Oral sex, cunnilingus
Easy tips for fantastic oral sex
Cunnilingus: how to improve your oral sex game
Cunnilingus: the stimulation of the female genitals using the tongue or lips.
Hi, you wonderful thing. You want to pleasure a vulva-owner. Good on you. And good on them. Then let’s get all your questions on oral sex (cunnilingus) answered and most importantly, set you up with some tips and tricks. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- THROUGH THE AGES: CUNNILINGUS ON EVERYONE’S LIPS
- IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE YOU MUNCH THE JEWELS
- QUESTIONS AND MYTHS SURROUNDING CUNNILINGUS
- TRIED AND TESTED TECHNIQUES FOR CUNNILINGUS
- QUIT PRO QUO — RECIPRICATORY ORAL SEX
- AFTERCARE — COMING DOWN
- WAS I GOOD AT CUNNILINGUS?
YOUR CHEAT SHEET FOR FINGER-LICKING ORAL SEX
Word of warning, it’s not short. This is a comprehensive guide, packed with information about cunnilingus, what it’s like for the vulva-owner and relevant tips for the giver.
Before we start, let me just re-confirm what some might forget: cunnilingus means absolute trust for another. It is an intimate act and whilst some may be hot for it, others might be slower to spread their legs to your licking.
Here’s a few wonderful descriptions for it: beat the beaver, clap the clit, carpet munching, cuntlicking, dining at the Y, finger fuck, fluff the muff, get in touch with your feminine side, grease the gash, lip service, muff diving, paddle the pink canoe, pet the poodle, pussy eating, rub one out, slam the clam, tickle the taco, two-finger tango, vagina monologue, vibing out, waxing the turtle shell.
And for some facts: 70–80 per cent of women need clitoral stimulation to climax.
THROUGH THE AGES: CUNNILINGUS ON EVERYONE’S LIPS
Firstly, there is a vast world of historic references to cunnilingus out there that I at this point shall not dive into. Fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, for centuries it has been something that is given voluntarily.
Moreover, it has a bit of a marmite status: either you love it or you hate it.
Where there are rumours that men would go down on their women to check their health status or find another man’s sperm hence hinting infidelity (thanks for these invaluable insights Kate Lister in “A brief history of oral sex, from ancient China to DJ Khaled”), nowadays it’s a simple matter of equality and manners. In short, it’s polite to ask if your significant other would perhaps also like a bit of mouth acrobatics.
IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE YOU MUNCH THE JEWELS
- Consent: this is of utmost importance if you haven’t already realised this.
- Communication: before, during and after. If you don’t talk to each other, you won’t know. Not sure I’ve met anyone that can read minds yet.
- Check-ins: it is so important to ask how you are both feeling throughout. Ask: “How does that feel for you?” Try: “That feels great, don’t stop.”
- Every vulva is unique and always different: educate yourself on labia etc and be sure not to comment negatively (feels like that is a superfluous note but just to be sure all the same)
- Yes, there’s a smell & taste; please have manners with this one. Be sure to know your body and if you feel something is not the way it normally is then see your doctor.
- Mood: Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for it. Respect the mindspace and how you need to relax into the situation. If you’re not in the mood, say it!
- STIs: cunnilingus can transmit sexual diseases. Educate yourself on this one. Dental dams are still a thing and otherwise talk to our doctor about it.
QUESTIONS AND MYTHS SURROUNDING CUNNILINGUS
To clarify, there is the giver and the taker of cunnilingus. Two spectrums, two worlds of emotions and headspaces coming together. Of course there are many questions and hearsays revolving around this. Likewise, you may worry about your talents and feelings. So here are some insights.
Where is the clit? Is there a map to it?
The clitoris (clit for short) sits between the labia at the top. It doesn’t require a treasure hunt. Trace up the slit with fingers or tongue and you’ll feel a bud. That’s it! It goes in much further but when you hit that spot, you’ll know.
What is wonderful about cunnilingus is it gives you an opportunity to get up close and personal with your partner’s hoo-ha. So take the time, use some lube, spread the lips and explore. The more you know about it, the better.
What about pubic hair in my teeth?
Come on, it’s no biggie. Like any other situation when we are sexual, humour is the most important part. So you’ve got a pubic hair between your teeth? So what. It’s your partner’s choice what they do with their hair and so take a minute, remove the hair and back you go. You don’t need to comment on it, have a giggle by all means and say “Just a sec,” but don’t make them feel uncomfortable in a situation where they are already giving you all their trust.
Am I doing cunnilingus right?
You don’t get score charts during it. You’ll know if you’re doing it right depending on your partner’s reaction. If their hips are moving away from you, ask them if it’s ok what you’re doing. If they are closing their legs they may be experiencing pain. Ask, ask, ask. Communication will help you figure it out and when you’ve made all those experiences, you’ll soar the next time you visit downtown.
