If Oral Sex is "Gross": For the Giver
Oral sex can be intimidating, especially if it’s something you’ve never done or haven’t done much. As teens, there’s not really a manual for “how to give oral sex,” so we end up hearing a variety of techniques - many of which may be inaccurate, if not ridiculous - from peers. But now, you may find yourself in a new phase of life and a partner you want to please but can’t get past the feeling that “that’s gross.” I get it. There are smells and moisture and textures and flavors - it can be a lot. But there are some ways to work past the discomfort and move into a place of being open to performing oral on your partner - and maybe even getting to a place of enjoyment!
The first part that most folx seem stuck on is feeling intimidated by a lack of experience. Assuming that your partner is very interested in you performing oral and they are patient and willing to give you some guidance, you should be in a good place to explore. Practice is the only way you’re going to get better, so set up some regular times to try. You can even call them “practice sessions” and you and your partner can agree on how much and what kind of feedback you want each time.
It can also be helpful to look and learn about what others are doing to help you feel like you have a sense of technique. I typically recommend the book “Oral Sex” by Quiver, since it has an overview and “lick by lick” instructions for performing oral on both vulvas and penises. For those performing oral on vulvas, I also recommend the website OMGYes.com, which has excellent techniques for manual stimulation of the vulva - and I think the techniques are fairly transferrable with use of the tongue. You could also ask your partner to show you some porn that they like in which they’ve seen a technique or two used that they feel is applicable to what they assume would feel good for them. You’re a student, you’re learning - so be patient with yourself. Looking up a few techniques can help you feel a little more confident going into the situation.
If you’re past the intimidation stage and still feel grossed out - never fear! Check in with yourself… what feels “gross” about your partner’s genitals? Is it the look, smell, taste, etc.?
- If it’s the look: explore with yourself why you may be bothered by how your partner’s genitals look. Every penis and vulva are different - SO DIFFERENT! I encourage you to look up The Vulva Gallery to check out the diversity of vulvas or get “The Guide to Getting it On” to see a variety ways penises and vulvas can present themselves. You might be surprised after seeing several varieties that your partner’s are completely fine. We usually get certain expectations of what genitals should look like from porn, so challenge yourself to look outside of these Hollywood depicted versions of genitalia and see the beautiful diversity out there.
- In addition, challenge yourself to look at it and explore with curiosity. A lot of people just close their eyes and take the dive. The more you slow down and actually look at it and touch it with curiosity, the less nuanced it’ll feel. It’s basically exposure therapy - if you keep exposing yourself to a certain stimuli, eventually it’s going to lose its power/interest.
- If it’s the smell/taste: there are a few considerations here. A person’s diet can have an impact on the smell/flavor and we also want to rule out any sort of bacterial infections or STIs. Have a conversation with your partner about this so you can collaborate to rule out if there is a medical concern that’s having an impact. Otherwise, eating fruits like pineapples or oranges can help adjust the pH balance to impact taste. An overall diet change may be needed if the taste seems particularly potent. If it seems like it’s just a flavor you personally don’t love, get some flavored lube. There are plenty of options out there with a wide variety of flavors and plenty of sex shops will allow you to taste test before buying. Shopping for flavored lube together can also be a fun way to talk about sex and engage in foreplay before getting started.
- A point of note: some vulvas are sensitive to flavored lubes so I don’t recommend lathering it up. Instead, you could put a couple drops of it on your tongue before engaging or you can purchase latex underwear for your partner to wear (if they don’t have allergies) and then put as much lube on it as you want. That may also buffer against smells and if you’re someone who is sensitive to lots of moisture, this is a way to help you manage that as well.
- If it’s more about the smell and you’ve ruled out a medical concern, consider showering or washing your partner’s genitals before engaging in oral sex. This can be a sexy way to enjoy foreplay before diving in.
- If it’s their pubic hair: have conversation with them about this. Is there a level of grooming that you are both comfortable with that will prevent interference? Rather than completely removing, there are plenty of ways to groom to keep hair trimmed or cut back to decrease interference. There may need to be some space for compromise. If they would like to receive oral but want to keep their body hair, are they willing to receive oral once a month and during that time, trim up their body hair and let it grow out the rest of the month? If they’re a vulva owner, are they willing to wear latex underwear so that the pubic hair doesn’t interfere with you giving them oral? At some point you both have to process together the value of pubic hair to each person and the value of oral sex to each person and where there is space for compromise.
At the end of the day, you both have to decide what you both feel comfortable with. If oral sex is a really high priority to your partner and you want to be able to please them in this way, talk about your options! Oral sex isn’t “gross” and we should never yuck someone’s yum. Examine for yourself what about it feels gross and explore if those messages come from yourself, your culture, a negative experience you had, etc. There are workarounds for smell, taste, moisture, etc. so don’t let those be a barrier if you’re wanting to engage. And increasing confidence through knowledge can be a helpful avenue to engaging. IF after exploring, you find it’s not for you, it’s time for you both to discuss if there are other ways that you can pleasure your partner that work for both of you. Oral sex isn’t the end all, be all to sex. There are so many other ways to give and receive pleasure. It’s about you both determining what your goals are for sex and deciding where there’s room to be flexible and where there are hard stops.
Check back in next month for part 2, If Oral Sex Is “Gross”: For the Receiver!