Belle Jar has been busy for the last, oh, two months. But she’s back, this time tackling that most challenging of the bedroom arts: cunnilingus. As always, send comments, questions, and propositions to

khkTo any straight man reading this: count yourself lucky, because it won’t happen again.  It’s no small thing for a lesbian to reveal the keys to cunnilingus.  This is the pussy card—the major advantage any lesbian has over any straight man, the one we deal to pick up the bicurious and girls in sexual crisis. Once she’s had a chick, she’ll never want a dick.  I’m telling you trade secrets here; I am giving you our Ace.

First, a caveat: I do not presume to speak for all women.  There are enough vaginas in the world for the variations in style and taste to overwhelm even the most thorough of instructors.  This is more of a small-scale survey piece, a dialogue—half notes, half creative license—of how-to-steps culled from the sharpest female minds (with the aid of a little wine).  Thank you kindly, ladies.

The Warm Up

Curly*: Here’s instruction number one: you’re probably going to suck.  A woman will inevitably be better than you.

Mo*: Agreed. Men, inevitably, will be slow on the uptake.  They’re dealing with equipment they don’t own.

Curly: Ok, so, from the beginning.

Mo: A very good place to start.

Curly: Let’s begin with positions. The girl, ideally, is up against the headboard—at least for me, that’s what works.

Mo: Or on her back. Legs over your shoulders.

Curly: Or sitting in a chair.  Or on her hands and knees and being licked from behind. Or kneeling over your face.

Mo: I love to watch the person, it’s like “oh my god, that person is licking my vagina.”  Complete turn-on.

Curly: The key throughout all of this is communication, at every turn.  You’re in there, and you have to be vocal. The best thing is if the person you’re going down on is being vocal and saying, yes, that’s good, but assuming they’re not, you’ve got to ask.  If you don’t, it can get awkward.

*not their real names, obviously

Mo: I’ve faked [orgasm] to avoid awkward issues of communication.

Curly: That’s such a waste.

Mo: Anyway, let’s keep going with this.

Curly: So there’s the question of what to do with your hands.

Mo: You’ve gotta grab the hips and the thighs.  The key is the juxtaposition of really soft tongue and rougher caresses with your hands.

Curly: Right.  This is why it’s so much better if someone is [finger] fucking and licking you at the same time.  You get the hard and the soft.

Mo: Whoa, slow down, we’ll get there.  First though, and this is key, guys need to learn how to get girls warmed up.

Curly: I like the person to use their fingers to just touch first.  The guys are divers.  You want to lick thighs, inner thighs, general pelvis area.  Breathe on the girl’s vagina.  If you’re a woman, put your breast on the person’s clit.

Mo: Ah! That’s the best!  …I don’t mind how you start, as long as you don’t go straight for the clit. I like someone to go from the rear to the top, in a long lick. You want to build it up, don’t jump the gun. Licking in between the inner and outer labia is really good.

Curly: Humming or moaning against the clit, also a good plan.

Introducing the Tongue

Curly: One thing guys do is try and spear the clit. Or they stick their whole face in it and go like this ~shakes head violently~ The whole thing is thinking of your tongue as a pancake, flatten it out. A: Also, often you get a woman and one side of her clit is more sensitive than the other, so if you’re sleeping with her for the first time, you’ve got to explore.

Mo: Don’t focus your tongue on the ball of the clit, on the ball really hurts.  And, going along with my spear motif, putting your tongue far into a girl’s vagina doesn’t do much for her.  Fingers are way more powerful. The other thing that’s very bad is that guys don’t wait until the girl is wet before they start using their fingers, and that’s hell.

Curly: Circular tongue technique is absolutely key.  Don’t lap, you’re not actually a dog.  A lady is not a water bowl.

Mo: Oh!  And sucking on the clit is also great!  That’s one of those moves that seems to work across the board with women.

Curly: Also, to go back a bit, it’s fundamental to embrace the pussy juice.  Cause if you don’t, you’re fucked.  Granted, if the girl hasn’t showered recently, especially after a trip to the gym, it’s going to be unpleasant and you’re allowed some leeway.

Mo: Hip-hop music is really good for giving head.  It helps you keep the flow—speed it up, slow it down.  Jazzy Bell by Outcast, that’s my giving head track.

Fingering Finale

Mo: Ok, so let’s say that at this point, things are getting elevated.  You can tell from the way she’s breathing and moving her hips.

Curly: When it gets elevated the person needs to use fingers.  You need to use fingers and tongue at the same time.  And people have different size holes, so you’ve gotta ask the person if she wants more or less.

Mo: So when you put the finger in, the rhythm comes in.  You’ve got your tongue and your hand working together.

Curly: If you’re varying the pressure of your tongue, your hand should compliment it.  Dance, essentially.  Hit the clit with your tongue, and then use your hand, then it builds more.

Mo: This is an absolutely crucial stage when timing and paying attention really matter.  If you feel yourself just getting really excited, slow down, you’re probably going too fast.

Curly: Feel for the ridges with your fingers.  The vagina is an upward spiraling tunnel, so once your fingers are in there, make a “come hither” motion.

Mo: So at this point, you really need to take your cues from the girl.  Some like you to keep your hand in there when they orgasm, and some don’t like having anything in them.

Curly: You can go a couple of routes.  You can leave your hand in there—just applying pressure, not fucking, but still licking.  Or you can stop-start: fucking and licking, but intermittently cooling off, though some people can’t sustain this.

Mo: The clit is where the orgasm cannot be helped, so if your fingers aren’t doing anything for her, focus there.

Curly: This might be a bit controversial, but you can play a little with the asshole.

Mo: For first timers, don’t do anything invasive on the asshole, just touch it.  You don’t give rim jobs to inexperienced strangers.

Curly: So basically, if what you’re doing is working, don’t switch techniques, that’s really frustrating.

Mo: And if you followed all of this, she should have cum.

Curly: Women can have an orgasm, then wait 30 seconds, then go for another one.  Some people need a good 10 minutes to chill out; this is not a multiple orgasm.

Mo: Also, don’t believe what you see in porn, that’s a good lesson for the kids.

In summation, let me answer the question I began with: cunnilingus is an art, not a science.  I say this not because English majors are better at it than Physics majors; I’m sure both have their failings (humanities kids have weak wrists, science kids over-salivate) but because you can’t follow the same steps all the time and expect the same result.  This piece isn’t written like a Men’s Health guide to picking up sorority girls (e.g. Complete Phase One, Move On To Phase Two) because going down on a girl is a fluid process (pun intended).  Each step—first the warming up, then the tongue, then the fingers—must be introduced slowly such that it doesn’t feel like you’re shifting gears.  (Normally I don’t compare women to cars, but if e.e. cummings can do it…)

Cunnilingus does not have a sense of humor about itself.  It demands subtlety, passion, and rhythm–it’s an art, for fuck’s sake. Don’t mess around.