Try things like; “Is this the right amount of pressure?”, “Do you like me using my fingers too?”, “Do you prefer me doing this (insert action) or this (insert action). Or both?”
Oh, and if you make your partner hit that high, please know that the clit is pretty sensitive after orgasm so take it down a notch.
How long do I do it for?
Again, there’s not a set amount of time for doing this. Some like it as a way to get wet before intercourse or insertion of a toy. Others like it as a main course. Be aware of how long YOU can do it. It’s quite a workout for your tongue. If your partner does like it as a main course, think about using toys and your fingers to switch it up and give your tongue a break.
You can also always revisit oral. If you’re starting to cramp or it feels forced, let your partner know or re-position. Re-visit when you’ve had a break. Whilst clitoral orgasms are the most common in vulva-owners, it can still take 20–45 minutes. I don’t know about you but licking an ice-cream cone for 45 minutes is probably going to leave me with a very sore tongue.
What if my tongue starts cramping?
Um, stop. And consider not doing it for so long next time. Or google tongue strengthening exercises. Either way, chill a little.
You’re strange if you don’t like giving it
Society has us believe that a man that gives oral sex is in some way emasculated. Pish. We are tearing down the walls of gender piece by piece and day by day so please don’t be discouraged because of somebody else’s views.
Ofcourse, if it has not had the desired effects in the past then you may be disheartened to go for a second round. But like with anything; if at first you don’t succeed, nuzzle your face back in and try again!
Are they judging my labia?
Ugh- we’ve all been there. Do my labia look strange, are they different, what is the norm? Unless you’re experiencing pain due to long labia, chances are you are just beautiful as you are. Labia come in so many shapes and sizes, like peni, people and so on. It can be daunting exposing yourself to someone but just know: if they make you feel less than a goddess when they approach your gorgeous temple down there, say goodbye to them. You don’t need that energy in your life.
Having said all that; sexual health comes first. Using a mirror, have a regular check down there and watch out for changes that could indicate cysts, change of skin texture or colour or sensitivity.
You’re strange if you don’t like it
How many times have I heard that receiving oral is the non-plus ultra; the ultimate feminist act. Honestly, if you don’t like it; say it! I wasn’t a fan for a long time. Turns out I didn’t relax enough, the partners weren’t my cup of tea and I wasn’t expressing what I liked and disliked enough.
If you prefer a toy, fingers or just good old penetration then say it. Otherwise, communicate openly and perhaps a whole new world will open for you.
But whatever you decide; you know best. And anything else is just pants opinions from opinionated Karens.
Will drinking pineapple juice make it smell different?
Your smell is your smell and please, for the love of your PH, don’t experiment with perfumes, lotions, potions or anything else. Your vagina regulates itself and everyone has a different smell (depending on what you eat, your hormones and many other factors). Please don’t use anything other than water to clean down there. And with water I mean washing externally. If someone suggests a douche to clean you from the inside please educate them on how dangerous this is. Also; if you consider steaming your vag, don’t. This can cause thrush and all sorts of other health problems. Honestly, watch The Bold Type and you’ll see the discomfort Jane suffers following her vagina facial: “vajacial”.
Again, make sure you see a health specialist if you do notice a change in smell, discharge or other.
And if you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious but still want to try it, try a silicon-free lubricant with a flavour. That’s what they’re there for!
What if I’m menstruating?
So I’m not a fan at all. My menstruation is my time-out. My snatch needs a break after all and with all the symptoms I’m experiencing I want to curl into a ball and hide under the blankets. But if you’re comfortable with it and your partner is keen to please, there are options. You can go for the vampire facial; I’ve never heard from any of my friends that they have done this. Alternatively, you can try menstruation sponges which act like a tampon. Or a menstrual cup. It is proven that orgasm decreases period pains. But always remember; only do what you’re comfortable with. And: you can still transmit STIs.
What if I wee? Fart? Squirt?
So yes: when heaven is unleashed on your nether regions, you tend to lose control over it. But hey, you’re human. Everybody wees, poops, farts.
If something happens that you’re uncomfortable with, address it. Try not to hide it or pretend it didn’t happen. That will only cause you anxiety and inhibition further down the line. If you wee, pardon yourself and go to the toilet. Best case your partner will clean up while you do. If you fart, well, there you go. It’s happened, you can’t take it back. Fan it away, consider taking a minute incase there are more and otherwise stop if you think a number two is on its way.
