What is Oral Sex?
Oral sex is a highly intimate sexual activity that involves one partner using their mouth to stimulate the other partner’s genitals. Although this increasingly popular sexual behavior is often performed as a form of foreplay, it can also be done without the intent to continue towards penetrative sexual activity. It is important to remember that communication is always key during any sexual encounter, and talking beforehand about what each partner is comfortable with will ensure a more pleasurable experience for all involved.
Because oral sex is a highly intimate experience, make sure that you are ready and willing to explore or be explored in this way. Do not allow someone to pressure you into oral sex by using lines such as “It’s not real sex, you will still be a virgin,” “If you are not going to have sex with me then you should at least go down on me,” or “You got me aroused, you can’t leave me hanging, you owe me this.” If you are happy and comfortable with your partner, then oral sex can be a great way to be intimate and learn about each other’s turn-ons.1 It is normal to feel nervous when giving or receiving oral sex for the first time, or when engaging in oral sex with a new partner, but over time and with practice, you will feel more confident and you will learn what feels good to you and to your partner.
Mouth-to-vulva stimulation is called cunnilingus, also referred to as “eating out.” The partner uses their tongue and mouth to stimulate the clitoris and surrounding areas of the vulva, including the mons, the vaginal opening, and the inner and outer lips. Licking and sucking these areas provides pleasurable stimulation. It is a good idea to begin by exploring the receiving female’s body, especially her upper thighs and the area around her vulva, by lightly kissing, licking, or sucking, to get her aroused. As she becomes more aroused, it is helpful to focus primarily on the clitoris to bring her to orgasm. However, many females enjoy being simultaneously penetrated, either by fingers or a sex toy. The clitoris is the most sensitive area of the vulva, containing more than 8,000 nerve endings.1 To find the clitoris, gently part the outer lips of the vulva, and look for the vaginal opening. The hooded clitoris will be just above it.1 Start off by softly licking her vulva with slow caresses using a relaxed tongue, and work your way up to faster thrusts with a firmer, pointed tongue. It is important to be aware of how the receiving partner reacts to changes in speed and pressure, and to adjust the technique in response to these reactions. Do not hesitate to talk to your partner and ask her what she likes and wants. For the receiver, it can be helpful to give clear positive affirmation such as “I like when you do this” or “Yes, keep doing that with your tongue,” to let the giving partner know that what they are doing is being enjoyed. Phrases such as “Please slow down” or “I would really like it if you try [blank] instead” can be equally as helpful for the giving partner.
It can also be pleasurable to use your fingers, as well as your mouth, to stimulate her. For example, insert one or two fingers into the vagina, or use your fingers to stimulate the clitoris and surrounding areas. Many females find that cunnilingus is the only way they can orgasm with a partner. Others, however, are not comfortable with this type of sexual activity. It is essential to know what your partner's comfort level is and to communicate before attempting to engage in this sexual behavior. It is also wise to use dental dams when performing cunnilingus to reduce the risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), which may be transmitted through vaginal fluids.
Common Sex Positions for Females Receiving Cunnilingus
In this position, you are able to lie back with your knees bent, and enjoy the pleasure that you are about to receive. Find a comfortable position and experiment with different configurations to make this position the most pleasurable for you and your partner. Try opening and closing your legs, moving your knees up and down, or moving your hips, and see what works best for you. Placing a pillow or two under your hips will help elevate your pelvis and make your vulva more accessible to your partner’s mouth and fingers. If you are comfortable doing so, remove the covers so your partner can breathe and see you better. This way, you can also enjoy watching what your partner is doing, which can be a turn-on for both of you. Increase the intimacy even more by making eye contact with your partner as they pleasure you. By putting your feet down, you will be able to have more control by moving your hips to help guide your partner’s tongue to your most sensitive areas. An alternative way to position your legs is to wrap them around your partner’s shoulders. If this is comfortable for you, then it is a very good way to communicate your enthusiasm and excitement to your partner, which is extremely sexy.2 Both verbal and nonverbal communication can be used as a turn-on and as a tool to encourage the giving partner. Some examples of nonverbal positive reinforcement include moaning and moving your body, which helps the giver know what they are doing right. Sometimes, though, it can be helpful to use your words to explicitly communicate things to your partner. For example, a partner’s noise or movement may be misunderstood, which could lead to the cessation of a positive encounter, or the continuation of a negative encounter. Clearly vocalizing your emotions and feelings to your partner can lead to an overall positive sexual experience.
Tip for the giver: While she is lying on her back, keep her knees wide. This gives you more of an opening to work with and helps with the sensation.3 Gently pulling the labia apart and pulling upwards on the mons can help to expose the clitoris and stimulate the nerve endings in the labia.
