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You love her, and she’s amazing…but dammit! She gives bad head. Help her fine tune her skills—without hurting her feelings—and everyone wins.

sexy couple in lingerie

Q: My girlfriend gives terrible blow jobs. On a good day, they’re just boring. On a bad day, she’ll scratch me with her teeth. I like her…what can I do?

A: The answer here is surprisingly simple: If you care about therelationship, you have to be honest. Unfortunately, though, there’s no tip I can give you that’s going to make this sucky (no pun intended) conversation any easier to have.

That said, I’d start with a compliment. What is something about her that turns you on? What does she do really well? What do you look forward to when your mind wanders away from you at work? Hell, maybe you even love the fact that she’s so willing—and eager—to go down on you, even if the skills themselves could use a little fine tuning…

See also: My Girlfriend Won’t Let Me Go Down on Her>>

Then, once you’ve got your compliment ready, use it to explain why you’re putting both of you through the misery of this confrontation. Say: “Hey, I want us to be really open about things—even things that are hard to say. And while I feel really awkward saying this, sometimes it’s a little painful when you’re going down on me.” From there, try to shoulder a bit of the responsibility to playfully problem-solve, which will make your comments less critical. (For example: “I love it and appreciate it, but maybe there’s a position that would make it easier for us? Let’s figure it out.”)

Still, this is some heavy stuff, which is why you’ve got to self-deprecate next. No one’s perfect, and you’re not necessarily God’s gift to oral sex, either. So tell her: “I know there are probably a few things that I could do a lot better too. Is there anything you would like for me to change?” Encourage her to be open with you and make some requests as well. This way, you will actually be having a conversation about your sex life, rather than a one-way bitch fest.

Check out: Your Ultimate Sex Bucket List>>

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Maybe I should ask her what she wants first—then I won’t feel as bad telling her about her tendency to treat my privates like a chew toy. Bad idea. First, she may not have the guts to tell you anything, in which case you will surely chicken out as well. Second, even if she does tell you something, once you reciprocate, it will be clear that you only asked her about her gripes so that you could unload yours.

And finally, this should go without saying, but you need to talk about this topic in private; there’s no dropping this bomb in earshot of others or while you’re out somewhere. Give her time to digest this and get over it…and the space to be honest herself too.

ABOUT THE HOT GIRL: Amber Madison is an author, lecturer, sex and relationship expert, and dating coach. She has appeared on MTV, VH1, The Today Show, NPR, The Early Show, The Bill Cunningham Show; has been quoted in Newsweek, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan; and writes a dating column for The Metro.