If you’ve been online at all this month, you may have noticed that everyone is up in arms over the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion collaborating “WAP” and the accompanying (hot) music video, a gleefully anatomical celebration of being good in bed. It was a whole thing.
Anyway, while many folks were announcing that they’re scared of a sexually satisfied woman, the rest of the normal world was enjoying the anthem of female arousal. And what better way to achieve a WAP than some good old fashioned cunnilingus?
I recently talked to Dr. Laurie Mintz about the orgasm gap—how in straight cis relationships, men frequently fail to help their partners come (86 percent of lesbian women reported usually or always coming, compared to 65 percent of straight women). Dr. Mintz reiterated over and over again that the key to satisfying a partner with a vagina is direct clitoral stimulation. And one of the best ways to do this? Going down on your partner!
But how do you go down well? What makes for great oral sex? I spoke to Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First, about seven things everyone should know about cunnilingus.
1. You need to have a receptive partner.
According to Kerner, that guys aren’t into giving oral sex or that they worry about hygiene or that they get bored isn’t as true as we might think. “I’m not gonna say that there isn’t some truth for some men in that, but more often than not, I hear complaints from men who say ‘You know I want nothing more than to go down on my partner, it totally turns me on. Help me get my partner to be more receptive.’” It’s not that women aren’t into cunnilingus—it’s that many women have been inculcated to believe that no one would want to go down on them.
“When I talk to women about why they’re uncomfortable about sex, it usually comes down to issues around genital self esteem,” Kerner says, “feeling like their vulvas may look funny, taste funny, smell funny or they’re worried that men don’t really do that and you’re just doing it as a service.” He suggests in She Comes First that the partner who is going down be sure to actually express how much they enjoy going down on them.
2. Going down isn’t foreplay.
Kerner stressed to me that despite what we’ve been told, oral sex isn’t actually a part of foreplay. You actually have to build to it. He compared going right into oral sex as an opening act to biting someone—it could maybe be hot if you’re already really turned on, but that should almost never be your opening salvo. As Kerner puts it, “It’s really important to get the body and the nervous system sensitized to levels of arousal where that kind of direct stimulation of the clitoris is wanted.” In other words, slow your roll. Make out for a while first, give each other a massage—do things that build up the anticipation before you dive in.
3. You might need a quick anatomy lesson.
The clitoris isn’t just a button above the vagina. It is, in fact, deep and wishbone shaped. What we call the clitoris is the only external part of the clitoris or the glans clitoris. I don’t tell you this to encourage you memorize anatomical charts, but to let you know that there are a whole lot of nerve endings down there that are getting ignored if you only focus on one tiny spot. Inside the legs of the wishbone are what are called clitoral bulbs, which are kind of like air bags wrapping around the entrance to the vagina; they have erectile tissue in them and are part of getting aroused.