The Ultimate Guide to Oral Sex:
What It Is, Techniques, Positions and more

Ah, oral sex. An activity of many names. ‘Eating at the Y’, ‘doing a blowie’, ‘going down on someone’ and ‘eating ass’—while these many enjoyable options do not all refer strictly to satisfying the same body parts, they are all oral sex.

Put simply, one person’s mouth + another person’s genitals = oral sex.

Oral sex may be an enjoyable, personal act of intimacy in your sex life, or it may be something you’re not a fan of. Both are totally fine! It’s important to only participate in sex acts you want to do and enjoy doing (or having done to you).

The best way to find out if you'll enjoy oral sex is to try it for yourself. Experiment with your partner, talk about what feels good, mix it up a little, and most importantly - stay safe as you explore.

Many Facets of Oral Sex


The oral sex experience differs from person to person, and there are several ways to stimulate someone’s genitals that fall into the category of oral sex.

Licking, sucking, going slower, harder, longer, softer can all change the experience and ultimately, the pleasure a person can feel from oral sex.

Note that oral sex is not limited to any one body part. Fellatio is the act of performing oral sex on a penis, cunnilingus is doing it to a vulva, and analingus is doing it to the bum hole.

But they're all oral sex!

Oral sex makes a fab choice for foreplay. Warm, wet and undeniably intimate, many people find performing oral just as exciting as receiving it. Once you and your lover are as aroused as can be thanks to the licking and sucking, it’s only natural to move into other exciting intimacy.

But oral sex is also tasty enough to be the main entrée at your buffet. It’s all up to what you and your partner enjoy while you’re getting down.

Is Oral Sex Really Sex?

Did you ever have someone tell you that giving a blow job or having someone lick you out isn’t ‘real sex’? They might have followed it up by advising you that you’d still be a virgin if you just did oral, or that having oral ‘doesn’t count’ as sex.

This attitude is unfortunately common, especially among folks who view sex exclusively as a penis penetrating a vagina (aka PIV). Sex and the sex acts that make us feel amazing are far more varied than simply PIV, and we encourage you to consider oral sex as real as any other sex you and your partner might explore together.

It’s important to talk about your thoughts and feelings like these with your boo so you both understand what constitutes sex to you.

Risks Associated with Oral Sex


Now obviously we don't want to put you off oral sex (I mean, it's pretty awesome!), but it is possible to contract an STI from oral sex. With this in mind, there are a few precautions you and your partner can take in order to make sure everyone is safe and having a great time.

Thinking to go to town when you go down?

Here are 3 things to keep in mind.

Practicing Safe Oral Sex

Wrap it up

The only way to be completely protected from transmitting or contracting an STI is to have regular sexual health screenings and to always use a barrier contraceptive with new sex partners.

Barrier contraceptives (including female condoms and dental dams) are a type of prophylactic that can prevent skin-on-skin contact and the transferral of bodily fluids that may contain a sexually transmitted disease.

Get tested

Obviously, if you and your partner know you're STD free, you can go ahead and have all the oral fun. But since some STDs are symptomless, you'll need to take a test at your doctor's or local sexual health clinic.

Because you can get some STDs in your throat, ask them for a mouth swab as well as a genital swab, and a rectal swab if you think you need one (if you've had anal sex, or if rimming is part of your sexual repertoire).

Won't a barrier method reduce sensation?

If the receiver is worried about reduced sensation with a condom or dam, make it your mission to get them so turned on they won't notice it.

For those of you who are turned off by the idea of a prophylactic, your best bet is to know your sexual health status and to share it with your partner.

Techniques for Pleasurable Oral Sex

Oral sex is so excellent we have even more detailed guides based on what body part you’re eager to please. Take your pick from vulva, butt or penis below.
Cunnilingus Guide
Fellatio Guide
Analingus Guide

Communication and Oral Sex

Just like any other kind of sex, it's important for you and your lover to be on the same page when it comes to oral.

We know this act can come with some of its own worries, so we've rounded up the most common oral sex worries to give you advice about banishing them.

1. Help, I can't relax!

You're much more likely to enjoy receiving oral if you're relaxed. If you find it really hard to switch off, close your eyes or slip on a blindfold. Removing your sight from the equation can help you to lose your inhibitions, so you can focus on enjoying your partner's slick skills rather than getting distracted.

2. Am I clean?

Nobody's genitals smell like freshly laundered linen or roses – everyone has their own natural smell and taste. If niggling thoughts like this are holding you back from enjoying oral sex, have a quick shower, or wash down there beforehand.

3. What do I taste like?

Again, it's unlikely you taste like your partner's fave ice cream flavor - but lots of people who perform oral (especially cunnilingus) say that they love the way their partner tastes! There's some debate about how much you can really alter your own 'flavor' (and whether you should), but a healthy diet, lots of water, and good hygiene are the simplest and safest ways to keep your party zone feeling its best.

4. Do I tell them what to do, or let them do their thing?

Shouting a set of instructions might be off-putting (unless it's a turn-on for you both), but gentle encouragement is great for the person giving, as it lets them know when they're hitting the right spots. Make the right noises, gently (gently!) move their head, tell them what feels good. If something they're doing doesn't feel right, or you want them to stop, the only way they'll know is if you communicate that, so be vocal and ask for what you want.

Talking about what you like outside of a sexy scenario (like when you're lying in bed chatting) can be helpful for both of you, too. If something isn't working for you, try to be encouraging rather than critical – phrases like "I really love it when you..." and "It turned me on so much when you [insert oral sex thing here]" can be really good conversation starters.

5. I don't like giving/getting oral sex... Am I weird?

No way. Everyone has their sexual preferences, and some people just aren't into it – that's totally fine.

If it's that you don't have much experience and you're not confident about your oral expertise, then just giving it a go with a patient and encouraging partner can improve your confidence. If it's because you feel self-conscious about the way you look, taste, or smell, it might be worth exploring how to lose those hang-ups with the help of a supportive partner.

If you've had a bad experience with a previous partner, remember that not everyone is the same – you might be missing out on an intimate act with a partner who respects and values your pleasure.

And that’s a wrap

You now know pretty much everything you need to know about integrating amazing oral into your sex life.

So get out there, be safe and have a blast!

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