People can enjoy sex in all ways, positions, and styles, and it doesn't have to include penetration. Does that mean it's still sex? 100%. Sex is anything you want the main course to be, and that includes oral sex.
The perks of oral sex.
Oral sex is the act of using the mouth, lips, or tongue to stimulate a partner's genitals. Cunnilingus, anilingus, and fellatio are all types of oral sex, referring respectively to the stimulation of a vagina or clitoris, anus, or penis via licking or sucking.
Regardless of your genital anatomy, feminist counselor and psychotherapist Ashley D. Sweet, M.A., LPC, LMHC, CCRC, says oral sex can be a very pleasurable experience because of our bodies' nerve-dense genitals. Many people consider oral sex to be more pleasurable than other forms of sexual play, she adds, and this may explain why: "The tongue is a soft yet strong set of muscles that can create powerful, pleasurable sensations on the genitals that are unlike any other form of stimulation."
People may prefer oral sex for many reasons, including Sweet's assertion that they enjoy the taste, up-close visuals, and smell of their partner. "Also, folks may prefer oral sex because there isn't a risk of pregnancy, as there can be with heterosexual intercourse."
Board-certified sexologist Jessica Cline, MSW, Ph.D., tells mbg that with the exception of the 69 oral sex position, this form of sex is "an act of orgasmic isolation with the sole focus being on giving and receiving pleasure." Adding that, "Oral sex can feel incredibly connecting, more so than penetrative sex."
Another large perk of oral sex is it provides balance in pleasure. For example, people with clitorises engaging in penetrative sex typically have difficulty reaching orgasm, whereas a penis can experience ejaculation in much less time with fewer barriers. Because of this, Cline says sex partners can use oral sex "as the orgasmic equalizer, a metaphorical appetizer, the main course, or dessert."
The best sex positions for oral pleasure:
The 69 oral sex position requires you and your partner to align yourselves on top of each other in opposite directions, giving you each prime access to each other's genitals. "Many find the dual pleasure incredibly erotic," says Cline.
Usually one partner lies on their back and the other lies atop them with their knees straddling the other person's head. No matter your gender or anatomy, the 69 is a great oral sex position for women, plus those who are interested in blowjobs positions.
However, this position isn't without its (solvable) downsides. "The 69 position is actually trash for many people," Sweet says. "It can be very uncomfortable to hold the position, and it can be very distracting to both give and receive at the same time!"
Because of this, some couples explore this position by lying on their sides and facing their partner's genitals, which Cline says gives your neck a break. Or they do the 68, a variation of the 69 where your partner lies on their back as you lie on your back on top of them with your crotch in their face. From that angle, you can tease your partner with controlled movements of your genitals through pressure, rhythm and depth.
Sit & Kneel
You sit; they kneel. Whether you try it to give a blowjob or stimulate a clitoris, the sitting oral sex position involves the receiver sitting with their pelvis at the edge of a chair, couch, bed, kitchen counter or any comfortable surface while the giver kneels down and pleases them orally.
To make this position more comfortable, the giver can put a pillow beneath their knees. And on the receiving end, people with vulvas can place their foot or leg on their partner's shoulder to provide a deeper all-access pass to their genitals.
AASECT-certified and board-certified sexologist Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., LMFT, CST, says an upside of this position is "it also allows for a lot more mobility of both hands, so a spare hand can fondle the testicles or stimulate the vagina"—or partners can maximize each other's oral pleasure with internal or external sex toys for couples.
On Your Stomach
While you lie on your stomach, spread your legs and arch your hips slightly so your partner can orally pleasure you from behind. (A pillow can help!) This oral sex position caters to people with vulvas, and you also have free range to pleasure yourself with toys or your hands at the same time. It's also great for rim jobs. Because the giver isn't arching, elevating, or extending their butt, this is a bit more comfortable than doggy style, but they can still access the same parts of the receiver's body.
Just lie back and take it. A perfect and comfortable oral sex position for people with penises or vulvas, this one is simple and straightforward: Lie back on a comfortable surface (typically a bed or couch) while your partner lies on their stomach in between your legs and pleases you.
"The position is great because it provides a lot of comfort for the giver and the receiver," Cline says, adding that you can place a pillow under your hips to provide easier access to the parts you want to be stimulated. Feel free to bend your knees, keep them flat on the bed, or wrap them around your partner's head.
There are different names for this oral sex position, but here's how to do it: One partner lies on their back with their head going slightly over the edge of the bed. The other partner stands over them, leaning forward so their crotch sits directly on the bottom partner's mouth.
You can try this facing your partner's body or face, but you might want to access the rest of their body for a sexy view and the ability to please them.
This may not be the best blowjob position for the giving partner as it's not very neck-friendly, but you can easily make it one if the top partner lowers the penis into their partner's mouth. Or if the bottom partner has a penis too, the top partner can suck them off at the same time, turning this upside-down position into 69.
Sometimes called queening, the face-sitting oral sex position is just as it sounds—one partner straddles the face of the other person, who can then lick, suck, or kiss their partner's genitals.
What's fun and sexy about this position is that it lets "the receiver participate more interactively by grinding and moving their hips," says Cline. Plus, it "invites in a feeling of domination and submission, which can be incredibly erotic."
To make this a blowjob position, have the receiver sit at an angle and "feed" their penis into the giver's mouth to reduce any neck tension or discomfort and the risk of suffocation.
Oral sex is great on all fours. Whether you raise your butt to achieve doggy style or you balance yourself on your hands and knees, this is a worthy oral sex position that's possible for penis-holders but likely more pleasurable for vulvas or ass-eating because of easier access.
