How to Give & Get Great Oral Sex: Positions, Tips & Techniques

Woman eating a banana sexually.
At one point in our collective history, most couples had intercourse long before they had oral sex. In some ways it makes sense-putting your mouth on someone's genitals is a very intimate behavior and it can make both the giver and the receiver feel vulnerable.
Many of us worry that their genitals don't look right or smell bad or have too much hair. And, when we're the ones going down, it can feel like our talent and techniques are being scrutinized. It's time to relax about oral. Most oral sex is good and with a few tips it can be great.
Here we offer some reassurances, tips, techniques and positions to make your partner weak in the knees after you've dropped to yours.

Oral Sex Basics & Definitions

Oral sex can be a fun part of foreplay or great all by itself. Before we get into techniques, let's go over some basics terms and definitions related to oral sex on various body parts:

What is Oral Sex?

Oral sex is using your mouth, tongue, or lips to stimulate your partner's genitals (penis, vulva/vagina and clitoris) or anus. People of all genders and sexual orientations can give and receive oral sex.

What is Fellatio?

Fellatio is the technical term for oral sex on someone with a penis but there are so many less formal, and more fun, ways to say it-like blow jobs, BJs, giving head, or going down. Whatever you call it, it involves licking and sucking the penis and sometimes taking the whole thing into your mouth.

What is Cunnilingus?

Cunnilingus is the technical term for oral sex on someone with a vulva and vagina. We have a lot of euphemisms for this one too-like eating out, going down on, face-sitting or queening. Whatever you call it, it involves licking the vulva and clitoris and possibly penetrating the vagina with your tongue.

What is Rimming?

Analingus or rimming is stimulating your partner's anus with your tongue. Sometimes it's referred to as a rim job or a tossed salad. Rimming can include licking the area around the anus and the anus itself or it can include penetrating the anus with your tongue.

Is Oral Sex safe?

Nobody can get pregnant from oral sex but that doesn't mean it counts as safe sex. Some STIs (like herpes) can be spread from the mouth to the genitals and vice versa. With others (like chlamydia and gonorrhea ) the risk is that partners will give or get a throat infection.

The risk of getting an STI from oral sex varies based on the specific infection and whether you are giving or receiving. Using a condom or dental dam (a rectangular sheet of latex) can help reduce this risk. It is usually better to choose a non-lubricated condom if you are going to use it for oral sex.

Blow Job Tips & Techniques

Let's start by saying there are very few wrong ways to give a blow job. Your warm mouth on their penis will probably feel good no matter what you do - though it's best to reduce the involvement of your teeth. Giving great oral sex to a man or penis-haver is more about figuring out what they like and how you like to do it.

Here are some tips and techniques for giving mind-blowing head:

Use your hands. We know it's not a hand job, but hey, names can be deceptive (you're not actually blowing on anything either). Wrapping your hand around the shaft of the penis and rubbing up and down while you lick or suck the top half can double the sensation. And if your jaw gets tired, you can keep the action going with your hand while your mouth takes a little break.

Take it all in. Licking up and down the shaft is a great way to start a blow job but enveloping the whole penis in your mouth can up your partner's pleasure a few notches. This does not necessarily mean deep-throating; most penises aren't that long. It simply means taking as much of the penis into your mouth as is comfortable, while holding the rest in your hand to add to the sensation. If you're worried about gagging, you can touch the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth to make sure the penis doesn't go too far back.

Focus on the tip. The head of the penis, called the glans, has tons of nerve endings. Licking or sucking this part can feel great. If your partner is uncircumcised, gently pull the foreskin back with your hand before putting your mouth on the tip. On the underside of the penis toward the top, there's a little spot that looks like a V. It's called the frenulum and it's where the foreskin meets the head of the penis. (It will still be there even if a guy is circumcised.) Try licking this spot with the tip or flat part of your tongue and watch your partner's reaction.

Add a toy. Sex toys can add extra sensation and maybe do some of the work for you. Slip a vibrating ring on your partner's penis to see if they like the buzz.

Branch out. The penis is the star of a blow job for sure but don't forget other erogenous spots on your partner's body. Reach up to rub or pinch their nipples, squeeze their ass cheeks, cup the scrotum in your hand, or search out the perineum (the spot between the testicles and the anus, sometimes called the taint). Make this a full-body experience.

Ask for directions. Everyone is unique and every partner is going to like their blow jobs a different way. Look and listen for signals as your tongue tries different techniques, and you will probably be able to tell what's bringing them to the brink. But the best way to distinguish "meh" from "oh my god, do that again" is to ask. This can also be an opportunity for you to explain what you are and are not comfortable with (like whether you plan to spit, swallow, or dash out of the way).

If you are the one getting the blow job, your job here is mostly just to lay back and enjoy. You can give your partner clues about what they're doing right in the form of hip movements or enthusiastic moans but if you want something different or even much more of the same, the best thing to do is to ask. Nicely, of course.

One thing not to do (at least not without getting explicit consent first ), is the classic porn move of holding your partner's head tight to your body while you thrust in and out of their mouth. Some might enjoy this, but others will likely find it invasive.

How to Give Great Oral Sex to a Woman or Vulva-Haver

Every vulva is unique and every vulva-haver will like something a little different when it comes to oral sex. Some people might prefer a light touch and indirect contact with the clitoris while others may need something stronger. The only real way to know what your partner likes is to lick and learn.

Don't worry about getting it right the first time, figuring it out together is part of the fun. Here are some tips for giving mind-blowing oral:

Warm up. People with vulvas sometimes take a little longer to get turned on, and diving right in may be off-putting. Take some time to warm up your partner by running your fingers over the vulva, cupping the area with your hand, exhaling warm breath all around, and gently kissing between their legs. Try doing some of this over their underwear to tease what's coming.

