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A Lesbian’s Guide to Making Sure You’re Doing Oral Sex Right

Listen up y’all, because your good pal merritt is about to reveal another secret of lesbian sexual charisma. This time: oral. Giving head. Eating pussy. Cunnilingus. Whatever you call it, it’s too often done poorly, for the wrong reasons, or not at all. Let’s see what we can do about that.

First, for the love of God, don’t make going down on a woman into a macho thing or some kind of bizarre gesture about “making it up to her.” More than any technique I can impart, this is key.

I repeat, DO NOT make oral sex into your personal sexual crusade.

Why? Because bringing these kinds of motivations into the picture makes the act about you and your needs — to be seen as sexually competent, giving, or “different” — rather than your partner’s. And trust me, your desire to eat pussy isn’t as special as you might think. Doubt it? Go on Craigslist and check out what men are seeking from women. It’s a changed world out there: The issue for many women isn’t that their male partners aren’t willing to go down on them, but that they’re overly pushy or downright terrible at it.

Also, if you ask and she’s not into it, let it go. Plenty of women aren’t interested in getting head. Insisting that they just haven’t had it done right or need to learn how to experience their own bodies is about as helpful as, oh, doing it like it’s done in mainstream lesbian porn.

I went a little hard on you there, huh? Let me make it up to you with a deeply embarrassing personal story.

The first time I made out with a girl I attempted to do it with about two inches of air between our faces, our tongues kind of awkwardly dancing fully outside of our mouths. Why? Because I’d learned to do it from Skinemax.

If you learned to eat pussy from that kind of media, you might approach it similarly — with plenty of distance between your face and your lover’s crotch, more implying the act of cunnilingus than actually performing it.

There’s a good reason that things have been traditionally filmed this way, and it has less to do with the giving party’s reluctance than with getting a clean shot. So this is one case where porn is misleading: You want to get right in there, to the point that a hypothetical cameraperson would have a devil of a time capturing the detail of the action.

Another don’t: Giving up immediately. As Jimmy Eat World said, “It just takes some time.” Maybe you can get off from oral immediately, but it’s likely that your partner can’t. I wouldn’t say this is absolutely gendered, either; many men I’ve known can’t get off from just a blow job.

Finally, keep your comments about pubic hair (or lack thereof) to yourself. Yes, if she doesn’t shave, you’re probably going to end up with one or two hairs in your mouth. But if you’ve never gone through the delicate and irritating procedure of shaving your own genitals, then you forgo the right to be vocally annoyed about a stray strand on your tongue.

Now that we’ve gotten the major don’ts out of the way, let’s move onto the dos:

Start Slow. Remembering that this isn’t about a demonstration of your personal prowess, start slow and ramp up in intensity and speed as you go. Get in there, but, you know, don’t just start rubbing your face around like a maniac. This is a useful approach in most things, actually — better to have your partner begging for more than to put them in the position of having to ask you to ease up.

Look Lively. What should you actually be doing? The classic guides will give you that old chestnut about spelling the alphabet with your tongue. Nonsense. Much like a David Mamet film, you want to get in there and do things in the most simple, uninflected way possible. When you get down to it, you’re looking at two different motions: rotational (clockwise or counter) and vertical. In both cases you should be making as full use of the surface area of your tongue as possible, not just the tip.

Do Less. Again, remember to build in intensity. Don’t jump right to the clit, don’t look to collect one orgasm. The clitoris isn’t a secret orgasm button. Why not? Imagine that the head of your dick was hardly ever exposed. Imagine how sensitive it would be, to the point of overstimulation. That’s basically a clit, which means that for many women, it’s possible to do too much in that area. Do less, at least to start.

Jazz Things Up. Once things get going, try putting a finger or two in her. Yes, this might get a little awkward. But in doing so, you’ll have combined your powers — Voltron-like — into the equivalent of a Rabbit. While you’re at it, don’t forget to brush up on your hand technique.

Of course, as in all things, preferences vary.

To reiterate my first point, it doesn’t matter how much experience or skill you have at oral sex — some people just aren’t into it. Again, the most important piece of advice I can offer is this: Listen to your partner. If she says she likes sucking dick, believe her. If she wants you to call her names, certainly don’t tell her it’s not feminist. And if she says she doesn’t like oral, leave it at that and move on to something else.