the politics of sex are a difficult minefield we each have to learn to navigate, and nowhere more so than in the area of oral sex. Here's the truth as I see it:

Social Mores
I have a theory about the way some of this anti-oral-sex culture evolved. A lot of the mythos and especially the slang around sex clearly evolved in not just a more puritanical or victorian time, but in a more misogynistic, homophobic time. A time when it was in men's best survival interest to contextually divorce themselves from all things female or queer. That would explain why our most forceful slang is anti-female (ie, cunt, bitch, slut) or generically anti-having-sex-with-men (ie, that blows, that sucks, cocksucker).

I can imagine that this sort of slang could flourish in a world of strong gender roles, especially in the whole cult of women's domesticity era of the 50's. After all, if the genders are socially divided, who's to get upset if one gender's slang is demeaning to another?

What I don't understand, then, is why this kind of slang has persisted into a time when there's less distance between the genders; a time when it can do serious harm to sex. Guys, don't you realize that every time you use the term sucks cock as an insult, you're making it that less likely that yours will be sucked freely and joyously? Gals, don't you realize that everytime you use the word prick as an insult, you're lowering the likelihood that your next lover will be an artist at fucking you with his?

Of Reciprocality and Enthusiasm
Here, I have to agree with Kiyo-hime. I've been burned by having a lover or two who were in all other respects reasonable men, but who considered receiving oral sex a sacrament, but giving oral sex a boring chore. Now as a result of those experiences I'm strictly, if you will, a tit-for-tat sort of girl. More tit than tat, actually. Like millions of other women, I don't orgasm strictly from penis-in-vagina sex, but do quite readily during oral sex. Given that I've never had a partner who didn't enjoy orgasms from PIV sex, it seems that the spirit of reciprocity would eventually result in my receiving more oral sex than I give.

However, that sensible imbalance in actual numbers doesn't excuse a lack of enthusiasm on anyone's part. I don't understand people who sully sex with unhappiness. To put it succintly: If you have issues with what's going on in the bedroom, talk first, then have sex.

Of Taste and Swallowing
I'll be the first to confess: I rarely swallow. It's not the taste, it's the texture. Semen is designed to start out fluid and become viscous and gloppy. All the better to ensure that the post-ejaculation tide moves towards rather than away from the egg. This is brillant biology when it's happening in the womb of a woman who wishes to become pregnant; it's kind of neat to watch when it's contained in a condom.... but it's distinctly unappealing when it's happening on the back of my throat.

I don't consider this an absurd position to take. We accept the premise that our bodies naturally produce substances that are unappetizing. This is one of them. Most men I know use the same line of reasoning to beg off of giving oral sex to a menstruating partner, without feeling that they're making any commentary about the woman's overall desirability in the process.

I'll be adding more to this later...

I'd have to say that going down on a woman before intercourse is a must these days--and not too unpleasant an experience, especially the "wriggling and writhing" part. However, solely paying attention to the primary and secondary erogenous zones, that is the breasts and vagina, is a mistake most men make--perhaps they don't realize that a woman's body is one huge erogenous zone, and that the application of a full body, hot oil massage is often a much more effective means of preparing a woman for sex.

This, however, is an extreme, there are other ways to achieve the same end--touching, caressing, ear nibbling, gently kissing the nape of the neck or the navel. These are all preludes that are often missed by clumsy lovers in their mad dash for more pedestrian regions.

Regarding the post-orgasm hypersensitivity amelinda refers to, a good way around this is to take a shower together, and fifteen minutes or so later, after you're both clean and dry, she'll be ready again.

A collaborative writeup with quite a bit of help from karma debt

Okay, people, listen up. Oral sex is fun, slightly safer than penetrative sex (but just slightly), and all around great fun for all parties involved (or it should be). I want to talk not about technique involved in oral sex, advice that would necessarily have to vary widely depending on the giving and receiving party, but on the proper etiquette that any polite person should employ in giving or receiving oral sex.

See, it's like this. Oral sex is a pretty intimate thing. In a way, it's more personal than penetrative vaginal or anal sex, since your partner's genitals will be right up against your face, or you will have your genitals up against their face. A close encounter indeed.

A further word on intimacy before we begin. Sex is a raunchy, wild thing, or at least it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be the time when you give in to your most animalistic desires. It's supposed to be a time for enjoyment and do what you please. Nevertheless, it's also something that has to be shared with another person. Degree of intimacy affects a lot what's ok and what isn't. Although in our fantasies women say "I'm gonna clamp your head between my thighs and make you worship me, now" and men respond "suck my cock, you saucy wench", in almost all real situations it takes time to build up enough intimacy with your partner up until the level when such declarations are good; in many cases they will never be depending on your partner's sensibilities.

