How Do I Tell My Boyfriend He's Bad in Bed?

A bed to sleep in.

Dear Em & Lo ,

I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years. I'm 21, he's 28. He's the only person to ever perform oral sex on me, so while I have no one to compare him too, I know that he is bad at it. He pushes his entire face on my lady region and just moves side to side, as if that is supposed to feel good. He hardly uses his tongue and I don't think he even understands he needs to focus on my little man in the boat. After 3 years, I have no idea how to tell him that he's not doing it right. Help!
-- Suffering in Silence

Dear SiS,

Oh dear. We're tempted to tell you to dump this guy and start over with a new one, because it's a million times harder to teach an old partner new tricks. This is in large part because there's no easy way to say, "You've been screwing up for three years and I just never got around to telling you." How would his ego ever recover from such a blow? How would he ever know to trust your sexual response in bed again? This is why we emphasize again and again and again the importance of communication in bed from the out-set -- not to mention the importance of never faking.

But maybe he's a good guy. Maybe you really love him. We're going to assume you do, as there's obviously a reason you stuck with him despite godawful oral. First off, it's important that you lose the attitude (are we wrong in sensing a little attitude in the phrase as if that is supposed to feel good?). How on earth is he supposed to know what feels good if you never tell him? Maybe his last girlfriend didn't like clitoral attention during oral (some ladies don't) and that's why he's shying away from yours. Or maybe no woman has ever had the decency to tell him how to do it, which means he's flailing away down there like a wind-up toy.

Once you've accepted that you're as much, if not more, to blame as he is, you can start your gentle campaign to reeducate him. The next time he goes down on you, ask him -- as if it's a thought that just occurred to you -- to focus on your external nubbin. When he gets there, give him feedback -- faster, slower, harder, softer, a little to the left, etc. And when he gets it right, go crazy with the positive feedback: moan, call his name, say yes, whatever works for you. The next time he goes down on you, offer a different specific suggestion of something he might try. Again, guide him gently and go nuts when he gets it right. Don't try to change his entire approach in one session -- after all, you've waited three years, what's another few weeks?

Oh, and next time you're going down on him, why not ask what he'd like you to do? Just in case, you know, he's been suffering in silence for three years too. Kidding! (Sort of.)

-- Em & Lo