Going Down on a Vulva
Updated: Jun 24
Editor's note: This is an abridged version of the full guide, which is available in the Lover app
Whether you call it oral sex, cunnilingus, eating out, or going down, mouth-to-vulva sex can be an extremely good time for everyone involved. Like every other part of sex, it’s also best when the only goal is to experience pleasure with your partner in the moment — not to focus on someone having an orgasm, and definitely not to complete a checklist between initiating sex and p-in-v or any other kind of penetration.
So how do you get good at oral? There’s no secret technique, signature move, or pattern of tongue and hand movements that, once mastered, will blow any partner’s mind every single time (Sorry!). Instead, it’s a combination of time, communication, paying attention, and responding. Here’s where to start.
How to Prepare for Oral Sex
The best sexual experiences happen when everyone involved is relaxed, both mentally and physically. A room at a comfortable temperature, towels, and enough time are a great place to start. So are having charged sex toys, compatible lube, and any safer sex barriers within reach.
To prepare your body to give great oral, try to wear minimal products or makeup, and moisturize and soften any facial hair you might have to avoid irritating the vulva.
What if the vulva you’re going down on is shaved or not shaved? The most important thing to remember is that it’s not your business how someone else maintains their body hair, even if that person is your sexual partner. You are lucky to be there.
Make Oral the Main Event
Not to name genders, but in some dynamics, oral that involves a vulva is less of a destination and more of a quick pit stop on the way to p-in-v. Instead of checking it off a list on the way to something else, think of oral as a main attraction. If all you do the next time you have sex is go down on a vulva for an hour, what would that experience be like, and how could you make it as pleasurable as possible for both of you?
No, that hour isn’t metaphorical. Desire can be spontaneous, but often it’s responsive. This means that no matter how enthusiastically consensual the sex is on paper, it can take some sexual stimulation before the mental interest is fully present. Taking the time to really build that desire can benefit both of you, no matter your desire type.
Because you’re giving yourselves plenty of time for this experience, there’s no need to rush to the part where your mouth is literally on a vulva. Do some kissing, grinding, groping, and generally building your mutual desire. Use your hands to tease — and to bring blood to your partner’s genitals — by massaging their butt, running your hands up their legs, or even dragging your nails up their inner thighs.
When you’re both ready, move down slowly. If your partner enjoys nipple stimulation, spend some time there before moving lower. When it comes to your first touch, consider kissing their inner thighs. If you get positive feedback, build up into gently using your tongue, lips, or even teeth.
Slowly work your way up one thigh and then gently graze your mouth and nose across their vulva. Barely make contact as you do, before making your way down the other inner thigh. Don’t rush.
When you’re sure your partner is ready for more, start with a wide, slow application of light pressure from your tongue. Take your time with this, perhaps bringing your flattened tongue slowly up from the lower vulva, up past the vaginal opening, and finishing just short of the clitoris.Establish a slow rhythm here to start, and pay very very close attention to your partner’s responses as you do.
Do they react to a specific spot? Do they prefer your tongue more on the left side of their vulva, or the right? What happens if you make your tongue harder or softer? What about speed? What about motion? What about rhythm? What happens when you head to their clit?
Don’t forget: this is about your partner’s pleasure, but it’s also about yours. Increase your own sexual desire by honing in on your senses, like taste and touch. Take pleasure in the feel of your partner’s body in your hands, the way their flavor changes with arousal, and the noises they make. Those who genuinely love oral sex are the most skilled at it. The more you can focus on this element of pleasure and its journey, the more amazing the sex is going to be for both of you.
For more oral sex tips and techniques for going down on a vulva, check out Going Down on Her in the Lover app. (We know not everyone with a vulva uses she/her pronouns.)