Muffing 101

Most people have never heard of muffing. Let’s change that! Learning something new about your body can open up new potential and exciting possibilities in relationships and hookups. This guide will cover the basics of muffing so you can start exploring on your own and with partners.

What Is Muffing?

In short, muffing is the penetration of an inguinal canal in a sensual or sexual manner. The inguinal canals are a pair of small body cavities around the groin/crotch area that are about an inch deep. Inguinal canals are best known as the place where testes grow in fetal development. When testes drop, they come through the inguinal canals into the scrotum. While inguinal canals are much easier to access in people with scrotums, people who do not have scrotums also have inguinal canals.

A line drawing shows the pelvic area of a body. To the left of the genital area, there is a small tube labeled "inguinal canal." Other labels include the "femoral ring," the "subcutaneous inguinal ring" and the "abdominal inguinal ring."

20th U.S. edition of Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body

Who Can Experience Muffing?

The term “muffing” was coined by Mira Bellwether in her 2010 zine Fucking Trans Women. The zine is still available and offers detailed information about sexuality and trans women, plus some very helpful anatomy drawings. You don’t have to be trans to explore muffing, but trans women and trans fems seem to talk about it the most. People who have “tucked” to create a more smooth crotch in tight clothing may know that the process often involves pushing the testes back up into the inguinal canal. Having some familiarity with the area from tucking has led some trans women and trans fems to explore this area, and for trans women and trans fems who experience genital dysphoria, being penetrated in the front can be really meaningful.

How to Find the Opening

To begin, make sure that you and/or your partner trim at least one or two of your fingernails. It’s very difficult to avoid painfully poking sensitive areas with long fingernails. If you’re a person with a scrotum who is exploring this area on your own body, start by pushing one of the testes into the canal. They were designed to fit in there, and they don’t have the snags and bumps that a finger might have, so this should be easy to do. Once you’re comfortable with that and you’re ready to enter the inguinal canal with a finger (or if you’re penetrating a partner’s inguinal canal with a finger), read on:

I’m going to get technical here because I’m about to give you directions to a small thing you probably haven’t encountered before. Did you know that the phallus goes down to the base and continues along the inside of your body? That’s called the “root.” If you follow the root of the phallus, you will find the inguinal canals on either side of it. They are behind the scrotum and angled downward (see the diagram above), so if you run your finger down along the phallus, you might miss it. Instead, run your finger upward alongside the phallus to find the opening.

You should find an outer ring that you can push up and into. Gather up the loose skin of the scrotum and invert it so that you have the mobility to move inside the body. One interesting part of this kind of penetration is that the skin surrounds your finger like a glove or a finger condom, so your finger never comes in direct contact with anything internal. This means that you probably won’t need any lube, but some people still prefer it.

For people without scrotums, it’s possible to explore the inguinal canals in a more limited fashion. Look at some anatomy charts to get a rough idea where they are and feel around the groin until you think you’ve found one of them. Then gently press down and inward — you should be able to indirectly reach some nerve clusters.

What to Do Once You’re Inside the Canal

On a person with a scrotum, you can feel around once you’re inside the outer ring. If you gently push inward after an inch or an inch and a half, you’ll run into the inner ring. This is important: do not attempt to penetrate the inner ring. This area separates the inguinal canal from your intestines. A hernia happens when a part of your intestines pushes through the inner ring and ends up in your scrotum. It’s pretty painful and requires surgical repair. You can touch or stroke the inner ring, but again, do not try to push through it.

You can also feel around in different directions. If you press towards and slightly underneath the root of the phallus, you’ll encounter some very interesting nerve clusters. There are actually multiple nerve groups that generate sexual pleasure and connect to other areas, including the anus, the pelvis, the spermatic cord, the testes, the inside of the phallus, the urethra and the thighs.

Experiment with different kinds of touch: slowly thrust in and out, stroke the different nerve groups or add stimulation to other areas connected to those nerve groups, penetrate both canals at once. Different people will like different things. Just don’t push yourself to do anything that hurts — this is a very sensitive and delicate area, so it’s important listen to your body and consistently communicate with any partners involved.

How Does It Feel?

So here’s the deal — because this is a delicate internal part of your body that doesn’t usually get touched, your first attempt at stimulating this area will probably feel really weird. You might feel squirmy or have an instinct to push away. If that’s the case, take it slow. Tiny movements will have a major impact. Take your time and breathe through it.

The sensations can feel very different from other forms of sexual stimulation, and because you’re stimulating nerve groups, you might feel sensation in other parts of your body. For some people, this experience feels best when it is separate from an attempt to orgasm — some people even find that this form of stimulation can distract from the build up to an orgasm. That’s why muffing is a sensory experience that might feel best on its own, as a part of foreplay or after orgasm.

Here’s a fun technique for sex with a partner: one partner inserts their finger in an inguinal canal and thrusts with their hips to create an in-and-out motion. Very small movements will feel very intense. If you can set up the positioning carefully, you can enjoy the feeling of being enthusiastically slammed into even though your partner’s hand is only making tiny, gentle movements.

Here’s the bottom line: everyone is different. For some folks, muffing feels “meh,” and for others, it feels amazing. Experiment, listen to your body and see what you can discover.


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Tobi Hill-Meyer

Tobi Hill-Meyer is an Indigenous Chicana trans woman who creates stories that have the power to give us strength, encouragement, and can create greater empathy. She is editor of the Lambda Literary Finalist anthology Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic, author of children's books A Princess of Great Daring and Super Power Baby Shower, and director of the award winning erotic documentary series Doing it Online. Tobi is dedicated to community support and fighting for positive change at a local level, is a founder of Gender Justice League, and currently serves on the WA State LGBTQ Commission. She lives in Olympia, WA with her polyamorous family and young child, where she loves gardening, land restoration, and working on small building projects. You can find Tobi at www.tobihillmeyer.com

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19 Comments

  1. Love seeing something by Tobi here!!! Longtime fan :)

    This post is so helpful, I wish I’d had it when a former partner and I tried muffing. She enjoyed it but I never felt confident doing it. I think (in retrospect) that I didn’t fully understand the anatomy of where my finger was going and was worried I would hurt her. After reading this I understand it a lot better and think I would feel more confident doing it in the future. Thanks so much for these thoughtful explanations. <3

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