Can We Have a More Balanced Conversation about Oral Sex?

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Uncategorized | 76 comments

More Balanced Conversation about Oral Sex and Men and Women
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Have you ever noticed that when we talk about oral sex in the Christian community, we usually frame it as something he wants and she should give?

In that now infamous Edinburgh sermon that went viral, for instance, Mark Driscoll talked about how a woman should “repent” of not being a proper wife by denying her husband oral sex, and she should get on his knees and service him. (It was seriously gross and spiritually abusive. They played the clip on the Mars Hill podcast.)

As awful as that was, though, it’s pretty typical of how we frame oral sex. Oral sex tends to be seen as something that she usually gives to him. And the big message is that she should get over any hangups she has an embrace this, because he really, really wants it.

Now, personally, I think if it’s something you both want, absolutely go for it!

I think oral sex can be a fun addition to our sex lives–as long as we’re understanding these things when it comes to giving men oral sex:

Caveats for Women Being Asked to Give Oral Sex

  1. If she truly doesn’t want to do it, she should not feel pressured into it. You’re allowed to have preferences.
  2. If she’d rather start this way, but have him finish another way–that should be totally okay too.
  3. Many women are especially triggered by oral sex because of past trauma or abuse or porn. That needs to be understood, and not framed as something she needs to just “get over.”
  4. Many women have super sensitive gag reflexes or jaw problems that may make this simply very uncomfortable. That should matter. She should not be required to be uncomfortable so that he can get something extra.

To take it one step farther, if you look at the differences between how men and women experience giving oral sex, it’s clear that it’s actually more of an “ask” of women than it is of men–even though we usually are pressuring women to do it rather than men to do it.

One of the things that I often critique is the notion of gender essentialism--that men are always one way and women are always another way. We know that’s not true when it comes to libido (some women can have a higher libido), being visually stimulated (many women are as well), being tempted by porn or using porn, liking foreplay, being emotional, and more. Many authors, though, still rely on unscientific research to make it sound like men and women are completely different.

And yet, isn’t it interesting that when there genuinely is a gender difference based on the ways our bodies are made, people tend to ignore it and treat oral sex like it’s the same whoever is giving it (as Gary Thomas and Deb Fileta did in a recent podcast).

Let’s look at these differences between men and women when it comes to oral sex:

 

When Women Give Oral Sex:

  • It can be physically uncomfortable and cause pain due to the gag reflex and jaw issues
  • It can trigger aversion when a man climaxes through this method, since women will have to deal with ejaculate
  • It is a common trigger due to trauma based on abuse, assault, or porn
  • It is not necessary for his pleasure, since he can reach orgasm in other ways

When Men Give Oral Sex:

  • It is minimally physically uncomfortable (there may be some discomfort from how you’re positioned while giving it)
  • Her climaxing in this way does not usually produce ejaculate (though some women do)
  • It is only in rare cases a trigger for past abuse or trauma
  • It may be the most likely, or even the only, way that she can reach orgasm

And it’s that last bit I want to concentrate on:

Oral sex is far less “extra” for women than it is for men

In our survey of 20,000 women that formed the foundation for The Great Sex Rescue, and our follow-up one of men, we found an orgasm gap of roughly 47 points. About 95% of men almost always or always reach orgasm in a sexual encounter, compared with just 48% of women.

And when women do reach orgasm, they are far more likely to do so through other routes than intercourse. 

It is not that women cannot reach orgasm through intercourse (and we’ve got lots of tips for how to do that in our orgasm course!); it’s just that it’s often easier for women to reach orgasm through oral sex or manual stimulation.

This isn’t merely a preference–like she’d like oral sex over intercourse sometimes. This is actually a matter of “this works for me but that really doesn’t.”

So when we’re comparing men’s desires for oral sex and women’s desires for oral sex, we’re often comparing apples to oranges.

For men, oral sex is a preference. For women, oral sex is often the most reliable way she can reach orgasm.

Why, then, when we talk about oral sex do we mostly frame it around pressuring her to give it to him, rather than explaining that this may be a good way to help bridge the orgasm gap?

I think it comes down to several factors:

  • Men are often more in tune to what they want sexually, and feel more entitled to get it
  • Men are seen as having sexual needs that are insatiable, while women’s needs are downplayed
  • Women can be very self-conscious about receiving oral sex

We talked at length about the first two elements in The Great Sex Rescue (and I’ve talked a ton about them in this blog too!).

But I want to focus on that last one today: women can often be self-conscious about receiving oral sex.

Women often really don’t like their genitals. We worry that they’re smelly. There’s too much hair. They look funny. It’s hard to find the clitoris (Hint: It’s really not). We worry it’s unsanitary, especially with discharge.

