Illustration: Janet Sung
Fair warning: There’s no way to talk about this except directly. Don’t expect puns, double entendres, or any of the other usual ways folks make light of what is a serious topic.
You’re a grown man. You may be single, sleeping around, engaged, married, divorced — whatever the case, you’ve likely had a few serious relationships over the years. You’ve been having sex for a while and believe in learning how to please your partner. You know that the days of men rushing to orgasm and then knocking out are over. You respect any person who welcomes you into their bed, and you thrive on getting it right.
Here’s where you’re likely getting it wrong.
Giving oral is very different between the sexes. If you have a penis, you probably know how to pleasure yourself and have been doing so since adolescence. Your dick has been in your hands for ages; you likely have a set routine to reach orgasm. For the most part, getting a blow job can be an extension of that routine and helping a woman figure out works for you might not be difficult.
Are you committed to going down for the long haul even if you’re not being stimulated?
Those of us with vaginas and clitorises aren’t always that lucky. There are no tropes in our culture that hint at what turns a woman on. We’re not taught to explore our bodies, and there’s more shame than knowledge around our intimate parts. While mothers expect to find hand lotion and crusty socks in their sons’ bedrooms, no one discusses what an adolescent girl might be doing. Many women come into adulthood still confused about what turns them on and not confident enough to express this to their partners.
So I’ll be blunt: We need experts. Oral is not for the faint of heart. It’s a grown man’s sport. An expert is fine with spreading legs and holding them there indefinitely, or using face-sitting as an alternative. An expert is confident enough to stop and check in to make sure it still feels good. An expert is always experimenting. An expert is not darting the first two inches of his tongue in and out like a gecko. An expert knows that direct stimulation of her clit — when the time is right — is likely the way to get her to the Promised Land.
But to be an expert, you have to actually want to do it. That’s it. Everything else will come. (Okay, one pun.)
If you don’t like doing oral, we can tell. Think about how you feel getting a blow job from someone who’s clearly not into it — either not into the act itself, or not interested in maximizing your pleasure.
If you feel tentative or nervous, don’t go down there. And although going down on your woman should be a given (if she likes it, of course), it’s better to not do it at all than to do it half-assed.
If you’re turned off by a woman’s natural aroma, same rule applies. You’re not built for it. There was a time when women were encouraged to put all kinds of nonsense in our nether regions to smell “right.” We know better now. The vagina is self-cleaning. If you want to, you can catch her fresh from the shower. But if you need her to smell like roses and incense down there… don’t bother. (But do grow up.)
If you can’t focus for at least 30 minutes, don’t go down there. The average woman needs anywhere from 15 minutes to a smooth hour to orgasm from cunnilingus. Is your neck strong? Are you committed to the long haul even if you’re not being stimulated? Part of what makes oral both amazing and intimidating for women is the pure selflessness of the act. A 69 position so that everyone is stimulated might seem like a good compromise — but honestly, that’s Advanced Oral. If your partner hasn’t tried it, or either of you gets too distracted to hold up your part of the bargain, you might want to hold off.
Unlike sports, just being willing to get it right makes you an expert. That’s not to say there’s no such thing as too much enthusiasm — but we’re down to coach if you’re down to learn. Because just like every other sexual moment, your ears are the most important body part of all.