Fellatio: An Oral History (That We Typed Up)

If your partner has a penis, there is power in knowing how to give a good blow job. 

Hear us out. 

Blow jobs (known historically as fellatio) have gotten a weird reputation for something people feel like they have to do. But we think that this likely comes from others not understanding that it can be fun to give pleasure for the sake of giving pleasure.

Let’s face it — being a selfish lover isn’t always a prize, and just because you’re not actively getting off (unless you’re in the infamous “69” position, of course) doesn’t mean fellatio should feel like a chore!

It’s time to dive into this not-talked-about-enough wonder of sex and intimacy, and how to access your inner power to mind-blow through the perfect blow. 

What Is Fellatio?

What exactly is fellatio, and why does it have such a clinical-sounding name? It’s not just because you’re doing it to a “fella,” because, let’s be real, we’re way past all of those outdated views on gender. 

The word fellatio can actually be traced back to the late 1800s, which means our prim and proper ancestors probably had a lot more fun than we know about from the history books! The Latin-derived term fellatus means “to suck.” Pretty on the nose, right? Well, on something else. 

Anyway, we have Havelock Ellis, a sex researcher way before his time, to thank.

Dr. Ellis, who was also a big supporter of sexual education, homosexuality, and women’s rights (as well as having an excellent beard), first used the term in his clinical work Studies in the Psychology of Sex.

But honestly, no one really uses the term “fellatio” to describe oral stimulation of the penis anymore. 

You’re much more likely to see this term referred to as any of its more contemporary synonyms, such as:

  • Blow job
  • Cock sucking
  • Giving head
  • Going down on someone
  • Oral sex
  • Sucking someone off

Before we move on, here’s a little vocabulary of the day — if you’re a cisgender woman who gives fellatio, you’re a “fellatrix.” If you’re a cisgender man, the term is “fellator.”

But we prefer just calling it like it is — if you’re someone who willingly gives fellatio, you’re a rockstar in our book.

How To Give a Blow Job

How hard can a blow job possibly be, right? Just stick that penis in your mouth and go to town!

Unfortunately, as most penis owners may tell you, there is such a thing as a “bad” blow job. Luckily, we’re here to put you through a quick blow job boot camp so that you can blow your partner’s… mind the next time you go down on them.

Start Slowly

Yes, blow jobs are often used as foreplay and not the main act (although it doesn’t always have to be that way). But that doesn’t mean you should dive in and go to town! 

Start slow, and let the intensity build up. Tease your partner by licking and kissing your way down their body. Make direct eye contact while you run your tongue the entire length of their shaft.

Wait until they’re begging for more before you ramp up the fun; they won’t know what hit them.

Communication Is Key

Talk to your partner. We’re going to sound like a broken record, but there’s no such thing as too much communication with your partner (unless you’re talking the entire time you’re blowing them, and they’re not quite into that).

Don’t assume what works for them just because you read it online. Ask your partner what feels good and find out what turns them on — then do it! Everyone is different, so what works for one penis may not work for another. The only way you’ll find out is through open communication.

Use Your Mouth To Experiment

Don’t be afraid to try different things! Your mouth is an incredible tool, so use it to change the pressure, suction, licking pattern, and more. 

If you feel self-conscious, you can always practice on sex toys, like a vibrator or dildo.

While they won’t exactly give you feedback, practice can give you the confidence to take your new skills into the real world.

Plus, if you’re interested in learning how to deep throat, you can test out the limits of your gag reflex without having to gag on an actual penis — although some people are definitely into that, both on the giving and receiving side of fellatio.

Tips for Performing Fellatio

The technique you use for performing fellatio may vary, depending on who you’re blowing. But if they’re up for some experimentation, we’ve got a few tips you can try (with your partner’s consent, of course):

  • Wrap your lips around your teeth — while some people like a little teeth with their blow jobs, this can be painful for the receiver, so ask first!
  • Use your tongue, not just your mouth. Flick your tongue up and down the shaft (paying particular attention to the frenulum — the little V where the head attaches to the shaft). 
  • Don’t forget the scrotum! Balls need love too and have a ton of nerve endings, so cup them, lick them, suck them, etc.
  • Use your hands. Add a little handjob action to your fellatio, especially if your partner has a bigger-than-average package. You can even try a little prostate (P-spot) stimulation with their consent. If you’re not making a ton of saliva, use an oral-sex-friendly lube to keep things slippery.
  • Speaking of lube, keep it wet! Dry blow jobs can get super uncomfortable, so don’t be afraid to use more spit — some people even find it hot if you make a point to drip spit onto the tip of the penis, or make that “spitoo” sound effect to make it all feel a little dirty. Again, talk to your partner — everyone has their turn-ons and turn-offs.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, too. If having your hair pulled by your partner turns you on, tell them that!

How To Receive Fellatio

If you’re lucky enough to have a partner who's always trying to get their mouth in your pants, don’t take it for granted! There is absolutely etiquette attached to being the receiver of fellatio, and knowing it can help guarantee many more blow jobs to come (pun intended).

  • Don’t grab their hair or head without consent. Talk to your partner and find out if they're into it first.
  • Discuss ejaculation with your partner beforehand to find out their comfort level. Some people love to swallow; others would prefer you cum on their face, chest, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to moan. So many people are self-conscious about the sounds they make during sex, but it is the best form of flattery, and it can provide a lot of encouragement for the giver. 
  • Appreciate your partner’s mouth? Return the favor by performing an oral sex act on them. Don’t be a selfish lover, and you’ll reap the rewards soon enough.

Best Positions for Fellatio

Like penetrative sex, the key to a quality blow job is finding the best position to make it work for you and your partner. Here are a few of our faves, from beginner to more advanced.

  • Have your partner sit in a chair and kneel between their legs.
  • Have your partner lay on the bed on their back, and kneel beside them or lay between their legs.
  • Sit next to them on the couch and lean over (this one is also great for car blow jobs).
  • Lay on your back on the bed with your head over the edge, then have your partner straddle your face (fair warning, this one can be tricky).
  • Lay on your back on the bed, and have your partner kneel over your face on all fours (this one is great for deep-throating).

What Are the Risks of Fellatio?

It’s not a fun conversation, but every type of sexual activity has risks. Any time your body comes into contact with anyone else’s genitals, there’s a possibility of catching sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

While there is little to no risk of catching HIV from oral sex (compared to “riskier” sexual acts like anal sex), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HPV, and trichomoniasis are all transmissible this way. That’s a big “no thanks” from us.

Always talk to your partner about their STI status, and get tested before and after any new sexual partners. Use condoms, even during oral sex (especially if you’re unsure of their status), to keep yourself safe.


There’s something incredibly powerful about taking your partner in your mouth and controlling their pleasure. Don’t let another lame blow job happen to you (or by you!); own your power by learning to give the best blow job of your life. 

Stick with us for more tips, tricks, and advice on how to get the sex life you’ve always wanted — because you deserve it!


The Project Gutenberg eBook of Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6), by Havelock Ellis

STD Risk and Oral Sex | STD | CDC

Oral Sex and HIV Risk | CDC

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