Blow jobs get a bad rap, mainly because they’re called a “job” and that doesn’t sound like a good time, especially when they’re supposed to be about pleasure. Also, blow jobs tend not to have the greatest depictions in the media, especially in porn. There’s a lot of forced gagging, among other demeaning things, and they seem to last forever. No wonder, then, that a lot of us might not have the healthiest or most accurate perspective on what makes for the best blow job—both for the receiver and the giver.
The confusion seems to be at its peak among heterosexual couples. “Everyone wants to please their partner in bed, but it seems there may be some miscommunication between what men want and what women are giving (and vice versa),” CalExotics’ resident sexologist, Dr. Jill McDevitt, tells HelloGiggles.
Indeed, a recent online survey of 1,100 Americans and Europeans by the online medical provider Superdrug found Dr. McDevitt’s assertion to be true. According to the report, on average, women think blow jobs should last longer than men. American women suggested 11 minutes was the average length of a BJ, while men suggested it should last just over nine minutes.
“These estimates and preferences seem high to me,” says Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, aka Dr. Jess, host of the Drive Him Wild With Pleasure video course. “It’s possible we overestimate how long an experience lasts when we’re enjoying ourselves, and it’s also possible that we want it to last longer because we’re enjoying it.” The pressure to prolong sex or “last longer” may also contribute to overestimations of duration.
Another difference? More than half of men don’t care if their partner swallows after oral sex and report being “extremely satisfied” with the blow jobs they’ve received, which is interesting since a lot of porn suggests that women swallow—and enjoy doing so—most of the time. Maybe that’s why 25% of American women in the Superdrug survey reported always swallowing.
The survey also found that men prefer more eye contact, almost twice as much as women do, which typically indicates an intimate connection.
All of this mishmash of information prompted us to contact sexologists about what really constitutes a good blow job and how you both can enjoy it. Let’s figure this out—once and for all.
“What I’ve been teaching for the past 11+ years is that an enthusiastic blow job is the best blow job,” Dr. McDevitt says. “If you enjoy it, that is going to be perceived well, and if you hate it, your partner will notice.”
Enthusiasm and conveying enjoyment by sounds, dialogue, and eye contact almost always result in compliments from the receiver to the giver, Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist at Vibrant, Planned Parenthood’s sex toy e-tailer, tells HelloGiggles.
“By and large, a smile, a knowing glance, and some happy noises make a man feel like his penis is appreciated, and that the experience is pleasurable for his companion,” she says. “This is evident in the relationship between ease with orgasm and happiness in performing the act. Here’s the thing: if you like giving head, do so and don’t hold back your enthusiasm.”
Give Eye Contact
There’s a reason why men enjoy receiving eye contact during a blow job. It’s all about the connection.
“It makes sense that eye contact adds to the experience. Eye contact during sex can intensify the connection, but it is not uncommon for people to avoid face-to-face positions and encounters on account of self-consciousness, discomfort or embarrassment,” says Dr. Jess. “To ease yourselves into full eye contact, start with the lights low or take turns wearing a blindfold as you become more comfortable with your natural facial expressions in response to pleasure.”
Adds Dr. McDevitt, “Locking eyes during a blow job is an easy, no-mess, no-jaw-pain way to amp up the pleasure and enjoyment.”
“It’s been told to me on numerous occasions, lube (be it saliva or store bought) is the single most important element to a successful blow job,” says Dr. Deitsch. “A favorite of mine is Sutil, which is 100% body-safe and free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum, and comes in yummy flavors like mint, cherry, vanilla and coconut.” It’s also sugar-free, which is great for post-blow job vaginal sex (if you’re into that) since sugar in the vagina can cause yeast infections.
According to Dr. Jess, adding a few drops of your lube to your oral routine “will change the way you look at, and more importantly, experience blow jobs.” She suggests using a tiny bit of Astroglide Natural on your upper lip when performing The Tight Tunnel (more on that later) and “my clients use lube on their fingers to ‘lick’ the shaft (wet fingers can feel just like tongues) and weave the fantasy of enjoying several lovers simultaneously.”
Just because you’re giving a BJ, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. “Focus on your pleasure rather than your performance,” says Dr. Jess. “It’s great to be a generous lover, but you’ll likely find that you both derive more pleasure from the experience if you allow pleasure to supersede performance.”
One way to focus on your own pleasure (and your partner’s) involves using a blindfold, she says. “Visual deprivation can heighten the sense of touch and lead to a more mindful experience. Alternatively, you might take turns pleasing one another so you can learn to be a taker, which is just as important as being a giver.”
Add Some New Moves
Dr. Jess offers up the following “tricks” to spice things up when it comes to performing a blow job.
The Tight Tunnel Technique
“If your penis likes a lot of pressure and intense suction, use your teeth (padded by your wet lips and tongue) to clamp the penis tightly as you suck,” suggests Dr. Jess. “Use your tongue to cover your lower teeth and wrap your upper lip around your upper teeth (you’ll need lube for this!) so that you can squeeze the penis in between.”
This one takes a little practice, says Dr. Jess, so she suggests practicing on your finger first.
The Game-Changer Technique
If you find oral sex physically tiring, this is the move for you: suck with enthusiasm as you normally would, but use your thumb and index finger to pinch your lips around the penis so that your face can relax and your fingers do all the work to create a tight grip. Your mouth remains in contact with the penis the whole time, but your fingers create the pressure (and do “the work”) as they pinch your lips together from the outside.
Interlace Your Fingers And Use Two Hands
“This is the hand-job to end all blow jobs: lather two hands in lube (twice as much as you’re normally inclined to use) and wrap both hands around the shaft with your fingers interlaced. Stroke with firm pressure (you can use a tighter grip if you use a generous amount of lube) and a little extra squeeze at the very bottom of the shaft,” says Dr. Jess.
Only Do What You’re Comfortable With
“If there are parts you don’t like (deep throating, semen swallowing, etc.), don’t do those parts,” says Dr. McDevitt. “I always told my class participants not to do the blow job aspects that they don’t like, both for their own benefit, but also so they enjoy it more”
Because it’s totally okay to not like performing BJs.
“If you don’t like it, see if you can figure out any easily fixable obstacles (smell, perceived pressure of swallowing, expectations of duration) or any more challenging obstacles, like size, shame, or lack of confidence,” says Dr. Deitsch. “If a person has worked on all the obstacles and still doesn’t want to do it because of a true dislike, that’s fine! Maybe talk about alternatives like sexy talk, a fleshlight, some kink, reading erotica, watching porn, having a sensual massage.”
She adds, “If a partner genuinely respects the other and has made an honest effort and alternatives are provided, there should be no hard feelings.”
Because, according to the Superdrug survey, most folks enjoy a blow job, but don’t rank them as essential or highly important to a satisfying sex life.
“Obviously the value of any sex act varies from person to person,” she says. “Almost every straight porn clip features deep-throating blow jobs, and many of us feel pressure to emulate what we see in porn in the absence of open discussions about sex and pleasure. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether blow jobs are a regular part of your sexual routine, and you don’t need to adjust your expectations to reflect cultural norms; you’re the ultimate expert on your own sexual experience.”
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