, as it happens. They just tend to be more accessible and slightly wider in folks who possess external gonads (but, crucially, not out of the realm of possibility for folks with outer labia to access). Thus, when we speak about muffing as a sexual activity, we are most often thinking of fingerbanging someone from the front who has external gonads.
The inguinal canals are passages through the lower anterior abdominal wall located just alongside the inguinal ligament. They consist of an outer ring and an inner ring. In muffing, you pass through the outer ring, but it is not really possible to reach the inner ring. (This is one of those few times that I don’t recommend “fucking around and finding out.”)
Because the canals are composed of fascia rather than muscle, as the external and internal anal sphincters are, they are not as expandable or stretchy as back holes or front holes. But as Bellwether observed–and as I’ve found through personal experience–the canals do have a little bit of give. After all, these are passages through which gonads descend in folks who have external gonads. To give you an idea of the stretchiness factor, my holes have, at times, accommodated two fingers in each (or one finger and a Vesper). As with most types of play, the key to muffing and having a pleasurable, risk-aware experience doing so is a very thorough warm-up. I discuss prepping and warming up a body for muffing below.
In folks with external gonads, the canals run alongside the inguinal ligament, the spermatic cord (a genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve), and the ilioinguinal nerve. In folks with uteruses, the canals run alongside the inguinal ligament and the round ligament (one of the ligaments that anchor the uteruses and connect to the outer labia, biological homologs to the skin covering the external gonads).
When we are muffing, it’s important to note that the canals do not pass through the pelvic floor (as front holes do) but slightly above the pubic bone at the front of the pelvic bowl.
Because nerve clusters intersect with the inguinal canals, there is great potential for a lot of yummy sensation...
Why Engage in Muffing?
On the most basic level, because muffing can feel really good. Because nerve clusters intersect with the inguinal canals, there is great potential for a lot of yummy sensation, even when the canals are only approached and stimulated externally.
Also, I gotta say muffing can feel tremendously gender-affirming and can promote what I call (with a tip of the fascinator to sex educator Tuck Malloy) gender-pleasure. I define gender-pleasure as the pleasure one can feel in one’s embodied experience of gender (or agender), whether that’s feeling affirmed in one’s (a)gender within social, sexual, or intimate contexts—or just feeling yummy in one’s body at a given moment. And goddexx does watching a partner rail my holes with their fingers or experiencing a sense of being filled in a way analogous to fisting feel affirming!
I get a tertiary hit of pleasure from seeing the look of delight and merriment that often crosses a partner’s face the first few times they feel my holes invite their fingers in...
Finally, I get a tertiary hit of pleasure from seeing the look of delight and merriment that often crosses a partner’s face the first few times they feel my holes invite their fingers in (one partner remarked with unadulterated giddiness, “What a greedy, slutty little hole you have, babe! She just sucked me right in!”). I can practically hear them muppet dancing and screaming internally, “I’m a sexual rockstar! Holy shit, I did not know a body could do that!”
Okay, but is muffing safe?
Nothing we do in sex and play is 100% safe, of course. Even folks with lots of experience topping or bottoming for an activity slip up or inadvertently cause injury. Rather than assessing for safety, I would humbly suggest working to identify and mitigate risks and playing within your experience level and your risk profile. Most of the time, good body awareness, good communication practices, and a thorough warm-up will go a long way to avoiding injury.
All bodies are different. Some holes are more accessible than others. For example, my right hole is reliably more supple than the left (which sometimes needs to be bought dinner first). And if there is scar tissue or mesh in the area from other injuries or surgeries, muffing just may not be in the cards.
It took me a good three months of trying out different finger placements and intensities before I started experiencing pleasure from muffing.
