The Dangerous Adventure of Fellatio
by Ishmael Gradsdovic
What is the secret of the blowjob? Better to ask how to play the stock market, or why Michael and Lisa Marie, or how a just god could create a universe containing great suffering - the answers are simpler and require fewer ascii-impossible illustrations. But having been on the giving and receiving end of a few blowjobs in my time, and understanding the importance of the question, I will give my answer.
The question has been asked as long as there have been words for the body parts involved, and it is still being asked because no satisfying answer has yet been given. True, sex manuals have been written with sections, chapters, volumes on the blowjob, but the facts of the matter as explained in these encyclopedias of technique only equip the reader to paint by numbers on a canvas where more artistry than this is necessary.
Religious texts have, when not completely hush-hush about the subject, tried to address the blowjob in spiritual, holistic terms. Unfortunately, the success of these methods usually requires a wholesale adherence to the full package of religious doctrines accompanying them, and so is useless (or worse than useless) to most of us.
The common, catch-all advice - "Well, just ask him what he likes!" - is far more flawed than the cliché-bearers will hint at. This for two reasons: First, a man is often insufficiently aware of, and almost always insufficiently coherent or revealing about the qualities that make a blowjob most satisfying; Second, even if a man should be sufficiently investigative and articulate, he will possess a fear that will prevent him from revealing the true depth of his knowledge.
What can you mean? I hear you say. Can you really be saying that a man who knows he can be instructive in teaching his partner to bring him to new heights of ecstasy through oral sex will hide that knowledge away out of fear? Fear of what?
It is good that you ask, because this is the kind of knowledge that will help you, and the kind of knowledge you will not find in the encyclopedias of perversion, nor will you discover it from interrogating your lover. If he has felt a good blowjob, and if he suspects the heights to which his pleasure can go if the continuum from blowjob to good blowjob to better blowjob continues as he suspects it might, he will fear the following things:
- He will fear being possessed
- He will fear causing you injury
- He will fear pain
- He will fear death
Fear of a Perfect Blowjob
Let me explain these one by one. All animals, humans included, strive toward pleasure and away from pain. Pleasure and pain are the feedback our brains receive from our environment to instruct us and guide us to orient our lives in ways which lead to the survival and propagation of the genes which worked so hard to give us the capacity to feel pleasure and pain.
Because of the sophistication of the human brain, humans anticipate pain and pleasure, concoct imaginary and speculative scenarios and do cost/benefit analysis to maximize both long term and short term happiness, and minimize corresponding pain. The sophistication of our algorithms, and the difficulty involved in fine-tuning and second-guessing them leads to much of the angst associated with the human condition, but also to much of what we consider unique and honorable about our species.
But like many of the algorithms genetically concocted for us over the millennia, this one is buggy. In the same way that our eyesight is remarkable and our visions of the world stunningly accurate, yet optical illusions can be devised which show us things that are not there, our pleasure and pain monitoring system can be flummoxed by certain, rare, pathological cases.
The textbook case of this is animals that have electrodes implanted in their brains that directly stimulate the pleasure center. These animals will continually press a lever which will activate these electrodes, abandoning all other pursuits, including nourishment, to their eventual collapse and death.
This is mimicked in human beings in the self-destructive behavior of (for instance) bulimics, kleptomaniacs, and heroin addicts. What will an addict do to stop the pain of withdrawal? What won't an addict do, ask instead. It is as if the pleasure and pain monitors, which have been so reliable in protecting the body and psyche from the dangers of the world, have been taken over by some outside force and made to serve the devil.
It is this sort of possession that your lover fears, that should the pleasure increase not far beyond the heights he has already experienced, he will find his self-control has abandoned him utterly - that the complex equation of desire and prudence and the weights of long-term and short-term pleasure has been reduced to a single term, the exponent on that term having inflated until the other elements of the equation have surrendered and withered away.
What will I say? Will I scream? Will I cry? Will I break something? Will I make promises I cannot keep? What that is dear to me will I not be willing to sacrifice to keep the pleasure from ending?
