How to Give Great Oral Sex
In theory, oral sex sounds like closing an envelope: spit, lick, repeat. But, well, in case you didn't notice, genitals ≠ envelopes. And, while everyone gets a participation trophy for their efforts, there is such a thing as bad oral sex. (Yes, we said it! While you're at it, check out these other sex tips from experts.)
Enter, this oral sex guide. Here, you'll learn how to give oral sex as well as find 10 of the best oral sex tips you can use on folks of any gender, straight from experts. Enjoy. (But before you do anything, make sure you know the deal with oral STDs.)
1. Be enthusiastic!
When it comes to giving oral sex, "enthusiasm trumps technique 99.9 percent of the time," says sex educator and intimacy coach Andre Shakti, founder of IAmPoly.net. Think about it: Who doesn't want their bits licked/slurped/eaten/etc. like they're a dish at a five-star Michelin restaurant? Exactly. So, if you're not actually enthusiastic about going downtown, don't. "Giving head because you feel obligated to brings up questions of consent," says Shakti. (Also read: How to Deal If Your Partner Won't Go Down On You)
Once you've established that you want to go down, while you're there, why not throw your partner some words of affirmation? Try: "You taste so good," or "I love the way you smell," or "I love going down on your X."
Sure, you might be focusing on your oral sex techniques, but don't be shy about moaning, groaning, slurping, or oohing and awwing as you go for it. Not only can your sounds create a pleasurable vibration against their bits, but "it's also just really hot to hear your partner getting into giving you pleasure, and it shows that they're enjoying themselves, too," says Shakti.
For vulva-owners especially, who (*insert side-eye at society*) have been raised to think that their pleasure is less important than their partners, these noises can help them feel more comfortable being on the receiving end. (Related: If You're Uncomfortable Receiving Oral Sex, You're Not Alone — Here's How to Relax)
2. Share what words/phrases/adjectives you each like.
What words does your partner like to use for their body parts? Do they absolutely not want their genitals being referred to as a pussy for example? "This is an important conversation to have if you or your partner are trans or nonbinary, but it's just as important for cisgender folks to have," says Shakti. For instance, if you find certain words offensive, and your partner says it mid-oral sex, it's going to ruin the mood. (Related: What It Really Means to Be Gender Fluid or Gender Non-Binary)
You should also check in on how they like to refer to oral sex. "'Can I eat you out' can feel really different from 'I'd love to taste you,'" says Shakti. The same goes for "can I blow you" compared to "can I suck you off" or "I want you to make you come with my mouth."
While you're at it, ask them which adjectives they like used to describe the rest of their body, too. Strong, capable, powerful? Soft, smooth, juicy? Muscular, hard, firm? You wouldn't want to tell your boo their juicy curves are a turn on when they like to think of them as strong, firm muscles. (BTW: This is also a good tip before dirty talking via text or telephone.)
3. Show (and tell) what brings you pleasure.
"Sharing what you've each enjoyed while receiving oral sex in the past can help prevent you from feeling like you're just guessing when you go down on each other," says Shakti. Of course, there's going to be a learning curve with every new partner, but these convos can help you climb it faster and learn how to give oral sex they'll enjoy. (Related: 10 Ways to Level-Up Your Sex Life)
Some questions you might ask:
- Do you generally prefer direct clitoral stimulation? How sensitive are you?
- What do you need in order to relax during oral sex?
- Have you tried and/or enjoyed G-spot or P-spot stimulation while receiving oral?
- Are there any toys you like to incorporate?
Another option: Have your partner touch themselves in front of you. Are they touching themselves over their clitoral hood or making direct contact? Are they use long, lofty up-and-down strokes, or more pinpointed movement? How much pressure are they applying? All these things can cue you in on how to give oral sex that they'll love.
This is also a good time to take note of their pleasure signs. Do their toes curl when something feels good? Do their legs flex? Back arch? Eyelids flutter? You'll want to tune into these cues when you're the one giving them pleasure…which brings up this next point.
4. Tune in.
Nothing beats verbal communication. And if either you or your partner don't feel comfortable verbally communicating when something feels good/bad/off/painful/etc., you probably should consider whether you should be having sex at all. Still, your partner's body will do some "speaking," too. (Related: What Your — Or Your Partner's — Sex Noises Really Mean)
"You need to be paying attention to your partner's body language," says Carly S, sex educator with The Pleasure Chest. "Are they pushing your head away? Or drawing it closer? Are they shifting their pelvis to change the location of your mouth? Are they closing their legs or spreading them apart?" In the answers to these questions, you'll find cues about what is and is not working. Adjust accordingly.
5. Use lube.
I know, you're probably asking yourself: "Why would I use lube when I have spit….?" Well, "it's similar to the difference between licking your lips and using chapstick when you have dry lips; one just works way better," says Carly S. (See: Everything You Need to Know Abut Lube—Including Why You Should Use It)
And, yes, "almost all lubes are edible and safe to ingest," but do your best to avoid any products with glycerin, which breaks down to sugar and may increase your risk of developing a yeast infection, she says. And remember: You shouldn't use a silicone-based lube with a silicone toy. So if you're performing oral on a dildo or incorporating a vibrator or cock ring that's silicone, use water-based lube. (Related: The Best Lube for Any Sex Scenario)
6. Vary your technique.
TBH, if you're listening to your partner, responding to their verbal cues and body language, and going at it enthusiastically, your exact oral sex technique doesn't matter quite as much — your partner is likely already having a damn good time. But if you want a little extra guidance on exactly how to give oral sex, these tips can help. (BTW, did you know that clitorises and penises aren't actually all that different?)