But men have hair too! Men can be smelly and unsanitary. Men have way more discharge when it comes to oral sex than we do. And yet we often think of these things as women’s issues rather than men’s issues. 

and again–these are preference issues. Giving oral sex to a man can actually cause jaw issues or the physical gag reflex. Giving oral sex to a woman does not cause any kind of physical discomfort (except maybe your legs or arms cramp up depending on how you’re positioning yourself?)

The only discomfort may be a psychological one–and it’s a psychological one that women have giving too! As women, though, we are often more willing to endure physical discomfort than we are willing to ask someone else to endure anything that may be off-putting.

Ladies, your genitals were beautifully and wonderfully made.

I’m going to talk more about what science is learning about the clitoris in a later blog post this month, but there is nothing ugly about your genitals. Yes, they’re usually hidden, and so we’re not used to seeing them. It’s not “normal.” But it’s okay to ask your husband to get used to your genitals, and it’s okay to become more comfortable with them yourself.

And you were never meant to smell like flowers! And usually, when you wash with water frequently, the smell is actually quite normal and earthy, nothing unpleasant. And you can keep shaved or clipped (or even waxed if you’d prefer) around your labia if you think it would make oral sex more pleasant and easier. (especially to find the clitoris!). If you don’t, there is no hair on the clitoris or the inner lips. He can simply part you with his hands and go to town.

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I talked about these in a post last week, the women’s wellness company Femallay makes amazing vaginal suppositories from the richest botanicals that help moisturize and promote elasticity in the vagina, keeping you all healthy.

They make sex more comfortable–and even more fun!

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And they’ve available in so many flavours–blueberry; wild cherry; pineapple; peach; strawberry; chocolate; and more! Or you can get completely unscented/unflavoured if you’d prefer. They even have hemp ones that may help with cramps, too!

If we want sex to be mutual, intimate, and pleasurable for both–then that should change how we talk about oral sex.

Sex can’t be intimate if you’re pressuring a woman to do something that she feels is degrading or triggering. Sometimes the act itself is not the problem, but the reason that he wants it is. If he’s got a pornographic style of relating, and just wants to make things “hotter” and use her as an object, then she is right to resist that.

And sex can’t be mutual if it’s something that makes her very physically uncomfortable so that he can have sex.

Finally, sex should be pleasurable for both. We shouldn’t even be talking about her giving him oral sex until we’ve figured out how to make sure that she reaches orgasm reliably.

Her being able to reach orgasm in any way is far more important than him getting to reach orgasm in a particular way. 

So I’m all for having more fun in the bedroom and spicing things up and learning new ways to please and tease each other. But when it comes to oral sex, I think the conversation has been very lopsided. It’s time to put it back in the right balance–and I hope this is closer to that balance.

Balanced Conversation about Oral Sex in Marriage

What do you think? Is there enough emphasis on her pleasure? How can we talk about this with the right balance? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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76 Comments

  1. Anon

    Most of the time when I hear evangelicals talking about oralsex its usually if it is sinful or not. I love giving oralsex to my wife. I dont get men who dont like it. I prefer to give it than receiving it. In my wifes case its the other way around. Its not something we do always.

    I sadly destroyed my ability to enjoy oralsex because of my porn addiction that I am recovering from. It can create anxiety in me to receive it so I prefer to give it or we dont need to do it at all. A sad example of how porn can destroy ones sex life. Hopefully things change the further I get in my recovery process but I prefer to give if my wife wants that.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks for sharing that! I’m sorry that porn has so ravaged your sex life. Yes, that is all too common. What a great example you are, though, of someone who is aiming to be faithful and live with integrity. Thank you!

      Reply
    • Steven Green

      I am male and have struggled with porn since my early teens. But I never wanted to receive oral sex though I love giving it to my wife.

      Reply
  2. Renee

    Thanks for the balanced approach, Sheila… I would agree overall but was slightly disappointed in your statements that men have no physical discomfort (or otherwise) in oral sex. I think it is more accurate to say the physical discomfort is more minimal and usually positional etc and can be more easily modified. I love to give and receive with my wonderful husband (and find my own discomfort minimal as well) and this is more accurate 🙂 ..much needed conversation for many to hear! So thankful you tackle these subjects and help many people and couples.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, that’s a good idea. You’re right–there could be discomfort just from the position that you’re in while you’re giving it.

