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When I put out a call on Twitter and Instagram for people to slide into my DMs with their thoughts on this giving move, the opinions were even more polarizing than CrossFit or going vegan. Apparently, there are a lot of folks out there who want to yuck my yum.

What is the 69 sex position?

It’s typically depicted as one partner lying flat on their back while the other lies on top of them, facing the opposite direction, so the partners are positioned mouth to genitals.

This allows for simultaneous oral sex. It can also be done with partners lying on their sides.

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So I saw it, as my duty, as a sex writer 4 the internet, to correct this. I took the top seven complaints I received about 69ing to sex educators and asked them for solutions.

Trust: You’ll be on Team 69 Is Life in no time.

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Design by Dana Davenport

Listen, you’ve got someone’s genitals in your mouth… in my honest opinion, that’s some pretty intimate business. But one person described the feeling as, “If I wanted to be touched with that little intimacy, I’d make an appointment with the gyno.”

So, if it’s in your head that 69ing is as intimate as speculum insertion, consider how you’re approaching it.

As pleasure-based sex educator and sex-positivity advocate Lateef Taylor says, “69ing is not a position in a football game. If you’re getting into the position mechanically, of course it’s going to feel un-intimate.”

Instead, Taylor’s advice starts with creating a mood. Make sure you’re in an atmosphere of intimacy before arranging your bodies like freaky digits. Start with kissing, make eye contact, fondle each other, and maybe start in missionary oral before one person does a 180 with their body.

Once you’re there, Lisa Finn, a sex educator at sex toy emporium Babeland, suggests taking a minute to tell your partner how good it feels or how much you love tasting them. “You might not easily get eye contact with 69ing, but there are other ways to create that intimacy with words and sounds.”

If forming words is too hard when you’re being sucked off, moan instead. “Moaning gives you the extra benefit of mouth-made vibration on your partner’s junk,” says Finn. Bonus points!

Yep, that’s the lingo someone used to tell me that certain height combos make 69ing impossible.

Admittedly, some height combos won’t work. As Finn says, “If someone is 4′11″ and their partner 6′2″, the classic 69 isn’t going to work.” Still, there are ways to make it work as long as you’re not committed to making that very specific 69 shape.

“Having the taller partner be on bottom and stack pillows, blankets, or a sex wedge under their hips can help contort their body so that their junk is in reach of the shorter partner’s mouth,” says Finn.

You can also try sidecar 69. This position turns both partners on their sides, allowing the taller partner to bend their body to make their junk more accessible to the shorter partner, she says.

“It may look more like a C+I, but if it works, who cares?!” True that.

Another option: Incorporate a toy with a long-ass handle (and lube). Taylor recommends the Magic Wand or Le Wand Petite, which is less bulky.

And if your bits are still not aligned, no matter how much you try to make it work, why not have one partner use an oral sex stimulator on themselves as they give their partner head?

“If you have a vulva, the Womanizer or Satisfyer Air Pulse Stimulator can work. And if you have a penis, a penis stroker like the Tenga Onacup is great,” Taylor says.

Body-positive sex educator Carly S with The Pleasure Chest has got a PSA for bigger-bodied folks: “Mutual oral is absolutely available to you and your partner(s), if you want it to be.”

Her biggest piece of advice? Embrace pleasure products as pleasure enhancers.

For instance, she’s a fan of using a positioning chair, like this one on Amazon. “I’m a plus-sized person and have some knee problems (unrelated to my weight). When I’m the partner on top while 69ing, sitting on this chair over my partner’s face can help support my body weight and take some of the strain off my knees,” she says. “And the straps help keep my thighs open to give my partner better access to my bits.”

If not, she says you might try a sex swing or sex sling. “The bigger-bodied person can sit in the swing, which will help spread their thighs, and their partner can kneel between their legs and lick. It can make giving and receiving oral so much fun.” She suggests this one from Amazon.

Other props can come to play too. Oral-sex stimulators like the Fleshlight Quick Shot or the Svakom Cookie can help mimic the sensation of receiving head, she says.

Anxiety is basically the antithesis of pleasure, no matter the position. And while you should never (ever!) feel pressured to try any position that makes you anxious, if you enjoy both receiving and giving oral, Finn encourages you to do two things:

First, talk to your partner about your nerves. The simple act of speaking up can help ease your fears. “If they care about you, they’re going to want to do anything in their power to make you more comfortable,” she says. Hey, partners who troubleshoot anxiety together stay together.

Second, think through where your feelings are coming from. Is it because you’re self-conscious about your genitals? “Most people, especially most vulva owners, who feel ashamed of their genitals don’t realize just how ‘normal’ their bits are because they haven’t seen bits like theirs in the media,” says Finn.

Watching queer and feminist porn, which typically features a wider range of body types, can help ease some of these feelings, she says. The Crash Pad, Bellesa, and Lust Cinemas are all good places to start.

If your anxiety is centered on the rest of your bod, leave your shirt on! Heck, leave your sweats on too. “The sensation of a nose and mouth in and around your genitals can be hot even if there is a fabric barrier,” Finn says. Better yet, opt for material that will enhance the feeling of touch and tongue, like silk, satin, or cotton.

Oh, I’m sorry — your partner is sooo good at giving oral that you lose your wits when giving it to them? Come back when you have real problems, people!

“Hearing and feeling someone lose control because of how good you’re making them feel is always hot,” says Taylor. “And that includes when they’re also giving you head.” Yep, your distraction doubles as sexy reinforcement.

“Most people can’t focus on giving when they’re about to come, but that’s why having a sex toy and lube in reach can be helpful,” says Carly.

“If you and your partner shower beforehand or use a wet wipe, you really don’t have to worry about poop residue being around the entrance of the anus,” says Carly. “Poop lives higher up in the rectum, so if you’re just licking and playing with the opening, it’s not going to be an issue.”

So, if your partner consents, back that tongue up.

“The entrance of the anus has a lot of nerve endings, so alternating between oral and analingus can be incredibly pleasurable,” Carly says.

Or, while you’re licking your partner’s genitals, apply a dab of lube onto your fingertip or use saliva and trace their sphincter muscle with the pad of your fingertip, she suggests. Safety tip: If you have long fingernails, don a latex glove to help dull the nail’s edge.

“For people who don’t love rimming, inserting a butt plug before getting into the 69 position can offer a similar sensation,” says Taylor.

Totally cool if 69ing isn’t your fave position. But to be very, very clear: 69ing doesn’t have to *just* be about licking.

“If you know your partner likes having their G-spot stimulated, perineum stimulated, or back of the knee touched, incorporate those moves into 69ing,” says Carly. Nipple tweaking, tush squeezing, and anal fingering are also up for (*ahem*) grabs here.

Taylor adds: “[Use] your hands however your partner will enjoy, but [lube] them up first to reduce friction.” Noted.

Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.