The mighty blow job—intimidating for sure, but probably one of the best sex acts to have in your pleasure arsenal. Though taking full control of your partner's penis or strap-on can feel empowering, you may have sometimes wondered if your blow job technique could use a little improvement. After all, how do you give a good blow job anyway? Sex ed definitely didn't cover this.

Well, it really comes down to personal preferences. But for many, just getting a blow job is a huge turn on. "[People] love blow jobs because the act feels like sex, but it's a very different experience—they get to relax and receive and just enjoy what's happening in front of them," says Vanessa Marin, a certified sex therapist in Los Angeles.

Plus, the visual element of watching their penis slip in and out of a mouth really gets a lot of people going, Marin adds. Not to mention, unlike a hand job or even penetrative sex, no one can replicate the sensation of a blow job on their own (obviously). Your mouth is wet and warm, like a vagina (or a lubed-up hand), but your lips and tongue are living, roving, irreplaceable works of art.

This content is imported from poll. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

It’s definitely not everyone’s thing (reminder: your sexual preferences are only decided by you, and no one should ever make you feel bad about them!), but when you’re really clicking with a partner, a blow job can be a great way to amp up affection.

"Although it may not seem as intimate [as sex] because there isn't as much face-to-face contact, the willingness to do this adds a level of trust and intimacy that is underappreciated," explains Kimberly Resnick Anderson, LCSW, a certified sex therapist based in L.A.

So, back to technique, what else should you know about blow jobs aside from the...uh...basics? Well, here's exactly how to take your oral sex game to the next level, according to certified sex therapists.

1. Be enthusiastic.

        By far the number one rule for giving good head is actually wanting to give good head.

        "The biggest complaint I hear from clients about blow jobs has nothing to do with technique and everything to do with their partner's enthusiasm about it," Marin says. "Recipients will have a great time if they know their partner is enjoying it." (Awww!)

        "There's a big difference between 'they do this for me because I like it' and someone that is actually being turned on by giving oral sex," adds Anderson. "If someone is earnest and motivated to please them, that's 90 percent of it."

        That's not to say you should pretend you like doing something in the bedroom if you straight-up don't. (In that vein, never do something you're not comfortable with just because a sexual partner asks you.) But if you're considering going down on someone—which, if you're reading this article, it seems like you are—the best thing you can bring to the BJ party is a good attitude.

        A few ways to show your enthusiasm:

        • Make eye contact. Don't stare the entire time without blinking (creepy), but do take conscious breaks to switch your gaze from the penis to their eyes, taking in all facial cues. (This is also a great opp to bat your lashes and "smize," you sexpot.)
        • Tell them how turned on you are. You know how you can get self-conscious when a partner goes down on you? Yeah, so can everyone! So compliment how hard they are in your mouth and how excited that's making you. Or be straightforward: "I love how your penis feels in my mouth." Simple, but effective.
        • Ask them what they want. Asking for feedback shows that you care and want to give your partner the best experience possible. You can say "How does this feel?" right before you put your mouth back on the shaft, or "Is this wet enough for you?" midway through. One question not to ask: "Hello, are you close yet?" If your partner isn’t comfortable holding up their end of a Q&A during a blowie, make it simple: Try having them hold your hand and squeezing every time they feel good. It’ll be easier for you to tell what moves they really like and gives you a nice confidence boost the whole way through.

          2. Bring your hands into the mix.

          A blow job might count as oral sex, but that doesn't mean your mouth has to do all the work. "I like to think of the mouth as providing wetness and your hands as providing tightness," says Marin.

          If your jaw starts to feel sore or tired a few minutes into the job, you're likely suctioning too hard with your mouth. So shift some of the work to your hands, counting on them for pressure.

          Here's your basic stroke once you've warmed up a bit:

          1. Wrap your dominant hand around the shaft, then add your mouth.
          2. Connect your hand to your lips—as in, press your index finger and thumb (which are making an O sign) against your lips and keep them sealed there.
          3. Move your hand-plus-lips up and down the penis.

          If their penis is larger than average, you can keep your mouth in one place and move your wet hand up and down separately.

          Then from there, you can mix up your hand technique a bit. Try the Wrist Twist: With your mouth on the penis (this is still oral sex), rotate your firm wrist in clockwise circles as you move your hand up and down.

          Bring your other hand into the game once you've gotten your bearings. "Focus beyond just the penis," says Anderson. "Some people like nipple stimulation, touching their leg...make it a full-sensory experience, beyond just the pelvic region." When in doubt? Cup and gently squeeze the balls.

