It's my personal opinion that oral sex doesn't get discussed nearly enough. And that's pretty much my starting and finishing reason for why I'm writing this. C'mon. It's not like most of us don't indulge or engage and yet, when it comes to finding ways to make the experience more enjoyable (because a mouth simply being on another's genitalia is a really low bar), we don't seem to do as much research as we should.
It's no secret that more women climax from cunnilingus than intercourse itself (I'll expound in a moment). And it's definitely no newsflash that fellatio tends to put huge smiles on most men's faces. Still, there's nothing like going from good to great in your oral sex game, right? Something tells me that if you incorporate the following 12 tips, that is exactly what will happen.
1. Treat It Like an “Appetizer.” Not the “Meal.”
Let's start with where our, umm, heads should be about oral sex—whether we're giving or receiving. For starters, if it's gonna be grand, it'll be both. Anyway, while I do know some people who tend to take a hard pass on oral sex for a variety of reasons (by the way, religious married folks should check out Proverbs 5:15) and I certainly say to each their own, gone should be the stigma that there is anything "wrong" or "nasty" about doing it. Besides, 75 percent of women aren't able to have a vaginal orgasm. Oh, but do you know how they can climax? Some good old-fashioned cunnilingus! The main reason is that there is so much direct clitoral stimulation during the act.
Speaking of the stigma and the "ick attitude" that so many still seem to have about oral activity, that's a part of the reason why I think that cunnilingus and fellatio should be seen as appetizers (foreplay) more than the actual meal (intercourse). Think about it. How big of a deal is kissing? Especially in an intimate relationship, it's basically a given, right? Well, oral sex is a form of kissing...kissing genitalia, that is. And when you look at it from the perspective of stimulating your partner and building up excitement for what is to come, that can take a lot of pressure off of doing it. The acts can relax you, significantly so, as you're heading into intercourse. Appetizers are dope. They get the palate ready and prepare us to sit back and enjoy our meal. I think oral sex should be seen in a very similar fashion. How about you?
2. Shower Beforehand. Possibly Together.
I'll tell y'all what, if there's one thing that 2020 did, it got me super up close and personal with streaming apps. Not the ones you've gotta pay for (some of y'all have so many of those that you might as well have cable, chile)—the free ones. One of them being Tubi. Anyway, a series on there that I started watching not too long ago isSecret Diary of a Call Girl. It's…interesting. At times. Anyway, I'm bringing that up for this piece because Belle (the call girl) tends to give tips throughout each episode. One of her first was this—make sure that your partner showers from the moment he steps in your door.
I promise y'all that when I see movies or television shows where folks are all sweaty or are even just coming in from work and oral sex is simulated, I semi wanna gag just like an 80s valley girl. No, no…NO. Oral sex is so much more pleasant when you know that everything is super clean and fresh down there. You can even up the excitement by taking a shower together. Whatever you do, just make sure that hygiene is a top priority. For everyone's sake. And pleasure.
3. Create the Ambiance
Whether you adore oral sex (giving and receiving), you low-key loathe it or you merely tolerate it, the overall experience is going to be so much better—and far less awkward—if the atmosphere is sexy. Use candlelight or colored LED light bulbs. Turn on some slow R&B music. Dress sexy. Bring a few pillows into the mix (when you're "propped up", oral sex can be so much more comfortable). Hit a few other erogenous zones. Maybe give each other a massage (with hands and/or with tongues).
Sometimes oral sex can feel stressful at first, usually because we're rushing into it way too fast. Slow down. Set the mood. Enjoy each other. You've got time. If you're doing it right, you do, anyway.
4. Mutually Discuss What’s Desired. Each Time.
If you don't get anything else out of this, please hold on to this one particular point. Sometimes, we can be in a mood to receive oral sex in a different way than we did the time before. We might want more pressure applied or less. We might prefer it to be wetter or less wet. Sometimes 69 sounds like a good idea while other times, it's the absolute last thing that we want to attempt. But if we don't discuss all of this with our partner and instead, we put the expectation on them to be able to read our minds, that can make us frustrated with them—and ultimately, the act itself.
No one is saying that you have to present a—pardon the pun—full-on oral presentation about what you expect all of the time. I'm just saying that whispering in his ear what you are in the mood for (followed by asking him what he would like) can never hurt. It can only help, actually.
5. Incorporate a Favorite Flavor
I know all of us have heard that if you and your partner drink pineapple juice, everything will be right with the (oral sex) world, but that's not a complete truth. What is a fact is your diet plays somewhat of a role in how your natural lubrication as well as your partner's semen taste. This means that if pineapple juice is a part of your daily diet, it can knock some of the acidity out of both of your fluids, making them an itty bit sweeter. But if you're looking for everything to taste like a piña colada, you're only setting yourself up for failure. No food can do that.
The flip to this is if you bring a favorite sweet condiment into the mix, that can make you less—what would the word be—apprehensive, about diving in, head first (with the pun totally intended). Chocolate syrup, honey, whipped cream, frosting, flavored lubricant—all of these can be super seductive and a delicious distraction, if you happen to like the act but you'd prefer to avoid the taste of the "natural flow of things" as much as possible.
6. Use Some Ice Cubes
Here's the sexual version of IcyHot (LOL). While you may have never thought about "pulling a Mookie" in the bedroom (the real ones know what I'm referring to), it's something that you definitely should take into some serious consideration when it comes to oral sex. For you, the person on the giving end, it can help to produce a lot more wetness which can take off the pressure to produce more saliva. Then, when it comes time to receive, the combination of hotness (from your partner's mouth) and cold (from the ice) can actually stimulate you in a way that nothing else can. It doesn't have to be plain ice either. Popsicles or some Buko Ice Candy (a Filipino kind of icy treat; there's an easy-to-make recipe here) can easily be added to the mix too.
