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Cunnilingus

Updated: JANUARY 26, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff

Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on a partner with a vulva. During cunnilingus, the giving partner stimulates the clitoris or vulva with their mouth. There are several informal terms for cunnilingus including eating pussy and muff-diving.

It’s a good idea to work up to oral sex with some kissing and caressing. Once both people feel ready, the receiving partner usually stands, sits, or lies down for cunnilingus. The giving partner positions their head between their partner’s legs and explores their vulva with their mouth. Alternatively, the giving partner may lie down and get the receiving partner to sit on their face. A 69 position, with both partners positioning their heads between their partner’s legs, also works well. The giving partner could also get on all fours. Couples may experiment to find which cunnilingus positions are most comfortable for them.

During cunnilingus, the giving partner may use their lips, tongue, or mouth to kiss, lick, or gently suck the receiving partner’s vulva. Sometimes the giving partner inserts their tongue into the vagina to increase the receiver’s sexual arousal. They may also use their fingers to part the labia and expose the clitoris or penetrate the vagina. Some giving and receiving partners like to close their eyes to focus on the sensations of cunnilingus. Others feel locking eyes is more intimate. Couples may also hold hands or touch themselves or one another during cunnilingus.

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Cunnilingus feels best for some when the giving partner uses repetitive motions. Using long, soft licks and a swirling motion with the tongue, rather than short licks, may feel more sensual and arousing. Treating the vulva like a melting ice-cream cone can be a good tactic for giving partners. It’s a good idea to start soft and gentle, then build the intensity over time.

Cunnilingus may be part of foreplay, sex, or afterplay. A giving partner may use cunnilingus to arouse their partner, bring them to orgasm, or continue their pleasure after they’ve already had an orgasm.

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More About Cunnilingus

Some people with vulvas feel receiving cunnilingus is the easiest way for them to achieve orgasm. This may be because cunnilingus focuses on stimulating the clitoris, which has a high concentration of nerve endings. The stimulation is also gentler than people often receive with fingers, sex toys, or penises. During cunnilingus, the giving partner is also totally focused on the receiving partner, unlike sex activities where the couple gets stimulated together. This focus lets giving partners pay attention to what they’re doing and how their partner reacts to it.

Communication is an important part of good cunnilingus. If the receiver shares the techniques that help them achieve an orgasm, cunnilingus is usually more pleasurable for both parties. The giving partner may also ask if a particular spot or pressure feels good to their partner.

Nonverbal cues can also help giving partners assess their partner’s pleasure. If the receiving partner moves closer during cunnilingus, they are probably enjoying themselves. If they’re withdrawing or clenching their legs, the giving partner may change their technique or lower the intensity.

Good genital hygiene also enhances cunnilingus. Some people worry about an odor from their genitals, but natural smells are normal and arousing to sexual partners. Showering regularly and cleaning the genitals can make you feel more confident and be able to relax into the experience. Products like douches should be avoided because they can disrupt the natural bacteria in the area. This may lead to discomfort or infection.

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Cunnilingus is sometimes considered a relatively low-risk sexual activity because there is no risk of pregnancies and a lower risk of passing on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than activities than other activities. However, the risk of passing on STIs is not zero.

While you can have cunnilingus while you or a partner has their period, this activity carries a higher degree of risk as some STIs can be transmitted through period blood. Using a dental dam can seriously reduce the risk of transmitting an STI during cunnilingus. It’s also a good idea to get tested for STIs regularly and discuss your status with your partners. It’s a good idea to get an STI check before engaging in cunnilingus.

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