Getting oral sex in the first place

Right, here's the thing. My grandparents and maybe even my dad thought that oral sex was thoroughly gross (I know my mom doesn't, though), but I've never had a sexual partner with whom oral sex wasn't given or offered almost always on the first sexual encounter or soon thereafter. Sexual mores are simply changing. That coupled with the great availability of pornographic materials, be they graphical or not, means that oral sex is pretty much a given and a part of everyone's sex life. The relative safety of oral sex as regards pregnancy (but not STDs, remember, use flavoured condoms and dental dams!) is another point in favour.

Degree of intimacy matters a lot here. The first time you have sex with someone, you probably still will not have enough intimacy and comfort yet to actually request oral sex. It's a deeply personal thing. While there probably is a time and place to say "lick me, now" on the first date, this is more likely than not an inappropriate request. Sexual requests get more appropriate as intimacy builds up with your partner. This, however, takes time, probably at least a few weeks and almost always several months. You are to be the judge of how much intimacy you already share with this person.

That being said, don't push it, at least, not at first. It's probably not ok to even suggest it yet. If your partner wants to give you oral sex, you'll know very quickly, but requesting it too soon is probably a bad idea. In case your partner is ready to give, be sure you're ready to receive. That is, keep clean. And all in all, show some appreciation for receiving it. If it isn't the best oral sex you've had, gently try to suggest to your partner ways to improve it. Never criticise; just suggest. Don't say "you're doing it wrong", say "I like it like this". Sex is at the time when we're most vulnerable, and any sort of sharp criticism here is liable to be quite damaging to the whole experience.

Whether you're going to be giving or receiving, here are three pieces of advice: communicate, communicate and communicate. Putting your mouth on another person's genitals is an intimate act. The best way to not offend anyone is to communicate your likes and dislikes, upfront. If you like how they do it, tell them. If you don't like how it's done, tell them what you like. Tell them, faster, slower, deeper, harder, or do that thing with your tongue.

Boys and girls during reception

Be very considerate to the giving partner, as this is a very private and generous performance. You're getting all the pleasure at this point; your partner has decided that it's your turn to have fun while they do all the work. Relax. If you're a guy, don't thrust or push the head of your partner into your genitals. This may result in shoving your penis against your partner's throat and inducing an unpleasant gag reflex. While some fellatists may be ok with such actions, either by a greater degree of intimacy or simply better control of their own gag reflex in the throat, most people simply don't train to have anything shoved down their throat. If you're a girl, remember that it may get a little difficult to breathe sometimes with a vulva covering your face, so depending on the position, you may need to understand if your partner needs to take a few breathing breaks.

Be generally courteous. Gratitude is always in order. Moan appreciatively whenever you can, or gently suggest your partner to try something else in case it's not going perfectly. Let your partner know how much you're enjoying it, how great this is, during and after the act, whenever possible.

Cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Odors are inherently present in areas where skin meets skin. You sweat and unfortunately, they don't make crotch deodorant. Wash off with soap and water or even a quick rub down with a warm wash cloth can help. If you're an uncircumcised male, remember to pull back the foreskin and clean the glans and the top of the shaft. Moreover, this can help to remove any loose pubic hairs that may otherwise end up in the mouth. There is always the option of removing hair from this area too. By getting rid of the hair in the area, the sweat and odor does not have anything to cling to, creating a more pleasant experience for all concerned. Shaving and depilatory creams work well for this.

Further, for women, this is even more important because you also have the issue of how urine flows out of the urethra and the resulting possibility of toilet tissue lint. You know what I mean. Your loved one may not want to smell that up close and personal or need fiber added to their diet. Wash off with soap and water or even a quick rub down with a warm wash cloth can help. Further, this can help to remove any loose pubic hairs that may otherwise end up in the mouth. Waxing, shaving, depilatories are also considerations. Some may love a nice, natural growth of pubic hair, for others its just in the way and ends up as a distraction.

If you're going to ejaculate, it is exceedingly good manners to let your lover know when you are ready to come, either with a breathy "I'm about to come" or something else along those lines so that they can be prepared. If the person performing plans to swallow, have a glass of water or juice nearby to help wash everything down afterwards. Semen can tend to get mucuosy in the throat. If you plan to spit, have a cloth, tissue or napkin somewhere nearby to use for this purpose.

