Think You Hate Oral? 4 Reasons To Give 'Going Down' A Chance

Think You Hate Oral? 4 Reasons To Give 'Going Down' A Chance

Think You Hate Oral? 4 Reasons To Give 'Going Down' A Chance

Thumbnail: 
couple in bed
Dek: 
It's more intimate than intercourse ... so it's worth learning to LOVE.

There is no intimate act portrayed more unfavorably in the media than oral sex. Every time it's in the news, people who shouldn't be doing it are doing it somewhere they shouldn't.

Years ago, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky infamously ruined cheap dresses and expensive cigars in the Oval Office. Chloe Sevigny serviced the ever-grimy Vincent Gallo—with no camera tricks—at the end of the atrocious 2003 film, The Brown Bunny.

And, as a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed, half the teenagers in America are having oral sex, quite possibly in the downstairs rec room while mom and pop watch TV upstairs entirely unaware.

But even years of bad publicity can't explain why this particular act is often a source of dissatisfaction and anxiety for couples. After all oral sex is arguably even more intimate than intercourse. 

1. "Good" oral sex actually requires feeling comfortable with yourself AND your partner.

Oral sex is intensely pleasurable for men and—because of direct clitoral stimulation that's all-but-impossible during intercourse—especially pleasurable for women. Problems arise, however, because oral sex taps into a wide range of insecurities, fears, and neuroses. Pleasuring someone is usually a solo performance, which is nerve-racking.

If you're giving it, you should feel extremely comfortable with (as biologists say) your partner's crotch. Conversely, if you're receiving it you should feel extremely comfortable with your own. The net result leaves one or both partners wanting more, wanting less, or simply wanting to beat their heads against a wall.

"Oral sex is one of the most highly erotic, loving, and satisfying sexual activities you can indulge in," says Dr. Ava Cadell, a sex therapist and the author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Oral Sex. "It's part and parcel of being a great lover. So, if one person wants it and the other doesn't, it can be a dealbreaker in a relationship."

2. Fear of exploring outside our comfort zone buzz kills pleasure for everyone involved.

According to the CDC, about 90% of men and women have oral sex at some point in their lives, but that doesn't mean they continue to have it regularly (or even that they liked it in the first place). The reasons why some folks aren't up on "going down" are a Freudian's, er... wet dream.

People fear it's unhygienic, they dislike the taste, they worry their technique is bad, or they simply find it generally unpleasant putting faces in places swimsuits cover.

You should never do anything that makes you uncomfortable, but you should do what you can to overcome hang-ups that not only limit your own pleasure, but your partner's as well. A simple explanation or a reasonable compromise easily solves any hesitation about oral sex.

Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First and He Comes Next, suggests, "If it's a question of cleanliness, you can shower with your partner and get clean together. If a guy feels it's distasteful, he needs to know that the vagina is a self-cleaning ecosystem. By the same token, a woman may want to combine oral with manual stimulation to avoid swallowing, and ask her boyfriend not to thrust if she's afraid of gagging. You just have to work in slow steps" (or lightening-fast ones, depending on the nature of your motivation).

3. Oral is better when your partner sees how aroused YOU are by pleasuring THEM.

Tiffany, a 27-year-old banker, had dated her boyfriend Peter for about eight months, but she had never performed fellatio on him. "I didn't enjoy it," says Tiffany, "But one evening we were out with his friends and I overheard them refer to his ex with a nickname that strongly implied she was good at giving head. I got jealous, so that night I went down on him with the goal of outperforming her. He went nuts, which I loved."

If you don't have such stiff competition to spur you on, note that the receiver shouldn't be the only person who is enjoying himself. Watching your partner get turned on because of your expertise—and you have a remarkable vantage point from which to do so—is extremely pleasurable in itself.

If one person truly enjoys giving but dislikes receiving, there's nothing wrong with a one-way street. Dr. Cadell says, "People who don't enjoy oral sex generally have a psychological block. Like any other sexual activity, it all starts between the ears."

4. Don't let sex become a bargaining chip in your relationship.

Oral sex can also start at the bargaining table. For example, Angela, a 32-year old nurse, and her boyfriend, Vince, had a problem that apparently plagues all stand-up comics: at the end of the day, he wanted sex; she felt tired and just wanted a massage.

"I jokingly suggested that if he would give me a massage that night, I'd give him a blow job when I was more awake the next day," explains Angela. "He was totally into the idea; although, he was much better about keeping his commitment. I don't like to give blow jobs when I'm not in the mood for sex."

Caution: If you use bargaining chips in your relationship, oral sex will soon have all the appeal of taking out the garbage, or picking up dry cleaning. Instead, make your requests for oral into a game that everybody wins.

And speaking of winners, Trudy's friends nearly choked on their chardonnay when the 25-year-old described her husband's, uh, spirited oral sex demands:

"He goes down on me pretty much every night," says Trudy, who's clearly blessed with the luck of all the shamrock-picking drunks in Ireland. "In fact it isn't unusual for me to get a little tired of it and try to pull him up. Sometimes he relents, but other times he's more persistent and insists on making me orgasm."

The poor woman confesses that oral activity always leads to good ol' fashioned sex, but does it also mean she must go down on him every night? No! Not by a long shot. Their arrangement works because both people end up satisfied.

Regardless of the politics in your bedroom, the point is to give oral sex a chance.

"Don't let fear determine what you do—let pleasure," suggests Dr. Sharna L. Striar, a certified sex therapist in New York City. "It's fun, it adds variety, it heightens pleasure, but it's a very intimate act and because one person is so exposed, it's also very private. So you need to communicate your wants and needs."

But please, do so before going down on your partner. It's not polite to talk with ... well, you get the idea.

Join the Conversation