As the receiver, you can spread your legs to let your partner's mouth in deeper or keep them close together to experience a serious tease. When you've settled into this position, the other person kneels behind you and stimulates your anus or genital area, either with their mouth or sex toys. (Or both!)
The neat part of this position is you can both control the pace—they can control the level of pressure to apply, and by sensually moving your body forward and back, you can control how much of you they access.
Pro-tip: While you or your partner receive, try wearing a butt plug to maximize your pleasure!
"Standing for oral sex can also be a great position to assert a feeling of power," says Cline.
In this position, the receiver leans against a wall with their legs slightly apart and their pelvis pushed out, while the pleasurer kneels on the floor or sits. An oral sex position that works well for both vulva- and penis-havers, Cline says couples can enjoy this one anywhere, from the bedroom to the kitchen to the shower to the pantry and more.
To protect your knees or theirs, don't forget the pillow. And to keep your balance (especially as you get closer to having an orgasm), try to lean against a wall or door.
The Kivin method
An oral sex position that works to give blowjobs and cunnilingus, the Kivin method puts a sideways flair to the classic position. This one requires the receiving partner to lie on their back while the giver lies perpendicular to their partner's body. As the giver licks or sucks their partner's genitals, the receiver can place a leg over their neck, which opens the legs more and increases clitoral stimulation.
Tips and tricks:
Protect your neck.
"First and foremost, be kind to your neck!" reminds Sweet.
In any oral sex position, she says to make sure it doesn't cause strain or pain in your body. If that happens, change positions. "The neck is very fragile, and if the purpose of the oral sex session is pleasure, be mindful about pain in your performance."
You can always place a pillow under the pelvis, which she says can be helpful to lift your genitals, "creating easier access and less neck strain."
Explore the rest of their body.
While you're pleasing your partner, don't hesitate to use your free hands to bring them added pleasure by softly tracing their breasts or nipples (nipple orgasms are a thing, and don't sleep on male nipple play!), grabbing or playing with their butt, gripping their waist, or anything you think your partner would enjoy. Because oral sex mainly just needs your mouth, you can be as flexible as you want to heighten your partner's pleasure.
Use toys and props.
"Oral sex can be a great time to bring in a toy—think of it as a collaborator for pleasure," recommends Cline. While your tongue can stimulate your partner plenty, there are lots of props and toys that make sex more enjoyable.
A few to consider:
- Clit suction sex toy.
- Butt plug.
- Nipple clamps.
- Feather tickler.
- Sex pillow.
- Vibrating tongue or penis ring.
- Fingertip vibrator.
- Deep throat desensitizing spray.
- Arousal balm.
- Edible underwear.
Talk while doing it.
Communication is key for most things in life, including sex. "With all the positions, make sure you give feedback with what you like and provide guidance about what you don't like," Cline says.
That can mean you moan when something feels good, or you stop your partner when they're not hitting the spot to let them know what to do differently. (P.S.: Some people don't enjoy oral sex, and that's OK!)
Skyler says it's a risk to assume that your partner can read your mind and understand your desires without a conversation first because it "can often lead to a miss when attempting to execute various types of stimulation." Rather than make your partner feel like they're bad at oral sex or don't know how to please, Skyler says to simply fine-tune your communication.
Show your excitement.
If you like how your partner tastes, let them know! Or if you enjoy pleasing them, feel free to let a few moans out. Receiving pleasure seems mindless, but some people might overthink how they feel or taste or if you actually like giving them head. To both quell their fears and help them relax to better enjoy oral sex, show your partner how much their tastes and smells excite you in ways that are true to you. (Here's our guide to dirty talk for some inspo.)
Use your breath.
For some people, feeling their partner's warm breath on their skin during sex creates increased arousal and can amplify stimulation. Whether you breathe heavily and deeply as you please their clitoris or you teasingly blow air on their skin, your partner is sure to be overrun with desire, especially if you do this after a round of foreplay.
Increase the intimacy.
To deepen your connection with your partner as you give them oral sex, increase the intimacy by holding their hands or locking eyes with them. Not only does watching your partner react to your touch make sex more erotic, but these intimate moves show them how much you want to feel them beyond just your mouth. (Here are some more ways to give more passionate oral sex.)
Switch up your speed.
When you're licking, sucking, or touching a vulva, keep in mind jumping right into it can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Starting slowly with soft nibbles and licks is always recommended, and then you can alternate to a quicker pace as your partner responds more and more to your stimulation.
Things to keep in mind.
Sweet tells mbg that any sex act that involves fluid exchange produces risks for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Although the risk of pregnancy is significantly reduced during oral sex, Sweet advises people to "be sure to practice safer sex with partners by getting routinely tested and using barriers such as penis condoms or dental dams."
If you and your partner decide to forgo protection, Skyler says, "getting tested before being exclusive or fluid bonded is very important."
Here's why: "Most people aren't aware they're infected," says Cline, "and they often have no symptoms leading to unintentionally exposing partners." The best way to avoid this scenario is to prioritize safety as a part of your pleasure.
The bottom line.
Oral sex is sex that's fun for everyone, but you don't have to stick to the same position or the usual methods you lean on to please your partner. Get creative with your oral sex techniques, switch up your positions, and explore what works best for the both of you.
Farrah Daniel is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a bachelor's degree in Digital Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Her work has been published at The Penny Hoarder, The Write Life, and elsewhere. Daniel manages and creates content for small businesses, nonprofits, and lifestyle publications. With five years of professional writing under her belt, her diverse portfolio includes topics such as wellness, personal finance, sales and marketing, shared micromobility and equity, and more.