Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame
If a friend told you “I discovered an amazing new oral sex position!” you might think that you’d heard them wrong. Or that they’d been reading too many Cosmo articles. Or that they have way too much spare time on their hands. Or all three.
In truth, there are a ton of oral sex positions other than “bending over and doing a little oral foreplay to get them hot before we get to the penetrative sex.”
Don’t get us wrong. We’re pretty sure that almost everyone reading this article has oral sex regularly. The CDC reports that about 85% of sexually-active adults between the ages of 18 and 44 have gone down on an opposite-gendered partner in the last twelve months. Add in same-gendered partners, and we’d guess that number gets pretty close to 100%.
However, just because fellatio and/or cunnilingus (to be formal) are regular features on nearly everybody’s sexual menu, it’s quite often an appetizer rather than a main course. And in most cases, people pay a lot more attention to the entrée than the appetizer.
That can be a mistake. A perfectly-prepared warm octopus salad or a fabulous beef carpaccio can easily outshine a piece of broiled chicken or fish – and oral sex can be much more than the iceberg salad of sexual activity. (A quick aside while we’re talking about delicious: a flavored lube can add extra tang to any of the types of oral sex we’ll be discussing.)
How do you make oral-genital stimulation something extra special? By learning all of the different ways you can do it.
Here’s the guide you never imagined that you’d want or need: a guide to oral sex positions.
Does the Position Really Matter?
Of course it does.
For starters: if you’re not comfortable, it’s hard to dive head-first into oral sex. (Sorry, but you knew that pun was coming.)
There aren’t a lot of statistics on the subject, but one survey on the ideal length of a blowjob found that American penis-havers thought it should take about ten minutes. Vulva-havers thought it should be slightly longer (the oral session, not the penis), at 11 minutes. Either way, if you’re going to be down there for a while, comfort matters.
The survey included a few other interesting nuggets, including the facts that more than half of the penis owners don’t care if their partner swallows, communication during the action greatly increases the satisfaction of both partners – and almost one-third of penis-havers prefer oral sex to penetration.
Unfortunately, the survey didn’t ask about attitudes toward cunnilingus (that’s oral sex performed on the vulva; fellatio is performed on the penis). However, it’s been well-established that more than one-third of vulva-havers need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm – and what better way is there for their partner to fully work the clitoris than during oral sex? Research has also found that all genders love oral stimulation; one survey reports that 69% of vulva owners call receiving oral sex “very pleasurable”; that’s almost equal to the view of penis owners (73% say it’s “very pleasurable”).
There’s another reason why oral sex positions matter: they’re directly related to whether the receiver is able to have an orgasm. Here are just two examples which we’ll look at more closely in a bit. Something called the Kivin method (performed during sideways cunnilingus or “the T”) is said to be able to produce mind-blowing climaxes within three minutes. And the “Giraffe” allows the giver to fully extend their neck to facilitate deep throating, which for many penis-havers is a fast ticket to O-town.
Convinced? Great. Let’s check out the many oral sex positions you can try.
Oral Sex Positions for Beginners
“Beginners” probably isn’t the best word to use, since we’ve already established that very few readers are new to oral sex. These first few positions, however, are at least similar to the ones that most people have accidentally discovered when simply trying to find a comfortable way to deliver oral pleasure to their partner.
This is perhaps the most common position that partners use for oral sex, simply because it’s the easiest to tackle if you’re already in bed. It also doesn’t require the receiver to do anything except enjoy themselves. Of course, sexy talk and encouragement during the action rarely hurts.
The receiving partner lies back with their legs spread, while the partner who’s taking the lead role literally “goes down” to the bottom of the bed, to put their head between the receiver’s legs and deliver pleasure.
There are some drawbacks to consider. Eye contact is virtually impossible unless the giver interrupts the proceedings to raise their head. And the giver’s ability to reach non-genital erogenous zones for additional stimulation may be severely limited, as is full access to areas which may be resting on the mattress.
Those drawbacks aren’t fatal flaws, though, since there are several great work-arounds. (Those should not be confused with reach-arounds, which are always a good option during oral sex.)
The first involves a simple prop: a pillow. Placing a pillow underneath the receiver’s hips lifts their torso, allowing the giver better access to regions like the perineum and even the butthole, if desired. If the receiver bends their knees, that also opens things up a little more.