This fear is real, but it is addressable. It involves two things: an earned trust and the hope of orgasm. The trust means that the man must believe that whatever he utters, however he moves, even should he lose control of his bowels or get a bloody nose or put his hand through the wall, the consequences will be minor, and the giver of the blowjob will not react with revulsion, fear, or anger. Tell him clearly, "I don't take very seriously anything you say while I'm sucking you off." This will take some of the pressure off. It is also best to perform the blowjob in a place where there is little chance of injury to self or damage to valuables that might be caused by thrashing around, and where screams of delight will not be a social nuisance.
The second way to allay this fear is to show to your lover that you are capable of bringing him to orgasm with your mouth. This does not have to be a terrific blowjob or a terrific orgasm. It is just important that the demonstration be given that the capability of release during oral sex exists.
For men, the possession of the pleasure/pain monitor by a single, powerful pleasure - in this case oral sex - has a built-in release valve. This is a source of great relief. If this were not the case, it is possible that no man would allow himself to be endangered by the possibility of a phenomenal blowjob. After orgasm, while stimulation of the penis may still be pleasurable, the accompanying compelling desire for more, more, more without pause or stop, more, vanishes completely - relaxation and relief replaces apprehension and arousal.
The belief that the release of orgasm is possible lessens the fear of possession - eventually, thinks your lover, my self-control will return, and what I get in return for loaning it off to the devil will be worth the trade.
Fear of Possession
The second fear is very much related to the first, but because it is more difficult for both you and your lover to deal with, it will be treated separately. This is the fear that your lover has that he will hurt or injure you at some point in the course of the blowjob.
It is easy to imagine that as the body and soul become more enslaved to the pursuit of pleasure, that the involuntary muscle contractions that lead to the bucking of hips, for instance, may lead to him thrusting his penis deep into your mouth, causing you to gag or choke, or even chip your teeth on his pubic bone. Perhaps he will buck you right off the bed, throw you into the wall, squeeze you with his thighs so hard that your ribs break.
And who's to say he won't?
This is a fear you have to conquer as well. You asked how to give the best blowjob, but did you ask as you should have what the consequences might be?
He also fears (though he may not admit it, even to himself) that as he loses self-control and gives himself over completely to pleasure, that he may be capable, possessed by the devil as he is, of violently violating you to satisfy his lust. Unlikely, you say, that the gentle man on whom you are going down would turn on you like that? He probably thinks so, too, but wonders if maybe there is a line he has yet to cross beyond which he knows nothing of the limits to his behavior.
You've read the statistics about date rape, and he has too, and maybe he is one of the statistics, and he fears it could happen again. And maybe he's not one of the statistics, but he wonders if there is a rapist inside of him just needing a powerful enough incentive to emerge.
Maybe you find this exciting. You are a willing partner, and you want to risk releasing the wild animal in your man. But think for a moment about what he wants. Maybe he does have this beast inside of him, but maybe the belief that he is far apart from evil is precious to him. Are you prepared to show him his dark side and support him as he wrestles with the blow to his self-image that will result?
This is powerful juju you're playing with here. I'm reminded of the psychological experiment in which a faux psychological test was set up, in which one subject would be hooked up to a machine in one room, the other subject would be given the controls to the machine. The machine was supposedly designed to give varying levels of pain as negative feedback when the first subject did something incorrectly.
The first subject, however, was a confederate of the test-designers, and did not actually feel any pain but merely screamed out as if the pain were real, eventually begging to be released from the machine. The actual subject at the controls, although very much aware that her/his actions were causing pain, would turn up the dial and press the button repeatedly at the instructions of the folks in the white smocks. A percentage of subjects, disturbingly high if you maintain a belief in the innate goodness of your fellow man, cranked the knob all the way up to ten.
This test was designed to show that if the holocaust were an ongoing project here and now, most of us would happily join the crews hauling in the trainloads of enemies of the state, only asking when the paychecks would arrive and how long the lunch hour was.
But as holier-than-thou as the test designers made themselves out to be by coming up with this ethical examination, I think they have a lot to answer for. They showed many people that deep down inside they're good little nazis. Then what? Any follow-up? "Sir, we have just demonstrated that at the request of authority you are willing to torture your fellow man. Have a nice day. Good-bye."
