Oral sex is the act of using the mouth, lips, or tongue to stimulate a partner’s genitals. Cunnilingus, anilingus, and fellatio are all types of oral sex, referring respectively to the stimulation of a vagina or clitoris, anus, or penis via licking or sucking.
Regardless of your genital anatomy, feminist counselor and psychotherapist Ashley D. Sweet, M.A., LPC, LMHC, CCRC, says oral sex can be a very pleasurable experience because of our bodies’ nerve-dense genitals. Many people consider oral sex to be more pleasurable than other forms of sexual play, she adds, and this may explain why: “The tongue is a soft yet strong set of muscles that can create powerful, pleasurable sensations on the genitals that are unlike any other form of stimulation.”
People may prefer oral sex for many reasons, including Sweet’s assertion that they enjoy the taste, up-close visuals, and smell of their partner. “Also, folks may prefer oral sex because there isn’t a risk of pregnancy, as there can be with heterosexual intercourse.”
Board-certified sexologist Jessica Cline, MSW, Ph.D., tells mbg that with the exception of the 69 oral sex position, this form of sex is “an act of orgasmic isolation with the sole focus being on giving and receiving pleasure.” Adding that, “Oral sex can feel incredibly connecting, more so than penetrative sex.”
Another large perk of oral sex is it provides balance in pleasure. For example, people with clitorises engaging in penetrative sex typically have difficulty reaching orgasm, whereas a penis can experience ejaculation in much less time with fewer barriers. Because of this, Cline says sex partners can use oral sex “as the orgasmic equalizer, a metaphorical appetizer, the main course, or dessert.”