      Reply
  3. Anon

    I’m totally put off oral sex to my husband. He’s a porn addict and had 2 affairs (with the same woman 3 years apart). He told me numerous times how good she was at oral sex and that she used to deep throat. Me on the other hand has an enormous gag reflex and just can’t stand it. Now knowing how he enjoyed someone else more just makes me sick to the pit of my stomach to even remotely think of it. Our sexlife is basically null in void too. Kept his last affaur secret for 10 years and only told me 6 m9nths ago. Been living i trauma from his 1st affair for the last 13 years. Feels as if everything just keeps escalating.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry, Anon. That’s terrible. Have you been able to find a licensed counselor to talk to about the betrayal you feel? Or to walk with you and your husband through this? That’s a lot to recover from. I wrote a post a while ago on how trust needs to be rebuilt, and it may help you.

      Reply
  4. Carrie

    I hadn’t thought about it being lopsided before. Though I agree it could be.
    My hubby and I feel like communication is key for us. If either of us want a specific thing, we mention it. If the other person isn’t in the mood for that specific thing then they suggest something else. We have a rule that we can always say no, and the other person needs to accept it without making the other feel bad. It works well for us.

    Reply
  5. Jen

    The greatest sentence in this blog is “Her being able to reach orgasm in any way is far more important than him getting to reach orgasm in a particular way.” Putting mutuality at the front of our relationships is key because the enemy is constantly tempting us to be selfish. Porn and our culture teach selfishness, and it’s horrifying that there are actually pastors who teach selfishness and objectifying women. Such a big YUCK.

    Reply
  6. Laura

    When we talked about wives with higher sex drives than their husbands and today’s topic, I cannot help but think of this quote from Married…with Children when Al Bundy says to his neighbor, “Someone told women that they should start enjoying sex too. That was the beginning of the end. Now they like it, but it’s work for us!” So do a lot of men think that pleasing their wives is “work,” yet they think they’re entitled to a limitless supply of sex now that they’re married?

    At least, that’s what it felt like in my first marriage. Our sex life revolved around making him happy by trying to give him all the sex he claimed he ‘needed’ and that when I delivered, he became a nicer person. Well, in order for him to treat me well, I had to “deliver on demand.”

    As for oral sex and hand jobs, I was in my 20’s and not comfortable with my genitals so I didn’t receive it as much. He got oral sex and hand jobs more than I ever wanted to give him. I just found it repulsive and it was such a turn-off when he asked me if I could do him a “favor”? He would wake me up in the middle of the night for it. I couldn’t say no because he would behave like a jerk for days until I gave in.

    So, if I ever remarry, I don’t think I ever want to perform oral sex and hand jobs. As for receiving oral sex, I don’t know if I’m even comfortable with it. No one, except for my gynecologist, has seen this area for almost 20 years which I’m perfectly fine with.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m sorry you were so badly treated in your marriage, Laura, and coerced into sex acts like that. That was so wrong. I hope that by speaking out more women will know that they don’t have to put up with this. I’m glad you’re in a safer place now.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      I totally can relate to this. I hate oral sex and hand jobs for the same reason. Add pornography into the mix and the pressure to live up to acting like a sex slave. I told my husband a couple years ago (and he was caught using porn) I was done with either of those things.

      Perhaps in a mutually respectful and loving relationship there’s a place for it, I don’t know. I think alot of women are bullied into these things, far more than want to admit it 🙁

      Reply
    • George

      Please get counseling. Don’t let your ex-spouse rob still. Pity him but get your healing.

      GOD may even bring into your life a godly man.

      We are praying for you!

      Reply
  7. SLS

    On the topic of preferences.

    It is definitely okay to have preferences but we shouldn’t imply that preferences are set in stone and can never be discussed or altered.

    In 7 years of marriage both my wife and I have altered a number of our pre-marriage preferences on a variety of subjects to benefit each other.

    Most of these changes came about from discussing it with each other (although neither of us is perfect and we have been guilty of cajoling each other).

    Just because a spouse has a preference does not mean that there should be no discussion about it. Discussion about the “why” behind the preference can be illuminating.

    The spouse may discover they had no real basis behind their preference other than say, that was how their parents did it.

    On the other hand the couple may discover a really good reason for the preference (ex. like sexual abuse as a reason for disliking oral sex).

    What we should be avoiding is pressuring and cajoling. Am I making sense here?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, very true! You can definitely discuss preferences. You’re definitely making sense! And often there is give and take. We just shouldn’t ever railroad over someone’s preferences, especially with sex, because then we break trust and safety (which are necessary for sex). But good way of putting it!

      Reply
  8. Lisa M

    I really hope none of us know whether our parents gave each other oral sex or not. My sexual preferences certainly have nothing to do with my parents.

    Reply
    • SLS

      Lisa M I was referring to preferences in general in that statement. The example in my mind regarding “its how my parents did it” was “how to fold the laundry”, not “oral sex”.