- Try creating different sensations. Lick up and down their vulva or shaft with long, broad strokes; flick the end of your tongue against their clit (the sensitive nub at the top of the vulva) or the frenulum (the sensitive spot where foreskin meets the underside of the penis); or try running your tongue in circles around the clit or the head of the penis. If your partner has a clit, you can try gently sucking on it or pressing your mouth onto their vulva. If your partner has a penis, you can take the whole thing in your mouth (as much as is comfortable)and moving up and down the shaft, or giving their balls a little attention with your tongue and mouth, too.
- Focus on the clit. If your partner has a vulva and you're feeling overwhelmed, focusing your effort on the clit is a good bet; more than 80 percent of people with clits need stimulation there to orgasm.
- Vary your tempo. If you've ever used a vibrating toy before, you know that feeling the same speed and sensation for a long time uninterrupted can eventually stop feeling exciting. Alternate your tempo and pressure to keep the sensations novel and let excitement build. If your partner stops responding as enthusiastically, it might be time to switch techniques. That said, if you feel your partner getting close, it might be best to stick with what you're doing so you can get them to climax.
7. Bring in your hands for back-up.
When it comes to your actual oral sex technique, one of the best things you can do is add your hands to the mix. "Your mouth and hand can and should work as a team," says board-certified sexologist Lanae St. John, author of Read Me: A Parental Primer for 'The Talk'. "They'll be able to provide more pleasure than your mouth alone."
If your partner has a vulva, she recommends using your fingers "to play around the outside on the vulva and if they enjoy penetration, even entering the vagina for additional pleasure." While inside, you might try moving your fingers in and out, or hooking your finger up and feeling for their G-spot. (For more tips on how to finger someone, check out this lesbian sex guide.)
If your partner has a penis, using your hands can help create a similar sensation to deep-throating — which is absolutely *not* a must for pleasurable fellatio. Start by squirting a hearty amount of lube in your hand. Then, "use your hand on the shaft, while focusing your mouth and tongue on the head and frenulum [the ridge on the underside of the head] of the penis, which are the most sensitive parts," says St. John.
"You can also use your fingers to create a cock ring at the base, which will help keep them hard if they struggle with that," adds Shakti.
And if your partner is strapped on, Shakti says you might wrap your hands around the dildo and apply pressure so that the base of the dildo stimulates your partner's mound or clit beneath. (FYI, dildos are just one type of sex toy. Here are 11 others).
8. Think beyond (er, behind) the genitals.
Why limit your lick-a-thon to just the front of the body when there's a whole world of pleasure-potential 'round back? "The anus is a nerve-dense region for folks of all genders and including it in the action with a tongue, finger, and lube, or butt plug can heighten the experience," says Shakti. (See: How to Explore Anal Masturbation)
For people with a penis, sticking a finger in the butt (and curving it toward the front of the receiver's body) can help stimulate the prostate. The P-spot is a bulb of tissue that's fleshier than the other its and bits in there. Different folks prefer different strokes, so you'll have to experiment with moving your finger side-to-side, gently tapping, applying consistent, slight pressure, and moving your finger in a come hither motion to find what your partner likes best. (Or try adding a butt plug.)
You've likely heard that moving back and forth between the anus and vagina is a serious no-no because introducing bacteria from your back door to your front can lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis. While the risk is not MIA during oral sex, Carly S. notes that there's less of a risk moving back and forth between cunnilingus and rimming than there is moving back and forth between vagina and anal penetrative play. (Related: How to Prepare for Anal Sex)
Still, your plan of action before venturing back there is, first, to ask—because consent is non-negotiable. Have a convo with your partner about anal play before your tongue is inches away from their butt (like, when you're fully dressed and *not* in the bedroom). If it's something you're both interested in, try out one of these lines when it's time:
- Can I lick between your cheeks?
- I'd love to keep licking lower, are you okay with that?
- I have a dental dam. How would you feel about me using it while I rim you?
9. Play with positions.
"On Your Knees" may be the go-to oral sex position. But why not experiment with new angles? Here's one: "Have the receiving partner lie down with their legs hanging off the side of a bed, counter, or table. Then, pull up a chair or stool, or even knees if you prefer, and get busy," says St. John. (Here are a ton of sex positions you can try with penetrative sex, too.)
Another option: Swap places with your partner, so that you, as the giver, are on the bed on your back. "Lay with your head over the edge of the bed, mouth open, and then have your partner straddle your head and lower themselves to your lips," she suggests. If your partner has a penis, this can help you avoid the gag reflex because the throat is naturally more open in this position, she says. (Here are more ideas for great oral sex positions for vulva-owners.)
And of course, you can always try facesitting or 69-ing. (See More: Everything You Need to Know About the 69 Position).
10. Try teasing with your teeth.
Chances are that for as long as you knew what oral sex was, you've been told to cover your chompers while performing it. Generally, it's a good oral sex technique to wrap your lips around your teeth while dealing with delicate genital skin. But (!) "some people actually like the sensation of teeth in and around their genitals," says Carly S. You'll want to get your partner's consent before surprising them with nips to their bits, but if your partner's junk is generally not sensitive, the slight pressure of teeth can feel good, she says.
Your teeth can also be used like a toy on your partner's other erogenous zones like their thighs, butt, hip bones, and neck. So, before you get to The Main Mouth Event, why not tease your partner's thighs with licks and (gentle) love bites? (BTW: Did you know you shouldn't brush your teeth before performing oral sex?)