Queening (aka facesitting)
This position allows the receiving female to take control of her pleasure. Let your partner lie down and kneel over their face. The receiving female on top can be facing either direction (see image for an illustration of one direction, but try out both and see what you like!). Moving up and down controls how much they can reach your vulva, and moving your hips back and forth or side-to-side can help intensify your pleasure.2
Tip for the receiver: While hovering above your partner, extend your arms forward to use a wall, the floor, the bed, or other surroundings as support. This will take some of the weight distribution away from your legs and may be more comfortable.
This position involves you getting on all fours and allowing your partner to stimulate you from behind. Doggy style allows for easy access to other sensitive areas, such as the anus, for fingering or analingus. In the position, the vulva may be a bit more closed, which can provide the opportunity for a different kind of stimulation, and less direct clitoral stimulation.
In this position, you can sit on the edge of a chair, bed, countertop, desk, etc. and invite your partner to kneel or stand in front of you to perform oral sex. If the giver is kneeling on a hard surface, placing a pillow underneath the knees may provide additional comfort.
Oral stimulation of a male's genitals is called fellatio, but is more commonly referred to as a “blowjob” or “head.” A male can receive oral without having an erection yet. It is often used as a way to bring the male partner to an erection. The male's partner stimulates him by licking and sucking on his penis and sometimes the testicles. The glans, frenulum, corona, and penile shaft are highly sensitive. The penis is said to contain about 4,000 nerve endings, and the foreskin, if the male is uncircumcised, is said to contain about 20,000 nerve endings.4 Fellatio usually involves putting the penis into the mouth and moving in an in and out motion, starting gently, and working up to a faster pace. Teeth can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, so the lips should be the main source of pressure on the penis. As the male gets more aroused, his partner can move the penis deeper into the throat or speed up the pace of the in and out motion. If his partner is not comfortable moving the penis further into the mouth, they may place their hands around the base of the penis and move their hands up and down simultaneously with their mouth.
Giving or receiving fellatio has the potential to be both a safe and rewarding sexual experience. You should discuss your concerns and preferences prior to engaging in fellatio, and you and your partner should feel comfortable talking with each other during oral sex if a problem happens to arise. Common problems that occur during fellatio include (but are not limited to) harming the penis with one’s teeth, a male partner forcing his penis too deeply into his partner’s throat/mouth, or a male partner ejaculating into the other partner’s mouth without warning.
Upon reaching orgasm a male can either withdraw his penis from his partner’s mouth or ejaculate into it. If the latter occurs, the partner decides to either swallow the ejaculate or spit it out. If the man withdraws his penis from his partner’s mouth, his partner can continue to stimulate the glans and the shaft of the penis from the side with either their hands or mouth. Both partners can then decide where the receiving partner will ejaculate. Some have a towel or tissues handy to catch the ejaculated semen. Others allow their partner to ejaculate on their body. Ejaculation on the face is known as a facial, and must be performed carefully and with full consent to avoid
causing pain to the eyes. A female may switch to stimulation with the breasts once her partner is close to ejaculating. Again, it is extremely important to talk to your partner beforehand and have a plan for what to do when the male orgasms. It may even be wise to reaffirm the decision soon before ejaculation occurs. If pregnancy is a concern, it is important to ejaculate away from a female’s vulva to prevent pregnancy.
Any of the options for ejaculation are perfectly acceptable. Make sure that you are comfortable with whichever choice you make, and that you communicate freely with your partner during the experience. Also, it is absolutely okay to change your mind at any point, and you should not feel forced to swallow your partner’s semen if you are not comfortable doing so, even if you previously agreed to it.
Beyond personal preferences, if you are planning to participate in fellatio, you should be aware that oral sex allows for the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Proper barrier methods, such as condoms, should be used to prevent this. We recommend that all partners get tested for STIs prior to engaging in any sexual activity, especially if it is unprotected, so that when you do engage in sexual activity you are aware of the risks and use proper protection.
Common Positions for Males Receiving Fellatio
In this position, the receiving male gets to lie back, relax, and enjoy the pleasure that he is receiving. This position allows the giver to control the depth and speed of penetration.2
Tip for the giver: For an added bonus, try sucking on an ice cube or taking a sip of cold water before going down on your partner. Changing the temperature of your mouth can create a new and fun sensation.
This position involves the receiver standing and the giver sitting or kneeling in front of them. Here, the giver’s hands are free to focus on pleasuring their partner. Using the hands simultaneously with the mouth allows for stimulation of the entire penis while taking some pressure off the giver to take the entire length of the shaft into their mouth.
Deep-throating can be performed in any of the above suggested positions. If you are comfortable with your abilities, and trust your partner, you can try an advanced position, which allows for the receiving partner to control the thrusting. In this position, one partner lies down on the bed with their head hanging off the edge, and the male inserts his penis into their mouth. In this position, as well as any of the others, it is recommended to decide on a hand signal before beginning that signals the thruster to stop and remove the penis.
Deep-throating is a sexual technique that requires the giver to suppress their gag reflex in order to partially swallow the entire length of the penis. Deep-throating, which is considered a skill by many individuals, requires muscle control and a very willing partner. If you have never tried this technique, or if you have tried it and found that you have a sensitive gag reflex (feeling like you are going to vomit), then we suggest you practice on toys that are safe for sex before you try this with your partner.
