By Sharanya Gopinathan
In the poem Self-Improvement by Tony Hoagland, Bruce’s college girlfriend asks him to improve his oral sex skills by flicking a light switch on and off with his tongue a hundred times a day. Now, the Bruces of the world have a saviour in Lickster — a revolutionary ‘non-existent’ app that features in a satirical video by The Kloons. This video takes you through the basics of oral sex via a training game that looks like a cross between Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero.
The Kloons, a self-confessed group of “funny horny guys who make funny horny videos for other funny horny guys”, have hit their long-awaited jackpot with this video, which went viral a few days ago, with over 21 million views at the time of writing. It features a deliberately anxiety-inducing bearded hipster man, who promises that the app is “just like Candy Crush, except instead of crushing candy, you’re licking a digital vulva”. Which is pretty much the same, except not at all. The all-kinds-of-ridiculous video is complete with in-app purchases and a focus on the three fundamentals of pleasure — the rhythm of your tongue, the position of your fingers and the support of your hands. Overall, for an advertisement of an app that doesn’t exist, it promises to turn you into a “cunnilingus pro, lickety split”.
The video is even deliberately considerate of the infamous fragile-male-ego and includes an app feature that provides robotic “aural feedback,” so that users can have their new-found sexual prowess appreciated aloud wherever they choose to practise (to the chagrin of his fellow commuters, the video depicts a man licking frantically in the subway). It’s also full of hilarious platitudes, my favourite being: “Sometimes you’ve gotta put your money where your mouth is and sometimes you gotta put your mouth where her vagina is.”
That isn’t the only thing this video gets right. It also mentions that only 25 percent of women can orgasm from sexual intercourse alone, and that most women need sustained skillful clitoral stimulation to orgasm. It’s also true that only 57 percent of women report having orgasms every time they have sex, compared to their partners (here, men) who have orgasms 85 percent of the time. Studies also point to a 14 percent difference in mean orgasm rates between heterosexual and homosexual women.
So it feels like something isn’t quite hitting the spot here, and that spot is very likely to be the clitoris. Between 35 and 38 percent of women claim they aren’t getting the right kind of clitoral stimulation, or enough of it. Several articles bemoan the male inability to find the clitoris, and both men and women’s magazines frequently offer advice on how to find it (or to help him find it). Sex researchers and doctors say that both men and women are reluctant to talk openly about achieving orgasms and the things they need to do to make that happen.
This general shroud of mystery surrounding the clitoris is quite likely due to how sex has been understood, studied and portrayed in society. For the most part, sex has been seen through a primarily male-centric lens with an emphasis on reproduction and male orgasm, leaving female sexuality, orgasm and the clitoris to be considered unknowable, mysterious objects. Except they aren’t. They just haven’t been explored with as much time and attention as other aspects of sex, and a lot of people still seem reluctant to talk about them in the open. Shifting our conversations on sex from a male lens to a female one can totally change the way we think about sex, and quite naturally turn our attention away from vaginal-penile penetration to clitoral stimulation and female orgasm.
Going by the requests of eager wannabe Lickster users, maybe such an app’s existence isn’t quite so ridiculous after all. The top comment on The Kloons’ Lickster video reads: “I just showed this to a friend who tried to find the app in the app store. Any idea when it’ll be available?” Happily, it’s followed by several others who say they searched for the app too, and can’t wait for someone to create it.
Well, we did some digging, and believe it or not, an app like this already exists — for real. In 2014, San Francisco-based Club Sexy Time’s Pablo Rochat and Chris Allick (yep) created Lick This, a mobile-based website that lets you hone your oral sex technique by licking your smartphone.
They helpfully suggest that you cover your phone in clear plastic wrap before you start (because your phone screen is filthy and probably has more germs on it than a toilet seat). Once you’ve got your phone sheathed and ready, the website offers three exercises to students of the fine arts. “Up n down” is where you adopt Bruce’s girlfriend’s preferred method of teaching and flick a light switch up and down with your tongue, “circles” is where you rotate the handle of a mechanical pencil sharpener, and “freestyle” which, for reasons unknown, lets you use your tongue to jab at a ball that bounces across the screen. The website’s homepage says “Practise makes pleasure,” which is probably the most boring slogan for oral sex ever.
Boring, but also true. Practise does help when it comes to oral sex (or any sex), but using a phone app isn’t going to get you there. Every woman’s body is different, and an app can’t tell you what works for each one. Talking to your partner about what works for her and what doesn’t, paying close attention to her body language, and asking for directions, examples and demonstrations can be sexy, instructive and hygienic all at once. And certainly more likely to bring your partner to orgasm than thwacking a ball on a digital screen with your tongue.
Co-published with Firstpost