Joanna Van Vleck loves giving blow jobs. Not in the way that some ladies claim to love it just to get high-fives from the guys. Not even because it makes her feel sexy to give a man pleasure. The 30-year-old president of One Taste, a company dedicated to teaching women “orgasmic meditation” (or “OM”), gives BJs because they feel good — to her. Like, actually physically pleasurable.
THIS IS A WOMAN WHO EXISTS IN THE WORLD.
Before you hate her for setting up yet more unrealistic sexual expectations for women, know that she wants to teach us her ways. And her new “oral sex for her” (no, she doesn’t mean cunnilingus, really) video is explicit. Could she possibly be onto something? For the good of all womankind — but mostly myself — I set to find out.
Little did I know that our one-on-one BJ lesson would take place in a busy San Francisco coffee shop. Not that Van Vleck minded. She seemed oblivious to the middle-aged man sitting next to us, visibly straining to execute a poker face, and the young waiter inexplicably sorting through a pile of cutlery at a neighboring table (for all his subtlety, he might as well have dramatically unfolded a newspaper and peered over the top at us). Oh, the irony: Learning how to give blow jobs for my pleasure — in front of an audience of leering men.
Luckily, I wasn’t distracted for long, because Van Vleck is a mesmerizing presence. There are her eyes — she has the most magnificently excellent eyelashes you will ever see, I swear — but more importantly, there’s her confidence. You see it in her direct, open gaze and explosive, unselfconscious laugh. As they say at One Taste, she’s a “turned on” woman — a lady who is in touch with her sexuality. She didn’t need to break out in “When Harry Met Sally”-style orgasmic operatics; I already felt like telling our waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
She wasn’t always this way, she says. Just three years ago she was giving blow jobs because she thought “this is what good girlfriends do.” After she started practicing “OM” — in which women are, ahem, digitally stroked to erotic bliss by a “meditation” partner — she opened up to the possibility that performing oral sex could actually be pleasurable for her, too. So, she started experimenting.
“It’s your responsibility as a woman to start to get to know what feels good to your body,” Van Vleck told me. There’s only one way to do that: explore. “You have to get into the mindset that you’re going to see what happens and not care what he thinks,” she said. The first time she tried this with a blow job, Van Vleck set a timer for ten minutes, just to take the pressure off. “I specifically told the guy, ‘I’m gonna do this as a research project,’” she said.
She walked me through her inner dialogue while doing this kind of exercise: “What feels good on my lips? What makes my mouth water? I’ll put my hand around it and go, ‘Can I feel his heartbeat?’ I run my tongue along it, did it feel good? I put just the head of it in my mouth, does it feel good in my mouth?” Smell him, pet him, lick him, take a light nibble, maybe even rub your face on it. Get so, so weird. This is all about trying out different sensations all the while paying close attention to how your body reacts, she said, which requires going very slow. See what you can learn — and when the timer goes off, it’s over, dude (sorry not sorry).
The point isn’t to turn him on. In fact, she says a boner is not necessary for this exercise. “For most women, you feel like a failure if his cock is soft,” said Van Vleck, and I nervously eyed the guy sitting next to us, who had clearly perked up at the c-word. “We think, ‘Something’s wrong with me, he must not find me attractive.’” Well, it’s time to get over that. “I actually don’t care if he likes it or not,” she said. “But the crazy thing that happens when you make that switch is that he likes it ten times more.” Everybody wins!
Prioritizing your comfort also might mean avoiding the typical kneel-and-worship approach to blow jobs. “One of the hard things about being on your knees is there’s only so long that that’s comfortable,” says Van Vleck. Her solution? Both of you lie on your sides facing each other, but with your face level with his junk. “It’s like spooning!” exclaimed Van Vleck — only, you know, with a penis in your face.
Once you start actually enjoying blow jobs, Van Vleck suggested moving on to the piece de resistance of her oral technique: deep-throating. (Gulp.) In her instructional video, Van Vleck takes her partner so deep that she begins shaking uncontrollably, tears stream down her face and snot drips out of her nose. “It isn’t pretty,” she said, but Van Vleck describes it as “one of the most pleasurable, blissful things” she’s ever experienced. I was not convinced.
They key, she says, is to take it slow. When he hits your gag reflex, “your body will convulse and the immediate impulse is to push him away,” she said. “Instead, do the exact opposite.” Hold him right where he is, without any movement, and breathe through your nose, she explained. The point, still, is not to make him feel good; Van Vleck says there is “nothing more electric or saturating” for a woman to experience sexually. “The true definition of orgasm is that your body goes into the involuntary,” she told me.
Allow me to voice my strong-standing skepticism: I’m no Lovelace and my epiglottis is not, nor will it ever be, a secret clit. Regardless, I headed home determined to put Van Vleck’s tips to the test.
“The point isn’t to turn you on,” I explained as I sat my husband down and set a 10 minute timer. “You don’t even have to get a boner.” He instantly replied: “That just gave me a boner.” (I’m gonna call that a success?) I gave him the “it’s an experiment” disclaimer at least ten times before we began and, even still, I had to stop in the middle of rubbing him along my nose to say, “OK, but really, this is an experiment.” I was still in the mindset of needing to be “good” at giving a blow job, instead of experimenting with what could feel good to me. I pushed through that feeling — or rather, I licked and nuzzled my way past it.
Giving Van Vleck’s favorite position a try, I felt like a baby curled up to a bottle — not the most arousing sensation. But after a couple minutes, I started to appreciate the supreme couch-potato comfort of this position. There was no rush to the end. I took my own sweet time and he most certainly did not object. Better yet, I was starting to have fun myself. I checked in with my body. Warmth? Check. Tingles? Yep. Wetness? Hell yeah.
Encouraged by my progress, I decided to jump ahead. Before long, I was gagging, my body tensing up. “Aw, baby,” he said. “You don’t have to—“ he started, but I stopped him with my next determined headlong dive into his crotch. It definitely wasn’t orgasmically pleasurable for me, and he seemed more concerned than anything, but I will admit to a tiny thrill at being so physically vulnerable with him.
All considered, I wouldn’t recommend cramming your fist down your throat to get yourself off, but Van Vleck’s pointers did have a positive impact. They gave me the freedom to focus on my own pleasure and let go of the desire to perform for him. And — timer be damned — what followed my experiment was one of the hottest romps we’ve ever had. It just goes to show: Make yourself feel good and he’ll be right there with you. The End. And Deep Throat to you all.