Getting down (wahey!) to the basics of oral
Oral sex is when you use your mouth to stimulate your partner’s genitals: their penis, vulva and clitoris, or (if it’s what you/they enjoy) their anus. Oral has always been a hot topic in the world of sex, but it can be pretty intimidating if you’re new to it – and even if you consider yourself a mouthy maestro, we think there’s always room to learn. So we’ve created this basic starter guide to oral, with helpful advice for all!
There are a ton of ways to describe having oral sex, many of them a bit grizzly. Some common phrases include ‘blowjobs,’ ‘sucking off’ or ‘giving head’ if you’re performing oral on a penis, or ‘eating out’ or ‘licking out’ if you’re going down on a vulva and clit. ‘Going down’ is a general term that can apply to either gender.
There are 109 different slang descriptions for oral listed on the online slang dictionary, including ‘muff diving’ ‘playing the skin flute’, and ‘get your chew on’. Spoilt for choice!
Whatever you’ve heard about oral sex, the first and most important thing to remember is that it’s not for everyone. Whether giving or receiving oral, some people love how it feels, and some people really don’t. And that’s totally fine. If you’re not comfortable giving or receiving oral, you should feel able to clearly communicate that with your partner. And remember, as with any sexual act or behaviour, oral should always begin with consent.
Before we get to the good bits, it’s important to say that you can pick up or pass on sexually transmitted infections through oral sex. You’re less likely to catch STIs through oral than through vaginal or anal sex, but if genital fluids come into contact with sores, cuts, or inflamed areas around your mouth, STIs can get into your system.
You can keep safe during oral by using male or female condoms, which act as a barrier between the genitals and the mouth. This might seem like less fun – but safety is not only sexy, it can be tasty too; condom manufacturers have developed entire buffets of flavoured condoms to make oral more interesting. Anyone in the mood for bacon?
Starter tips for giving HER oral
There’s are no fixed rules for what people enjoy when receiving oral, so when you’re going down on a girl it’s really important to ask her if she likes what you’re doing, listen to what she says, and read her body cues. If it seems as though she’s not into it, pause, check, and be ready to stop if she asks you to.
Position: There are loads of different positions for oral – hands and knees with you underneath or behind her, her kneeling or standing – but a good starting point is for her to lie on her back with her legs spread.
The vagina and vulva: Start by gently licking around her vulva and the opening of her vagina. Take it easy and gentle – the last thing she wants is a tongue lashing right at the start – and be careful with your teeth. Stimulation around all areas of the vulva can feel really good, so don’t neglect it for the sake of going straight for the clitoris!
The clitoris: The clitoris is a pea-sized area at the top of the vulva, and it’s VERY SENSITIVE. There are 8,000 nerve endings packed into that pea, so if you go at it too hard, too fast, too soon, it can be uncomfortable or even painful. Experiment with gently licking and sucking on and around the clit, see how she responds, and you can always build up the pressure if she’s into it.
Mix it up: Once you’ve figured out what she enjoys, try to establish a rhythm that works for you both. You can speed things up, or slow them down, and try working down from the clit to the vagina and back to the clit again. Some people like having a finger or two inside their vagina to stimulate their g-spot while being given oral, or having their anus played with – but check with them first.
Starter tips for giving HIM oral
Again, people like totally different things, giving oral to a guy usually means stimulating the head and shaft of his penis. The most sensitive area of the penis is usually the glans (or bellend), but again – different strokes for different folks.
Positions: It’s quite a bit easier to access the penis than it is the vulva, vagina and clitoris. As long as both of you are comfortable, and you’re able to move your head, you could try oral with him standing, lying on his back, straddling your chest, or whatever else works.
Penis action: Hold your mouth around his penis with just your lips touching the shaft, and move your head up and down its length. You can use your tongue to stimulate his shaft and head as well, but be careful of your teeth, as the vast majority of men will not appreciate you scraping their shaft. ‘Blowjob’ is a pretty misleading term – there’s very little blowing involved. ‘Sucking off’ is the same – experiment with gentle sucking, but you’re not a hoover.
Get handsy: If your mouth gets dry you can take breaks, and use your hand to keep stimulating him. It’s a good idea to have lube available, because dry hands can quickly get sandpapery – and there are lots of flavoured lubes out there too if you want to mix things up a bit.
Perineum and balls: Some guys like having their balls gently pulled or played with during oral, or their perineum (the gap between their balls and bum) stroked. Some might also like having their anus played with, but with all of these make sure you check they’re into it before you start rubbing and tugging!
There’s far more to oral than we have space for in this article, so consider these starting points. We have lots more fun stuff about going down on the way, and if you’re hungry for more advice in the meantime here are some great (NOT SAFE FOR SCHOOL OR WORK) webcomics on blowjobs and eating out. Enjoy!