Squirting is a whole other kettle of fish. Your clam is capable of cumming just like a penis does. If your partner has achieved this, you might be too in ecstasy to realise. If you have caused a wet stain on the sheets, well, they can be changed. Congratulations on your squirting and kudos to your partner. PS there are special blankets should you consider getting a membership to the squirt club!
TRIED AND TESTED TECHNIQUES FOR CUNNILINGUS
So, now I’ve got you all clued up and hopefully all questions answered, let’s get to the nitty-gritty, the power-moves and tips.
State of mind
There’s a lot happening when we engage with each other’s bodies. Make sure you are in the right headspace before you agree to cunnilingus (giver and taker). Don’t do it as a favour. Don’t receive it unwanted.
As the taker you become the centre of attention and if that’s not what you’re after (say, you just want a good old quickie and a snuggle after) then don’t do it. It probably won’t leave you satisfied.
As the giver: affirm you appreciate your partner’s body and are happy to get into it. This will help them relax. For instance, try things like “You smell delicious,” “Your vagina looks incredible,” “Relax, I want to please you,” “I could inhale your smell all day.”
To clarify; oral sex (cunnilingus) can be foreplay. But I have yet to hear that it was the beginning of foreplay. So to say that is how the foreplay began. Don’t forego the kissing, the light petting, the gradual crescendo to oral sex. Chances are, your partner will be more relaxed and willing to engage if her juices are already motivated. This can include kissing up to her genitals but not yet engaging with them. Think of teasing too.
Also; perhaps your receiver prefers oral sex after you’ve already had intercourse. Be sure to talk about your preferences. Chances are, your partner knows what they enjoy.
Clothing during cunnilingus: yes or no?
I would encourage without. You have full access and don’t need to concentrate on something on top of what you’re there to do. An exception is always taboo cunnilingus (check out our Dirty Talk story) where pulling knickers to the side can be rather sexy too. And it can also be extremely arousing to lick along the knickers and try and get the clit too. Try it out and when it gets in the way just ask if you can remove them.
Comfort is key. Again; this is an act of complete trust.
Positions you can try are:
- with the receiver spread eagle (missionary) with the giver lying on their stomach between the legs,
- facesitting; with the giver lying on their back and the taker straddling their face
- sixty-nine; head to mouth on both ends like the number sixty-nine
- standing; you might not be able to reach everything as well as with other positions but if you are in a taboo situation (as mentioned before) this is a very kinky one over the knickers
- with the giver knelt before the bed on a good level (watch out for your back); either with the taker on all fours or with their bum scooched up to the edge of the bed.
Use pillows or a wedge to prop up the hips or underneath your knees and don’t be ashamed to mention if you are uncomfortable (that just doesn’t make sense for anyone).
Body Language / Eyes
If your partner is not actively telling you whether they are enjoying themselves (both giver and receiver) make sure you keep an eye on them; quite literally. Look at them. Ask them to look at you. Make sure you really tune in to their body language (as mentioned above) and look into their eyes. Not only will it show you if they are enjoying themselves, it can also be deeply erotic and arousing.
You tend to start slow with oral sex. Like any sexual act, it’s nice to ease in before you go full throttle. A natural rhythm will arise and you can always ask if the receiver is ready for more. If you have been working the clit for a while, ask if you can perhaps penetrate (fingers, toys etc.) This will definitely up the pace! Build the tension!
If your partner is holding your head, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t get carried away and change the motion or increase pressure. Chances are if you keep that monotonous pace you are hitting all the right spots! Constant, consistent pressure tends to pay off.
And remember: orgasm is not the main goal.
Whilst I encourage lube for many things, cunnilingus deserves it’s own explanation for the use of lube. You can use it if you
- feel uncomfortable about your smell
- the giver has a dry mouth
- penetration of the vagina (whether with a toy or fingers)
- playing with the other hole
- increase sensitivity (there are CBD lubes and others that influence sensitivity)
Whether you use them or the receiver holds them too, let’s talk about two different kinds of toys:
Internal toys: Dildos, vibrators, eggs, remote-controlled internal vibrators are all great when your partner is already aroused and prepared (and likes it). Switch it up between the toy, licking, playing with your fingers. Just be sure to keep the rhythm so you follow their lead.
External toys: Clit stimulators are wonderful to give your tongue a break. Be sure to check with your partner first as some vulva-owners’ clits are too sensitive or perhaps they don’t like them.
I’d also like to add nipple clamps to this list, as pulling or tugging on them slightly during oral sex is also a massive turn-on for many.
And also handcuffs. If your partner consents, let the receiver lose complete control (sounds scary, can be incredibly liberating).
Don’t forget that your hands can do other things. We’ll get to the holes etc in a minute but you can also simultaneously stroke, tweak, pinch or scratch. If your multitasking skills and your partner are up for it, do it! The nipples might like to be touched or by grabbing the hips you can control their edging.
