By: Stephanie Delgado and Lindsay Curtis
Table of Contents
- How do I know if I’m doing it right?
- Should oral sex be fast or slow?
- What do I do with the clitoris during oral sex?
- My tongue is tired. What else can I do to please my partner?
- How can I incorporate the vagina into oral sex?
- What positions are there for oral sex?
- My partner is close to orgasm. What do I do now?
Oral sex. Cunnilingus. Eating out. Giving head.
Whatever you call it, going down on a person with a vulva is an amazing experience for everyone involved—if you do it right. (So for the love of vulvas, please stop drawing the ABC’s with your tongue.)
Good oral sex can make you feel like you have superpowers, whether you’re the giving or receiving partner. Going down on a woman (or person with a vulva) requires finesse. It requires confidence. Most of all, it requires you to understand what you’re doing and why.
Instead of turning oral sex into a spelling bee or guessing game, take a look at our tips for both giving and receiving oral sex, as well as some quotes from both oral sex givers and receivers.
We’re not saying they’re totally fail-proof oral sex tips, but they are fun and sexy, with the potential to produce mind-blowing orgasms!
Going down on a woman: am I doing this right?
Oral Sex Tip #1: Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Maximizing your partner’s pleasure means communicating with them before, during, and after the fact.
“Instead of making assumptions, ask a woman what turns her on,” advises Niki Davis-Fainbloom, a New York-area sex coach. “Does she prefer more or less pressure? Where does she enjoy being touched? Which motion feels good for her? By keeping the communication open, having no assumptions, and learning to figure out what pleases each person, you should be able to give incredible head."
Pleasure is specific to each and every one of us; what works for one partner, may not be pleasurable to another. By talking about what sensations, rhythms, and positions your partner likes most, you’re already on your way to giving them a great oral sex experience.
Cunnilingus Pro-tip: If you are the partner with the vulva and you’re unsure of what you like, consensual experimentation is the way to go. Open up the conversation with your partner about things you’d like to try, such as different positions, speeds, and techniques. This is a great way to explore your pleasure and what works best for you.
Communication before and after oral sex
Before the act itself, Kathleen*, a giver and receiver of oral sex says, “boundaries should be verbalized and discussed.” Once she’s in the moment, however, she says “the simplest words can be the most powerful. ‘Tell me what you like.’ ‘Is this okay?’ ‘Can I ___?’ Enthusiasm is fundamental, and body language communicates that as much as words.”
Another reciever of oral sex, Valerie*, encourages direct, honest direction. “Tell your partner what to do in the moment. If you don’t say what you want, they can’t give you what you want. When you are getting what you want, though, express that it feels good so they know to keep it up.”
Is oral sex supposed to be fast or slow?
Oral Sex Tip #2: Start slow and build up to climax
Great music never starts off with the crescendo—it builds up to it. Oral sex and giving your partner an orgasm should be like that unless they’ve communicated otherwise. (See, that’s why it’s Tip #1).
Starting slow during oral sex has a few benefits. For one, you’re letting your partner’s excitement build. This lets them get more out of the experience—more time and more pleasure—as well as a potentially better orgasm.
But we don’t literally mean “lick the vulva slowly.” While sometimes that feels nice, going slow during oral sex can also mean taking your time to get to the vulva. Kiss your partner’s legs, their belly, their hips…
Your partner’s entire body is a map. Find the longest route that leads to their vulva and drive slow.
Does going slow really make that much of a difference?
As both a giver and receiver of oral sex, Lindsay suggests lavishing your partner’s “body with attention by massaging, kissing and licking everywhere but the clitoris.” Starting slowly in this way gets blood flowing to the clitoris while you give the rest of their body attention.
Natasha*, another self-identified lesbian says, "I've been guilty of rushing things because I so enjoy going down on a woman, but what I've learned over time is that when I move too quickly, I'm actually taking away from my partner’s pleasure, not adding to it."
What do I do with the clitoris?
Oral Sex Tip #3: The clitoris needs love too
“Less than 20 percent of women can orgasm without clitoral stimulation," explains Davis-Fainbloom. "Knowing this, my advice is to put at least 80 percent of your effort into pleasuring the clit.”
This can look like:
- Circling or swirling your tongue around the clitoris
- Flicking your tongue against the clitoris
- Flattening your tongue and experimenting with different rhythms and pressure against the clitoris
You’ll know you’ve hit the right tempo when your partner is writhing and moaning in ecstasy.
Cunnilingus Pro-tip: Gently sucking on the clitoris or clitoral hood is overlooked, but also incredibly effective. Also, if things are getting too intense to be pleasurable, take a break from your partner’s clitoris and give sucking their labia a try.
Don’t jump right to the clitoris
“When you’re going down on a woman, think of the clitoris as the creamy center of a really good chocolate, not the cherry on top of an ice cream,” says Kate*, a receiver of oral sex. “When a partner waits to get to the clitoris, the experience is so much nicer. When they jump right to the clitoris, though, it’s often uncomfortable and too much stimulation.”
Valerie* also cautions against being too focused on the clitoris. “It’s not a button on a game controller. You have to give other areas attention too.”
Is the tongue the only part used during oral sex?
