Slow Down When You Go Down

Category: Advice

Author: Arielle Antwine

To say that lots of people enjoy oral sex sort of feels like the understatement of the year. Yet, gratifying as it can be, we tend to sequester oral sex to the beginning or end of our encounters. As a sexologist and coach, I see so many clients who want to get better at giving oral – or receiving it – with their partner(s). But this takes a lot more than simply initiating oral more.

Rushing through oral is second nature. Unless you’ve had a partner who really enjoys going down on you (or maybe you are said partner), odds are that oral has been brief. Let’s change that, shall we? This requires a few mentality changes with explicit goals and communication. Let’s get into my go-to exercises for clients!

Ask the right questions, get the right answers.

First, you have to be on the same page as your partner(s) about what you each want from an oral-only session. What’s the goal? To cum? Nah, that’s too simple. Determine your clear-cut objective by discussing with your partner(s) what you each would like from this oral-only session. And because it’s hard to speak with genitals in your mouth, I highly suggest discussing these things with clothes on, in a neutral space, alone with your partner(s). Questions to ask:

Instead of—“I want [to go down on you/you to go down on me] for an hour.”

Ask—What if we made oral the main event, and we go down on each other for fun?


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Why? Puting time constraints on pleasure is a losing game. Unless you’re into quickies (which this article is not about), sex should have pleasure-based goals – goals like trying a new toy, having a scene play out, or honoring a kink. Or you can just take all of it off the table and emphasize fun. Remember that sex should be an adventure. So make it clear that the pressure is off, and get down (pun intended) to rediscovering one another.

Instead of— “How do you want me to make you feel when [I/you] go down?”

Ask— How can I let you feel whole and seen during this experience?”


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Why? This gives each partner agency over their own experience. Whether you know it or not, the first question contains coded language that assigns certain roles before the fun begins. Language like “make you…” or “give you…” puts ownness on both the giver to ‘provide’ and receive to ‘take’ something. If we change this subtly to “you” statements, we relieve the pressure of performance for ourselves and our partner(s). Want more on this? Check out Betty Martin’s ‘Wheel of Consent’.

Instead of—“What helps you orgasm with oral?”

Ask—What’s one word to describe how you want to feel whenever we’re done?”


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Also, being ‘done’ is relative. Many people who enjoy oral may not orgasm from it. But missing an orgasm doesn’t mean that it’s not a pleasurable experience. The number one complaint I get from clients about oral is not being able to read or communicate when they want more from their partner mid-sex. You can take that pressure off by discussing when, where, and how oral sex should end for everyone – one that does not center orgasm. Take time with your partner to talk this out; it can be challenging but it’s not impossible!

Balance stamina and sensation

People tend to think oral sex is less fulfilling or “not as difficult” as penetration. I don’t know where this lie began, but I do know it’s prevalent! Oral is extremely stimulating, sometimes more so than penetration, touching, or using toys.

Think about it. It’s skin-to-skin (or skin to barrier) contact using one’s mouth. This is essentially our most sensitive parts meeting each other – one has way more control with their mouth, more dexterity with their tongue, and more nuance with their lips than any toy or other body part.

To demystify the magic of oral, check out my workshop Bi Girl’s Guide to Going Down (on a Vulva & a Penis) on my site.

Sensual ways to upgrade your oral game

Genital Gazing & Affirmations: Have you ever taken a good look at your partner’s genitals? Like, a really good look? Like, in a lineup of similar genitals, could you pick them out? (Kidding!) Folks tend to glaze over just how good it is to see the visual of genitals in your face. And for those receiving oral, know that your lover is looking at your parts from a lens of love and appreciation – never from judgment. Need help with this?

Givers and Receivers: Genital gazing is like soul gazing for you and your partner’s parts. Before you start any sexual activity, take a few timed minutes to look at your partner’s genitals. Don’t touch, just take them in. Then switch. Once each partner is finished gazing, they can tell the other person one thing they love about the other’s genitals. This builds trust, releases self-judgment, and lets each partner be seen without the pressure of pleasure.

Avoid things we’ve all heard before: “You taste so good”, “I could eat your pussy all night”, “Your dick gets me incredibly hard/wet.” Not only are these cliches, they lack the specificity that your partner deserves from sharing a singular experience with you.

Oral Givers: Provide your partner affirming statements about their body – specifically what you can see (and what they might not be aware of). For example: “Your labia are divine”, “Your penis fits into my mouth perfectly”, “You taste like coconuts and cream”.

Oral Receivers: Ask your partner for affirmations. Odds are if someone is going down on you, they have a bit of submission in them. Ask them to tell you how good it feels for them to go down on you. Not only will you feel more competent in your receiving role, but you’re able to use the affirmations to remain grounded and in your power during the experience.

from Giphy


Oral Givers:That vibration in the throat created from humming is a game-changer in oral sex. If you’re going down, instead of resisting the urge to withhold that “mmm” or “ahhh”, let them go. Make them longer and deeper. Until you sense a rumble from your clavicle (throat chakra area), keep the hums going! This is dual-purpose because it can turn on the partner receiving oral.

Getting Vocal

Oral Receivers: There’s a phenomenon called auralism where people get turned on by sounds. In the time of early humans, the sound of a lover’s moans (signifying pleasure) was meant to alert mates nearby and potentially induce competition for the most viable to have sex. Evolutionally, we can break this down into louder sex = better sex.

Not so sure about getting louder in bed? I get it. Loud sex can feel performative. You can begin dipping your toe into auralism by watching loud(er) porn. This way it can normalize the sounds of oral sex for you. Might I suggest some oral selections from Lustery?

Next, start masturbating audibly – as in, moan for yourself when you gave yourself pleasure. It may sound a little woo, but practice makes progress. Eventually this will build confidence to get loud with partners during oral. Vocalizing your pleasure is a feral human need, which results in fuller orgasms and encourages partners if they are unsure about your pleasure. The vocal release alone is worth the investment.


Oral Givers: Don’t be afraid to get sloppy with your oral sounds. The slurps, the tongue-thrashing, and moans escaping from you while going down can be a total turn-on for you and your partner. You love that gag sound? Gag it up! Make it intentional too. If you are trying to be quiet while giving oral, it can inhibit certain motions. I believe any technique can be upgraded by embracing the sensual sound it makes to please your partner(s).

If you want to try this, tell your partner that you won’t be asking for verbal feedback during your oral session. Say that you’ll be concentrating on going down and enjoying the sounds created during, and that they can feel free to do the same.

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