          3. Don't be afraid to add spit (lots of it).

          During one of the first blow jobs I ever gave (to a guy I'd been dating for five months, so we were super comfortable with each other), my partner told me to spit on him. It freaked me out for a sec, but then realized he just liked it extra wet.

          While everyone has their own, ahem, moisture preferences, I've found that most agree a good blow job requires a lot of saliva. You don't want to go overboard to the point that your hand is slipping all over the place, but try to do some **sexy** spitting (read: make it subtle) whenever the penis starts to feel a little dry.

          On that note, it's not a bad idea to keep a glass of water nearby to prevent dry mouth—you may need it.

          4. Keep your tongue soft and loose—for the most part.

          When giving a blow job, your tongue provides the warmth, texture, and wetness that they can't get elsewhere.

          To maximize this sensation, both Anderson and Marin suggest keeping your tongue soft in your mouth when you're moving up and down (the majority of your job), then using the tip of your tongue to trace the head and frenulum—the underside where the penis head (if circumcised) meets the shaft.

          Those two areas, especially the frenulum, are packed with nerve endings, so expect your partner to go crazy.

          You can also use the flat side of your tongue to lick from the bottom of the shaft to the very tip and down again, or throw in a few tongue flicks.

          5. Pretend you're about to say the word purple.

          At some point during my writing career in women's magazines, I picked up a tip from a sexpert (I wish I could remember who!) that has become my trusty signature move. (I almost hate sharing it, but in the name of better blow jobs for all...)

          As you suck, try to keep your lips in a slightly fish-face position—pretend you're about to say "purple." The word naturally contorts your lips into the perfect head-giving pout: They're slightly curled and pillowy, which makes them feel wetter and creates ideal suction.

          You're welcome.

          6. Switch up the visual.

          A huge factor of a blow job is the visual component, Marin and Anderson agree—presentation is everything, people! "If someone is on the bed and you're between their legs, try going to the side," says Anderson. "Think about changing the 'traditional' view." It also allows your partner to take in the full view of your awesome bod, so give 'em a wink and strike a pose.

          This content is imported from poll. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

          You can also try placing yourself in different spots around the room—say, having your partner up against the wall and you on your knees in front of them. You can even place yourselves in front of a mirror so they can take in every angle. "Anything a partner can do to make it more visual" will be a win, says Anderson.

          7. Attempt the deep throat if you like it.

          Deep throating—where you take the member so far into your mouth, it's in your throat—is definitely an advanced skill. Why? Two words: gag reflex.

          Some people’s gag reflex is more easily activated than others, but if you're able to train it—I did by practicing on, no joke, frozen ice pops—you can surprise (and by that, I mean SHOCK) your partner with moments of deep throating.

          Not only does deep throating feel amazing to them (your throat is obviously tighter than their mouth), but it’s a turn-on seeing their entire length somehow fit inside your mouth. (Back to that visual thing from the previous point.)

          A word of caution: Ease into this, and only when you can breathe well through your nose. No penis is worth choking over.

          8. Get comfortable.

          There's nothing worse than giving a blow job and feeling your neck cramp or your knees bruise from an uncomfortable or unsustainable position. So be sure you (and your partner) are in comfortable positions to make the situation more enjoyable all around. "For givers, if they're on their knees, get a pillow so the knees are supported," suggests Dr. Jenni Skyler, PhD, an AASECT-certified sex therapist and director of The Intimacy Institute. "It's about the positioning of the body, so being between their partner's legs so they can easily cup the testicles and move from their core versus moving from the neck saves the neck muscles."

          Trying out different positions can also be a fun way to experiment and ease up the pressure and stress. If one position isn't working, it'll be pretty clear to both parties involved, so laugh about it and try another way! This makes the entire process more enjoyable all around.

          9. Lube it up.

          Lube matters. And it's a game-changer in all types of sexual activity. Obvi, moisture is a huge component of blow jobs – but generating enough saliva can be hard, "especially if you're dehydrated or live in a drier climate," says Skyler. A dry mouth isn't enjoyable for both parties. Incorporate some lube to increase wetness and pleasure.

          If you like the taste of coconut oil or prefer an oral lube, there are plenty of lube options to choose from that can change your blow job game. "I always say have lube, why not, let it help you, and it can taste good," adds Skyler.

          10. Figure out your ideal end-game.

          As a giver, really knowing what you desire or need at the ejaculation process is key. "If ejaculation in your mouth and swallowing is no big deal, okay," says Skyler. "But if it is, what are the workarounds that you need to communicate ahead of time."