Oral Sex Tip #4: Use your whole mouth and face
The tip of the tongue sure does a lot of work when it comes to going down on someone with a vulva. In fact, it can be pretty tiring for the muscle. Fortunately, it isn’t the only tool you have at your disposal to give your partner pleasure.
The vulva has nerve endings all over and the majority of the clitoris is actually inside the body, with shafts running down both sides of the vulva. The pea-shaped bulb we can see is just the tip-top of a wishbone shaped organ. Getting your entire mouth involved means you’re more likely to engage these additional parts of the body.
If you’re giving oral sex, touch these spots by using your mouth to kiss and suck, or even use your nose! If you weren’t sure why Cardi B sang, “swipe your nose like a credit card” in WAP, now you know.
If you’re receiving oral sex, experiment with straddling your partner and/or grinding while they eat you out to engage more than just their tongue. Just be sure to maintain communication in case this is uncomfortable on your partner and their breathing.
Have we mentioned you can thank us later?
Cunnilingus Pro-tip: Instead of the ABC’s, flatten your tongue and give the “ice cream method” a try. Licking your partner’s entire vulva as if you’re enjoying an ice cream cone treats them like the sweet treat they are and gives “scream for ice cream” a whole new meaning! It also gives the muscles in your tongue a break and helps you engage more of your partner’s body at once.
Don’t let your tongue be a one-person show
According to Kathleen*, “the tongue is just one member of a show that stars the lips, the neck, and probably one or both hands. Your lips can perform suction. Your tongue alone cannot. I'm just sayin’.”
Kate* echoes this sentiment and says, “I love when my partner uses their entire face when they go down on me. It feels great and adds to their enthusiasm which makes everything so much more enjoyable for me!”
How can I incorporate the vagina into oral sex?
Oral Sex Tip #5: Incorporating the vagina into oral sex can take pleasure to new heights
Elevate your oral sex experience by combining oral prowess with penetration. Sex toys, such as the Lioness Vibrator, and fingers are great additions when they’re welcomed.
If you’re the person giving oral sex, tease your partner’s vaginal opening with your tongue, then introduce sex toys or fingers when they’re ready.
If you’re the person receiving oral sex, give penetrating yourself a try while your partner pleases you orally. Having control of your own penetration is a great way to find a sensation you like while your partner takes care of the rest.
Many people with vaginas say penetration—whether it’s with a toy or fingers—increases the intensity of their orgasms, particularly if you’re hitting the g-spot while simultaneously stimulating the clitoris.
Vagina + oral sex = 😍
“When my partner goes down on me without penetration, it feels nice. Sometimes I find it so relaxing that I feel like I could drift off to sleep,” says Julia*. “When they use their fingers, though, it’s a whole different story! Suddenly my body is beyond responsive—I can even squirt like this!”
Are there any fun positions for oral sex?
Oral Sex Tip #6: Stop lying on your back
Okay, so that tip is a bit misleading. Lying on your back during oral sex—especially with a pillow or wedge under your lower back—can feel really f**king great. But it’s certainly not the only way.
We mentioned it above, but one alternative position for oral sex is straddling your partner’s face. It helps if you have something to hold yourself up on, whether that’s a wall, headboard, couch arm, etc. This position puts you in control, allowing you to add or remove pressure as needed.
You can even try a doggy-style like position where the person receiving is on all fours and the person giving oral sex eats them out from behind. (This is also a great way to bring your booty to the party with anal-rimming and other types of anal play!)
Cunnilingus Pro-tip: If you’re into giving and receiving, 69 is for you! This position is known for allowing two partners to enjoy oral at the same time and can be great way to connect during oral sex.
Ass play is a normal part of oral sex
“While I’m guilty of loving having my ass and vulva eaten at the same time, I have one unbreakable rule for my partners: do not touch my vulva or vagina with your fingers or toy if you’ve touched my anus,” says one oral sex receiver, Kate*. “I don’t want to end up with an infection after a good time and having this rule gives me peace of mind that I won’t.”
What happens when someone is close to orgasm from oral sex?
Oral Sex Tip #7: Don’t. Stop. What. You’re. Doing.
When someone with a vulva nears orgasm during oral sex, it may seem like a good time to speed things up or apply more pressure.
Trust us, this is not a good time for that.
Instead, stay the course with what you’re doing and let your partner tell you if they want you to do otherwise. While everyone is different, the best thing to do when you know your partner is close to orgasm is to keep doing exactly what you’re doing.
Harder, Better, Faster
Lindsay says, “I’ve had partners get carried away and speed things up when they feel I’m nearing orgasm, and it always delays the Big O and takes me longer to come when they do this. Trust that you’ll bring her to orgasm more quickly by staying consistent.”
Confidence & safety: the secret to better oral sex
Oral sex is a skill and it’s going to take practice, just like any other skill.
The secret to developing those skills for both givers and receivers is to maintain confidence, communicate clearly, and don’t be afraid to try new oral sex techniques.
Curious to learn more about your pleasure and what works for you? Try the Lioness Smart Vibrator!
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* Thank you to all of our contributors for their incredible input about giving and receiving oral sex. Except for those of our authors and experts, all names have been changed to respect their anonymity.