A few months ago, I learned how to sail for the first time. Before that, I enrolled in Italian classes. Before that, there were improv drop-ins, a comedy sketch writing program, dance lessons. I like to learn new things. I chalk it up to my love for a good challenge (thanks to my Capricorn nature) and my need to shake things up (thanks to my ADD).

So, it’s not entirely surprising that, on a cold winter evening, I found myself in a classroom with ten other women learning how to give good head.

My first experience with going down on a guy happened with the first person I had ever been intimate with. We were in the midst of a heavy make-out sesh, when, suddenly, he kept pushing my head down, down, dowwwnnnn; I kept raising it back up, up, UP, confused. Obviously frustrated, he grabbed the back of my head until he was basically slapping me in the face with his dick. Then I got the picture. I had read my fair share of Cosmo and watched Sue Johanson orally place a condom on a banana more times than I cared to admit, but I was still not prepared when faced with a man’s erect penis, staring at me clear-as-a-crisp-spring-morning in the face. I remember grabbing a hold of it and sucking on for dear life, thinking, “Don’t gag, don’t gag!” Then, “I can’t breathe through my nose!” And then, “Oh, fuck. I think I have TMJ.”

My time spent with BJs got better, but they never were my favourite trick to pull out of my box (so to speak). I never got any pleasure from giving head. The act always struck me as submissive, which doesn’t sit well with my sexual personality, and I ended up feeling both used and useless. I mean, sex is supposed to be fun. Who wants to do something that’s referred to as a “job?” Plus, the bruised knees, sore jaw and stiff neck that came with it just didn’t seem worth the weekly visits to the chiropractor, you know?

But I’m a sexually open-minded women who’s not afraid to admit when she’s wrong, so that’s why I found myself in a roomful of strangers practicing fellatio on a rubber dildo.

Our instructor—a beautiful woman who actually smelled and looked like sex—informed us that, basically, a good blowjob is all about enthusiasm. If you’re excited, then that means he’s even more excited, which, in, turn, makes the experience that much more awesome for both of you. Oh, and lots and lots of eye contact is good, and don’t forget about those testicles!

But what if he’s limp and all you’re thinking about is your grocery list? That’s when keeping it stimulating (physically for him; mentally for you) and mixing it up comes into play, she told us, and handed us an information sheet, complete with a Sex Ed-styled penis diagram, and a pen. Things were about to get serious.

The women in my class ranged from early-twenties to late-fifties and were single, married or in long-term relationships. A few said they were there because they loved giving their guys head, and wanted to add an extra spark to their routine. But most of us were the birthday-and-holiday-giving-types who had questions about how to deal with the taste of pubic hair and sperm.

For the former, we were shown a number of cutesy-sounding techniques (Ice Cream Cone, Corn on the Cob, Dolphin) for our mouths, along with fancy moves for our hands (Harmonica, Corkscrew, Fire). For the latter, our instructor advised that gently suggesting shaving and a Semen Sweetening Smoothie to our guy should do the trick.

But what about my snag with the whole submissive feeling that BJs bequeath?

It turns out that this a common issue amongst women. Our instructor believed that by learning a variety of fellatio methods hands-on (no pun intended) then we would have the tools that not only would satisfy ourselves, but which also put us in the driver’s seat. At first, I had a difficult time believing this. How does resisting the natural urge to gag and being told to give “yummy sounds” put a woman in a position of power?

But as we performed ice cream cone licks, placed condoms on dildos with our mouths (Sue would be so proud) and discussed ejaculation, swallowing and nipple-play, I realized just how powerful the BJ is for a woman.

The BJ isn’t a submissive act for the female, but one of power and trust. When giving head, a man is completely physically vulnerable, allowing his female partner to have absolute control over his pleasure and orgasm by manipulating his most sensitive organ using one of her most powerful organs.

The enjoyment of giving head derives from the realization that we can control a man’s ecstasy, like performing Corn on the Cob via a Modified 69 position (booyah!).

And if he still grabs the back of your head, our instructor said, then you try another position where you’re the one back in control.

That, I can live with. And a pair of knee pads doesn’t hurt, either.