James W. Hicks, M.D.

Posts Tagged ‘oral’


In Ask the Doctor* on February 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

Q: How can I convince my boyfriend to eat me out? He’s so stubborn.

A: There are several reasons why a partner might be reluctant to administer cunnilingus. He might have a gut feeling of disgust for nether parts in general or for the female genitals in particular. He might have unquestioned beliefs that anything other than procreative sex is immoral. Or he might view going down on a woman as an unmasculine act. I imagine you have tried to engage him on this topic and might have some idea about his reasons.

To address the feeling of disgust, you might consider making your move when you are in a shower together or after you have just stepped out of the shower. Many partners might also find shaved genitals to be cleaner and less frightening than naturally hairy ones. Exposure and knowledge also tend to undermine feelings of disgust, so teach him about your clitoris, vulva, and vagina. Take his fingers on a tour, show him how his touch is arousing, and at some point suggest how excited you would be if he put his tongue where his fingers were. Most partners want to be fair, even if they have strict ideas about what men and women are supposed to do, so you might have more luck if you offer him oral sex from a “69” position. He can hardly ignore the proximity of your genitals when you are servicing his in a reciprocal position. If he licks your thighs or nuzzles you with his nose, that’s a start.

The key is to overcome his reluctance gradually, rather than frighten him off. Make it easy for him, and let him try a little bit at a time. Reinforce his efforts and his confidence by expressing arousal during the act, by turning him on at the same time, and by telling him how much you enjoyed it afterwards. If you watch porn together, you can also express your interest by pointing out how the scenes of cunnilingus look like fun and something you would like to try together.

Many men love cunnilingus, but that simple fact probably won’t convince him. He’ll have to find out for himself. Be careful about stressing how much you have enjoyed cunnilingus in the past (if you have), because that might make him feel jealous and make the whole topic more difficult to approach in the future.

[You can e-mail your questions about sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships to me at flexuality@hotmail.com, or post a question anonymously as a comment. The answers I post are for informational purposes only and do not constitute individual treatment.]

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Condoms for Oral Sex

In Ask the Doctor* on January 16, 2011 at 10:07 am

Q: What percentage of people wear a condom for a blowjob? I’ve seen it advised everywhere, but I’ve only met one person who actually does it, and zie [he/she?] does it for sex work. How important is it in terms of STD’s? How dangerous is it for the reciving and giving partner? Can you give me the skinny? THANKS!

A: Medical professionals urge condom use during oral sex, because potentially infectious fluids are exchanged. Even though the risk of transmitting HIV is low, you can catch gonorhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and herpes. If you have a cut in your mouth, or a sore, then you could also conceivably get HIV. In some anonymous sexual settings (such as a bathhouse or video store), your partner could pass on hepatitis, an intestinal bug, or even the common cold, if he hasn’t washed between sexual acts. Who knows where that penis has been?

Some people try to limit the risk by not letting a partner ejaculate in their mouth, but that can be difficult to control, and you may still be exposed to unclean skin and pre-ejaculatory fluids. If someone has ejaculated in your mouth, it may be relatively safe to swallow, since the acidic juices in your stomach should kill HIV and most bacteria, but spitting out is probably the safer course. It might help to gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash immediately after giving a blowjob, though the practice hasn’t been studied.

If you use a condom during oral sex, you may prefer one that is unlubricated, or one that is flavored. Though you asked about a blowjob, most of the risks described above also apply to cunnilingus. You can use a dental dam, which is a sheet of latex that you lay across the woman’s clitoris, vulva, and vaginal opening.

Returning to your original question, I suspect that condoms are not widely used for oral sex. A condom changes the experience of oral sex, though perhaps more for the one giving the blowjob than the recipient. Some people make it a rule to always use a condom themselves or on their partners, but others make an exception for oral sex. Condoms are almost never worn for oral sex in pornographic movies, but that’s probably not a good place to turn for guidance. Sex workers protect their health (and their clients) by using a condom regardless of the act.

The bottom line: The risks are lower than with unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse. You need to consider what level of risk, if any, is acceptable to you.

[You can e-mail your questions about sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships to me at flexuality@hotmail.com, or post a question anonymously as a comment. The answers I post are for informational purposes only and do not constitute individual treatment.]

Sweet Fruit

In Stories* on October 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Even though we couldn’t keep our eyes off each other on the base, I was nervous when I finally walked over to Jackie’s room to get her for the movie. I’d never been on a date with a woman before, and I had no idea what two women were supposed to do in bed. It couldn’t be anything like having sex with a man, unless she had one of those strap-on things, and that would be just ridiculous and anyway out of the question in the dormitory. I told myself not to worry. We were going off base, and if I could just hold her hand during the movie, that would be enough.

I had butterflies in my stomach as I knocked and heard her footsteps approaching from the other side. My cheeks were suddenly hot, and my mouth was dry. She opened the door, still wearing fatigues. We just stood there, smiling at each other like idiots. Then she took hold of me by the wrist and pulled me inside, closed the door, and pressed me up against the wall.

There was no talking and no kissing, at least not on the lips. She dropped down in front of me and pulled my panties down from under my skirt and pushed my skirt up with both hands and dug in with her tongue. I was still too shocked to do anything but lean my shoulders back against the wall and tilt my legs to give her room. She slid a finger into me, or two, while nuzzling and tugging with her lips. Her whole face was slippery against me now, and I put my hands on her braids and pulled her tight as my legs started shaking uncontrollably.

And then we lay down on her bed for more. We never did make it to the movie. In fact, I don’t think we even took a break for dinner. Thank god her roommate was on leave.

The Mouth

In Sexploration* on October 10, 2010 at 4:15 am

From the time we are infants, we derive pleasure and give and receive affection through our mouths. Freud thought oral sexuality was a developmental stage to be abandoned after breast-feeding, but the pleasures of the mouth are a unique and crucial part of the sexual repertoire. Teenagers who are not yet ready to have genital intercourse can enjoy kissing, necking, and even oral sex, and some men and women continue to prefer oral sex to other forms of intercourse. Kissing remains the most affectionate form of sexual expression, which makes it essential for some and a taboo for others (for example, a macho type will seek a blowjob from a man but turn away from his kiss).

Lips come in a variety of shapes and sizes that contribute to appearance and the quality of stimulation they provide. The skin of the lips has a dry surface on the outside and moist mucous membrane on the inside (which makes it similar to the entrance of the vagina). Fat lies beneath the surface of the lips, making them soft, while a thin muscle circles the mouth and allows for the pursing of the lips. This muscle is involved when you press lips together during passionate kissing, when you pucker around a nipple or clitoris, or when you encircle the shaft of a penis during fellatio. Since the outside of the lips are naturally dry, these activities may be more pleasant if they are wetted with saliva, lipstick, or petroleum jelly.

The lips work together with the muscles of the cheeks to create enough suction to lightly bruise the skin of the neck when making a “hickey” or love-bite. Some people also use their teeth to gently bite and tug on the nipples, labia, or foreskin during sex. This requires some control and attention to not hurt your partner. Some people also enjoy the light pain that comes from being bitten on the skin, and a full chapter is devoted to this form of love-making in the ancient Indian Kamasutra.

The tongue is essentially a muscle surrounded by mucous membrane. The muscle fibers run in all directions, so the tongue is able to stretch, curl, flick, and move dexterously. The upper surface of the tongue is textured, in order to better grip food, which contributes to the wet sensation of friction which makes a probing tongue so exciting.

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.