“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 ways to non-normatively have sex. 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.
So 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 fail-proof—I don’t even trust you, maybe,” and are getting ready to leave. Come back! I’ll give you details, OK? Graphic details! Stop grilling me! We’re mostly going to be engaging in vagina talk here, but a lot of this info applies to people without vaginas. We’ll get to non-cis sex in a sec.
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. Your partner might be excited, but also maybe feels apprehensive or self-conscious about their body/smell/ability to get aroused/ability to come. You want to be comfortable with each other, and if either one of you is too nervous, it won’t be fun. No pressure, y’all! It’s totally OK to wait as long as you like to have oral sex. Now, if you have never seen or hung out with another person’s undressed vagina (or other genitals) 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 cannot fail lesbianism, and there are things you can do if you are a little overwhelmed at the sight of a naked vagina right in front of you for the first time.
One quick thing to know before we get into the nitty-gritty details: 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 if you want to cut the risk of transmitting these infections.
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 areas of your partner, unless they’ve specified otherwise. You’re doing great! If your partner has a vagina, find their clit. *Hint!* If the vaginal crotch is a clock, the clitoris is at 12. It looks like a little fleshy knob, about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger. 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—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 are so sensitive they can’t stand direct contant. 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 clitoris, or flicking it with your tongue—do they like that? And please, please, do not be afraid to say, “Do you like that?” or “How’s this?” no matter WHAT you’re doing during oral sex!
Outside of straight-up telling you that things are allowed, your partner will let you know if they’re into what you’re doing in other subtle ways. Keep in mind that many people don’t make shrieky-excited noises like in 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 harder 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: Seconded. Just like in all areas of life: If you don’t know, ask. Don’t just panic quietly. If you don’t know what a person might like to experience with you, with their body, ask. Let me re-emphasize this point, and have it apply to all people of all genders in all bodies with all genitals: Don’t assume you know what someone is going to want or like, or that you can just grab ahold of something (a toe! a crotch!) and start doing whatever you want with it. It is always, always a good idea to to ask first, even if you feel silly, or like you’re “supposed” to know what to do. It’s OK to be awkward! A good partner will understand what you want/need to know and help you out.
I asked my trans-identified friends MJ* and Tony* to help out with this question, and they cheerfully obliged:
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’re 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. But everybody’s different—sometimes trans-identified people get tired of explaining the history of trans politics to newcomers. You just want the person you’re with to understand it without all the explanation sometimes. You have to pick and choose who’ll be worthwhile to spend time with and explain trans issues to.
Tony: The worst sex I’ve ever had is with people who, instead of asking what they could and should do, didn’t do anything.
It’s also really annoying when people comment on your body in an objectifying way. There’s a fine line between objectifying and complimenting someone’s body—if someone is genuinely saying, “I’m so into this right now, this is so hot,” that’s great, but sometimes you can just feel when people are being creepy. It feels weird, like someone isn’t into the actual person who is attached to all these body parts that turn them on.
If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I’d say, “You will always be learning. Have sex with your friends.”
MJ: Yeah! Go slow, and be respectful of your partner—and don’t put shit up about people on the internet.
Krista: Hahaha, what?
MJ: I just think that’s important.