Sometimes it seems the whole gay world is divided into "top" and "bottom," into he who does and he who gets done. Is there any sex act more sweetly egalitarian, then, than good old sixty-nining?

What the French (and would-be sophisticates) call _soixante-neuf_ is a classic adventure in mutual pleasuring; applied to male-male sex, it's two guys simultaneously sucking one another's cocks. "I love it," says one fellatio fan. "It's kind of like the ultimate feedback loop." And though het couples can and do indulge, there's something about same-sex sixty-nine that's especially delightful in its giving and receiving of mirror-image pleasures. Gee, it's almost divine - the 69 that stands for giving mutual head is kind of a cousin to the yin-yang symbol that symbolizes the balance of the universe. But you don't have to be be a philosopher to enjoy the process of giving as good as you get.

The fellatio fan elaborates: "It's knowing that your partner is feeling pretty much what you're feeling, and doing what you're doing, that makes sixty-nine so intimate." You can show your partner just what feels good to you by doing it to him, and vice versa, as the action escalates towards orgasm. It's an exercise in simultaneous pleasure: two men side-by-side in a circuit of sex. And if one guy's mouth wanders off the shaft and onto nearby erogenous zones, or his hands play with balls or butthole, he may well find his partner joining in a sexy game of follow-the-leader.

Still, the bedroom balance of classic sixty-nine will please some guys more than others. Dedicated dicksuckers might prefer not to be distracted from selfless servicing. "I'm really a big bottom," says a big bottom, "so when I sixty-nine, I want to lie on my back and have the other guy just shove himself down my throat. His mouth on me feels great, sure, but I still crave that submissive feeling."

Sixty-nine is best if both of you are equally adept at sword swallowing, as all that stimulation can cause a careless cocksucker to lose concentration. The usual pole-smoking tips apply: relax and don't forget to breathe. Oh, and watch your teeth, unless you want a reactive chomp in return. But successful sixty-nining really is damn near as simple as ... well, mutual masturbation. There's even a anatomical plus: since many guys' cocks curve upward,_soixante-neuf_ matches shaft shape to throat curve in a generally convenient way.

Sixty-nine can be almost _too_ much fun, all that stimulation speeding some guys to the brink. "I already come quick when I'm getting blown," says one fellow, "so when I'm sixty-nining, I have to pace myself or I get off too soon." Such minor problems aside, though, the pleasures of the position are immense. And more than two can play. When three or more men forming an oral daisy chain, what's lost in direct feedback is made up for by the let's-all-have-a-party vibe.

Though good sex of all sorts is marked by attentiveness to a partner's feelings and nonverbal cues, sixty-nining is especially dependent on reading your partner's body language. After all, it's hard to talk with your mouth full.

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