          How you handle the ejaculation piece of a blow job is personal preference. If you don't like ejaculate in the mouth, ask your partner to let you know when the point of coming is, remove your mouth and continue with your hand, suggests Skyler. "Or if they don't mind the cum but they don't want to swallow it, they can spit," she says.

          11. Cover those canines.

          Teeth and blow jobs don't exactly go together. But considering teeth are a (big) part of mouths, it's all about knowing what to do with them during a blow job. "Covering your teeth loosely with your tongue helps you move up and down the shaft," says Skyler. Another tip is to use your lips to avoid canine contact by slightly wrapping them around your teeth.

          12. Think about licking an ice cream cone.

          A technique Skyler recommends is to think about how you're licking an ice cream cone. "Top to bottom licks are good," she says. Take your time moving your mouth and tongue along the shaft. Build up to putting it fully in your mouth; the suspense will drive them crazy.

          13. Play with temperature.

          Bring the heat, with ice. Yup, using ice cubes during a blow job is actually extremely arousing. This unconventional method sounds like blow job urban legend, but a mouth full of crushed up ice delivers a tingly sensation, and the contrast between the warmth of your mouth and the cool ice can be refreshing.

          With your partners permission, play around with ice. Try sucking on an ice cube right before you go down on them. Fill your mouth with crushed up ice and go to town. While you might feel like a chipmunk, the combo of cold and melting ice makes for a wet, good time. Trust, just try it.

          14. Consider condoms.

          No one thinks about wearing a condom for a blow job, but they protect against STDs! And practicing safe sex is v important. Good thing there are flavored condoms and lube that can make the experience more pleasant.

          15. Feel it out.

          Take time to explore with your mouth. "Every penis is different," says Skyler, "Feel with your mouth the texture, the shape, and how it fills your mouth. Go into it with a curiosity."

          You don't have to rush into a blow job and go straight for the deep throat (unless that's your thing, then more power to ya). Avoid clamping down, and instead,"ask yourself, 'How can I create a tighter envelope around this penis with my mouth?'," suggests Skyler.

          Remember: Let go of the pressure of giving an orgasm. If you're hyper-focused on getting that, it can actually sabotage the pleasure. Instead, "focusing on the journey of pleasure, both in receiving and giving, is a key piece of satisfying your partner," says Skyler.

          How will I know if I gave a good blow job?

          There's no one way to know you gave a good blow job, because it's entirely subjective to what your partner likes and what the end goal is. Making your partner cum is not the only sign of a good blow job—you can give an excellent blow job "whether the blow job is just to cultivate arousal or to create an orgasm," says Skyler. "If the body feels pleasure and exhibits contentment, then you know you're probably doing the right thing."

          It's important to note that "orgasm and ejaculation are not the metrics of a good blow job," says Amanda Pasciucco, LMFT, an AASECT-certified sex and relationship therapist."Usually, the person receiving the blow job will let you know, 'Oh wow that was amazing.' If it wasn’t good, chances are they would have asked you to stop during it."

          Communication—before, after, and during—is also helpful to giving a good blow job. "I always joke but it's the truth: It's easier to have sex than to talk about it," says Skyler. "Talking about it during and after is a key piece of emotional vulnerability that only feeds your sex life."

          Ask your partner open-ended questions, like 'What did you like about that?' or 'What was your favorite part?'. Another one could be, 'If we could do something differently next time, what would that be?' or 'What's one thing you really want me to make sure I include next time that you really like?'.

          "Have conversations about preferences so that the other person feels seen, felt, and heard by you," says Pasciucco. Not everyone likes the same techniques, and every mouth is a little different.

          TLDR; let go of the pressure, focus on the pleasure.

          Do I always have to give someone a blow job if I want oral sex?

          "No," says Pasciucco. As with any sexual interaction, you should only do something if you want to and are comfortable doing it. There's no quid pro quo to oral sex (or any sex). Communicate openly and overtly before sex on what both partners want from the experience. "Have the discussion of 'does everything need to be equally given and received' in this partnered sex," Pasciucco adds. Make sure you both are on the same page before you begin. You should never feel forced to do anything in a sexual situation.

          "I am a fan of making sure both people enjoy the experience, but that could look really different," says Skyler. If you both enjoy oral sex, great! If you prefer another kind of stimulation, like a sensual massage, but your partner wants oral sex, come to an agreement or understanding where you both experience the pleasure you want.