What This Sex Act Feels Like For Women

by Emma McGowan

While sex guru Dan Savage is famous for saying that “oral sex should come standard and any model without it should be returned to the lot” — meaning that if your partner doesn’t go down, they should go home — other people's feelings about oral sex are kind of, well, complicated. I’ve noticed that women especially seem to have mixed feelings about oral. Some women are so all about it, some women could take it or leave it, and some women would prefer that no one ever stuck a face in their vagina ever, ever again. And of those who aren’t into it, a certain number undoubtedly have had the cultural zap put on their heads and now think that their vaginas and vulvas are “dirty,” plenty of others just don’t prefer this particular sex act.

So yeah, there definitely is not a consensus on cunnilingus — and that’s OK! As we know, human sexuality is varied and each person is different; that’s what makes it so awesome! With that in mind, I’d like to make a slight alteration to Mr. Savage’s relationship truism. Let’s change it a little bit and say “a willingness to perform oral sex should come standard.” Because the bigger meaning behind that is the fact that every person of every gender should be invested in their partner’s pleasure and that oral can be a part of that pleasure — or not. But please, always be willing to give it a shot.

I reached out to some women in my communities to find out what it feels like for them when someone goes down and also what they’re thinking while it’s happening. Keep reading for a peak into the minds of these six awesome women but remember: they don’t speak for everyone, only themselves.

1. Rachel, 29

Feels like: Feels as though I am naked in front of an audience and just want to be covered up and hugged. Small flashes of pleasure.

She’s thinking: “Do you actually enjoy this? I can't taste good. You don't have to do this.”

2. Sarah, 27

Feels like: Afraid, excited, and shameful.

She’s thinking: “Am I smelly?”

3. Ruby, 28

Feels like: It’s different with every partner! Personally, I usually needed harder, more direct stimulation than a tongue can provide, so it usually feels kind of… Mushy. Like, I’m way more likely to get turned on by someone rubbing my clit or holding me down and kissing me really passionately than by someone going down on me. However, I have had partners who just, I don’t know, nail it. I can’t say what they did that was different but I have definitely seen the light as a result of oral sex in the past.

She’s thinking: “Can we get back to kissing, please?”

4. Zoe, 28

Feels like: Not that great unless there are some special skill or fingering involved.

She’s thinking: “Not anything really— unless it's really bad and I'm awkward I tend to be in the zone.”

5. Claire, 22

Feels like: All nerve endings come alive.

She’s thinking: “This will be boring or exciting in no time.”

6. Emily, 27

Feels like: When I first started, it felt like nothing, because my vagina was so new to the experience and wasn't aroused, so it was pretty insensitive. I haven't had a partner in forever, but I think I've pretty much mastered arousal down there. I wonder how good oral would be now.

She’s thinking: “Back when I felt nothing, I would think, make it stop, I'm bored. Poor thing, he actually thinks this is foreplay. How about talking to me?”

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