It’s also important to note that it might take some time and patience to get the hang of muffing, both for the person being muffed and any partner(s) doing the muffing. It took me a good three months of trying out different finger placements and intensities before I started experiencing pleasure from muffing. As you and your partner(s) experiment, a good rule of thumb is to track whether the sensation is “different” or if it is “painful” (I’m indebted to my dear friend Tristan Taormino for this distinction). Often, when we try something new, the sensations we experience are strange, unfamiliar, and “weird.” Sometimes on the other side of weird is yummy, and it might just take time to get there (this has been my experience of some forms of anal play, for example). Pain (of the non-consensual, non-play variety) or a “twinge” should never be ignored and “endured”! Pushing through will never result in a sensation feeling good!
If the discomfort you’re experiencing is what I call a “twinge,” it might just be because the hole is tired, the intensity is too much, or a finger has happened upon a depth or a part of the canal that doesn’t like being touched. When this happens, I invite you and any partner(s) to pause, listen to the body, and make adjustments (such as stopping or pulling out entirely to try something else, changing up finger positioning, or pulling a finger out one knuckle at a time). And as the somatic sex educator Katie Spataro would say, “Recognize the ‘no’ in ‘I don’t know.’”
I cannot stress enough the importance of warming up. You do not want to approach a partner’s holes cold!
I cannot stress enough the importance of warming up. You do not want to approach a partner’s holes cold! The warm-up can involve several different kinds of touch and sensation. The goals here are to 1) increase blood flow to the crotch/pelvic area and 2) soften/relax the area. How you get there depends on the kinds of mood, energies, or “goal feelings”–that which Princess Kali calls the “kernel kink”–you seek to evoke.
Suppose muffing is taking place in the context of play in which you and/or your partner(s) are trying to experience being “worshiped” and “adored,” for example. In that case, warm-up might include a lot of massage of the area, fascial release, hip rocking, nipple stimulation, or perineal or genital touch, along with some affirming words like “holy fuck are you hot, babe!” (the right words can touch us and lead to a body softening as much as any tactile sensation can).
If, however, muffing is taking place in the context of an impact scene or genitorture, then warm-up could include thigh punches, pinches, sucking, tickling, scratching, or other types of sensation or impact play. Dirty talk or verbal degradation can also be a stirring accompaniment.
Even once you or your partner(s) are warmed up and ready to receive or accept muffing, I recommend starting slow. If it’s your first time muffing someone or being muffed, it might take you/your partner(s) some time to locate the outer inguinal ring and the canals (tip: incorporate that search into the warm-up). To find the canals, you might seek out where the skin covering the external gonads is at its loosest and feel for the outer inguinal ring.
Start with one finger (I usually opt for the index finger), and with your muffing hand, approach with your palm down, then engage in a corkscrew motion so that the pad of the finger is facing up. The corkscrew motion is beneficial not only for positioning but also for gathering up the loose skin that will be your vessel carrying you into the canal. Pause here, at most one knuckle in the hole, and “listen” to what your/your partner’s body might be trying to tell you. This is also an excellent moment to check in verbally with a partner. You will know when/if the hole is ready to receive more. Partners have reported to me that, at a certain point, it is as if my holes are almost sucking them in. Greedy little darlings!
Go slow, be patient, listen, ask questions designed to affirm who the touch is for...
Go slow, be patient, listen, ask questions designed to affirm who the touch is for (e.g., faster or slower? Harder or softer? What would make this even hotter for you?), and, finally, use lube (lots of lube).
As with other types of fingerbanging, you can try out a number of positions and fingering techniques. When I’m good and warmed up, I just love to be filled and then absolutely railed by a partner.
In Fucking Trans Women, Bellwether invited us to be “sexy mad scientists” and “genital cartographers.” Our bodies are polymorphously perverse playgrounds of wonder, capable of experiencing pleasure in places and in ways cisheteronormative sexual scripts cannot begin to fathom. Whether or not muffing is for you, my fervent hope is that this piece at least inspires you to take up Mira’s call to be “sexy mad scientists” and joyfully explore the pleasures our magnificent bodies have to offer.