Depending on how you obtained your early sex education, you may not have had much discussion about oral sex. Just getting around to discussing basic sexual intercourse can be difficult. Oral pleasure may have been left to the realm of mystery in which you had to figure things out yourself, both giving and receiving. When it comes to female oral pleasure, cunnilingus, sometimes we’ve held onto myths, assumptions or misinformation. Whether you are long time fan or newly exploring, I hope this introduction to the how and why of oral pleasure will help you.
An anatomy lesson
Cunnilingus comes from the Latin words for vulva, cunnus, and licking, lingere. The Merriam-Webster definition is “The act of stimulating a woman's sexual organs with the mouth for sexual pleasure.” The woman’s sexual organs being the vulva (which includes the clitoris, labia majora, labia minor) and the vagina. The clitoris may have only a small section exposed, the tip of the iceberg so to speak, but it also continues under the surface. The exposed portion, the clitoral hood and the gland clitoris, is highly sensitive to pleasure in most women while the internal portion is sensitive to pressure and vibration. The area has a high concentration of nerve endings and blood vessels. Feelings of sexual pleasure not only come from direct stimulation of the clitoris but also the labia minora, the inner lips extended along the vulva just inside the outer labia majora. All areas from the mons pubis down to the perineum are open for lingual stimulation. Statistically, 70-80% of women find they orgasm much more readily with clitoral stimulation than with penetration or g-spot stimulation. This makes oral sex a great path to awesome orgasms.
Assumptions and misconceptions
Arousal will prompt the vulva and vagina to swell and become more lubricated. This wetness can be a source of insecurity for some women and may make some of their partners a little hesitant at first. There is sometimes a worry that this smell or taste will be unpleasant. Hygiene is important but overdoing it could cause more harm than good. The female body naturally takes care of itself; so basic external washing is really all you need. Douches, sprays or powders will just make things worse. Most partners engaging in oral sex will find there is no adverse smell or taste. Although illness, medication or poor diet can affect both taste and odor. Many partners enjoy the natural taste and scent; even finding it turns them on.
Myths and misinformation
Cunnilingus is not the exclusive realm of women with women. There are a few men out there who harbor the idea that only penetrative sex is “manly.” That is certainly not the case. Satisfying your partner in many different ways, especially ways they really enjoy, is what’s important. Also, this is not a one to one exchange. It’s not a given you will receive oral sex in return just because you give it. That should be consensual, not a requirement. Lastly, it should not be used as an alternative to avoid practicing safe sex. There is still a chance of passing an STI/STD so safer sex practices should still be in effect.
Spread the wealth
Oral pleasure doesn’t mean just attacking the clitoris. As they say in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, “… we have all these possibilities before we stampede towards the clitoris.” Yes we do! The whole area from the mons above the clitoris on down is one big erogenous zone. Even the urethral sponge area between the clitoris and the vaginal opening feels good. A variety of pressure and motion is helpful. Unless your partner is telling you they only want you to lick in one place or just one way, get the lay of the land. Explore all the hills and valleys; change up the pace and use different parts of your mouth and tongue. Starting slowly is a great way to build up arousal so you may want to kiss other areas of the body. Work your way down before you start going down on your partner, unless you’re so worked up you both just want to dive right in. Try the tip of your tongue to tease or flatten it for long luscious laps. Draw shapes, patterns, use more pressure, take pauses that leave them gasping for more. Use lips, your breath or even try the vibrations from your voice. Use a mixture of fingers, hands or even toys. Most importantly, pay attention to your partners reaction so you can gauge how well received your efforts are.
Variety is the spice of life
Trying different positions could add more variety. A woman can lay back with legs in various positions; knees up, feet together in a butterfly position, legs up in the air or put a pillow under their hips. You can try on your hands and knees in a ‘woman on top’ position, sitting or hovering over their partner. If the partner doesn’t want to be underneath they can lick from behind. Having the woman lay their head down can help with better access than on hands and knees. You can stand up, lean against a wall either facing front of back or even lean over something like a table or chair. The possibilities are endless. Go with what feels hot and sexy for both of you.
Long time monogamous partners may not have to be too concerned with safer oral sex if neither one started the closed relationships with any issues. If you’re not in an exclusive relationship, safer sex is really important. In some cases transmission has a lower percentage with oral sex but it’s still possible. Using oral barriers will help reduce the possibility but not eliminate it. If you don’t know your partners STI/STD status, Cunnilingus can be performed using a dental dam. Earlier dams were often small since they were made specifically for use in dental offices. You can find great dams now that are wide enough to cover most of the vulva giving you room to really go to town. Some even come in flavors. You can cut a condom open or cut up a rubber glove to use as a dam and some people use cling wrap. The research is not exactly conclusive on how well cling wrap works, unfortunately. A little lube between the dam and your partner will help make things even more enjoyable. Just make sure to only use one side of the dam, do not flip!
The bottom line
A first experience you didn’t find particularly pleasurable may make you think you don’t enjoy oral sex. Or you may be apprehensive because you’ve never tried it before. It might help to think of it like trying a new food. You often won’t know you don’t like it until you try it or you might need to try a variety of ways to find a way that’s just right. You can have fantastic oral sex with some communication and preparation. Talk about what you both like and what your concerns are beforehand. Talk afterward about what worked, what didn’t and what you’d like to try next time. Once you find what rocks your world you’ll have some amazing oral experiences.
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