I don't have a PhD, nor have I written the next Great American Novel. I have no desire to train for Tough Mudder or any other iteration thereof, because running outside is really hard. There are very few things I'm really good at, but one thing is for sure: I give great blow jobs (or so my exes have told me). That said, I firmly believe in the value of higher education. So when I was offered the opportunity to take a blow job class on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I was quick to sign up.
The 2.5-hour class was offered by StripXpertease, an NYC-based, female-driven enterprise that strives to help women reach their highest level of sexual confidence. (There's also another location in Los Angeles.) Founded in 2005, StripXpertease offers classes on everything from the art of the lapdance to how to talk dirty. If you're looking to boost your sexual IQ, StripXpertease likely has a class for you.
I arrived at StripXpertease headquarters a bit late. Right before I walked in, I had a horrific high school flashback: I imagined the students' heads turning to the back of the room, the teacher stopping mid-lesson to look me up and down. Because this was a blow job class, however, I imagined a room full of women with fake dicks in their mouths, turning to glare at me mid-suck.
Luckily, as I walked in the room, the instructor greeted me with a massive grin instead. “Welcome, my love!," she said. The turnout was impressive: about 18 to 20 ladies, all gathered to learn how to swallow on a Saturday. In front of each seat was a syllabus detailing the lesson plan. At that moment, I knew that this would be no ordinary learning experience (that, plus the fact that all of the desks were strewn with bottles of lube and veiny dildos).
Here's what happened when I went to a blow job class and boned up on going down.
No two penises are alike.
Prior to the class, I'd received an email instructing me to BYOD: bring your own dildo. I don’t own a dildo, and I wasn’t about to shell out upwards of $115 for a fake penis for a one-time experiment, so I opted for a cucumber instead. (This turned out to be a mistake.)
The class started with the basics, with the instructor telling us it’s really, really important to talk to your partner about what they want before giving them oral sex. “No two penises are alike,” reminded our instructor. “What works for your last partner might not work for your next one. That weird thing he liked might be painful to the new guy.” To sum up, each penis is a special snowflake that deserves its own specific oral repertoire.
Blow jobs aren't just for foreplay.
If you think blow jobs are just a prelude to sexual intercourse, think again. “A fundamental of a blow job, which is often considered foreplay, is to treat it like the main event,” said our penis professor. So if you want your partner to give your penis the attention it deserves, you should probably lavish her with attention beforehand.
Putting on a condom with your mouth is harder (and much less sexy) than you think.
From there, we moved onto an introductory how-to with lubes and toys. There was a small tutorial for putting a condom on with your mouth, which is sexy in theory, but less so when you start gagging a third of the way down your cucumber and the condom rolls right back up and pops off. Let’s just say I failed that particular assignment.
Use lube whenever possible.
Contrary to what you see in porn, asking your partner to spit on your penis isn't a good idea, because mouths get dry and saliva is not a long-lasting lubricant. According to the instructor, lube makes everything better, and if it’s a flavored lube, it’s all the more fun for the blow job giver.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.
People don't usually think that toys can be good for blow jobs, but the instructor pointed out that when used the right way, they can make a blow job seem like less "work" for the giver, and a lot more fun for the recipient. If your partner uses the right toys on your penis, you may never want to have penetrative sex again.
A good hand job is crucial to a good blow job.
Hand jobs get a bad rap: if you were in high school when you got your first one, your partner likely didn't know enough about the art of manual stimulation to use lube, creating an uncomfortable, squeezy, chafey situation. But our instructor taught us that knowing how to use your hand is almost as important as knowing how to use your mouth. (As always, lube is crucial.)
There are 37 ways to touch a penis.
If you've ever gotten a hand job before, the method seems pretty clear: your partner emulates a vagina with their hands, holds it, and rubs your penis. Right? Wrong. According to our instructor, there are exactly 37 things you can do to a penis with your hands. For instance, we were taught the Firestarter, which involves having your partner use their hands to make O-rings stacked on top of each other, and twisting in and out. ("Don’t forget to play with the balls. They aren’t there for decoration," the instructor added.) Ask your partner to try it out, or do it solo.
It's all about warmup.
From there, we moved on to blow job basics, including the harmonica (putting the penis on the side of your mouth and sliding it up and down the shaft), or the Bobber (making your mouth into an open O that bobs up and down). More advanced moves included the Hot N’Cold, or making the “ha” noise as you go down, and sucking in cold air as you go up.
Anyone can deep throat if they put their mind to it...
All of this, however, was leading up to the main event, the showstopper, the reason why most women signed up for the class in the first place: deep-throating. You've probably seen women do it in porn, but deep-throating is not an easy skill to master. For people who give blow jobs, deep-throating is often an activity fraught with both mental and physical anxiety: put simply, we really, really do not want to throw up on your dick.
To prevent this from happening, my penis professor suggested that we constantly breathe through our noses, as holding your breath triggers the gag reflex even more. Tightening the abs is another way to pause the gag reflex, so if you’d like your partner to try deep-throating you (that is, if you've discussed it beforehand and they're interested in trying it), these are some helpful suggestions to offer.
...but it requires a lot of practice.
Above all else, deep-throating requires a lot of practice and the will to succeed. It also probably helps if you're using a cucumber and not a penis: when it was time for us to try it out, I couldn't quite apply my skills properly. A cucumber is not a penis. It’s just not. Fortunately, I was not alone, as I heard echoes of coughing noises throughout the tiny classroom.
By the end of the class, the students were skeptical as to whether or not deep-throating could actually be done. So we asked our instructor to prove it. She picked up her bright, purple dildo and stood in front of us in profile. As I watched her take the seven-inch dildo all the way to the back of her throat three times in succession, my eyes filled with tears: partly with pride, and partly from the vicarious feeling of gagging uncontrollably. Nevertheless, I applauded. It was nothing short of impressive, if not downright unbelievable.
I left the class that Saturday afternoon feeling like I'd been taken down a few pegs. I’d always thought I gave great blow jobs, but seeing the instructor wolf down a seven-inch dildo as if she were just eating a sandwich admittedly humbled me. It turned out I knew a lot less than I thought, but that’s the beauty of higher learning — the more you know, the more you realize you don’t actually know that much. I do, however, know one thing for certain: I’ll never look at a cucumber the same way again.