“Okay okay okay,” my best friend said, tossing her head and flashing her eyes at us. “Listen up. There are four steps to giving a good blowjob.” The rest of us sat rapt in the sunlight filtering down from the street. It was that nameless hour between afternoon and evening, the one before sunset, where all the light turns golden and time stands still. My favorite time of day.

“Number one: Kiss and tease. You start kissing his chest, licking his nipples, kissing down his belly, touching his thighs—everything but his dick. Do not touch his dick. Do this for as long as you can. It will drive him crazy. Lick his inner thighs, lick right up next to his cock—but don’t lick his cock.”

Three heads nodded at what she said. We sat in a tight circle around a pitcher of cheap beer and four plastic cups, gigglingly nervous and predator-serious. Everyone in the circle had applied tongue to cock before, but our friend was the acknowledged expert.

“When he can’t stand it anymore, grip his penis at the base, like this.” She demonstrated a solid thumb-and-forefingers cock ring. “Do whatever you want, whatever feels good. Kisskisskiss it up and down, swirl your tongue around the head like it’s an ice cream cone, dart all along the length . . . “

Blowjob 101

“There’s that vein . . . “ the blonde interjected.

“Yep, you can run your tongue along that vein. Just, you know, whatever feels good.” She spread her hands wide—she talked with her hands as much as with her words.

“Okay, now you’re gonna start going down on him for real. You want to make sure that you have your teeth covered up.”

“How do you . . . ?” I started.

Two or three of my friends started talking at once. “You cover them with your lips.” “Put your lips over your teeth.”

The speaker took over again. “Look, Sera, like this.” And she showed me, her perfectly lipsticked mouth curving into an “o”, then an oval. “You can do it a couple of ways. You guys—everyone do it.” We all practiced blowjob embouchure. We all drank.

“Alright, step three. Put your mouth on him and move up and down the shaft, slowly. DO NOT SUCK! You’re gonna tire yourself out waaay before he comes if you start sucking right off the bat. You don’t want to start sucking until he’s almost there.”

The other two nodded sagely. They had clearly been there, been tired.

“So you’re moving up and down. You want to try to feel his rhythm—but do not. let. any guy. put his hand on your head.”

We nodded, a little less confidently this time. She was so in control as she told us how to keep things in control. Her level of cool and confidence set a high standard, even as it reassured.

“So, step four. You’re probably going to start going faster and he’s going to get harder, and when you feel that happen, THEN you suck. Still no teeth, just make a vacuum in your mouth like you do when you’re sucking a straw. Suck HARD. And then he’ll come. And that’s it.” She sat back in her chair, smiled a cat-like smile, stopped short of licking her lips, and drank again.

The blonde and the raven-haired girl started peppering her with questions about cum—how to swallow it, how to avoid swallowing it, the swallowing debate of centuries. I didn’t, not that I remember. I was busy memorizing the steps. One. Two. Three. Four. And when next opportunity came, a mere seven months later, I remembered them to perfection, which is, possibly, a story for another time.

* * *

I have had trouble finishing this post, and have been sitting on it for days now. I want to say something about my friend—but I don’t know what I want to say yet. That’s okay. Often we write to find out what we think.

There is something I want to say about my friend, something to do with who we were then and who we are now. It is hard to say it without explaining everything that happened in time that has passed, in hectic changes and slow growth.

Two

She has done more life adventuring than many people, so when I first began exploring kinkiness with Robbie, I called her often–to ask for advice, to brag, to compare notes, to get consolation when things felt odd or strange. Almost two decades after we first met, more than fifteen years since that introduction to blowjobs in a tacky bar that doesn’t exist anymore, my friend is still my guide on matters sexual. The authority, experience, and candor she showed then have mellowed, become graciousness, self-knowledge, and a compassionate openness. My own woeful insecurity and inexperience have softened—especially since knowing Robbie—into the beginnings of comfort and, I gather from talking to Robbie, a lingering wholesomeness, despite his unceasing efforts to corrupt me.

For the past year, aside from my immediate family, these two people have been unstintingly generous with me. I keep learning from both of them that lessons about sex are often lessons in love, too. And that is not a bad thing to have learned.

Photograph of couple by Samantha Wolov, whose work is also here. Illustration of girls with headphones by Yuko Shimizu, recolored and otherwise photoshopped on seraglioletters premises.