Let’s be real: No matter who you are, you have an opinion on the sex act 69. You might think it's hot as hell. Or maybe it makes you feel vulnerable. After all, you've just climbed on top of another person. You're giving and receiving oral simultaneously. A lot is happening. Your line of sight is in pretty personal territory.
One woman I spoke to said: “It’s not as hot as having the other person focus fully on you or vice versa. It always felt like so much going on, and I couldn’t fully enjoy it.”
Another person argued: “Like most things with sex, if you’re both open to it and you communicate, it can be really great.”
"It's hit or miss for me," a third woman told me. “With guys sometimes I feel like I’m choking on dick, but with girls it can be fun to be getting pleasure at the same time.”
Myisha Battle, a certified sex and dating coach, tells Refinery29 that she's generally a fan of 69-ing — so called because it looks like the 6 and the 9 are, well, 69-ing. “There’s something very freeing about being able to give and receive pleasure at the same time for many people," she says. "In many cases, it can make you feel closer to your partner, especially if you’re in a long-term relationship where one person might feel they’re doing more of the heavy lifting in terms of giving [oral]. This creates this pleasure loop that can be really exciting for both people.”
It's also inclusive. It can be done with a penis and a vagina, a vagina and a vagina, or a penis and a penis. As Battle puts it: “As long as you have genitals, you can 69.”
Of course, no one should feel pressured to take part in an act they feel iffy about, or that they've tried and disliked. So if you're 69-curious — or a die-hard fan with a new boo — be sure to ask your partner if they're down before trying to get in position. (That's a good idea before trying anything new in bed, to be honest.) If they say yes, then check out this guide to get some ideas on how to have a successful session.
First things first: If you and your partner aren't already fluid bonded, or haven't already had the STI talk, it's a good idea to use condoms and/or dental dams while 69-ing. Yes, STIs can be transmitted via oral sex.
Start with the basics
The most common position is this: Partner A lies on their back, and Partner B positions themselves on top of them, lining up their genitals with Partner A's mouth (and vice versa). Then, get to licking. If you've never 69-ed before or you're with a new partner, this is a great, simple starting point.
Use a pillow
To make things more comfortable, the person on bottom can place a pillow under their head. (They even make sex pillows that are firm enough to support you in this kind of position.)
Switch up positions
There are plenty of variations on the classic 69. Some people find it more comfortable to simultaneous perform oral while both partners are lying side-by-side, instead of one on top. But people can get really creative with positions. You can have one person lie with their head hanging off the bed, while the other bends over them, for instance. If you're a newbie, though, focus on what feels comfortable first — if you're too distracted by contorting yourself into a fun position, you may not be able to focus on your pleasure.
Getting the hang of 69-ing can be as awkward as it can be hot. So try to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing, and be willing to laugh at yourself if things go awry. Nothing can kill a vibe faster than embarrassment.
Use your tongue & your hands
You can use all your best oral sex moves while 69-ing. Some crowd-pleasers: Lick and suck the inner thighs and area around the clit or penis head, in addition to focusing right on those super-sensitive spots. Swirl your tongue in a clockwise motion, then switch to counterclockwise. And most importantly, listen to your partner's words and reactions to your movements, and keep doing what feels good for them, Sadie Allison, PhD, founder of sex toy boutique TickleKitty.com, previously told Refinery29. Incorporate your hands too, Battle recommends, by inserting a few fingers into the vagina or anus, if your boo is cool with that, for example.
Use a finger vibe
Really, any toy is fair game while 69-ing, from magic wands to rabbits. But take it from experience — larger toys can be difficult to manage during this sex act, when you're overcome with pleasure and trying to stay balanced. That's why Battle recommends finger vibrators, which slip right on your digit and add a little oomph to your regular hand play. Also a safe bet: butt plugs.
Make sure to tell your partner when something feels just right, or if something is uncomfortable. And remember: If at any point you decide you're done, it's fine to say so, even if no one "finished." You can always try later — or cross it off your sexual bucket list for good.