The One Thing You Should Never Do While Getting Head

If I'm giving you head, kindly keep your damn hands off of mine

November 5, 2021 5:30 am
Black and white photo shows a young woman eating a hot dog at Palisades Park, New Jersey, 1949.
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The first time I ever performed oral sex on a man, I remember being pleasantly surprised by how easy it was. (Though that’s not to say it’s never an arduous process — in the immortal words of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, “They don’t call it a job for nothing,” — but, for those of you who have never done it, fellating a penis is a fairly intuitive process.) I also remember having a sore throat afterwards. 

This was a recurring problem in my early oral sex career, and according to the experts, I wasn’t alone. Certified sex therapist Shannon Chavez  recently named a sore throat the third most common “sex-related injury” in an article for Well + Good, explaining that “rough thrusting of the penis or other objects while performing oral sex can, unsurprisingly, lead to throat pain.”

But while post-oral throat pain was a common ailment in my younger and more vulnerable head-giving years, it’s one that has decreased significantly as I’ve aged. Why? Because any experienced fellator eventually learns the fine art of slowing the hell down and properly priming both the dick and the throat for impact. This primarily involves making sure you’re well-hydrated and both the throat and the penis with which it is about to make contact are sufficiently lubed up with either spit or the non-toxic lubricant of your choice. It also involves slowing down and giving the throat time to adjust to a foreign object that’s invaded its territory. Think of it as foreplay for the throat.  

All of this careful preparation only goes so far, however, if you, a man receiving oral sex, attempt to accelerate the process by placing your hands on your partner’s head and manipulating it to increase the speed or depth of penetration. 

To be clear, I am not talking about consensual “skull fucking.” Someone can absolutely consent to having their throat aggressively pounded by their partner, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (They will probably end up with a sore throat, though.) Rather, I am talking about your standard blow job scenario in which the giving partner is in control, and the receiving partner can’t help but attempt to take some of that control back by manhandling his partner’s head.

I recognize that many men who do this are probably not even really aware they’re doing it, and also probably don’t mean to be inordinately aggressive. Most of the time, the motion itself is not even particularly forceful. Usually this strikes me not as an outwardly aggressive act, but rather as an almost unwitting act of uncurbed horniness — and a kind of embarrassing one at that. Men who do this remind me of lab rats that keep pushing the pedal for another pellet of positive reinforcement, or children in candy stores with zero self-control. I understand: you’re getting a blow job and it’s so great and you’re just so damn excited you can’t even help yourself, you just want to be getting even more of this great thing you’re already getting and you want to be getting it right now

Unfortunately, trying to physically manipulate your partner’s literal head is not a good way to get it. While some women, like myself, are typically willing to write this behavior off as simply immature and annoying, others may find it nonconsensual and abusive, and would be well within their right to feel that way.

But wait, you may be asking, how else am I supposed to communicate my needs to my partner if I can’t give her head a helpful prod in the right direction?

First of all, you’re not the one with the dick in your mouth; use your words. Being able to provide constructive feedback and ask for what you want is an important part of good sex and healthy sexual communication, but that feedback is often much more effective and respectful if it’s communicated verbally. If you want something different than what your partner is currently dishing up, ask for it. It is more than okay to ask for more speed or a different level of penetration or whatever it is you want while your partner is going down on you. Done the right way, it can be downright sexy. That said, just because you ask for something doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. It does mean, however, that anything you do get is consensual. Forcibly manipulating your partner’s head to get what you want is not. 

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that your partner may be working their way up to the speed or depth of penetration you desire. We can’t go from zero to deep throat immediately — that’s how you get a sore throat. Again, think of it like throat foreplay. You wouldn’t try to just shove your dick into a vagina with zero foreplay (I hope). A throat isn’t any different. If anything, it actually takes more time to prepare a throat for sex, considering one of the primary functions of that body part is literally to keep foreign objects out. It takes time to relax the muscles and get the throat ready to accept an unexpected guest. You know what’s a great way to prevent this from happening? Forcibly shoving your dick up against the back of someone’s throat and hoping it will just magically open up and let you in. That’s not how throats work. 

In my opinion, giving head without deep throating is like eating a cupcake without frosting: what’s the point? Trust me, I’m gonna get there eventually; just be patient. Keep in mind, though, not every woman who goes down on you necessarily wants to deep throat you — again, that’s something you’re going to have to communicate with words. But those of us who are down to deep throat still need a little time to get there, and trying to force it before we’re ready and activating the gag reflex we are trying to suppress for this exact purpose isn’t getting anyone there any faster. If anything, you’re just making this harder on everyone involved.

Speaking of making things harder on yourself, one of the best parts of receiving oral sex is you don’t really have to do anything. All you have to do is sit back (or lie back or just stand there or otherwise chill in whatever blow job receiving position you have assumed) and let someone suck your dick. Why are you making this more complicated than it has to be? 

Again, I understand that there is such a thing as consensual skull fucking and choking during oral — this isn’t about that. I also realize there is room for nuance here. Some gentle, well-intentioned head maneuvering isn’t the end of the world, and some partners may not mind it at all. Still, it’s always better to use your words before your hands, and generally speaking, physically manipulating a woman’s head with your hands to maximize your own pleasure is kind of rude. To summarize: use your words, be patient, and unless you are gently stroking my hair, keep your damn hands off my head. 

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