James W. Hicks, M.D.

Anatomy of a Blowjob

In Sexploration* on July 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I assume that readers of this blog are not completely inexperienced in the sexual arts, but some of you may have more confidence with one gender or the other. Knowledge is power, so I’m inaugurating a series of posts that will describe the details of sexual intercourse.

Men and women have similar mouths. For the purpose of this post, the inside of the mouth is best described from the perspective of the penis. During oral sex, the penis is gripped by the lips and tongue as it slides against the slippery hard palate at the roof of the mouth. The muscles of the cheek create suction, and the penis may find itself sliding between your gums and cheek, or it may head straight to the back of the throat, in which case it pushes against the soft palate and tonsils.

The pressure against these fleshy structures typically triggers a gag reflex, which is designed to protect you from choking on food. If you want to “deep throat,” or take a penis deep into your mouth, you must learn to suppress the gag reflex by concentrating on relaxing the muscles at the back of your throat. This is not difficult, at least if you have a patient partner. (And unless you’re giving a quickie in an alley, what partner wouldn’t want you to take your time?)

A penis will also block your airway if it is thrust deep enough, so be sure to come up for air periodically.

The inside of the mouth is rich in salivary and mucous glands that secrete slippery liquids which help us digest food, and these glands are also triggered by any probing of the mouth during deep kissing and oral sex. Deeper penetration to the back of the throat causes the release of the thicker, more mucous fluids. Saliva mixes with your partner’s sexual secretions during fellatio, creating a slick and salty film that tastes nice and makes sex more comfortable (the same is true during cunnilingus).

What kind of blowjob do men prefer? It’s a matter of taste and anatomy, so you’ll have to experiment with your partner to see if he prefers the tightness at the back of your throat or the teasing licks of your tongue. The head of the penis is very sensitive, especially in uncircumcised men, so gripping the shaft in your mouth may be more pleasant than directly sucking the tip.

If a man ejaculates while his penis is deep in the back of your mouth, some of the semen may go down your throat or up into the back of your nasal passages, which lie directly above the soft palate. Most of the semen will remain in your mouth and can be spit out or swallowed, according to your preference.

There is truth in the old joke that, like dogs who lick themselves, we would all go down on ourselves if we were limber enough to do so. Surveys show that the vast majority of men would like to be given a blowjob. Many consider fellatio a form of making out rather than sex, and an otherwise straight man may feel comfortable getting a blowjob from another man and consider himself a lucky bystander whose sexual orientation is not called into question. But there is a double standard, and the “cocksucker” is often assumed to be gay. This is silly and fundamentally sexist; neither the giving nor the receiving of a blowjob is intrinsically more heterosexual or homosexual.

  1. I think the main reason that men are better able to perform fellatio is simply because our heads are bigger than are women’s. Thus, we can take more of the penis in our mouths.

  2. 129 readers of my original blog took a quick poll asking who gives better blowjobs: men or women. (Presumably bisexual men were in a better position to take this poll, but the poll was not restricted.) 65% answered that men give better blowjobs. Only 10% answered that women give better blowjobs. One quarter of responders said that men and women are about the same.

  3. This article is very good in explaining the natural act of giving/receiving fellation. An erect penis is “anatomically” shaped by nature also [in addition to vaginal penetration] so that another person’s mouth can fit it’s contour shape and move upon the male sexual organ in providing him desired pleasures and is also another receptacle whereby he receiving this pleasure has a place to deposit his semen upon experiencing his orgasm. I am a male and have enjoyed very much orally pleasuring another male’s penis but only with a select male that I would be willing to experience the entire act including the swallowing of this male’s semen after I have finished pleasuring.

  4. I’m curious about actual anatomical terms, too–like, how far can an erect penis go down a throat–past the trachea? Down the esophagus? Or does it stay (regardless of size, due to the fellator’s anatomical limitations) in the pharynx? I’m trying to differentiate between common terms for the body and medical terms (the “throat” seems general). Any help you can provide on this would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • I don’t think that particular medical research has been done, but I would say the bottleneck, so to speak, is at the tonsils and uvula. If the penis is long enough and the girth is not too great, it can pass through into the pharynx. Passing the uvula triggers a gag reflex, unless the person has learned to suppress it. The epiglottis keeps anything from entering the trachea, but a penis that goes that far will make breathing difficult. (Be sure to come up for air!) If the penis gets any further, it would presumably be in the esophagus.

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