Try different tongue-niques. There are a lot of ways to lick a vulva or clitoris. You can go up and down, side to side, or in little circles. You can use the tip of your tongue kind of like a finger to give strong, directed sensations or you can flatten it for more gentle strokes. Try using the whole tongue like you're licking an ice cream cone or get your lips involved and lightly suck on the labia and clitoral hood.

Focus on more than just the clit. The clitoris tends to be the star of the show when it comes to oral sex, but she can be a diva. There are thousands of nerve endings in that little nub and while some people love direct clitoral stimulation (they want it licked, flicked, and sucked), others may find that too intense and prefer more diffuse tongue movements around their whole vulva or want you to focus on the clitoral hood instead. You can also try sticking your tongue into the opening of the vagina. This area has fewer nerve endings but some people like the feeling of penetration.

Add fingers or a toy. Your tongue is great, but it does not have to work alone. Add fingers so that you're rubbing two spots at once. Or try a vibrator low down by the vagina while your mouth works around the clitoris. Some people really enjoy having something-a finger or a sex toy-inside their vagina while a tongue works it magic on the outside. You can try to go for the g-spot from the inside while you're eating the outside.

Branch out. Don't forget other erogenous spots on your partner's body. Reach up to rub or pinch their nipples, take their whole breast in your hand, squeeze their ass cheeks, or search out their perineum (the spot between the vagina and the anus, sometimes called the taint). Make this a full-body experience.

Ask for directions. Your partner's reactions will give you a lot of clues which, hopefully, come in the form of moans, gasps and hip movements (toward your tongue for more pressure, away for a little less). Still, the best way to know what actually sets their world on fire is to ask. And, while you're chatting, be sure to remind them how much fun you're having. You can set them at ease by saying that they taste and smell great.

If you're the one being eaten out, you really don't have to do much other than bask in the pleasure of it all. It can feel vulnerable to have someone between your legs but try not to worry about your smell or taste or whether you're making crazy noises. Your partner wants to be there and wants you to have a good time. Send them clues by squealing, squirming, or crying out their name and feel free to add a few directions but try to be nice about it: "Oh my god, that feels so good, please go up just a little bit," or "Yes! Right there, slow."

Best Oral Sex Positions

Human beings are not pretzels, but we can do a good impression of one (or is it two?) when it comes to finding sexual positions. If you can dream it and bend in that direction, pretty much any position that gives one partner access to another one's genitals will work for oral sex. Look for positions where you can have eye contact to make the experience more intense or find ones that allow the giver to have some extra fun (either by touching themselves or being touched by their partner).

What is 69?

Sixty-nine is when couples give each other oral sex at that same time. There are a number of positions in which this can work but it got its name from the classic one in which one partner is on top of the other upside down and facedown which apparently looks like the number 6 and 9. Couples of any gender and sexual orientation can try 69.

There are a lot of variations on this classic position that can work as well. Partners can lay head-to-toe facing each other on their sides, one partner can sit in a chair and the other one can climb on upside down, or-for the strong and acrobatic-one partner can stand and hold the other partner upside down. It really depends on your mood, the body parts you're working with (whether it's two penises, two vulvas, or one of each), and how bendy you are. Just find a position where you are both comfortable and are able to move your mouths enough to please each other.

Lie Back and Moan

In this most classic position, the receiver-whether they have penis or a vulva-lies back on the bed and opens their legs a little or a lot to make room for their partner's face. It may be the oral sex equivalent of the missionary position, but that doesn't mean it's not fantastic. It puts the giver firmly in control and lets the receiver relax and enjoy. Consider adding a pillow under the receiver's butt to elevate the hips.

Pull Up a Chair

In this position, the receiving partner gets comfy in a chair or at the edge of the bed with their legs spread apart and planted on the floor (or slung over their partners shoulders). The giver gets down on the floor, likely on their knees, and goes to town. This works for couples with any combination of genitals. Try a pillow under the giver's knees to extend the time in this position.

Position possibilities are endless; other classics include receiving partner standing while giver goes down on their knees, sitting on your partner's face (most often done when the receiver has a vulva), and doggie style or from behind which can be a precursor to rimming. It's all about enjoyment, so make sure to pick a position in which everyone is comfortable.

Other Tips to Be Good at Oral Sex

The most important thing for good oral sex is to be relaxed. Getting oral sex can feel vulnerable and giving it can feel like a test of our competence as a lover. Try to get past that and remember this is all for fun. Here are few more tips for great oral sex:

Don't worry about the smell. Whether youre giving or getting you have to take the worry out of it. Vulvas and penises do have a smell but that musky scent screams sex and most partners will love breathing in your aroma. (If you're really worried about it or you've had a particularly sweaty day, hop in the shower quickly before you start).

You may need practice. As for your skill, this is not a test, every partner is different so learning what this one likes is something you couldn't have done in advance. All you can do is study your partner's responses in the moment and tuck away the knowledge for next time.

Take your time. Oral sex may be foreplay, or it may be the main attraction. If you're just paying it lip service (see what we did there) and wondering how many licks you have to give before you can move on to something else, your partner is going to know you're not into it. Take your time and don't think two steps ahead.

Don't be too goal oriented. We know you want to make your partner come but some people don't necessarily climax from oral sex and others may take a while. Don't put pressure on your partner to orgasm or on yourself to bring them there. The journey is way more important than the destination.

You can get in on the action too. Even if you're not doing 69, oral sex doesn't have to be all one-way. While you have your head between your partner's legs, stick your hands or a sex toy between your own. Your excitement will feed off each other and everyone can have an even better time.