“What if my partner wants me to go down on them, but I don’t know how? WHAT IF I DO ORAL SEX WRONG?”
Krista: OK. You really, really, really want to go down on your partner. You have your partner’s enthusiastic consent. And you are…nervous! What if you’re bad at this?! Before we dive headlong (ha!) into this one, you know that oral sex isn’t the be-all and end-all for queer sex, right? It’s just one of the many, many ways that humans have sex. (Personally, oral sex is waaaaay lower on my list of likes than other stuff.) That being said: Should your partner be into having a tongue on their parts, it’s hard to screw it up.
By now, you’re probably like, “Cool, Krista, thank you ever so much for being vague! Also, this is the first time I’ve heard that oral is failproof—I don’t even trust you, maybe,” and you are getting ready to leave. Come back! I’ll give you details, OK? Graphic details! We’re mostly going to be engaging in vagina talk here, but a lot of this info applies to people without vaginas.
First thing to know: It’s totally OK to wait as long as you like to have oral sex. No pressure, y’all!
Next: Wanting to be good at oral sex is the first step! We talked about enthusiasm being the number-one turn-on in our last Crylebration, and that advice still stands strong here. Make sure your partner knows you totally, HAPPILY want to go down on them! This is v. v. important. Now, if you have never seen or hung out with another person’s undressed genitalia before, you may be a little bit scared. What if it looks weird? What if you don’t like the way it smells? If you both identify as girls, what if you panic and FAIL LESBIANISM before you even start?
Lola: Like, WHAT THE FUCK AM I GONNA DO WITH ALL THESE FOLDS? I’m sorry. Continue.
Krista: Shhhh, my friend. Do not fear the vagina. It is your friend! It will reward you for your efforts. You simply cannot “fail” lesbianism, but if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now at the thought of a naked vulva right in front of your face for the first time, there are a few things you can do to get a bit more comfortable.
One quick thing to know before we get into the nitty-gritty: Oral contact with another person’s genitals can transmit things like herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and in rare cases, HIV. Use a barrier method with anyone whose STI status you don’t know.
On to oral sex! So you’re down there, and it’s go time. Go slow, and be gentle (at least at first). Don’t be afraid to use your whole face, or to put your tongue on all different parts of your partner (unless they’ve specified otherwise). You’re doing great! If your partner has a vagina, find their clitoris. Hint: If your partner is lying on their back, and you’re between their legs, imagine their whole undercarriage as a clock face—the clit is up at the top, at 12 o’clock. It looks like a little fleshy knob, about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger. (Some are bigger, some are smaller.) Sometimes it’s hooded, with a little bit of skin covering it. Sometimes it’s shiny and swollen.
What it isn’t: a magical “make someone come” button that you can just grab and poke with abandon—it’s a highly sensitive li’l bundle of nerve endings, so, again, be gentle! Lots of people like to have their clits played with, but some people’s are so sensitive that they can’t stand direct contact. While touching your partner, ask: “Does this feel good?” If yes, try lots of different licks. Try a long, sweeping, up-and-down lick on either side of your partner’s clit, or flick it with your tongue—do they like that? And please, please, do not be afraid to ask, “Do you like that?” or “How’s this?” no matter what you’re doing!
Outside of straight-up telling you what they do or don’t want, your partner will probably let you know in some more-subtle ways what’s working for them. Keep in mind that most people don’t make shrieky-excited noises like in the movies. A relaxed, pleased partner might lift their hips if they like what you’re doing. They also might get wet, moan, and/or make other happy, sighing sounds. Again: EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT!
In many cases, it’s going to take longer than three minutes to make your partner come (if that’s what you’re both looking for out of the encounter). Your partner may not orgasm when you eat them out, or they may come like a ton of bricks. If they don’t have an orgasm, you’re not a failure—some people (hellloooo *waves*) have a hard time orgasming through oral sex. Also: Some people enjoy oral sex, but don’t want to come that way, or at all. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel awesome!
“My partner isn’t cisgender. What if I do it wrong THEN?”
Lola: The best way to find out how to have sex with aaaannyyyy person is to ask that person about it and/or have them show you themselves.
Krista: Just like in all areas of life: If you don’t know, ask. Don’t just sit there, quietly panicking. This applies to people of all genders, in all bodies, with any type of genitalia.
I asked my trans-identified friends MJ* and Tony* if they had anything to add, and they did:
LIVED TO BONE ANOTHER DAY: TONY AND MJ
MJ: The first time with someone new can be stressful. The first few times a recent partner and I had sex, they didn’t touch my bits, and it turned out that they were scared! But then there are people who don’t ask if and where they can touch you at all, and they just go for it, and that can be bad, too. In general, it is always best to ask. With the caveat that everybody’s different—sometimes trans-identified people get tired of explaining trans culture and history newcomers.