Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fan of oral sex – giving, not necessarily receiving. My first few experiences were terrible and were the stuff of every bad teen comedy. But, it was important to me to get better because, even from that first time, I enjoyed being able to have a sexual experience where I could focus on my partner.
The first time I tried to go down on a woman, all I remember is that nothing felt right. I was young and, at that point, had only seen a few different pornographic items so all I had to go on was my partner’s expressions and basic knowledge of the female anatomy. Again, it just felt wrong somehow. And it didn’t help when my partner asked me to stop so we could “try again some other time.” She told me later that she thought my nails were too long, I was “too eager” and that I had hurt her by “licking at me like a dog.”
As bad as that experience was, I was lucky. Exceptionally lucky. A few nights later, she let me have another chance. We were watching a movie, began fooling around, and I could tell she was reluctant so I did the first thing every person who wants to get better at oral sex has to do – I told my partner this was important to me and, knowing I wasn’t any good, I wanted to get better. “I’ll do anything, really anything. Just please tell me what to do because it’s important for me to get this right.” Apparently, those were the magic words because for the next month, I was “the best boyfriend ever,” completely devoted to satisfying her sexually on demand.
If that sounds like a Letter to Penthouse, it wasn’t. It took a lot of coaching, a good measure of patience, and admitting that I simply wasn’t good at pleasing a partner. But, as I came to find out, this wasn’t the kind of thing you learn once. About a year later, I began sleeping with someone else and, as I was going down on her, she stopped me and asked what I was doing. “Is that what some other girl told you to do?”
No matter how good you are at oral sex, each partner is different. Sure, there are some basic tips and tricks that will help – but every body is different, every partner is different, and to put it simply, not everyone will like it. Let me put it another way. Every woman is different. Every vagina is different. Every penis is different. So don’t be surprised if you need to “relearn” what you have already learned with, for, and from someone else when you have a new, uniquely different partner. One partner will enjoy it if you gently nibble on their thigh, the next might prefer that you use your thumbs to gently press on the back of their knees. Maybe you are naturally gifted – and if you are may the good Lord bless you – but most of us will need help getting there, so here are a few things I’ve learned and a couple of responses from different women.
Ask what she likes.
Oral is sex is not about what is “right” or doing it the “right” way, it’s about doing what your partner likes. They are the expert of their own body. What do they like? What feels good – do they like what you are doing? Should you do something else? Ask your partner what they like and encourage them to give you direction.
As I learned, assuming your partner will enjoy your efforts to go down on them just because “it worked with the last girl” is one-way ticket to Stupid. She’s the expert on her body – ask her. Asking “Do you like this?” or “How does this feel?” and checking in with your partner gives you immediate connection, gives you feedback, and helps you tune in to exactly what will get them there.
Don’t be suprised if the answers change; what feels good initially may change. As she becomes more aroused, she might like things slower and more focused, faster and rougher. It really depends. Here’s the bottom line: when you have your face in someone else’s crotch, they should have a say in what you do while you’re down there, not some tips you ripped off the Internet.
Ask her to show you.
There is no greater gift a woman can give you when you are going down on her than for her to directly show you Do this, this, and then this. It’s the Gold Standard of Treasure Maps. And – just so we’re clear – the treasure is her orgasm. Whatever she tells you to do, do that. Do exactly that. And if you do it wrong and she says, “No, like this” then do this instead. Whatever she tells you to do, whatever she shows you to do, do it. Even if you’re not any good, you will get points for listening and following directions.
Sometimes, it takes a while. There’s this popular idea that “it takes a long time for a woman to have an orgasm.” Not always. Some women find it easy to orgasm, some women take a while. I like the saying, “Men are microwaves. Women are slow cookers.” It takes as long as it takes. Settle in. Get comfortable. Remind yourself that this moment is a gift for both of you and should be treated accordingly. If it takes a while, that’s great. If it happens immediately, that’s great too. But don’t rush it. There’s nothing worse than someone who motorboats through what should be an amazing experience. (To use another euphemism) Stop and smell the flowers, take in the sights and sounds of this adventure. It will take however long it needs to take.
It’s okay to stop if you need to.
To be fair, if it does take a while, it’s okay to stop. When you’re going down on a woman, things can get very slippery, your jaw muscles (which are probably not used to moving that way) might begin to hurt, or you may have your own reasons for needing to stop. It’s okay. You shouldn’t need to defend that. Assuming you still want to stay in the moment, lightly use the pads of your fingers to begin manual stimulation (“fingering”), or talk to her. Check in with her.
When I need to stop, I am usually so caught up in the moment that as I am stroking and caressing her, I will compliment her body, tell her how amazing she tastes, and tell her how much I am enjoying these moments with her. Touch a butt. Touch some nipples. Then get back to business.
Talk to her. Make noises. Be vocal.
Some women don’t want you to talk. When you talk, it ruins it for them. That’s great! Be quiet and let her get where she’s going. But if the woman you are with needs a little encouragement, then make “mmm” sounds as though you are enjoying yourself. Compliment her. “Talk” to her through touch, “tell” her through you touches how amazing you think she is. Tell her outright, “I’m enjoying this.”
