Sucking cock is a core sexual activity for most gay men [1] but different men like different things. Some like lots of activity around the head of their cock; others find the head too sensitive and prefer it if you work along the shaft of the penis. Some men don't enjoy deep-throating, and more men than you may think aren't keen on receiving blowjobs at all. Ask your partner what he likes and doesn't like; if you're too shy to ask you'll have to try to interpret his groans.

Men tend to be quite visual – they like looking at what's going on to help get them turned on – so give them a chance to see what you're up to down there. A good blowjob doesn't only involve the cock. There are plenty of other sexually sensitive areas close by – his balls and ball sack, for example – so try licking those too.

While some guys just want rhythmic pumping on the end of their cock, many of us like a bit of variation. By alternating the amount and speed at which you suck or lick, there are hundreds of combinations you can come up with! You can also alternate hot and cold sensations by rinsing your mouth with a warm drink and iced water in turn.

One way to vary your technique (and to give your jaw a rest) is to use your hands. Here are two tricks to add to your repertoire:

The cock pull
For direct attention to the dick – but only in one direction. Saliva may be enough for this depending on the situation, but the addition of a favourite lube could be a boon. Starting at the base of the dick, slide a hand up towards the tip, placing the other hand at the base. Just before the first hand comes off the tip of his dick, start the other hand moving up from the base to the tip. Keep the base to tip sliding with alternate hands up and try getting faster and faster. This works really well with a rock hard dick, and it's also a great trick on a bloke who's not hard yet or has problems getting hard. Of course you can go the other way if you have a hard dick in your hands – or use a combination of the two.

The drum
Remember that some blokes don't like having their balls played with so only try this on 'ball friendly' shags. Gently wrap a thumb and index finger around his balls to pull them gently away from his body, until you have a sort of 'surface tension' on the bit of his scrotum furthest away from him. Then, starting gently, run your tongue in a circle around this 'end' area. You'll know when you are getting it right from his reaction. It won't bring most blokes off, but it feels pretty damn good. If he likes that, try using a finger tip on the same area.

Giving a good blowjob without gagging is a skill that we aren't born with, we have to learn. Here are some tips that could help you:
  • Alcohol tightens the throat muscles so it's best to avoid it (especially spirits) if you want to relax your throat.
  • Drinking orange juice can suppress the gag reflex. If you feel like you're going to gag when you've got a cock in your mouth – swallow. Don't worry, it won't go down.
  • Breathe through your nose. Exhale before taking his cock in your mouth. It will increase your oral capacity by about 33%.
  • Flatten your tongue. Say "mmm" or "aaah" to relax your mouth beforehand (you may want to do this quietly or he'll probably think you're a bit weird).
  • Take the cock into your mouth slowly and allow your throat to relax around it. If he tries to force it in, you'll gag for sure.
  • You'll find it easier if you have plenty of saliva. If your mouth feels dry, have a glass of water handy.
  • Don't just use your mouth – use your hand as well. You can use your hand as a stopper to ensure that you control the amount of cock you take, as an improvised cock ring to keep him really hard, to wank him as you work him, or to play with his balls, arsehole, nipples or perineum (the area between his balls and arsehole).

Giving someone a blowjob is fairly low risk for HIV [2]. You can reduce the risk even further by avoiding getting cum in your mouth – there are probably only a very few cases where someone has caught HIV without ejaculation into the mouth. Transmission from an HIV-positive guy with an undetectable viral load is unlikely. You can pick up other STIs from sucking cock, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or herpes, and infections in your throat can be less likely to have symptoms, so it's worth getting regular sexual health check-ups. If you wanted to reduce the risk even more, you'd have to use condoms when you suck cock.

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References
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1 Weatherburn P, Hickson F, Reid D, Jessup K, Hammond G. Multiple chances: findings from the United Kingdom Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2006. Sigma Research, 2008.
2 Gilbart VL, Evans BG, Dougan S. HIV transmission among men who have sex with men through oral sex. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2004;80(4):324-325.