Slowly and carefully slide the head and shaft of the penis into your mouth, as far down as you feel comfortable with. You can slowly practice by gradually working your way down until you can fit the entire penis into your mouth. Keep in mind that even with practice, deep-throating is not for everyone. Make sure to communicate with your partner to let them know not to force or thrust while you are preforming this act, as it can cause you to gag and even vomit.
Simultaneous Stimulation – 69
These oral-genital sexual activities can be performed simultaneously. The term for this sexual behavior is sixty-nining. Partners may lay either side by side or one on top of the other with their mouths facing the other's genitals. In this position they are able to perform oral sex on each other at the same time. Once again, communication is key. It's essential that each person know what their partner's comfort level is, and communicating can help each person learn what their partner likes.
Although oral sex refers to cunnilingus and fellatio, the tongue can be used to stimulate other areas of the body as well. Sexual play regarding the anus, such as penetrative anal sex and oral-anal stimulation known as analingus, has historically been a very taboo topic and has generally been associated with homosexuality. However, in the recent past it has come to society’s attention that many heterosexual couples are experimenting with anal play and embracing the new sensations that they are discovering. Anal play is not for everyone, as it requires lots of communication and preparation, such as copious amounts of lubrication and total relaxation, in order for the experience to be satisfying. Analingus has become increasingly popular as a way for all sorts of couples to stimulate each other. Analingus can be very pleasurable due to the sensitive nerve endings concentrated around the anus. Just because a person enjoys having their anus stimulated does not mean that they are homosexual or have coprophilia, a sexual fetish associated with feces.
Analingus is commonly referred to as rimming, salad tossing, eating ass, or butt-eating.
Tips for Great Analingus
1. Be Clean
Take a shower and clean your anus and the surrounding area with soap and water.
2. Never Double Dip
Do not ever put anything that has been in or on your anus into your vagina without washing it first. You can transfer bacteria and micro-organisms from your anus and rectum to your vagina and urethra, which can cause infections because the vagina and urethra are very sensitive to changes and require a very precise balance of bacteria to remain healthy. Use a new condom each time you switch orifices, and remember to use plenty of lubricant. Unlike the vagina, the anus has no ability to produce a natural lubricant. Inserting a penis, finger, or sex toy into the anus without using generous amounts of lubrication can easily cause small tears or fissures in the anal opening and in the rectum. This can cause considerable pain and damage to the receiving partner.
The small tears in the delicate anal tissue are open pathways for the transmission of STIs, including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a life threatening condition. Even if lubrication is used, very small tears in the anal and rectal tissue can still occur, which is why it is very important to always wear a condom when engaging in anal intercourse. The risks that anal sex pose to one's health are very serious, so being educated and taking precautions during anal play is extremely important.
3. Use Your Breath
Blow warm air onto the anus and around it for gentle stimulation and teasing.
4. Use Your Tongue
A relaxed tongue is useful for flicking and rubbing the general area, while a stiffened tongue can be used to penetrate, probe, tap, and trace the anal rim.5
5. Use Your Lips
Kiss and suck on the anus and surrounding areas, such as the thighs, buttocks, and lower back.5
6. Use Your Hands
Pull apart the butt-cheeks to have easier access to the anus, and try reaching around to fondle the front genitals.
7. Use Toys
Butt plugs, anal beads, dildos, and penises can be inserted into the rectum to help stimulate the male prostate or intensify female pelvic orgasms.5 Make sure that any toys that you use are made specifically for anal play. Many butt plugs have a wider base to ensure that the toy does not become stuck in the rectum, which may cause considerable pain and frustration, and can require a doctor’s visit for removal.
Additional Ways to Stimulate a Partner Using One’s Mouth
There are many erotic areas other than the genitals on the human body. The level of erotic sensitivity of a particular body part depends largely on the amount of nerve endings that are located in that region. Licking, kissing, and caressing different parts of the body with the tongue and lips can be a huge turn on for some people. The thighs, feet, neck, ears, and chest all contain an enormous number of nerve endings, so it can really pay off to focus on those areas in addition to the genitals. Exploring each other’s entire bodies can make for an extremely intimate experience.
1. How to have oral sex | AVERT. (2015, May 1). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from Avert.org.
2. 11 Ridiculously Hot Oral Sex Positions You NEED To Try. (2016, January 21). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from YourTango.com.
3. Stevens, E. (n.d.). The Best Oral Sex of Her Life: 7 Easy Steps. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from MensFitness.com.
4. Multiple Ooooh’s. (2010, December 28). Retrieved May 3, 2016, from SexualHealthSite.info
5. Phillips, S. (2012, April 16). 5 Top Tips for Expert Analingus (aka Rimming, Salad Tossing, Butt Eating). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from LaWeekly.com.
Last Updated: 4 May 2016.