Fellatio is a sex act commonly enjoyed by many women and men of all ages. Some studies suggest that about 756 percent of people have given or received fellatio, making it a regular part of sex play among couples. An act of fellatio can be giving, erotic, compulsory or everything in between. Some love performing fellatio, while for others it may feel like a chore or may be completely unappealing. Some do it solely for the pleasure of their partners, others find that it increases their own sexual arousal, and some don't do it at all. Concerns about technique, health risks and the enjoyment of both partners factor into the picture prominently.
The prevalence of fellatio doesn't mean that everybody is doing regularly, merely that they have tried it. Surveys indicate that men enjoy receiving oral sex more than women enjoy performing it. The result can be conflict and resentment about when and how oral sex is happening (or not happening). Fellatio habits also may change over the course of a relationship, as the tenor of the relationship ebbs and flows or when intercourse is not an option, whether because of pregnancy, vaginal pain or health concerns.
Ultimately, fellatio at its best requires a healthy dose of trust and imagination on the part of both partners. While some can take it or leave it, for others fellatio is a key part of the sexual experience.
For more about this topic, please see our Good in Bed Guide to Orally Pleasuring a Man.
Many are curious about fellatio, but fears of gagging or bad past experiences have turned them off to it. Gagging can make oral sex a constant battle with a partner who wants it, or more of a chore than a pleasure for those who continue to perform it. Gagging happens when something, in this case the penis, hits the back of the throat. It also can happen for psychological reasons, however, just the thought of an erect penis going into the mouth can trigger fear or disgust, which may lead to gagging. Fortunately, fellatio can take many forms, which is part of what can make it so enjoyable for the giver and the receiver.
One solution for gagging during fellatio, no matter when it occurs, is to regain a sense of control over what's happening. Some mistakenly believe that good technique requires taking as much of the penis as possible into the mouth and this is definitely not true. Many ease their way into fellatio with licking or taking only the glans of the penis into the mouth, which also happens to be the most sensitive spot. One or both hands on the shaft can help create the sensory illusion that more of the penis is in the mouth, and allows the person giving fellatio to control the depth and rhythm and movement. Often, the gag reflex fades away as the partner giving fellatio begins to enjoy it as much as the person receiving it. There are no rules, so have fun and do only what feels good and comfortable.
If fellatio has become boring and routine, take heart: It's easy to spice up your oral sex technique. Here are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. Once you learn a new trick or two, you're likely to stimulate your own imagination.
Performing fellatio basically comes down to two things: your hands and your mouth. If you can optimize those, you're going to satisfy your partner. Try to think of these two “tools” as working together, but separately. Create one sensation with your hands, like a gentle twisting motion on the shaft, and another with your mouth, like a more intense sucking motion on just the glans of the penis. Or, use one hand and your mouth in tandem to move up and down the penis, and your free hand to massage the scrotum, perineum or inner thighs. Another great way to add novelty to fellatio is to wait until a guy is highly aroused before taking him in your mouth. Use a variety of gentle, teasing moves, like rubbing his abdomen, inner thighs, and elsewhere, while giving unexpected licks or sucks to the penis. When you sense his arousal is high, take his penis in your mouth and use your hand to maintain a firm pressure on the shaft.
To intensify orgasm, try squeezing his nipples or inserting a finger into his anus (with his prior permission, of course!) at the moment of climax. The extra sensation can add unexpected excitement and stimulation. Remember, the more fun you're having, the better the fellatio is likely to feel for a partner. Enjoy yourself and so will he.
Most men enjoy fellatio. At least a couple of explanations may account for men's love of fellatio. First, men are very visual creatures, and the enjoyment of watching a lover orally pleasure them can be highly arousing. It's also possible that men enjoy fellatio because the pressure to please a partner is off them. When any person is the recipient of oral sex, their energy is freed up to focus on themselves. While this may be anxiety-provoking for some, for others it's intense and satisfying to be able to concentrate on their pleasure and nothing else.