But what does this all have to do with oral sex, I hear someone in the back of the room asking the person in the next desk over. You thought when you asked the question that you'd hear as your answer a discussion of the topology of the glans penis, a "to swallow or not to swallow" debate, maybe a catalog of lubricants or flavoring agents. But a discussion of morality, spirituality, ethics, fear? Where does this fit in?
I'm discussing fear, because the obstacle to a monumental blowjob is only technique when the inept and uncaring, or those who think the only "secret to the blowjob" is that it's a misnomer, are still included in the discussion. Some of the best blowjobs I received were from a virgin who'd never seen an erection before and was so ignorant about sexuality that she asked me with fear, embarrassment and shock why her vulva was becoming moist during our petting sessions. Experience and technique separate bad blowjobs from good blowjobs, and help, certainly, in summoning a great blowjob, but a phenomenal blowjob is a thing of magic, not of flesh.
Fear of the Monster
So I must return to fear, the primal emotion. The third fear is the fear of pain. Not the pain that might be inadvertently caused by the involuntary motions of ecstasy propelling limbs against bedposts, and not (except in exceptional and unhappy cases) the fear that you will do damage to his genitals with your teeth, but the pain caused by pleasure reaching new heights and flooding the brain with undifferentiated sensations which may entirely by accident stumble upon pockets of pain.
Perhaps, your lover holds as a deep and secret worry, there will be some phase transition as the pleasure rises beyond a certain threshold and it will crystallize as pain, but pain wearing the clothes of pleasure and containing within it the same compulsion to make it continue and increase. I will be begging for more even as it rips through me like fire.
The fine boundary between pleasure and pain, a boundary so fine that it seems sometimes instead like an axis on which spins a pleasure-pain continuum, has been remarked upon enough in the world's literature that interested parties can be referred elsewhere. Try the alt.sex.bondage crowd.
But who can he discuss his fear of pain with? His friends? "I'm afraid of having a blowjob so good that it hurts." "Heh heh... Hope I get that lucky!" His lover? "I'm afraid it will throw me over into pain." "Don't you trust me not to hurt you?" No, this secret fear is his alone. He may never share it, and only he can conquer it. Patience and trust may be your only allies.
Fear of Pain
The fourth fear - the fear of death - is the most difficult to believe, and is difficult to explain in a way that makes it believable. Surely, the objection runs, nobody has died from a blowjob, right?
Not to the knowledge of this researcher. But if this fear were just the result of reading risk tables like some sort of insurance company accountant and dolloping out an appropriate hunk of apprehension, it would not be as widespread as it is.
Not that it's universal. It seems to blossom in men only as they begin to taste the heights of sexual ecstasy, so that the more of the fruits of lust are consumed, the more developed is the intuition that a confrontation with mortality is the dessert to this most appealing of meals.
Not expiration of the physical body, not just death itself, but a head-on collision with the frailty of the animal body and the depth of eternity. The French call orgasm the "little death," but this is just a description of one of the experiences that suggest this intuition - experiential metaphors - not a description of the intuition itself.
There's nothing "little" about it. Each of us has pretensions of immortality, beliefs that what is essentially true, solid, and unique about each of us is in some way disconnected from the animal we inhabit. Sexual abandon is to a large extent an abandonment of this pretense, an identification of the self with the skin, the flesh, the nervous system. Until now, your lover has at the moments of his most thorough abandon kept a trail of breadcrumbs back to the soul he imagines he is. But he fears that as the winds kick up in the chaotic maelstrom of total sensual abandon, the trail will be swept away, and he will be left to identify himself only with this body, this mortal body, this decaying animal which in a few years will begin an eternity-long process of being scattered to the winds of entropy.
It is like vertigo, this revulsion he feels as he approaches this chasm of time into which he imagines falling and disintegrating until history ends. He is incapable of conquering this fear, and you are incapable of helping him. He can only feel it, and shake inside, and continue anyway. This is the secret of tantric sexuality, in which the elimination of the ego in precisely this manner is encouraged. The other fears you must respect and honor, but this one you can only respect.
You thought you were asking a simple question, deserving a simple answer. Now that you know what you're up against, is your curiosity still piqued? Now that I have presented an introduction to what is most important to keep in mind when in pursuit of the perfect blowjob, I will start in part two to discuss mundane matters of technique which may be of assistance.
Fear of Death