Cheryl Seligman, Features Editor

Mutual pleasure during sexual engagements is the key element to having a great sex life. Still, I can’t count how many times I have heard the complaints, “she doesn’t give head” and “he won’t go down on me.”

Many people absolutely love receiving oral sex, and it can be pretty frustrating when your partner isn’t into performing it. Not only is it embarrassing when you encounter someone who is unwilling to go down on you, it can also cause resentment — especially if you’re giving but not receiving.

Some people, no matter what their partners do, do not enjoy giving oral sex. In my experience, though, the majority have had unpleasant past encounters that have left them with a bad taste in their mouth, sometimes quite literally.

If your partner is hesitant to go down on you, it is your responsibility to make the act just as pleasurable for him or her as it is for you.

One common misconception about oral sex is that it can be as spontaneous as regular intercourse — that it can happen any time, any place and with any partner. In reality, preparation is often involved and a high level of mutual trust and comfort is almost always required.

To many people, this is the most intimate sexual experience they choose to engage in. After all, someone’s entire face is in your most private area, tasting you inside and out. I’m certainly more familiar with the reasons why girls are anxious or unwilling to perform oral sex on guys, but I’ve noticed that each gender’s anxieties surrounding the act tend to overlap. If you want your partner to give and keep giving, here are a few ways to put him or her at ease.

Watch your hands.

My single biggest turn off when I’m performing oral sex on a male or female is when someone forces my head in a different direction. If you’d like your partner to go deeper or lick a certain sweet spot, simply vocalize this desire. Don’t take it upon yourself to make your partner do so without his or her consent.

Unless the two of you come to a mutual agreement that a little roughness is OK, be very gentle with your partner while he or she is performing. This is especially important for guys, as their partners risk choking and gagging. No matter how alluring porn makes oral sex look, most girls find it uncomfortable and unattractive. Either vocalize your desires or sit back, relax and let your partner pleasure you in the best way that he or she knows how.

Heads up!

OK guys, this one is for you: You have to let her know when you’re about to come. It’s as simple as that. One of the most common fears girls have about giving head is swallowing. I could list a number of ways to make oral a more tasty experience, but don’t try to persuade her to do something that she doesn’t want to do.

The bottom line is, if you want to continue getting oral sex, you have to respect what your partner is comfortable with. Even if she does enjoy swallowing, still give her a heads up so she’s not caught completely off guard. An unexpected come-shot to the back of the throat is enough for any girl to call it quits.

Shower power.

Oral sex is much more likely to occur if you are both squeaky clean. I’m sorry, but if you have both been sweating your asses off on the dance floor at Vinyl, you might not be too compelled to have some oral fun when you return home.

Similarly, if either one of you has had a long day at work or school, the environment just might not be right for oral to take place.

In order to avoid offending or upsetting your partner, suggest turning the shower into your own little oral oasis. This way, if certain scents or tastes bother the giver, regardless of how natural they may be, they will be neutralized or extinguished in the water.

Howcroft is a member of the class of 2014.

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