The Cock Whisperer

Giving good head should not be about payback or getting the garage cleaned.


At the tender age of eleven, having never been kissed by a boy or known anything more than the musky, metallic odor of the ones who played in dirt, I stumbled upon The Joy of Sex while snooping in my parent’s bedroom closet. Paging through this original 1972 version, filled with line drawings of hirsute, naked heterosexuals doing unfathomable things my body vibrated, not with pleasure but horror, the kind of weak-kneed fear you feel near the end of Silence of the Lambs. What distressed me more than discovering that his part goes into her part, was the things they did with their mouths to said parts.


I made my way downstairs and flopped onto the electric orange vinyl bean bag chair. I knew about penises, but I had no idea they could get so BIG. And that a woman would willingly wrap her lips around one. It made my throat constrict. I wanted more than anything to put the brakes on my advancing maturity, to never be naked with a man or, more urgently, be swallowed that very moment by a hole in the ground.


I don’t know if boys, when first exposed to images of oral sex, were as equally disgusted. I did once overhear a conversation at the back of high school history class between three of the school jocks where one said his girlfriend had smelled like fish and another said, “Man, that’s what girls smell like!” I slid lower in my chair, shattered by the thought of our vaginas being compared to a can of tuna.


Given the absence of any working knowledge of sex or pleasure before sixteen, I blame The Joy of Sex for my initial aversion to intimacy. But gradually, after exposure to magazines where women sucked cock with the same look of pleasure I felt when consuming an icy pop on a hot summer day, and eventually having fireworks go off in my pants when face to face with an erect penis, my cultural cues repeatedly suggested blowing a guy wasn’t such a yucky thing after all.


The history of fellatio is as ancient as it is diverse. Anthropologist Yves Coppens claimed Lucy, the prehistoric woman discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, practiced a kind of paleo-fellatio. Dozens of articles cite his supposition, though I failed to find any forensic evidence that the 3.2 million year old Lucy did anything of the sort. She did not leave behind a journal. Can our skeletons possibly retain evidence of all the things we’ve stuffed into our mouths over a lifetime?


In the lusty days of ancient Egypt legend has it that the storied Egyptian queen Cleopatra blew more than one hundred Roman noblemen during a marathon orgy. She was given the nickname “Meriochane,” which translates loosely to “someone who gapes for 10,000 men.” I have to assume, being the queen and all, she wasn’t forced to suck dick and so presumably did so for her own pleasure (and sense of power, no less). Yet over in Italy, going down on a man was sometimes punishment for breaking the law. In the ruins of Pompeii, archaeologists uncovered graffiti that read, “Lahis fellat assibus duobus,” which translates as “Lahis gives head for half a sentence.”


Image by Dainis Graveris


Third century Roman emperor Gallienus called fellatio ‘lesbiari’ since the women of Lesbos were purported to have introduced the practice of using one’s lips to give sexual pleasure. The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra (Teachings on Desire or Principles of Lust) discusses fellatio (auparishtaka or “mouth congress”) in great detail, only briefly mentioning cunnilingus. However, according to this 4th Century BC text, fellatio is above all the realm of eunuchs who use their mouths as a substitute for female genitalia, though the text notes that fellatio is also practiced by “unchaste women”, as it was considered degrading or unclean, with known practitioners being evaded as love partners in large parts of the country.


In some cultures, particularly those of Asia and the islands of Oceania, briefly taking the penis of a male infant or toddler into one’s mouth was considered a nonsexual form of affection, greeting ritual, or potentially lifesaving. According to some sources, it was an ancient Chinese custom for grandmothers, mothers, and older sisters to calm their baby boys with fellatio. Some Chinese mothers performed fellatio on their moribund sons because the belief was that if the penis is completely retracted into the abdomen, the boy or man will die.


In multiple cultures ingesting semen is a ritualistic act. The Chinese refer to it as “yang essence” and should never be wasted. Ancient Chinese sex manuals depict various ways men can transfer semen from their “heavenly dragon pillars” to their brains via the mouth. Even in modern times, there are tribes like the Sambia of Papua New Guinea who require young men to perform fellatio and ingest semen in order to crossover into adulthood. In contrast, the Inuit culture considers fellatio utterly taboo, something that could weaken a man when he has more important things to do, like hunting seal. In a culture where the mouth is not a sexual object – Inuit kiss with their noses – fellatio is simply off the table.


Oral sex didn’t factor largely in the first three decades of my life until an equally stressed out med school housemate and I decided to take a shower together. We hardly spoke during the day (I wasn’t even sure I liked him) but we got it on in secret after closing the books. His cock fit perfectly in my mouth and I felt a rush of arousal watching him lose himself completely within the grip of my lips. It felt both naughty and immensely empowering. Had I not had that outstanding ‘seminal’ experience of cock sucking I’m not sure I’d be the lover of lingham I am today, giddy each time I have the opportunity to taste a new heavenly dragon pillar.