The second may be second nature to some receivers who enjoy missionary sex: using their legs to best advantage. In the context of oral sex, that means lifting the legs and wrapping them lightly around the partner’s head or (for those flexible enough to do it) placing them on the giver’s back with crossed ankles. That provides the giver with a better view of the area they’re stimulating – and allows complete, open access to all areas of the partner’s genitals. After all, there’s more to great oral sex than just clitorises and penises.
Another option: lie back with one leg on the bed and the other in the air, off to the side. Once again, that maximizes accessibility, a better view for the giver, and more satisfying stimulation.
There’s one issue to consider if you’re going to try one of those first two variations. They won’t do much good if you’re one of those folks who prefer to lie against a bed’s headboard while being pleasured; the physics just don’t work. Getting the most out of the “pillow” or “legs” techniques normally requires the receiver to lie flat on the bed.
(Although during the COVID era, of course, it’s likely that solo sexual activity while sitting in front of a computer was much more common than usual.)
For many, sitting oral sex puts power dynamics into play. Almost by definition, the giver is put into a submissive role on their knees. However, for those who have a legitimately egalitarian view of their relationships and don’t give dominance or submission a thought, it’s simply a convenient way to pleasure someone else without climbing into the sack.
It’s also a cool way to surprise a partner who’s just sitting in a chair, working – or sitting on the couch, relaxing.
This position doesn’t require much description; kneel down, spread their legs, take them to paradise city. (And don’t forget to bring a pillow, unless there’s already plush carpet on the floor.)
Needless to say, it doesn’t have to be a chair or couch. Sitting on the edge of the bed works too, as does a bathroom or kitchen counter (or dining room table) if you’re ready to check a “hot place to have sex” off your bucket list. In fact, a counter works particularly well since it provides lots of head space for the giver to operate.
Oral Sex Positions for the More Experienced and More Adventurous
Receiving oral sex while standing may not be quite as exotic as some of the more advanced options on this list, but it can be just as orgasmic. Since one partner is on their knees, this position can also bring a power dynamic into play for those so inclined.
This position isn’t quite as much work when a penis is hanging down toward the floor, but a vulva-haver can certainly receive standing oral sex as well. It helps if they stand with their legs wide apart, which will push their pelvis slightly forward to be more accessible.
Safety tip: learning against a wall or table to help maintain balance can really help, since as we all know, muscle control can become a problem when approaching climax.
Lying on Stomach
Receiving oral sex while lying prone is another great option, and it’s a more comfortable position than doggy-style oral sex. The reason is simple; there’s no need to elevate the rear end in order to facilitate access. Of course, the higher you do raise your butt, the more space there is for the giver to work their magic on your genitals.
The other benefit to these positions should be obvious: there’s plenty of room to manipulate hands or toys.
When it comes to genital stimulation, angles can make all the difference. That’s one of the big advantages of this sexual position; the T places two partners at right angles to each other, one lying on their back and the other coming in from the side.
It works even better if the one on the bottom is a vulva-haver. By leaving one leg flat and bending the other at the knee, they can be in perfect position for what sexologists call the “Kivin method” of oral sex:
- The second partner squeezes their head under the first partner’s knee as they use their fingers to spread the labia.
- Now, the second partner licks the clitoral hood. That’s right, the starting point is the hood, not the clitoris itself, and the licking should go side-to-side right across the hood, not up-and-down.
- When everything is working well, two bumps will swell on either side of the hood (they’re called the “K points”).
- At that point, the giver puts a finger on the perineum – not stroking it, just applying light pressure. They’ll feel pre-orgasmic muscle contractions in the perineum, which is the sign to keep licking – hopefully, through several successive climaxes.
The Kivin method is said to produce faster and more powerful clitoral orgasms than any other approach; some vulva owners say it can take less than three minutes before they’ve had enough. It may still not be enough satisfaction to swear off G-spot orgasms – but then again, it might. If you’re searching for the ultimate clitoral experience, we recommend trying this one ASAP.
No sexual menu is complete unless it includes at least one selection with a very cool name. You could call this oral sex position “upside down,” but where’s the fun in that?
