I Learned I Gave a Bad Blow Job When My Ex-Boyfriend Published a Poem About My Teeth

It was the summer before our Senior year. He was a drama kid, and I was a woman of the theater — in high school. A dramatic, awkward, angsty, artsy summer.

He was a gifted writer, and I loved his brain. He had the most beautiful brain. It was locked in an awkward body, but I really liked what was inside. So I fell for him hard. We had this torrid romance filled with long Gmail emails about our feelings.

One afternoon, he came over to my house, and I went for it: I gave him a blow job. At least, I tried to. I wasn’t really into it. And halfway in, I pretty much called it off.

Not long afterwards, I called off the whole love affair.

Eight years later, I was going through my Gmail and I stumbled upon our fuzzy love letters from 2005. They were really beautiful. I remembered what a wonderful guy he was. So I Googled him.

He had become a professional writer. And the first thing that came up was his first published poem, which was was about me giving him the worst blow job of his life. About my teeth. MY. TEETH. And how much pain they caused him.

Initially, it felt deeply shameful. I thought to myself, “This is a thing that girls are supposed to be good at, right? I am a woman of the world. This is a skill I should have.”

I couldn’t believe that I was publishing-level bad at blow jobs. At least I was when I was 16. But who knows? Maybe I still was.

I told my sister. She laughed, and thought it was hilarious. I decided to keep it to myself.

Fatefully, just a few days later, I was giving my new boyfriend a blow job, and he said, “Watch the teeth.” He said that. Watch. The. Teeth!

No one had ever told me that before. And at that moment, I realized, I need to figure this out. “I have conquered many mountains in my life,” I thought, “and I am going to conquer this one.”

I think I read every article on the Internet about how to give a blow job. Some of it was fun. Some of it was like, “Woah! I’ve never tried that before.” I even watched Deep Throat. It’s like, the original porn!

But then, I got caught. My boyfriend saw what I was Googling, and asked for an explanation. I told him the whole story about being sixteen, the poem, everything. Initially, I was a little embarrassed, but then I felt like, “Now he knows everything. Might as well put all the things I’ve learned to good use!” So I recommended we do a little blow job workshop. For those not familiar, a blow job workshop is where we lock each other in a room and don’t leave until I’m good at it.

It was two hours long, and boy, did we learn a lot together. I practiced all sorts of ways to use my lips, gums, tongue, and hands to do some pretty amazing stuff. It was fun, exploratory, and intimate. I felt empowered, and we were totally connected.

So what makes a good blowjob? Frankly, it’s commitment. A commitment to taking my partner’s pleasure seriously and going for it. Having a sense of playfulness, and giving zero fucks. Trust me, when you’ve been published for your bad blow job skills, you have nothing left to lose. You can do anything.

My biggest takeaway from the whole ordeal was that we tend to think feedback is all about us being bad, but really it’s just your partner asking for something and expressing themselves.

The whole experience taught me more about intimacy and connection than anything else. I think great partners approach sex like, “You’ve got this body. Let’s see what it can do. Or what I can do for you. You’re an instrument. Let me learn how to play you. You know? I want to make you sing. Let’s see what’s possible here!”

I ended up emailing my old high school flame — the one who wrote the poem. I told him that I found it, and what it inspired. He was really embarrassed that I found the poem because it was a moment of distraught passion for him, but it created a foundation for a new, really lovely friendship between us.

Now, I’m back in the dating game.

And I think I’m quite the catch.

(If you know what I mean.)