Ask A Sex Therapist: How can I give good head?


The low-down on oral.

Laura Miano is a sex and relationship writer and sex therapist based in Melbourne. Her mission is to help those with sexual concerns as well as support individuals who might like to enhance their sex lives beyond cultural norms. To learn more about her, follow @lauramianosexology or contact her here.

Hi Eager to Please,

Gorgeous question! For many people, oral sex is a huge part of partnered sexual experiences, so improving your skills within this domain can prove very beneficial, both for you and the receiver. Whether you’re giving to a penis or a vulva, here’s the down-low on getting your head low.

The best and most important way to start giving head, is to always get consent from your sexual partner first. Get that enthusiastic yes before, during and after – a strong head game is one where both parties consent. Another very important part of good head is using protection.

For more sex advice, head on over to our Life section.

STIs can spread from mouth to genitals and genitals to mouth, so use a condom or dental dam if you are not the exclusive sexual partner of the person you’re with, or if they haven’t been tested since their last sexual experience. Now, with consent and protection, you’re already in a strong position. Where to from here?

Start broad

Good head begins with the broader body so start by giving your partner pleasure in their erogenous zones. Neck, chest, nipples, waist, thighs, back, feet etc. Give those areas some love first and start building their arousal (and yours) from there. This means the receiver will already be aroused, and their genitals engorged, by the time you get there. Engorged genitals are what you want!


When you get closer to their genitals, teasing can be an excellent way to build their desire. Get creative when you do this. Whether it’s a lick, soft blow, kiss, or tickle, you can play with their inner thighs, pubic area, broader vulva, or testes to give them a preview of what’s to come. Tease baby tease.

Know your anatomy

When giving oral sex, it’s important that you know where to spread your love. Penis and vulva owners have areas on their genitals where pleasure receptors are abundant. These are the clitoris and the head and the frenulum of the penis. I’d suggest getting educated on exactly where these structures sit on the genitalia, and how their location varies between different genitalia. You can check the Labia Library or Willy Worries for more info on this.

Put in the work

Once you have located those pleasure points, spend some time on them. Doing what? Well, the truth is, everyone’s preferences are different. Some penis owners will love long strokes along their shaft, some will love more focused stimulation on their head. Vulva owners might like broad full-tongue licking, some like a pointier tip-of-the-tongue sensation.

I reached out to followers on my Instagram for the number one oral sex tip they would love to give. Many people said to start slow and build the sensation. When asked about the consistency of the stimulation, 55 per cent said to keep it consistent, with little breaks in between, while 45 per cent wanted things changed up throughout the experience. As you can see, it’s variable!

One solid tip I can give here is to tap into your erotic creativity. If you find it hard to do this, you might be suffering from performance anxiety. If you can, use mindfulness to push those anxious thoughts away and try to focus on your erotic mind – what brings you erotic pleasure. Eroticism is closely linked to creativity so if you can get into that mindset, you might find yourself doing things you’d never even imagined before. It’ll be totally intuitive.

Get your ‘check-in’ down pat

You might have been hoping for more practical advice in the previous section, but it’s hard to give because everyone’s preferences are so so different. I can’t be sure that what I suggest will work for everyone. I have a better suggestion though. Perfect your ‘check-in’. This is when your sexual partner communicates whether you’re stimulating them in the right way or not. You can do this in a few ways.

You can have a sexy conversation before you begin and have them explain what they like and where they like it. You can also check-in during the experience with statements like “How does this feel angel?”, “This is so good for me, are you enjoying it?”, “How can this be better babe?” You can also use their body language as sexual cues – heavy breathing, moaning, an arched back, clenched fingers/toes, an open mouth – these all might signal that you are on the right track.

During orgasm

If your sexual partner wants to achieve orgasm, check-ins are going to be super important, particularly when it comes to reading their body language. You want to build the stimulation with their arousal, so pay close attention to the way they’re acting so you can stimulate in-sync with their arousal levels. Note: getting partners to orgasm can take a widely varied amount of time so it might be worth checking in with them before the experience begins.

Once you eventually get your sexual partner to orgasm, for some, it’s pleasurable when you hold your mouth on their pleasure points (clitoris, head or frenulum) as it can give them a prolonged orgasm. You might also like to grab their thighs, hips, or waist to increase the intensity of the experience.

Pursue your own pleasure

Finally, regardless of any of these tips, bad head begins when you stop wanting to give it. Head isn’t all about the receiver, your experience is just as valuable. Stop performing and start enjoying. Tap into your eroticism, use your five senses and practise mindfulness so you get just as much out of it as the receiver does. And they’ll thank you for it too. It’s a win-win.

See the other instalments in our Ask A Sex Therapist series here.

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