Recently I listened to a few episodes of the podcast ‘Ogasmic Enlightenment’ by Kim Anami, a world class vaginal weightlifter (#thingsiliftwithmyvagina), and creator of courses such as Vaginal Kung Fu and The Well F*#ked Woman. In a world where so many women are ambivalent about the possessors of cocks, and girded to defend themselves against their desires, Anami’s full throttled adoration of the phallus confirmed my own narrative that penises attached to lovely men deserve the same veneration as the pussy. Says Anami, “I love up those cocks so wild and so hard they forget who they were and are self-realized into who they truly are. Yes, I believe it is my duty to self-actualize every cock I come into contact with.”


If I can tell everything I need to know about a man by the way he treats my clit, I fall short as a lover if I fail to regale his cock with the same enthusiastic attention he’s given to my lady parts. One study released by State University of New York, Albany found that women who perform oral sex on their partners are actually much happier and less depressed than women who don’t. Yet in an Esquire survey of American women, when asked, ‘How do you feel about giving oral sex?’ Only 30% responded ‘love it!’ While the rest fell into ‘I like it because he likes it’, ‘I’ll do it but I don’t like it’ and ‘I never do it.’ Are 70% of women missing out on a little more happiness because they don’t love giving head?


After pouring through articles about how women feel about fellatio, it’s clear that a certain number find it crude, violent even. I can’t disagree, given the frequent depictions of oral in mainstream porn. The gagging, the eye watering, the supplicating posture involved, and don’t get me started on the degradation I feel watching a guy come on a woman’s face. I’m not surprised some women completely refuse to do it if a man’s idea of a good blow job is face fucking.


On the other hand, women are pretty clear that with the right partner, where there’s a mutual sense of safety, admiration and playfulness, they can really get into giving head. But first we have to get past the inevitable power dynamics of sex. In a Bustle piece asking women how they felt about sucking cock, one sums it up nicely. “I think it dawned on me sometime in my 20s how much entitlement there is in our culture regarding male-centric sexual pleasure generally, and blow jobs specifically — and how many times in my life I’ve personally given head because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do, not because it was what I particularly wanted to do. I’ve come to really chafe at the idea that this is an ‘expected’ part of sex for men, so while I’m 100% psyched to do it for the right partner, I’m only going to do it if actively want to.”


Indeed, an active desire to go down on a man is key to doing it well. Women might think any oral attention is sufficient, but men can tell if our hearts aren’t into it. Says one man in Cosmopolitan’s 12 Things He Wants You to Know About Oral Sex, “The thing most likely to make a blowjob mediocre and forgettable or even unpleasant is the notion that some women have that there’s no wrong way to give a blowjob and that guys are just so lucky to receive them. The only ones I remember were where she cared about whether or not it felt good.”

There are many guides to the perfect blow job and I have studiously incorporated what I’ve learned from them into my intimate world with good results. Passionista by Ian Kerner (of She Comes First fame) is a man’s advice on pleasuring a guy body. For more advanced techniques check out Trigasmic Fellatio or Thought Catalog’s Blow Job Basics as given by ‘Eight Sassy Women’. Better yet, pour yourself a glass of wine and spend an evening watching all the delightfully irreverent videos on YouTube when you search, “How to give a blow job.”


But technique won’t necessarily make you a cock whisperer. Even with enthusiasm, the results are variable. I’ve had men come easily with oral and some not at all and say they rarely have. Like the clit, each penis clearly has its particular likes and dislikes which makes guides to fellatio dubious one-size-fits-all attempts at mastering the blow job. Good oral is ultimately about uncovering the unique hot spots of his member. We’re rarely de facto good lovers (or good givers of head) but become so through time and asking what exactly he likes.


As far as swallowing, it’s difficult for me to advocate doing so when I recognize it’s something the Brits might describe as a Marmite situation; you either love it or hate it. The colloquialism was born of the unambiguous fondness or disgust one feels for the gooey yeast spread that looks deceptively like Nutella but tastes like the bottom of a compost pail. I personally enjoy swallowing (and like to keep the furniture tidy) but have learned to do so much in the same way I’ve come to love kale. Initially, I found kale objectionable, then I learned to eat it because of its many health benefits and now pretty much can’t go without it at least three times a week.


I do hope men won’t take it personally if a woman doesn’t want to swallow. There’s no comparison between licking pussy and having a load of semen disgorged down one’s throat. I’ve done both and they live on vastly different points on the yuck factor continuum. However, like swallowing raw oysters, it’s a taste that can be acquired. Or not.


For many of us, oral sex is more intimate than intercourse; it’s an unselfish act of communion, it’s adoration, and a very good metric for long term satisfaction. A significant asymmetry in a partner’s love of oral may very well erode our long term happiness. I would no more shack up with a man who didn’t lick then I would live without orgasms. I expect nothing less of myself when it comes to his dick.


Like so many things, our attitudes are malleable and small adjustments in perception can tip the scales from cock tolerance to cock love. There’s scientific truth behind the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ practice of happiness. If you’re loving a good man, forget the patriarchy for a while and love up his dick, surrender yourself to the mutually beneficial mood boosting bliss of cock whispering. It’s not about payback or doing something to get the garage cleaned. It’s about loving well and generously.


Love, Karin

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