When Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez bared his pearly whites and chomped down on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during their World Cup face-off in Brazil on Tuesday, he not only put his the trophy, his career, and his reputation at risk. He was also doing it all wrong.
There's a right way to bite someone else, sex columnist Jamye Waxman says, and in cleats on a football pitch ain't it.
"Biting is one way to express affection through some more intense sensations," says Waxman, who writes for Gasm.org. "Sex is animalistic for some people. It's a release of energy. It's a way of saying, 'I wish I could devour you,' which is something we often wish we could do during sex."
That said, there are a few basic guidelines you should follow if you don't want to potentially face criminal charges—or a FIFA ban.
Make Sure Your Partner's Into It: This should go without saying, but if your partner doesn't want to be bitten and says so, don't do it. It's not for everyone. Biting a willing partner can be an exciting form of foreplay. Biting an unwilling partner is assault. Giorgio Chiellini, it's safe to say, wasn't into it.
No Surprises: There's little more unpleasant and shocking than to be in the midst of a sensuous world of caresses and kisses only to find out your partner suddenly seems to consider you a main course. "Unless you're right in the heat of the moment, a surprise bite is never going to be that erotic for anyone," Waxman says.
Never Break Skin: In the age of HIV and AIDS, this should be a no-brainer, even if your partner really is into taking things that far—someone with a blood-borne disease could transfer it whether he or she is biter or bitee. And even if you are biting someone with whom you're in a committed, monogamous relationship, the human mouth is swimming with germs and nasty things that could easily lead to a serious infection. "You don't want to draw blood. Especially if you don't know the person well enough," Waxman says.
Location, Location, Location: Some parts of the body are more sensitive are prone to harm than others. "A lot depends on the spots you bite, and what time during the act that you're biting," Waxman says. "Biting on the nipple while it's highly aroused might not do as much damage as biting somebody on a sensitive spot on the neck."
Work Your Way Up: Start out with the lightest of bites, or even with pseudo-bites way before bearing down with your molars. "Start by brushing your teeth against someone's neck or skin, then work your way up to something more," Waxman says. "Nibbling is a great way to gauge what somebody thinks about your teeth on their skin. Before committing to a full-on chomp, tease with your teeth and let them know you're taking a taste of them. They may say no to teeth." And as always, if things escalate beyond the point your partner's comfortable with, stop immediately.
>Hickeys Are Out: What are you, 12?
And don't trot out the same bite you use to eat your hoagies. There are a variety of styles of bites. See which works best for you and your mate, Waxman says.
The Tooth Brush: Without slamming your jaws shut, gently brush your teeth against your partner's skin. A great way to initiate the biting and get a sense of whether you should take things further.
The Granny Bite: Also known as the Gummy Bite, pull your lips over your teeth and mock-bite through your own, like your grandparents when they lovingly pretend they're going to eat up babies.
The Territory Marker: Some people like to bite hard enough to leave a mark. Most people don't. If you're going to bite this hard, make sure your partner knows what you're going to do, and is OK with it.
The Sports Bite: Mike Tyson did it, and Luis Suarez did it, and both have or are going to face the consequences. Don't do it!