If she is into fantasy play, it’s okay to say something like, “Thank you, Goddess. Thank you for letting me worship you, your body is such a delight.” If she shoves you back down or tells you to shut you up, well, that’s great too! Communication styles and patterns are unique for each person and each couple.
Don’t expect her to hold a conversation.
My girlfriends regularly tell me, “When I give him a blowjob, he doesn’t talk. He just grunts or gasps and shoves my head down. Use your big boy words!” Well, that’s a lot to ask of someone when they are highly aroused, their brain swamped in oxytocin and testosterone, and bloodflow (slightly) redirected to the genitals! Those grunts, sighs, gasps, and hard grips to the back of your head as they push and pull you are all forms of communication. You might not be as aroused as your partner and “hear” those messages differently from the way they were intended. You might want to hear them give you direction and use their “big boy words” but not using words at all, whether your partner is male-bodied or female-bodied, is proof you’re doing great.
Compliment, compliment, compliment.
Still, remember that communication is not always grunts and yelling “This feels good!” It is also about helping your partner feel comfortable with their body and with this experience that you are sharing together. Many women have been told by friends, well-intentioned magazines or online articles, even television and movies that they should be self-conscious about what happens down there. Smell, taste, sounds – whatever.
Everyone loves a compliment, especially when they are naked. Personally, part of the reason I enjoying giving oral sex is because it allows me to compliment a woman’s body in new, meaningful ways. One partner had said she “hated” the patch of hair around her belly button – but I loved it! I always made a point of putting a hand on that patch and gently touching it. Another woman, I regularly told how “cute” and “pretty” her vagina was – because it was! She thought all vaginas were “ugly” but I begged to differ!
What I found was the more honest, authentic, unique compliments I could give and the more specific I could be helped my partners feel better about their body, especially “down there” where they had been told everything was sinful, ugly, and more trouble than it was worth.
If she’s not into it, politely ask what you can do differently – Take 1
You might not like the answer, but get over yourself. Being naked in front of someone else is not all rainbows and music boxes. Sometimes, it will take effort on your part (maybe even theirs)! If you can tell something isn’t working, be smart enough to say, “Hey, I’m not sure this is working. Want to help me? Tell me what I can do?” And be an adult about it – no huffing and puffing and pouting. Jesus. They have their pants off and you want to make it all about you? Get your head on straight and think about this for a second: telling someone, “You’re not good” or “That feels really weird” feels awful. You feel like a bad person when you say something like that. If you take the initiative, be proactive, be positive and ask what you can do differently, that gives her the opportunity to speak up without sounding (or feeling) like a bitch.
If she’s not into it, politely ask what you can do differently – Take 2
As I shared earlier, sometimes you’re just really bad at going down. Which sucks and makes you feel like a loser. Especially when your partner stops you and doesn’t want to point you in the right direction. You’re so bad, they don’t even want to try – they just want to go home.
Let them go home. Feel like a loser for a little while. Let them think about it for a little while. And then, the next time you are alone with each other and it’s convenient to bring it up, come right out and say something about it. “Hey listen, last time we tried this, I know I wasn’t any good. We’ve had a little time to think about it, and it’s really important for me to get this right. Can we talk about this for a moment? I want you to know I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to make you feel good – whatever. it. takes. Would you help me? I want to get better.” Listen to whatever she says. Maybe think about it and revisit the conversation later. But it’s very important that you don’t get angry or upset – stay focused here. “I’m committed to doing whatever it takes you feel good. Whatever. it. takes.”
Worship, Listen, and Obey.
Assuming you’ve had all the conversations you need to have and things are going well, assuming you’ve taken the time to help her relax, told her how amazing her body is, and have told her (yes, do this too!) that she tastes like a goddess and you want to live between her thighs, you might be doing a good job. Maybe.
If you’re doing a good job, she’s probably going to get very quiet – this is a good sign. She’s not ignoring you; it means she’s enjoying herself. So – and this is universally true – when she’s in the moment and tells you, “Don’t stop”, you know what you shouldn’t do? You shouldn’t stop. Or take this moment to try something else. Or move. Or do anything other than the one thing she is asking you to do – which is “Don’t stop.” Do exactly what you’re doing, and don’t do anything else until she tells you otherwise.
When it’s all over and the sheets are clean…
Offer to do it again. Offer to do it on demand. One time time, I took my partner’s cellphone and playfully changed my contact info to “On Demand” so that she knew, every time she dialed my number, I would go down on her on demand. Too much? Of course it was – but that was the point. She thought it was hilarious, and took the point. I wanted her to know her pleasure was important to me and even though we could have fun and laugh about it, I was still very serious that going down wasn’t a one-time thing, didn’t come with strings or expectations, and that her orgasm was important to me.
- “How to Go Down on a Girl for the First Time” by Vanessa Marin
- “How to Give Directions During Oral Sex” by Vanessa Marin
- “26 Thoughts She Has When You Go Down on Her” by Cathy Vandewater
- “How to Help Him Be Better at Oral” by Amanda Chatel
- “11 Things Every Man Should Do” by Lake Moore
- “9 Oral Sex Positions You Need in Your Life” via Cosmopolitan