Finally, it may come down to nothing more than sensation. Fellatio offers a wide range of techniques, strokes and textures that intercourse may not. Variety is the spice of life (and your sex life) so keep that in mind. Most men still like oral sex, even when they're having other kinds of great sex. And for men who aren't into fellatio? That's okay, too, everyone has different likes and dislikes when it comes to sex.
Fellatio brings a person into close contact with a partner's odor, which can be a turn-on when right and a turn-off when not. We all have a natural scent, and you can't control whether someone likes yours. You can, however, make sure body odor doesn't get in the way of that appeal or a partner's willingness to perform oral sex. Genital odor is the result of active glands in the genital area, much like the underarms, which produce bacteria that thrive in warm, moist conditions. A simple shower before a date or before getting into bed at night will wash away bacteria and odor. Wash areas with soap and warm water, such as the pubic hair, in between the shaft and the scrotum, and around the anal opening.
Trimming the pubic hair may help, too, by reducing the surface area that can hold bacteria and contribute to unpleasant odor. Hair can trap sweat, urine, splash-back from the toilet and anything else the genital area comes into contact with. Use small scissors or sideburn trimmer to trim the hair around the base of the shaft once every week or two. If the odor persists, or smells different or especially bad, it may be a sign of infection or a disorder of the sweat glands, warranting a visit to the doctor or other health care provider.
Most important, remember that each person has a unique scent and taste, both of which play a powerful role in attraction. Also, as couple stays together longer, they tend to get used to, and learn to accept and to like, each other's natural scents. What may seem like a new scent to a partner at first may, over time, become more comfortable, familiar and appealing.
In sex, the golden rule is that both partners are consenting participants. So what can you do when a partner doesn't want to engage in fellatio even though you really enjoy it? Usually, slow and easy is the way to start. Instead of asking for fellatio every time you have sex, begging or, worse, making a partner feel bad because they don't want to engage in oral sex, try to ease up on the pressure. Start with physical stimulation that is less intimidating and may lead to fellatio naturally, with time. A great way for a partner to start getting comfortable with fellatio is by licking, kissing and playing with the penis, with no expectation that it will go any further. A partner can be gently encouraged to give or accept a quick kiss or nibble. Then resume other sexual activities that are less threatening, for the time being. Taking away the sense of obligation often works wonders, for fellatio and for sex in general.
Fear or a lack of experience may be preventing a partner from performing fellatio. A partner may be too embarrassed to admit they don't know how to perform oral sex, or they may have received negative comments from partners in the past, which makes them insecure about their technique. In this case, a video or book that specializes in fellatio technique could be helpful. Many options exist on the market, and it might be fun to do some exploring together.
Men who are resistant to receiving oral sex may find it difficult to reach orgasm from oral sex, and may feel embarrassed by that, or they simply may not find the sensations enjoyable. Again, working with your partner around each other's likes and dislikes is important, rather than creating pressure to do something a partner does not want to do.
When talking about fellatio, few questions are asked more than: to swallow or not to swallow? The concern isn't just about swallowing; it's also about the loaded assumptions that come with (or without) a swallow. Many men and women equate swallowing with desirability, as in: I better swallow, or I'll hurt his feelings, or If my partner was really into me, they'd swallow. Still other men and women are under the impression that fellatio and swallowing are one in the same. You either go all the way or you don't go at all.
Well, the truth is there's no rule that says you must swallow a partner's ejaculate when performing fellatio or that this decision means anything about a person's feelings for their partner. Fellatio is a sex act that's performed for a variety of reasons, with a variety of techniques, and the decision about whether or not to swallow is part of the same consideration. Whether because a partner doesn't like the taste of semen or fears sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it is entirely a personal preference. A partner who doesn't like to swallow will often finish a guy with manual stimulation, let the ejaculate land elsewhere, or switch to intercourse, and that's just fine.
Partners who wish that fellatio would end with a swallow should look on the bright side: Your partner is pleasuring you orally! If it is a problem, talk about it and try to understand each other's point of view, keeping in mind that there are a range of ways to enjoy a couple's sexuality and also a range of ways to show your affection and acceptance.