#Love & Sex

To Lick or Not Lick

by The 4-Way Panel

To Lick or Not Lick

Adding a new act to your sexual repertoire can be just as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. This reader checked in with the 4-way relationship panel before getting down and dirty.




Dear 4-Way,



My boyfriend recently told me he wants to try rimming with me. He said he’s done it with a couple of women in the past and that they really got off on it. I was completely disgusted and mentioned it to one of my girlfriends, and to my shock, she’d done it before and said it was amazing! I know you’ll say what everyone else says: if I’m not comfortable, I shouldn’t do it, and I know that. I guess I’m just looking to get either a recommendation, a warning, or both. I’m open to trying it, I’m just a little freaked out about it. And how come everyone else is in on the secret and I’m not? Do you guys think it’s great … or do you think I’m crazy for considering it?—MR, Chicago, Illinois




The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy



I have to be honest, I only had an idea of what rimming meant. So get over the notion that you’re the only naïve person when it comes to this. I did a little research … online. Just to clarify—for those readers who are also in the dark on this—it’s “licking butthole.” Call it by its technical term, “analingus,” if you’d like.


As with most sex acts, your performance of them is a matter of comfortability and … taste. And as with most sex acts, safety and cleanliness are important issues. The information I read about analingus said it is a very easy way to contract an STD. You and your partner should obviously use protection. A shower beforehand would be a good suggestion, too. There’s your warning and recommendation.


I would say if your boyfriend really wants to give you pleasure in a whole new way that’s not the worst thing in the world. You could let him do it and see what you think of it. Does doing this or not doing this affect your relationship? How much is your boyfriend pressuring you to do this? I mean, if you say no, will he keep asking you? Or do you think he’ll pout and hold it against you for being a prude if you say no? These are your own relationship issues that you’ll have to ponder before you let him go down yonder.




The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown



It used to be that who you voted for and how much money you made were taboo topics. Look how far we’ve come on what’s acceptable to discuss—we’ve made it all the way to licking ass. What a crazy world we live in.


Speaking of crazy, I don’t think you’re crazy for considering it. It could be a fun new way to have some fun with your boyfriend. As long as he’s not pressuring you and as long as it’s your decision, why not? Clearly, you’re curious, since you’ve mentioned it to your girlfriends and bothered to ask the 4-Way. The only way to scratch that curious itch is to try it. But now I’m curious: have you thought about whether you’ll be the licker or the lickee? Maybe you should start by being the lickee. Your boyfriend obviously has some experience here, so this will help you get a sense of technique—in case you decide that you want to be the licker later.


At the risk of stating the obvious, maybe you’d be freaked out less if you put some plans in place to address the two things that seem to be the main concern when it comes to rimming: cleanliness and STDs. For your first time, try it right after taking a very thorough shower. And plan ahead. In other words, don’t have Mexican food or an excessive amount of cheese or dairy for a few days before your big anal debut.


As for STDs, I did a little research and found that you can get a whole bunch of nasty stuff from unsafe rimming: hepatitis of every variety, intestinal parasites, chlamydia, HPV, gonorrhea, herpes, and even urinary tract infections. So DO use protection, MR. The recommendation seems to be a dental dam (although that might make for an awkward next cleaning if you call your dentist to get this) or even plastic wrap in some cases. But beware the kind with the tiny holes for microwaving. Who knew? Google around until you find an option you’re comfortable with.


Since you’re open to it, I say go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Never mind. Don’t answer that.




The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox



Let me start by answering your question with a question: does he want to try rimming you or having you rim him? Either way, I’ll tackle the recommendation as well as the warning components of your question.


Concerning the recommendation, many people feel this is the most private and most sensitive part of anyone’s body—male or female—and offers a greater sensation than any other. If he’s willing to try rimming you and he knows the risks, realize that body exploration is not a bad thing. If he wants you to try rimming him, do it if and when you’re comfortable with it.


Now for the warning label: while rimming is not linked to the transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis can easily be transmitted this way. Make sure this has been ruled out before you do it. Some people use a clear plastic food wrap for protection during rimming, or a cut-out thumb of a rubber glove slathered in some kind of lubricant to serve as a “tongue” condom if they want to avoid contact. Also, I’m sure you can understand that neither of you should attempt this directly following a heavy meal or a twelve mile jog.  Bottom line is this, only you know your body and only you know your limits.




The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer



I hate eggplant, but so many of my friends love it! I’m considering trying it, but I don’t know, what do you think?


My point here is that only you know what’s right for you. Ask as many people as you want, but ultimately, it comes down to your “tastes.”  That being said, here’s my eggplant story. Even though my gut told me that eggplant is gross, one day I decided to take a chance and check it out. I sure as heck didn’t like it just plain and by itself. So I tried fried eggplant and also baked eggplant. Turns out, even when it’s prepared differently and disguised under other yummy sauces, I still didn’t like it. Hmmmm.  Eggplant aside, your hesitancy is understandable. And whether it’s your gut or society talking, there are huge taboos associated with that part of the body. So cut yourself a break here. If you decide to try it, MR, do it in combination with other things. Read up about it first, and be very clear with your partner about what you need to feel comfortable and what to say if you don’t want to continue.


Things I wish someone had told me about eggplant before I tried it: you can actually taste the seeds, it’s very squishy, and the skin is kind of bitter. Yet I must say, every couple of years, I revisit the idea of eggplant. You never know when your tastes may change.