To try the giraffe, one partner lies face up with their head hanging over the side of the bed, and tilts their head way back. The second partner stands above, providing access to their genitals. This works best if the standing partner has a penis, since it can slip into the receiver’s mouth at an unusual but satisfying angle. However, it also works for standing vulva-havers as long as they lean in properly.
“69” is a favored punch line for lots of smart-ass teenagers – not to mention fully-grown football players who apparently never grew out of a teenaged mindset. It’s also the oral sex position that many adults know by name, but not from experience. Why is that?
- One reason could be comfort. 69 requires a little flexibility, tall and short bodies often don’t always line up right, and some people just find it “suffocating.”
- Another reason could be satisfaction. Many partners prefer to fully focus on their own sensations and orgasms while being pleasured; they’re distracted by the responsibility of satisfying someone else at the same time.
- The lack of eye contact and difficulty communicating during 69 is off-putting to some.
Then there are those who simply aren’t excited by the idea of one partner lying on top of the other, facing in opposite directions, each performing oral sex. That’s fine, too. The worst type of sex is any sex that isn’t arousing and exciting to those involved.
None of that means 69 isn’t popular. A survey of several thousand UK residents, for example, listed it as the respondents’ fifth-favorite sex position of any kind.
In our never-ending quest to encourage experimentation and pleasure, we have good news for all of the groups we’ve mentioned. We’ll start with the “never tried it” and “don’t like it” folks.
For people who find 69 (or just the thought of it) difficult or suffocating, spooning 69 (sometimes called “69 sideways”) might be worth a try. Instead of one partner climbing on top of the other, they each lie on their sides, facing in opposite directions, and provide oral stimulation to each other. The potential satisfaction is the same, but maneuvering and finding the right fit is a lot easier, and neither partner has to support the other’s body weight.
For those who love the closeness of 69, here’s a variation: the 68. Why is it “one less” than 69? Because only one partner at a time is satisfied, and it works best if the receiver is a vulva-owner. (The angle can be difficult in this position if the receiver has a penis.) The giver lies on their back, face up, with their legs together and knees slightly bent. The receiver (also face up) then lies on top, with their head on the giver’s thighs and their genitals over the giver’s mouth. This provides complete oral access to everything from the inner thighs to the labia and clitoris, while leaving both partners’ hands free to roam.
Face-sitting is a close relative of the 68 position. Most people have also heard of, even if they haven’t tried it. As you probably know, it involves one partner lying on their back, while the other straddles their face and lowers their genitals to be serviced. (The top partner toward the lower partner’s head, not their feet).
This isn’t quite as torturous as it sounds. The receiver doesn’t literally sit directly on the giver’s face; they use their legs or arms to support their weight, and slowly lower their body into position. After all, it’s called “face-sitting,” not “smothering to death.” The latter wouldn’t be much fun for anyone.
Two important notes, though. First, face-sitting doesn’t work very well with penis-havers in the superior (upper) position; their anatomy isn’t really conducive to it. Second, this type of oral sex is thought of, at least in the fetish and BDSM worlds, as more as a Dominant/submissive activity than a straightforward type of cunnilingus.
It’s not hard to understand why; the giver doesn’t receive any real physical satisfaction. But for submissives, that’s fine. Much of their sexual pleasure is derived simply from being dominated. Meanwhile, the sitter isn’t only receiving oral stimulation; much of their sexual excitement comes from being in total control.
Face-sitting isn’t just for those into power games. Some people (no matter their gender) are turned on from such close proximity to a vulva-haver’s genitals, while others get off on the enormous pleasure that they are able to provide to the partner on top.
There’s even a piece of equipment, a queening chair, that you can use to make face-sitting more enjoyable and/or less scary. (Face-sitting is sometimes called queening, or these days, kinging). It’s basically an adjustable chair with a hole in the seat and lots of padding. A queening chair lets the top partner be more comfortable and enjoy the action for longer period of time, and neither partner has to worry about an inadvertent – and potentially dangerous – accident. These chairs are also strong enough to accommodate large face-sitters.
One more question may come to mind, and the answer is yes: face-sitting is a great way for all genders to enjoy anal play like rimming (analingus), too.
Here’s one final word. There’s nothing wrong with having oral sex in any position that makes you feel comfortable and satisfied. Changing up the position is simply a way to put more juice into your sex life – and adding excitement in the bedroom will improve your mental health and outlook, too.