How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!
Every week, the crew responds to a bonus question in chat form.
Dear How to Do It,
Giving blowjobs is really unpleasant for me. It makes my throat sore and my nose and eyes water, and I gag and sometimes vomit a little in the process. I alternate between my mouth and my hands to give my throat a break, but I don’t like the smell of saliva on my hands either (this probably shouldn’t be a big deal, but it really takes me out of the moment). I also know I’m too in my head while giving blowjobs; all I can think about is making sure I’m not grazing my partner with my teeth, and how to vary the techniques enough for it not to be painful for me. My partner really enjoys getting blowjobs from me, and it’s important to me to give him pleasure, so I don’t want to take blowjobs off the table. How can I have a more enjoyable experience, both physically and mentally, while giving blowjobs?
—In My Head
Stoya: I feel like our writer is doing some pretty advanced stuff in their blowjobs. Having the penis in their throat—no wonder they experience pain and gagging.
Rich: Yes. I think a cardinal rule of blowjobs, second perhaps only to the literal “no biting” (unless biting is specifically requested), is the proverbial “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” A lot of times it’s not necessary to go that far. When the recipient really loves head, often a little goes a long way.
Rich: That they’re already working in hand stuff and the partner is responsive means they could probably do some more hand and less mouth and still get results. I know the saliva smell thing is an issue, but I think that’s just an occupational hazard.
Stoya: They can try brushing their teeth just before, which should minimize mouth smells. (Floss too!)
Rich: My motto eternally, no matter the occasion: Floss. Period.
Beyond the physical discomfort, I wonder what our writer’s impression of the experience of giving head is. Oftentimes, I think a huge part of the turn on of giving head is the somewhat unlikely position of power you find yourself in when taking this ostensibly submissive position. And also, it feels good to make someone else feel good. And then you make them come and you can say to yourself before turning in, “Well, I did something with my day. I made a dick shoot.”
Stoya: They mention that it’s important to give their partner pleasure, but they don’t describe their experience of it. Something that might help them enjoy giving oral sex more is focusing on what they find enjoyable about it.
Rich: Setting out to make someone ejaculate and then accomplishing it is a full project. I love it!
Stoya: How often do you find yourself grazing people with your teeth?
Rich: More often than I’d like, but usually it only happens once and people rarely respond vocally, which makes me think it’s not that bad. Accidents happen, I just try to straighten out and fly right as quickly as possible.
Stoya: Oh! And you have a penis! How bad is it to feel a bit of tooth?
Rich: Haha yes there’s also that. A bit of teeth is fine. There are definitely people whose entire technique seems to be “this is more hotdog than popsicle” and I don’t get that at all. I don’t mean to marginalize, but when a self-identified bottom is just so objectively bad at giving head I have to wonder what he’s been doing with his life and why he isn’t wondering the same thing.
Stoya: I’m also wondering if ventilation might help with the spit smell.
Rich: Or a nice candle or something. I mean, sex smells. Sometimes it’s extreme and can be mitigated, but often it’s the price you pay to play. I end up eroticizing most of by association.
Stoya: So our writer can take a deep breath and try to relax.
Rich: And think about the good parts of giving head. It might be worth spelling them out. Performance wise, it sounds like they’re doing great, if the semen that is gushing out of their partner’s penis is any indication. If they did less and downgraded to good … they’d still be giving good head. A win.
More How to Do It
Several years ago, before she died, my mother made a stunning confession about her life with my dad.