If Oral Sex is "Gross": For the Receiver

Published on
October 13, 2022

If you read last month’s blog, you know that for some folx, giving oral sex can feel gross or uncomfortable. However, the flip side is also quite often true where I hear a lot of people (mostly vulva owners) saying they would rather their partner not perform oral on them because they think it’s gross. If you find yourself in this camp and want to push yourself a little more to see if you can feel more receptive to receiving, read on!

Speaking for vulva owners, I’ve heard many say that they think their vulva/vagina is gross because of the taste or smell and “I’d never want to do that to someone so I don’t expect my partner to do that for me.” The reality is, many partners are enthusiastic about giving oral sex because it’s so rewarding. There’s something exciting and gratifying about giving your partner something that is clearly so pleasing to them and experiencing their blissful orgasm at the end of it. So while you may think it’s gross, it’s quite likely that your partner doesn’t feel that way - and they’re not just saying that to appease you. Talk to your partner about what it’s like for them to give you oral - what do they enjoy about it? Why do they feel excited to do it? Starting here will help you begin to reframe the way you think about your own genitals and receiving pleasure. 

Photo by Dainis Graveris

If there’s an actual taste/odor concern, talk to your gynecologist or urologist to make sure that there isn’t a biological problem going on (i.e. a bacterial infection) that could help clear things up. Your diet will play a role in this too. Having a clean diet (i.e. avoiding processed foods, etc.) and eating citrusy fruits beforehand will impact taste and smell as well. 

If you’re worried about hygiene/smell, take a shower beforehand. Showering together can be a sexy way to engage in foreplay and get things warmed up, while also giving you more confidence that you feel/smell clean. And if you’re a vulva owner, as a reminder, don’t douche. The vagina is self-cleaning and douching, putting “smell goods” in or on it, lathering it with lotion, etc. can all increase the likelihood of you getting a bacterial/yeast infection (then your genitals actually won’t smell so great). 

If you’re worried about taste (even if your partner isn’t bothered by it), talk to them about using flavored lube to enhance the flavor. If they’re able to pick something that’s tasty to them, then you can lean back and relax, knowing that taste isn’t a negative factor. 

At the end of the day, your brain is your biggest sex organ, If you’re in the headspace that “my partner thinks this is gross,” “this is gross” “why is this taking so long??” you’re not going to be able to enjoy yourself. You need to practice a new mantra that allows you to enjoy receiving pleasure. It could be something like “I deserve pleasure,” “my partner finds this pleasurable and so do I,” “I can relax and sink into my body/pleasure.” It may take a few tries to get there, but you can do it! Alternatively, you can practice fantasizing as your partner is giving you pleasure. This can be a way to get out of your own body and into a space of heightening arousal by exploring literally anything that is sexy to you. By focusing on your own pleasure (rather than your partner’s), your partner is freed up to experience the pleasure of pleasuring you. Talk about a win-win. 

You can also be mindful of the space you’re creating to enhance pleasure. Decrease all distractions and get into a really comfortable position. Have some music playing in the background, put a pillow under your butt (tilts up the pelvis which can increase pleasure for some), get some candles lit - whatever you need to have a cozy spot that allows you to completely relax and receive will help decrease the pressure. 

Photo by Tan Danh

If you’re worried about it taking too long, 1. Remember yet again, your partner enjoys this giving process. They are simply lavishing in the joy of seeing you feel good - length of time isn’t important! 2. The average penis owner orgasms in 5-7 minutes and vulva owner 15-20 minutes. I know culture and media and porn make it seem like we should all cum in a heartbeat, but give yourself a break - it takes some time! If it’s taking longer than you’d like, go back to some foreplay that takes the pressure off of your genitals. Build up more arousal so that once your partner gets back to your genitals, the blood is really flowing and you can start at a higher arousal point. In addition, talk to each other about what you need in moments where it feels like it’s taking too long. Do you need some reassurance from your partner that they’re doing just fine and aren’t worried about the timing? Do they need some feedback from you as far as if something is/isn’t working that might help build things up? If you plan ahead and talk about what you need, it’ll be much easier to execute in the moment. 

At the end of the day, normalizing your genitals and reframing the way you think of oral sex is going to help you relax and enjoy being a receiver. Knowing your partner enjoys it and learning to appreciate your own body will go a long way in decreasing discomfort. But if you find you just can’t get into it, remember, there are all sorts of other ways to have sex and (if desired) receive an orgasm. You can always explore alternatives! 

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