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An Oral Taboo

There’s something about rising out of the water that has a lot to do with our sexuality… It is vast, like a sea.’ Joseph Campbell
Saying the words oral and sex in the same sentence will turn heads at almost any health or natural conference I attend. Even with a blush, most people engage and want to know more. Providing ideas and products that encourage them to have the conversation or better still, the experience at home is a welcome conversation. Oral sex is at once one of the most desirable sexual experiences and the one that still carries enough discomfort to call it taboo in some circles. There was a time when you could get arrested for it. Still in the vast sea of sexuality, developing a healthy connection and building skill to oral ways of loving have a power and passion unique in the world.

I have explained oral sex to many a teenager by telling them that it might be the most intimate and raw act of intimacy that two people can give each other and was surprised to find out from them how shockingly common the practice is among adolescents and teens. Many of them consider it ‘safe sex’ or not real sex. A recent survey of over 12,000 teens aged 15-17 reported that over a third of both male and female respondents had reported both giving and receiving oral sex. By the age of 18-20 the percentages jump to two thirds. Interestingly, both the men and women reported higher percentages of receiving oral sex than giving it. One of the most commonly asked questions among this age group is ‘How do you have oral sex and not gag?’


I have found that this question carries through most age groups as oral sex, just like other sexual acts is a skill based activity and short of pornographic clips online, many people have few resources to learn and improve their skills. No one is excited to admit their ignorance or inexperience when it comes to love making, but there really is no topic that deserves or requires real communication and feedback as much. Finding a language to ask for what we want and to express what feels good for our partners takes courage and simultaneously builds trust. Your partner needs more than ‘it was fine’ to teach them what kind of touch, frequency and intensity really brings you pleasure. Moaning is a good sign, but don’t be afraid to add words to your experience.

Discomfort about oral sex is probably more common than oral sex itself. Although, more women can orgasm through oral sex than intercourse, many feel anxious about it. The most common issues of discomfort are about smell, taste and relinquishing control. The literal and emotional opening up that giving yourself to the pleasures of oral sex requires, is a big leap for many women. Often they feel that there is no point in allowing themselves the vulnerability of the experience of oral sex because they may well have had many partners that were unwilling or unable to keep it going for the 15 to 20 minutes that the average woman requires of clitoral stimulation to climax. Satisfying oral sex for both men and women requires perseverance, patience and commitment to someone else’s pleasure.

The issue of swallowing male ejaculate is one that women discuss for most of their life. The range of taste and consistency in semen is as unique as the men themselves. Your taste, like your scent is a product of what you ingest, with vegetarians having the lightest taste of all. Fresh fruit and vegetables tend to lighten taste and odor while coffee and alcohol tends to make it stronger. Don’t feel bad if you can’t go there, use your hands or switch to vaginal sex to finish the act. Choosing not to swallow does not take any pleasure away from the act.

Any body part slippery and scented is sexier than that same body part dry. Strategic use of aphrodisiac love oils, pleasure butters and body desserts in the course of oral exploration of your lover not only eliminates the scent/taste concerns that both partner might share about going down but also work on stimulating the arousal mechanism in the brain. If you love the raw smell of your partner, consider just adding a little water to keep things wet and smooth.

While pressure and strokes are deeply personal preferences, most women prefer a slow, gentle technique. Increasing pressure and intensity in oral sex is perhaps the most intimate conversation two people can have without words. As with any kiss, developing your own personal art and style involves understanding and coordinating the variety of sensations that tongues and lips offer. Paying attention to the sensations and techniques that send you over the edge and allowing fantasy to inform you and replace your inhibitions in the process will surprise you with uniquely passionate yet changing experiences.