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Oral sex tips


A guide to safe and pleasurable oral sex

Eating out, going down, giving head … call it what you like! Oral sex is an intimate, normal and highly pleasurable way to have sex.

Oral sex is an intimate, normal and highly pleasurable way to have sex. Many people have oral sex instead of penetrative sex. Oral sex is not just “foreplay” or “warm-up sex” - it’s a whole domain on its own, and we’re here to help you master the technique so you can give (and get!) the big O.

Keep it wet 

Good oral sex is all about moisture. Make sure your mouth is clean and wet, moisturize those lips and build up some saliva before you go to town on your partner. Using water-based, edible lube can enhance the pleasure for both you and your partner. Lube comes in different flavors, and can create different sensations like a warming or cooling effect wherever it’s applied. Some lube can help delay ejaculation too!

Find Your Rhythm

Their pleasure starts with yours! So get yourself in the mood, and make sure you feel good about yourself and the moment before having any type of sex. Don’t rush - start slow and gradually build up the speed by going up and down, back and forth, round and round. Experiment using different parts of your tongue and lips, and if you’re using a sex toy, try different speeds, angles, pressures, and patterns. You can also try incorporating your hand and other body parts to take the pleasure to a whole new level. 

Communicate and Listen

Consent is key for any type of sexual activity. Before engaging in oral sex, ask your partner what they like, what they don’t like or what they want to try. Check in to make sure they’re enjoying it, but don’t talk too much. Pay attention to the way their body responds, as well as their verbal and non-verbal feedback. Your partner might not be saying anything, but breathing and moaning is generally a good sign.

Embrace Variety 

Explore different techniques, from gentle licks to deep penetration to teasing nibbles, and everything in between. Try standing up and sitting down, or incorporate pillows or other soft objects to get yourself and your partner in a comfortable position. 

Engage the senses

Engage all the senses by incorporating touch, taste, sound and smell. For example, different parts of your mouth will trigger different sensations - you can even try touching yourself while touching your partner. Using scented or flavored lube can help enhance the pleasure for the person performing oral sex. Pay attention to the sounds and words your partner uses, and don’t be embarrassed if you make any sounds of your own - it’s all natural!

Play safe 

Yes, you can transmit STIs from oral sex including herpes, Human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea and syphilis. It’s also possible to get a yeast infection or a urinary tract infection from oral sex. Get tested regularly and share your test results with your partner and ask for theirs before diving into any sexual activity. Always clean your sex toys before and after use, and use a condom on a penis and a dental dam on a vagina to prevent STI transmission. 

Relax and Enjoy 

Pleasure should be enjoyable for both parties involved, so relax and savor the moment - pun intended! Don't put too much pressure on yourself and try to put aside any distracting thoughts that take you out of the moment. Rather, try to focus on creating an intimate connection as you explore your partner’s body in all its intimacy. 


Remember: oral sex is as much about you and your pleasure as it is about theirs. Practice makes perfect, and every intimate moment is an opportunity to explore, learn, and have fun together. So go out there, experiment, and enjoy the pleasure journey.

Click here to learn more about IPPF's Pleasure Revolution campaign.