Mouths are truly amazing — not only can tongues taste, but lips boast some of the most sensitive tissue on the human body.

When it comes to sex and pleasure, mouths offer all sorts of wonderful opportunities: for kissing, licking, dirty talking, sucking, nibbling, moaning and more. Given the mouth’s essential role in physical intimacy, it may come as no surprise that many people with vulvas orgasm easier with oral sex than with vaginal intercourse.

Cunnilingus — performing oral sex on a vulva — elicits different responses. Some adore eating pussy; others feel apprehensive or inexperienced. Some cite oral as their favorite way to climax; others feel self-conscious and uncomfortable with partners going all the way downtown. No matter the preference, partners should communicate openly about their desires before and during sexual acts. Make no assumptions and always pay attention to consent.

Intimacy between people with vulvas opens up all sorts of delicious opportunities for creative cunnilingus tips and tricks. Remember that just because both partners possess vulvas does not mean they both enjoy the same sort of oral stimulation.

Unfortunately, heterosexual partners with penises sometimes receive fellatio — oral sex on a penis — without returning the favor. This can be due to selfish male entitlement or the plenty of myths that surround cunnilingus, including misconceptions surrounding the vagina’s smell and taste, as well as the giver’s enjoyment of the act.  

A tasty treat

One myth in particular arises over and over again: the idea that a vagina smells or tastes like fish. Folks, a healthy, happy vagina tastes nothing like fish. A fishy smell likely indicates bacterial vaginosis, and if detected, should be shared with the vagina’s owner immediately.

Healthy vaginas contain bacteria that maintain a proper pH balance, which prevents infections. These happy vaginas have a slight odor, but nothing like fish. Those lucky enough to be face-to-face with a vagina may describe the scent and taste as similar to wine, sourdough bread or unsweetened yogurt. Vulvas can taste many different ways depending on the individual’s diet and point in the menstrual cycle.

Improving one’s taste has nothing to do with intensive cleaning, scrubbing or douching. In fact, all of these things can be bad for the delicate tissue and pH balance of the vulva and vagina. In order to clean a vulva, instead gently clean the labia and surrounding regions with warm water and a washcloth or fingers.

The best way to create tasty juices is by staying healthy and well-hydrated. That common recommendation to eat lots of pineapple actually rings somewhat true. Any fruit with high water content does wonders for the taste of secretions. Unfortunately, beer, coffee and cigarettes, favorites of college students, also make juices taste more bitter and less enticing.

Viva la vulva!

Vulvas in pornography tend to look the same — perfectly symmetrical, short labia, light pink and hairless. Fortunately, vulvas in real life boast far more diversity, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Pubic hair might be left completely natural, trimmed or waxed smooth. The clitoris may be large and prominent, or smaller and nestled in the clitoral hood. Labias may be darker, asymmetrical or quite long.

Too often, people with vulvas shy away from cunnilingus for fear of shame or disgust from their partner. Many partners enjoy giving head, and should absolutely inform their lovers of this fact. Telling an insecure or self-conscious partner things like, “Going down on you is one of my favorite things to do,” can soothe their worries and even boost self-esteem. After all, stress makes achieving orgasm rather difficult.

People with vulvas should also take some time to learn to love vulvas and all their glorious differences and uniqueness. Masturbate, oogle in a hand mirror or paint, sketch or sculpt the vulva. Self-love is among one of the most important and underrated ingredients for really good sex.

Tongue tips

Different folks enjoy different strokes, but when it comes to vulvas, certain strokes work better than others. After obtaining consent (“Can I eat you out?”), kiss down their body while occasionally flicking the tongue over the skin. Upon reaching the nether-regions, kiss and caress the sensitive inner thighs. Begin cunnilingus by licking up the entire vulva in one stroke — from the top of the perineum to the clitoris.

Since over two-thirds of people with vulvas cannot reach orgasm without clitoral stimulation, good oral involves the clitoris in some way. Excessive force applied to the clitoris can be very uncomfortable, though. Confused where the clitoris is? Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.

Though the clit is important, be wary of neglecting the rest of the vulva. Lick and kiss the labia majora (outer lips), flick the tongue in and out of the vaginal opening and consider incorporating the fingers to allow for penetration beyond the tongue.

Pay careful attention to the way a receiver moves and sounds: gasps, grinding hips and moans amongst other signs mean that tongue is doing excellent work. Licking the clit while fingering can also produce explosive results.

The key to orgasm is consistent motion, so find a rhythm that works for both parties. Consider tracing the alphabet using a tongue until one evokes a reaction, then repeat that letter over and over until they reach the big O or feel compelled to try a different activity.

Receivers can also sit on the face of their givers to control the motion and pressure of cunnilingus. Lying back with a giver resting on their stomach is relaxing and allows everyone to focus on the task at hand. The 69 position, on the other hand, allows both partners to perform oral sex at the same time. For some, this proves too distracting, but others relish the opportunity to give and receive simultaneously.

Just always remember, the best way to find out what a partner likes is by asking.