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The New Pussy-Eating Paradigm

Forget your flickering tongue, good head is all about grit, gusto and... active listening

According to Google, there are approximately 94,000,000 “guides” on the internet for how to eat pussy. I regret to inform you that every single one of them is wrong. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “right” way to do it, nor is there some convenient, universal method that can be easily distilled into a handy to-do list.

Rather, good head is an art — one that requires oral alacrity, curiosity and gumption in equal parts — and the real skill is figuring out what works for the pussy in question. To do that, you’ll have to learn to listen, adapt and really get into it.

Lucky for you, I’ve invited a few prominent pussy eaters from porn’s past and present to show you the way.

Adapt and Overcome

In high school, there was a guy who spoke so confidently about his alphabet method (i.e., doing the ABCs with your tongue) that I believed it was the official pussy-eating method. But when I finally experienced it myself, I found it sorely underwhelming. As it turns out, that little punk-ass made the biggest mistake a tonguesman can make: Assuming his methods would work for everyone. Instead, the real secret to cunnilingus is to keep your mind as open as your gaping maw.

Which brings us to Pussy Realization #1: No two vulvas are the same. Everyone responds differently to different sensations, so if you want to master pussy eating, you have to adapt to what works for your particular partner.

For example, queer porn performer Valentine Vonbettie specifically likes the “tip of someone’s tongue under [her] clitoral hood with a firm and consistent side-to-side motion, all while providing suction.” This may be a very different preference than the person she’s with. “When I encounter those with clits like mine, the same sensation I enjoy seems to work for them,” she says. “But when I’m going down on someone else, I try a variety of other things. Most people I’ve encountered like either above the hood or right below the clit in a side-to-side motion.”

Then there’s Aurora Mattia, a fiction writer and porn performer with an entirely different taste for being tasted. Since she underwent bottom surgery four years ago, Mattia says she’s had to relearn how much stimulation her clit can handle. In doing so, she’s discovered that having sensation inside her vagina at the same time makes cunnilingus much more pleasurable. “When I have someone’s fingers putting pressure inside me, it allows sensation to become pleasure and let’s me stop focusing on trying to make sense of my body. Feathering with a tongue is too much for me. It’s so much lightness that it hurts; it needs to be a consistent firm contact.”

In other words, it’s all about experimenting with what feels good and letting things evolve from there. “It’s not about getting your partner to cum so you can move on to penetration or your turn,” says Sovereign Syre, a writer, comedian and former adult performer. “It’s about building pleasure in their body, listening and vibing with what’s going on inside them.”

Listen Up

Because everyone likes their pussy eaten differently, it’s important to recognize that being good at cunnilingus (or any type of sex for that matter) is less about immediate, overwhelming talent and more about developing active listening skills. The more you listen to your partner’s words and body language, the more you can learn about what feels good to them.

The key to active listening is to create an environment where your partner is comfortable being open about their body and desires. Ask them specific questions about what feels good, try to paraphrase what they said and then repeat it back to them so it’s clear you’re on the same page. Be ready to hear their answers without judging them (or yourself), too.

Oh, and you might want to try that when you’re not having sex. “Assuming we’re planning on fucking more than once, it’s simplest and easiest if my partner and I talk about what feels good outside of the time we’re actually having sex,” says Mattia. “It makes things feel less delicate.”

Of course, communication isn’t always verbal. Body language, as well as the sounds your partner makes, are also forms of communication that spell out what they want. For example: While I usually get louder when my partner is mouthfucking my holes how I like, I notice that she typically squeezes my head between her thighs more and more as my mouth gets on the right track.

“My partners usually put a hand on the back of my head when I need to stay put, or I direct someone’s hand back there so they know they can control my placement,” explains Vonbettie. “I listen to someone’s moans or noises or pay attention to their body movements and adjust accordingly.”

Forget About “Performing”

While open communication and asking for direction is important, one question you probably should ask less is whether your partner came. While there’s nothing wrong with the query in and of itself — or with cumming — it reveals a troubling tendency of treating orgasm as the end-all-be-all of sex, rather than as one point on a much larger horny journey. This isn’t only tacky, but it puts an unreasonable amount of pressure on both your partner and yourself to “perform” (whatever the hell that means).

“The ‘did you cum’ question implies that sex is about finishing, when in reality sex is about starting and building intimacy,” Syre tells me. “It’s never really ‘finished.’ The focus should be on making your partner feel good and facilitating a situation in which there isn’t pressure for them to ‘perform’ for you. Rather, they should feel like they can experience pleasure with you, whether they cum or not.”

If your partner does want to cum, that may require an equal amount of patience. There isn’t much research on the average amount of time it takes someone to cum from cunnilingus, but speaking as a tenured rug muncher, we’re looking at anywhere from a couple of minutes to the better part of an hour. Again, adaptability is essential. If your tongue or jaw grows weary, focus more on using your lips and sucking. If your neck begins to strain, ask for them to sit on your face, switch to manually stimulating their clit or break out a toy. Find a middle ground between what feels best for them and what is manageable for you.

Get Into It

It sounds obvious, but the most important part of eating pussy is having fun (cue balloons and streamers). It’s something that’s meant to be pleasurable not only to your partner but to you, and there’s a certain electricity that can happen when you’re really enjoying yourself. I’ve noticed that, when I’m giving head, I’m usually really turned on by doing the things that I love having done to me, many of which are less about technique and more about someone expressing zealous desire for my pleasure. Often, I’ll use my hands and toys in addition to oral stimulation, tell someone how good they taste or feel in my mouth and ask to have my face straddled.

In fact, when asked what makes the ideal cunnilinguist in her eyes, Mattia says it’s “dedication.” “Someone has to want to do it, not just to want me to want them to do it,” she says. Likewise, she defines someone who gives “good head” as someone who’ll eat her out for as “long as [she] wants.”

Vonbettie’s feelings are similar. “Someone has to be passionate about it, enjoy the mess and really enjoy pleasuring their lover,” she explains. “A lot of people are fluid-averse, or cunnilingus is either unfamiliar or intimidating to them. I’ve had people stop when they’re getting me close to orgasm, and I’m not sure where their head’s at. So being present and dedicated really helps.”

To conclude, I’ll leave you with something Tony Soprano once said: “Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.” And while he was referring to a failed assassination attempt made on him by his own uncle, it’s equally true that being good at eating pussy can only come from self-knowledge, solid interpersonal skills and just repeatedly giving head until you figure it out.

So true, Tony Soprano. So true.

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