Not everybody enjoys or wants to enjoy oral sex. For some people, it’s just a type of stimulation that doesn’t do it for them. But if you enjoy it, but not fully, or you feel like you would enjoy it if only you could just relax, you’re not the only one. We can help.
But first, just for a quick reality check, any anxiety/shame/guilt/ickiness you feel is not your fault. It’s been intentionally, systematically implanted in us by the patriarchal, misogynistic society we live in. And it’s that much harder on people of color, people with disabilities, and people with other marginalized identities.
The messages we receive day in and day out tell us that as women/femmes, we’re not supposed to actually like sex, we’re just supposed to be objects there to help men experience pleasure. And as such, it’s our responsibility to police ourselves (and each other) to ensure we’re as pleasing as possible. Now if that doesn’t light a fire under you we don’t know what will.
Here are five reasons why you might be struggling to enjoy oral sex and what to do about it:
1. Anxiety about how you look
First of all, you look f*cking amazing. If you haven’t already done so, please check out The Vulva Gallery to see an array of glorious examples of vulva diversity. There is no one typical look that a vulva should have, nor is there such a thing as an ugly vulva. Cliterally not possible.
Ask yourself what companies or other entities profit off of your feeling this way? Or try telling yourself, “(Insert your least favorite misogynist here) wants me to feel this shame.” Once you get over the shock of having that person pop into your head while you’re trying to have sex, we guarantee you’ll be too angry to feel any shame or anxiety.
2. Anxiety about how you smell
This is a super common worry, probably because there are so many products out there that are constantly being marketed to people with vulvas that directly state or imply that our natural smell is “not fresh” or is somehow problematic or offensive. Everybody has their own unique smell that’s determined by body chemistry, their individual microbiome, and other factors. And there’s a wide range of smells that are all totally normal. (The only time you should be worried about a smell is if it’s new and it’s accompanied by other new symptoms like itching, unusual discharge, or sores. Short of that, scratch this one off your list.)
Also, have you ever buried your face in your partner’s armpit because you can’t get enough of the way they smell? Have you ever considered that the way you smell might actually be a turn-on for your partner? Just think about it.
3. Anxiety about how you taste
Anxiety about the way you taste is most likely coming from shame about your body instilled by the media and, again, the rampant misogyny in our culture (see above). But if someone has told you that you don’t taste good, rest assured that this says everything about that person and nothing about you or how you actually taste. It’s a lie. Perhaps that person is lazy, has a weak tongue, or prefers to receive pleasure rather than give it, like a spoiled little emperor. There’s nothing wrong with the way you taste. Trust us, your vulva tastes like a vulva. Have a long, hard think about whether you want to continue having sex with that person.
4. Anxiety about your hair
Having pubic hair is not a reason not to have and enjoy oral sex! You don’t need to shave, wax, sugar, laser, or trim first. Try to remember that you’re not on this earth to please others, not even your partner. Yeah, it’s cool if you happen to be rocking a full bush and find out a new partner goes nuts for hair, but chances are even if they don’t have a fetish for every part of your body, they decided to have sex with you because they want to have sex with you. They’re going to be excited and turned on by whatever configuration of hair you have.
If your partner is excitedly going down on you, just go ahead and assume they’re turned on. And if they’re not excited about going down on you, again, please reconsider having sex with this person.
5. Feeling like you don’t want all the focus to be on you
If you find yourself distracted during oral sex by feelings of guilt or anxiety because you think there’s too much focus on you, this could be coming from internalized shame about experiencing pleasure. Remind yourself that you deserve pleasure and that your partner is enjoying your pleasure. It may even be a huge turn-on for your partner!
Or your anxiety could be more rooted in general shame about being a human. Just remember that we’re all humans, and humans have ear wax and dirt between their toes. And somehow we still turn each other on. Go figure. Must be evolution.
P.S. Dental dams are a great tool for preventing STI transmission during oral sex. One less thing to be anxious about!