7. Perfect the “Build-Up”
One time, while in a session with a married couple, surprisingly, they both had the same complaint when it came to giving oral sex. It wasn't that they didn't like doing it so much as they felt like their partner took FOR-E-VER to orgasm. When I did a bit of deeper digging, I realized that, when it came to the act, there really isn't any wooing or seducing that was transpiring. They both would just take off their clothes and start. Not only is that not very sexy but this approach means that you have to not only "warm your partner up" with your mouth but then keep going until completion (because most of us go until completion…right?).
That's why I'm all about folks learning how to perfect the build-up. All I mean by that is there should be all about lots of kissing and caressing before oral sex begins. Shoot, even once they get to the genital region, there should be some seductive teasing by kissing/licking the hips and/or inner thighs. Again, if everyone slows down and relishes in the anticipation, by the time the act itself goes down, climaxing shouldn't be too difficult and definitely shouldn't take three television programs long. Not at all.
8. Switch Up Positions
I don't know what makes people think that oral sex always has to consist of being in some variation of the missionary position. It. Does. Not. If you'd like a little bit of a breakdown on how certain positions can prove to be most beneficial, a few years back, we published "6 Oral Sex Positions That'll Elevate You Even When You're On Your Knees." I also like the his-and-her positions that the site Your Tango took on. You can check it out here. Sometimes, just a change in angles can make all the difference in the world.
9. Yawn. Kinda.
Not all penises are created equal (check out "Sex Hacks For Different Kinds Of Penises (You Heard Me Right)"). That's a good thing. That said if you happen to have a partner who has the kind of penis where you find yourself repeatedly experiencing a gag reflex, try fake yawning during fellatio. This simple hack will help your throat to open up and your tongue to flatten, so that it's easier to…take everything all in.
10. Bring in Some Lubricant
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we simply can't produce enough saliva or we need some help to keep our hands from causing the oral sex version of rug burn on our partner. Something that can help both of these things from being an issue is lubrication. A recipe that you might want to try consists of coconut oil and margarita flavoring. Now please keep in mind that since oil-based lubes can actually semi-melt latex condoms, this should be used when it comes to oral activity only (and after being STD-cleared because you can get one from oral too). Still, if you're looking for a way to bring more "slip" into your second or third round, an easy and tasty recipe is right here.
11. “Seesaw It” All
There are some partners who've told me that the way oral sex happens for them is extremely compartmentalized. They do that—and then they have intercourse. There is no overlapping. What in the world? Do you know how hot it is to seesaw it? What I mean by that is to go five minutes with oral, have intercourse to the point of edging, and then go back to giving—or receiving? Whew.
It's always important to remember that sex isn't supposed to be regimented. Learn to go with the flow and do whatever feels good at the moment. It'll turn you on more and make oral sex so much more erotic. And that's always a good thing.
12. Watch It All Go Down (Pun Intended)
I know. Sometimes it all feels so good that you couldn't keep your eyes open if you tried. But a lot of times, we don't make eye contact during any kind of sex act because we simply don't think it's that big of a deal, one way or another. Oh, but it is. Eye contact during physical intimacy conveys that you want to make a deeper connection with your partner. And, when you do it during oral sex, they are able to get more turned on by either watching what you are doing to them or seeing all of the nuances of your facial expressions while they are gracing you with their skills.
Oh, and if you really want to take things to another level, you can even tape your partner during the act. Or, if a tape, to you, is too risqué, the next best thing is to watch with the help of a full-length mirror that's directly in front of you.
As you can see, these aren't "oral sex hacks" so much as they are tips to remind you to relax your mind, stay in the moment and—again, pun intended—take it all in. Oral sex can be unbelievable. You've just got to open up and let it be.
Featured image by Getty Images
Originally published February 19, 2021
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Queen Latifah On Her Journey To Self-Acceptance: 'I've Been Trying To Maintain My Freedom To Be Me'
Actress and rapper Dana "Queen Latifah" Owens is defying societal standards by refusing to be confined in a box regarding her personal and professional life.
Owens, who has been a part of the entertainment industry for over three decades, is widely recognized for her empowering songs and the variety of acting roles she has obtained throughout her career, among other things. The list includes Living Single, Set It Off, Chicago --with which she earned an Oscar nomination-- Just Wright, Girls Trip, and most recently, The Equalizer series on CBS.
Owens is also very tight-lipped about her personal life. However, in 2021, The Last Holiday actress showed appreciation to Eboni Nichols, who is reportedly her partner, and their son Rebel after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award.Since then, Owens has revealed why she doesn't want to be defined as anything but herself and how she maintains her sense of freedom. In a resurfaced video from theGrio Awards, Owens opened up about those topics when she accepted the Television Icon Award for her past contributions
In a clip uploaded on theGrio's Instagram account last week, Owens explained that she often had to fight to be herself because "the world" kept trying to put her in a box based on what society thought a woman should be.
"My whole life, I feel like I've been trying to maintain my freedom to be me. And the world is trying to put these things on me to stop me from being who I am," she said.
Further into the speech, Owens explained that although many would have their own opinion about her from what the media spews out, she would continue to be herself by wearing "beautiful gowns and dresses," playing in the dirt, participating in basketball games with men and loving who she loves because that's what makes her happy.
The Beauty Shop star also added that despite her celebrity status, she would continue to show respect for others because that's who she is as a person and how she was raised.
"So I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to because that's part of me. I play in the dirt. I play basketball with the boys because that's me,” she stated. "I love who I love because that's me. I love all of you who have supported me. I give you your respect. I don't have to be above you because that's me. I know me."
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