Be sure that you use a dental dam if need be or you are both aware of STIs and their meaning. Try not to eat food directly before (you don’t want bits in their bits) and certainly not anything spicy that may irritate the mucous membrane of the vulva.
If you are worried about your teeth, they rarely tend to get in the way. Try wrapping your lips around your teeth but when your tongue comes out, your lips tend to cover your teeth anyhow.
Not everyone likes the same things. It’s a bit of trial and error. Also, remembering different techniques in the heat of the moment is sometimes tricky. But if your partner is vocal about something feeling good, perhaps don’t switch and swap too soon.
Remember: the clit has 8,000 nerve endings.
If your partner is showing signs or telling you to ease up, ease up! Try licking lightly, beside it or over the knickers.
Some things your tongue can try:
- Swirling over the hood of the clit
- Flicking up and down
- Sucking the clit/labia
- Side to side movement
- Pulsating in one spot
- Circles: clockwise and counterclockwise
- Penetration of the vagina with your tongue; not everyone enjoys this. Perhaps a combination of sucking the clit and entering with your tongue makes it more pleasurable than simply sticking your tongue in and out.
If your partner has a piercing down there you might want to ask them how sensitive it is and if they enjoy being touched there.
Make sure your nails are trimmed and clean at all times.
Always use lube when entering your partner. Always up the number of fingers gradually and ask your partner if it’s ok.
There is the practice “two in the pink, one in the stink” (also known as the shocker), a sexual maneuver in which two fingers are inserted into the vagina “the pink” and one finger is inserted into the anus “the stink”.
Whilst this might sound interesting, I encourage you to perhaps try using toys as your fingers may slip and cause injuries more than pleasure.
The anus has a high amount of nerve endings too. Please communicate before entering that territory. If your partner consents, try a simple rim job first. Use your tongue to move around the hole, again you can flick or pulse in and out, expanding it slightly. Lick over it with the flat of your tongue or poke at it.
If you are using your fingers, please, please, please use lube. Approach with caution. Communicate. Perhaps integrate a toy: butt plugs, vibrating butt plugs or long thin cigar vibrators are great for this.
You need to find which erogenous zones work for your partner.
Don’t forget the perineum too: the skin between the vaginal opening and the anus. Again, licking and kissing works wonders here or the tip of a vibrator with plenty of lube.
And one final word of warning: never back to front. Vulva/vagina don’t like germs from the back door.
Hot and cold
Try using an ice cube in your mouth while you lick and suck. Yes, it might fall out at times but it is an intense feeling. Equally you can drink warm tea before, which will add a new sensation as well.
The clit is like an iceberg; there’s more of it inside! There are some wonderful vibrators out there that cater to exactly this spot. Google it! If you are using your fingers, take two (and plenty of lube), insert facing up towards your partner’s bellybutton and use a “come hither” motion. You should feel a rough patch. That’s the spot! Together with some sucking of the clit and/or a butt plug you’ve got all the erogenous zones covered!
This might be taking it one step too far for some, but many enjoy it. Fisting, handballing, fist-fucking, brachiovaginal, or brachioproctic insertion is a sexual activity that involves inserting a hand into the vagina or rectum. Once insertion is complete, the fingers are either clenched into a fist or kept straight. Fisting may be performed without a partner, but it is most often a partnered activity.1
Lubricant, lubricant, lubricant. There is a lot that can go wrong here so please educate yourself. I’m not going to go into the details here so please read up on it or consult a professional on this practice.
QUIT PRO QUO — RECIPRICATORY ORAL SEX
No. Just no. Just because you gave your partner head, does not mean you need to reciprocate. Sure, if that’s what you fancy. But don’t feel pressured or forced.
AFTERCARE — COMING DOWN
Whether your partner came or not, the aftercare is important too. Make sure to spend a bit of time snuggling, stroking and breathing together. Maybe you want to share your partner’s taste with them. Have a little kiss and tell them how delicious they are. When ready, ask yourselves some questions:
- Was it pleasurable?
- What did you enjoy?
- Is there something else you’d like to try?
WAS I GOOD AT CUNNILINGUS?
There is no one size fits all for oral sex. If in your aftercare your partner has voiced their pleasure, room for improvement or has congratulated you then you are on the right track. If communication was scarce then consider approaching the topic with your partner to gain more insight into how they were feeling. Bear in mind; they may be too shy to tell you.
Cunnilingus (oral sex) is meant to be fun. It is so stigmatized as difficult, tricky, emasculating and coated in shame and self-consciousness. Don’t be fooled by all those adjectives and this terrible reputation. It can be absolutely wonderful. You can let yourself fall into the trust of your partner and just be spoiled.