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Staying on the up and up when going down

It disappoints me that so many people seem to regard oral sex as mere foreplay and not an honest-to-badness sex act in itself. That’s where the “sex” part of “oral sex” comes from, in case you were wondering, and the intricacies of a good tongue-lashing are as multitudinous and complex as those stemming from intercourse. The fact that reputable studies have found girls young enough to know absolutely zilch about sex and sexuality (fifth graders, even!) giving blowjobs with nary a qualm tells me that we need more of the down-low on going down.

First off, let’s get our terms straight. Some call it “giving head,” but scientists call it “fellatio.” There are no printable nicknames for what smart significant others give their lady friends, but that’s “cunnilingus” (though sometimes flowers are nice, too). This intelligent-sounding terminology lends the topic of oral sex something a lot of folks don’t give it, which is respect. It is an intimate act, as intimate as intercourse to a lot of people — and there are even some women who find that oral is the only way to make them orgasm. On the other hand, I have friends who don’t realize that STDs can be transmitted through the mouth, and while the numbers are slightly lower this way, it’s important to remember that any time we’re dealing with bodily fluids, we have to take precautions.

This — as with intercourse — doesn’t mean you have to suck all the fun out of it. Hopefully, it will be the other way around. Make your man wear a rubber if he wants some downtown lovin’– but pass on normal condoms, as the taste of the lubricant is downright icky. Get some non-lubricated condoms (and save them just for that purpose, as using them for intercourse will leave you with some very tragic friction burn) or spring for some nifty flavored ones. Occasionally, the Student Health Services Annex has some Lifestyles Kiss o’ Mint condoms that have the additional bonus of leaving your mouth kissably fresh. Make sure to wrap things up before you get down to business however, as guys’ glands release tiny amounts of pre-ejaculate well before they orgasm. For women, use a dental dam or get creative with a condom (remove the tip and cut down the middle). Even some good old Saran Wrap will keep her goods covered and still provide plenty of sensation. And it comes in pretty colors!

After the preliminaries are taken care of, the rest is up to you. The exact specifications for “good” oral sex vary from one individual to another, except that almost anyone will agree that if they’re on the receiving end, it’s pretty damn good to begin with. The head of the penis and the clitoris are biologically analogous, and the amount of sensation your partner wants on their hot spot is a highly personal matter, and may change as they get increasingly aroused. Lavishing attention on the surrounding areas is recommended; don’t forget that the tummy and inner thighs like kisses, too. A group of men will argue for an hour on the issue of teeth, so it’s best to ask about that, too. As with every other sex act, communication is key. Keeping that in mind will make the ever-present “spit or swallow” predicament easier, too. The absolute final word on this is that if your guy has been tested since his last sex partner and you make the decision to trust him, it’s unequivocally up to you. Many factors, from the taste to gag reflex, may make a person not want to go for the gusto, and any guy whose wang is worth putting in your mouth will respect that. On the other hand, if you’re willing, semen has only seven calories per teaspoon (the average amount of ejaculate a guy produces per session), so it’s not going to ruin your diet. Again, it is positively the prerogative of the person whose mouth is in question.

So, yes, boys and girls, oral sex is real sex, with all the considerations, all the risks and all the fun. In its proper context, oral can be playful, hot, sexy as hell and enjoyable for both the giver and the recipient. So know your facts, love your latex and keep in mind that nice people suck, too.