Whilst sucking cock

If you've decided to take the plunge, what should you do if your lover hasn't followed one of the hygiene rules given above? If you want to really offer the other cheek, you could ignore this trespass for now and proceed anyways, but this is probably an unreasonable expectation. Rather, suggest to your partner "hey, this is a lovely penis, but would you mind going to bathroom for a second and cleaning up first?" or something like that.

What about spit or swallow? This completely depends on what you and your partner prefer I'm not going to debate which is better or why. Obviously if this is someone that you wouldn't have sex without a condom with, you should not perform fellatio without one either. Bodily fluids are bodily fluids. Rub some of the "warming" lube on his penis and cover it with a flavored condom. You'll both be safe and happy.

Some enjoy having a man hold their hair or head while they perform fellatio, it can be a real turn on to know that you are performing in the exact depth and speed that the recipient likes. For others, a thrust too deep into the mouth can trigger a gag reflex. Do not ever push someone's head down on your penis if you haven't talked or asked if this is ok. Bad things can happen, remember, there's an entire set of teeth in that mouth.

Lastly, if you're enjoying doing this for your man, do share. Not only is it usually an intense turn-on for him to know that you're enjoying it too, it's also very important to be honest and sharing. If you're not enjoying it, the fact of the matter is that you probably shouldn't be doing this at all, or you should talk about it with him.

Whilst licking slit

Many of the previous remarks apply, especially as far as breaches of hygiene are concerned. If your lover failed to observe one of the above recommendations of hygiene, then you have the choice of being a supreme gentleman or lady and proceeding with the tongue-teasing anyways, or you can gently suggest that she go and clean.

As regards to women and our society, here's a special note: most, many girls have at least a few issues with the general aesthetic of their bodies, in particular with their genitals. It is a widespread idea that the vulva and vagina are ugly, or that they stink, and other such similar nonsense. Therefore, under no circumstance criticise or express any sort of distaste for this gorgeous temple of Venus you're about to lovingly caress with your tongue and lips. In fact, if you can mention its beauty or how much it pleases you, or how much you're enjoying doing this (and hopefully you are), do so. If you can't do any of these things, then best to shut up, and if you aren't enjoying doing this, best not to do it at all and talk about it with your woman.

Some girls like to lie there quietly, some like to moan, many will move their pelvis a little, some may even attempt to grind their clitoris against your mouth or even your nose. It is your role to accommodate for all of these behaviours. I must again emphasise the importance of communication in all this. Make sure she's enjoying it; if you have doubts, ask.

It's highly likely that at some point she will want some internal stimulation with your fingers, besides whatever else you're doing with your lips and tongue. In that case, make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed, no jagged edges. In case it's necessary, she may have a nail file handy for bad fingernails. Cleanliness also includes not going from anal stimulation to any kind of genital stimulation. Bacteria from the anus can create a nasty infection in the vagina. Don't do it. If you need more fingers and have already used some for anal stimulation, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before proceeding with clitoral stimulation or inside the vagina.

While on the topic of licking slit, a special consideration has to be made for facial hair in the case of males. Since giving oral sex to a woman means rubbing your face against her genitals a lot more than a blowjob, a stubble on an unshaved face can have more of a deleterious effect. So, a gentleman would have a proper shave before conferring any kind of oral action upon a woman. Take note.

As regards sex toys, vibrators and the like, if she wants to use them in conjunction with your tongue and lips, you should accommodate for that too. In the case of men, sometimes they feel threatened with inadequacy by the presence of sex toys, but this is unwarranted. Toys can heighten the experience. If you need a primer on how to use it on her in case she lets you operate it, ask. Bear in mind that it's often not necessary to insert vibrators, but she'll let you know how to use it if you ask.

Another thing to emphasise is to keep teeth out of this. General culture seems to talk a lot about how important it is to keep teeth away from penises, but the same isn't often said about vulvas, although it should be.

Put your heart and mind into it. Respect the pussy. Respect it well. Love it kindly. Treat it well. She will be able to detect your level of devotion.

Wrapping up...

If you bring your partner to orgasm, it's nice to let them enjoy it for a while. Women often want to be held and kissed after orgasm; men often too, despite what social conventions sometimes say. Some people don't like being kissed by someone who just provided oral sex; others don't have a problem with it. As usual, ask if it's ok to kiss.

If the oral sex leads to further sex, well then go with that and see where it leads. Talk, whisper sweet nothings, love each other's bodies, and enjoy!

Happy face fucking!

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