Oral sex can hold a lot of weight in a relationship between two people. It’s not an issue if you both like getting and receiving it, of course. But what if one of you loves the way it feels and it’s your favorite way to be intimate with your partner, but they aren’t interested in partaking? That can be a huge problem and leave you feeling like something is missing (and, for many people with vaginas, it can lead to feeling like there’s one less path to orgasm.)
If this has ever been the case with you and you are fine working your way around it by finding other ways to orgasms or being sexual with your partner, then chances are it isn’t affecting your relationship.
But let’s face it; many people feel like getting oral sex can be an out-of-body experience and make you climax in a way you don’t through intercourse, touching or using a vibrator. In fact, it’s a running joke with a lot of couples that a man wants a blow job for his birthday or a holiday and he’s satisfied with just that. I’ve talked to women who dole them out simply because they know it makes their man incredibly happy, but they don’t actually love giving them.
But for some, it’s not just about pleasure — It’s about wanting to connect with someone on a different level. And you may feel offended or wonder if there is something wrong with you if the person you are intimate doesn’t have an interest in engaging in oral sex.
Domina Franco, a writer, sex educator and coach who has been studying human sexuality for over 20 years, recently spoke with She Knows and let us in on some tips to work through this situation, because if you ask me, oral sex is like being put under a magic spell, and if you enjoy it, you should get it.
Start talking early
First, Franco says you must talk to your partner about your desire for oral sex in a respectful way that doesn’t make them feel as if they are being pressured, and it’s helpful to have this discussion early in a relationship. In fact, she says, “Talking about it before oral could even happen is so important.”
While this may be difficult, it will be much less embarrassing than saying it with your genitals in your face or having them go through with something they don’t want to do.
Franco advises if you have been in a relationship for some time and your partner has already expressed to you this is not something they enjoy or are willing to do, that is your answer and it should be respected. Then it’s up to you and your partner to “decide if your relationship and sexual connection is satisfying as a whole,” she says.
She adds it doesn’t help anyone when resentment builds over these issues, so it’s best to decide how important oral sex really is to you and realize there isn’t anything wrong with you if you really want it nor is there anything wrong with someone who doesn’t want to receive or give it.
Don’t be demanding
Franco strongly advises approaching this subject with caution, as no one wants to be criticized or feel threatened for their sexual preferences. Pay attention to what they are saying and how they are saying it because sometimes they may just be saying something to please you that goes against how they truly feel.
We also spoke with Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent, regular expert child psychologist on The Doctors on CBS and costar on Sex Box on We TV. She suggests some ways to make things go a bit smoother.
Don’t be afraid to initiate
Walfish says doing something like performing oral sex without any expectations to get it in return can show your partner your “heartfelt generosity,” and in turn, you may find it comes back to you.
Whatever the reason, feeling fulfilled sexually can make or break a relationship, so talking about what we want is always important.
Be open to alternatives
Where someone else chooses to put their mouth (or where they want a mouth on them) is a deeply intimate, personal thing. While having different preferences can feel like a stumbling block in your sex life (and everyone has their dealbreakers, dealmakers in the bedroom), know that you can always find different, exciting and creative ways to scratch a certain itch.
In the case of oral, there are numerous sex toys on the market that can simulate the feeling of a mouth — and, particularly with the right lube, they can feel really close to the real deal. Because, sometimes, even if one particular sex act isn’t working for you and your partner, store bought is totally fine.
A version of this story was published March 2018.
Looking to learn more about orgasms? Here’s a few orgasms you probably didn’t know you could have!