Our writer gets real about the mistakes you’re making down there

I want to thank all the guys out there who give it their all during oral sex. It’s not an easy feat, and we appreciate the effort. But it’s no secret that you enjoy going down on us as much as we enjoy receiving it. (Let’s be honest—it’s probably 60 percent for us, 40 percent for you.) And we know how much it reaffirms your masculinity when we … max out.

That said, there are a few (um, more than a few) of you out there who could use a little help in getting us there. And you want to get us there. So to make sure we are all having the absolute best time possible, allow us to point out the ways in which you are falling short, and offer some tips to help you do it better.

Pointy dagger tongue

Gentlemen, let’s chat. Where did you learn this move? What woman told you this was okay and then subsequently ruined it for the rest of us? We have no idea what you are prodding for, and why you think that if you prod hard and fast enough you’ll find it. What you want to find is the clit and it’s like … right there.

While there are times in sex when durability is entirely appropriate, oral sex is not one of them. Soften up, take it slow. Try a flatter, wider stroke like you’re working with a broad paint brush. We guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Asking us to sit on your face

Fun fact: We don’t enjoy this. In fact, we actually hate it. The only person who this is good for is you. Absolutely no judgment. Why wouldn’t you want a vagina spoon fed to you while you lay back and relax?

But going down on a woman should, ideally, be relaxing for the woman. It helps when we are completely at ease, so if it’s your first time with a woman, try to help her be completely comfortable. Usually this means having us on our backs. We’re self-conscious enough having a man’s face in our most intimate area. Ease us into it. When we reach a level of comfort with you and you have learned to hit us in all the right places, we can start to find other more creative positions that might up the excitement level for you, as well. Like one of these.

Motorboating

We can forgive a little sloppiness, and might even encourage it if you’ve got us on the edge of our seats. And silliness during sex is definitely a good thing because it adds a level of comfort and intimacy. But there are other ways to show your appreciation for our vaginas than jostling your face back and forth and fluttering your lips. Tip: the same rules also apply to our breasts.

Forgetting that this is actually about us

Now is not the time to experiment with how many fingers you can get in there or what’s going around the back. Not unless, of course, she specifically asks for it.

… That said, one or two fingers are certainly okay and often encouraged. If you want to really impress us, you can even try multitasking and giving our breasts attention at the same time. We’re not asking for wizard levels of dark vagina magic. Just reach up and graze our nipples lightly with the tips of your fingers. You’ll thank me later. And if you want to take this to the next level, yes, nipple orgasms are a real thing.

Not reading the room

Vaginas are complicated. We know this, and we know you have a mountain to master. That said, their kind of code is one that can be easily cracked, especially if you’re listening to the wildly blatant instructions we’re giving you. Women will use their bodies to help guide you—and we’ll be straightforward about it.

If she’s arching her back or shifting to the left, follow her lead. Similarly, if she’s clenching her legs against your head and pulling back, that is also pretty telling. Her body will tell you what she wants. And if it’s still a mystery to you, a simple, “tell me what you like” will go a long way.

Pacing yourself

On average it takes women a solid 20 minutes before she finishes, according to sex educator Laura Berman, Ph.D. Men, on the other hand, take an average of 7.5 minutes. We’re built differently. Be patient. Don’t dive right for it. Take your time and draw it out. Use your hands. If anything, you’ll be saving your jaw a lot of wasted effort.

Actually utilising that ABCs “tip”

Whoever told you to spell out the alphabet was messing with you. And sadly the joke is on all of us.

Obviously every woman is different, and you’ll have to learn your specific lady’s preferences, but try using your lips and tip of your tongue to tease us. Most women love to be teased. Start with slight and subtle licks while kissing inside our thighs. As we relax and get more comfortable, you’ll know when it’s okay to start moving your tongue with more intensity and speed—but remember to use broad strokes!

Assuming climax is a given

Many women need mental stimulation over visual or physical, whereas men tend to rely on tactile responses and sexy visuals, says sex therapist Ian Kerner. If our minds are elsewhere it might just not be our day. And that’s okay. So if we don’t finish, don’t let it ruin the rest of the experience. We’re still having fun, and we still like you and appreciate your effort. Seriously, thanks.