Author’s note: A few weeks ago, I complained to my Sir that I wished I was better at deepthroating, and he mused, “Maybe I should design a curriculum.” He put together a list of resources (see the end of this post for the list, if you’re curious) and issued me an assignment: “Read, watch, and listen to the following media, and prepare a written reflection on what you learned and how you plan to incorporate these ideas.” What follows is that written reflection. (I got a grade of 90 out of 100, which is an A+, by the way!)
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” –psychologist and self-help author Susan Jeffers
“Jump into the fear; it’s super fun.” –improvisor and improv coach Matt Folliott
“I have learned that there are two things I need in order to comfortably jump into a fear: a supportive, loving, respectful environment, and a little push.” –my journal, 2011
Over and over in my sex life, I have resolved to overcome a fear, pushed through it, and arrived on the other side blushing, grinning, and safe.
Sexual anxiety is a microcosm for anxiety I experience in my life more generally. Each discrete fear has a period of development and simmering, a point at which it reaches its terrifying zenith, and (provided I ever find the nerve) a moment when I face the fear head-on and inevitably learn, once again, that nothing is ever as scary as I initially believe it to be. When I conquer sexual fears in this way, I see afresh that any fear worth conquering can be conquered like this: through incremental efforts and then one big leap.
I’ve long feared deepthroating, despite it being a significant kink of mine for several years. The discomfort of cramming a foreign object into one’s throat, the subsequent panic when one’s gag reflex is tripped, and the sense of failure when it doesn’t go as planned all contribute to my view of deepthroating as more daunting than arousing (and I find it plenty arousing, so that’s saying something). However, in devouring the deepthroating curriculum thoughtfully prepared for me by my Sir, I encountered countless iterations of an idea I already knew but had never really applied to deepthroating before: that sometimes, the way to get over a fear is simply to wade into the intense feelings it brings up, stay there, and sit with those feelings awhile.
Much has been written on the technical skills involved in deepthroating. Many guides recommend isolating and becoming aware of your throat muscles, through methods such as yawning and swallowing, so as to be able to relax them voluntarily. Many also recommend certain positions, like the classic “head hanging upside-down over the edge of the bed” pose, which align the throat with the mouth to minimize gagging. Most also suggest practicing on a dildo, so you get the hang of coordinating throat relaxation with carefully-timed breathing and head-bobbing before bringing a partner into the equation.
But beyond physical tricks, almost all these guides insist that you relax, stay with the discomfort instead of running away from it, and push yourself a little further each time. This advice is easy to dismiss – “Tell me something actually helpful,” I’d often think with an eye-roll while reading these so-called tips for the umpteenth time – but it’s a process you shouldn’t knock until you try it. It’s also the same process I’ve used to face – and successfully overcome – almost every fear I’ve ever vanquished.
This recurrent advice also forced me to realize how much of my deepthroating apprehension relates to what a partner will think of me if I deepthroat him “unsuccessfully” or clumsily. Will I look silly? Will he be disappointed or annoyed? Will he think me sexually unskilled? As with most of my sexual anxieties, these are largely unfounded: most folks are thrilled to receive enthusiastic oral sex, even if it lacks technical finesse. Besides which, sex is best when there is a mutual agreement – whether explicitly stated or implicitly understood – to accept each other as you are, in all your potential silliness and ineptitude, because sex is about your connection, not arbitrary benchmarks you try to hit like sexual athletes.
Part of what appeals to me about other intense sex acts, like spanking and fisting, is the mutual trust and vulnerability involved in one partner consensually pushing the other to their physical and emotional limits. I see no reason I can’t view deepthroating through that same lens: as something I attempt, and may find scary, and may fail at, but will be supported in my fear and my failure by my partner (and, hopefully, myself).
It is okay to be bad at things. It is okay to find things scary. Just push yourself a little further, try a little harder, relax a little deeper, and be a little gentler with yourself. Day by day by day, you will probably improve. And also it’s okay if you don’t.
Deepthroating curriculum as prepared by my Sir:
• “What are some good tips for deep throating?” (Quora thread)
• iDeepThroat instructional video (starring my fave, Heather Harmon)
• “17 people reveal how they learned to deepthroat” (ThoughtCatalog article)
• “Learning to deepthroat and relax your gag reflex” (Slut Academy article)
• “3 women get super honest about deepthroating” (Cosmopolitan article)
• “Adventures in deepthroat” (Girl on the Net guest post)