Oral sex. It's an amazing foreplay technique, a major turn-on, a great appetizer to sex, or a full course all on its own. Whether you give it or receive it, it is an extremely arousing and intimate way to interact with your partner's body.

But there are rules ... if you want to ensure it's pleasurable for everyone involved, that is (and of course, you do, right?). Want to make going down a real treat? Here are some tips, tricks and traps to avoid.

Do Keep It Clean

A lot of people are down for sex with a partner who hasn't showered, but oral sex is often struck off the list. No one wants going to down to feel like an episode of "Fear Factor." Lather up before you get down to business. You'll feel better about it, and so will your partner.


Do Keep It Neat

Besides being squeaky clean, you should also pay attention to what's happening with your pubes. Some people are OK with - and even turned on by - pubic hair, while others find it to be an annoyance during oral sex. Be considerate of your partner and what he or she is comfortable with.


If you want them to dine out it's up to you to make oral as appetizing as possible. (Au naturale or nude? Read both sides of the debate in In Defense of Pubic Hair and Full Frontal: Waxing Your Vajayjay.)

Grooming is important on the giving side of oral sex as well. Facial hair such as beards and mustaches can cause irritation and discomfort to the genitals and inner thighs, which are very sensitive areas. And trust me, beard burn is not a turn on for most ladies (or, I assume, men).

Also, be mindful of any facial piercings that can nick, scratch or get caught down there. Now there's a surefire way to ruin the mood. Ouch!

Do Know Your Anatomy

It is important to know and understand your partner’s nether regions. And it is a region, even when it comes to oral sex. Think of it as a map. In that case, the first thing to know is that there is a lot more ground to cover than just her clitoris or his shaft. If you understand how to work with the whole area - and even the whole body - you'll be on your way to giving much better oral stimulation.

Women

The labia minora and majora (inner and outer lips) are both sensitive to stimulation, as are the nerve endings at the entrance of the vagina. Flicking your tongue and sucking these areas will make her toes curl. And of course, the clitoris is key. Just don't go there first, OK? (Learn wayyyy more in 8 Steps to Giving a Woman Amazing Oral Sex.) ethereal

Men

The frenulum (underside of the head of the penis), the corona (the ridge of the head) and the urethral opening are extremely sensitive on a man. Giving this area some extra time and attention will leave him begging for more. (Learn more in 8 Steps to Giving a Great Blow Job.)


Both

The perineum( the space between the vaginal opening and anus on a woman and the scrotum and anus on a man) is sensitive to stimulation and can be stimulated by mouth or manually. Stimulating this area is a way to stimulate the G-spot in women and the prostate in men.


The best (and most fun) way to discover the body is to explore it, so test out some new techniques from time to time and see how your partner responds. You and your partner may be surprised to find all the hidden pleasure zones you didn't even know about.

Don't Forget Technique

Oral sex (great oral sex anyway) involves more than just using the tongue for stimulation. You should use the entire mouth: the lips, the teeth (only by request) and the entire tongue - not just the tip, but the ridge and surface as well. Alternating between using different parts of the mouth in different combinations will always keep your partner guessing about what you’ve got up your sleeve next.

Don't Forget a Few Extras

You can accompany and highlight oral sex by using other methods of foreplay. Analingus, better known as "rimming" or "salad tossing" is a great pairing to oral sex. You can also combine penetration using your fingers or sex toys to add to the stimulation. Toys can also give your mouth a bit of a break without taking away from the pleasure. I can't even begin to recommend which toys to use. Choose the ones you love! Be creative. The only limit here is your imagination. And, um, possibly your flexibility.


For a couple of great and very comprehensive resources on oral sex, check out Yvonne Fulbright's "Guide to Going Down" for him and for her.