      Reply
    • Shoshana

      Laura, unfortunately, I accidentally overheard my father telling a friend that he “didn’t do that” when discussing oral sex on his then girlfriend. My mother said years later that sex “was never something she cared for”. No wonder my parents divorced by the time I was six. My dad was a very selfish man so I could see him being very selfish in the bedroom although it grosses me out to think about it!

      Reply
      • Shoshana

        Sorry comment meant for Lisa

        Reply
  9. Rebekah

    I’ve struggled a lot with feeling confident receiving oral sex for the reasons you mentioned in the post. My husband is a wonderful man and loves giving me oral sex but my own insecurity has been the roadblock. One of the things that has helped me most to feel more relaxed and confident about receiving is to try it when I am fresh out of the shower (showering together first is even better when we can find the time). Actually, when I get out of the shower, all fresh and clean, is when I feel my sexiest in general. It’s a small thing and doesn’t take much time but it is a big confidence boost for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom who takes care of little children all day, so by the time I get to the end of the day I feel all sweaty and have probably been peed on or spit up on and am always worried there might be a lingering scent from some diaper or mess I have cleaned up during the day.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Both my husband and I prefer to take a shower right before sex for exactly this reason. My gag reflex is almost non-existent when he smells like soap, and I’m far more confident about my genitals when I know I’ve just cleaned them.

      Reply
  10. Lisa M

    Excellent post!

    Women, please don’t buy any of those “personal” deodorants or washes. Unless prescribed for a medical condition, water is all that is needed. The vagina is self cleaning.

    If there are flavor preferences, or just for fun, there are natural products that will not upset the pH balance of your vagina or cause irritation. The vaginal melts from Femallay are nice. But the vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned.

    Reply
  11. Anne

    Don’t ask for something you aren’t willing to give.

    Personally we don’t usually ask for this; but if one of us decides to offer it’s rarely declined. It’s better for foreplay than the main/only event. I feel like it’s more uncomfortable for my husband; but we only use it in foreplay for him. I have found that penetration is not comfortable or enjoyable if I’ve just orgasmed myself.

    Either way; its a mutually agreed upon act. But even taking turns reduces the intimacy for me unless it is only part of foreplay. It doesn’t feel very “together.”

    Reply
    • Rachel L.

      Hi Anne,

      I’m very glad you and your husband have found what works for you both, and what you are both comfortable with. I just wanted to say, that attitude of “don’t ask for what you’re unwilling to give” really bit me in the butt over the years.

      I had trauma regarding oral sex, so it was ALWAYS difficult for me. Which meant in the beginning I had just written off receiving it too, since I didn’t want to be unfair and ask for something I couldn’t give. I no longer think that’s a healthy motto, because I’ve realized that each person’s body is so different. What works for one partner might not work for another. Therefore it’s unfair to demand/expect that each person only ask for what they can also perform, because it also means that the expectation is that whatever works for one will automatically work for the other – when it may not be a factor at all! It also places a lot of pressure on people to be able to perform ALL THE THINGS – which might be impossible given certain health concerns, physical limitations, etc.

      With my ex husband, he was so enthusiastic about giving oral sex, & because I thought “don’t ask for what you won’t perform”, I put so much pressure on myself to “get over” the trauma, because I was sure he was missing out, and things were unbalanced.

      Then, I had some wild days during my divorce (which I’m not endorsing here – I was VERY mad at God at the time) and during that time I discovered that it’s better to express what I KNOW works for my body, and allow the other person to decide how they can work within those parameters. I also asked what they knew worked for their body, and we kept communication open, but there wasn’t any pressure to do anything I was uncomfortable or triggered by.

      Those encounters taught me that it was attractive and appreciated when I was clear on what I liked. And that I was free to ask for oral sex, and it was explicitly stated that I could do so without any sort of demand/expectation for reciprocation – which was such a healing experience. It took all the pressure off. That attitude restored my ability to just enjoy what was happening, and take joy in my body & how it was made. And then, I found I was able to actually start reciprocating – on MY terms, in a way that I could enjoy.

      My point is, that initial attitude put so much pressure on me to be satisfied with only what my performance limitations were, and to do things I wasn’t ready for just to keep things “even”. But mutual, pleasurable, intimate sex isn’t about keeping the scales perfectly balanced, it’s about sharing joy with your partner/spouse. And many times, that means my guy gives oral sex as a standard part of our shared experience, and I don’t, and we are both completely satisfied & connected. It’s also why I think Sheila’s point that for some women it’s a necessity for orgasm, whereas for men it’s moreso a “bonus” is so important. Equal action is not necessarily equal satisfaction or equal quality of experience.

      Reply
  12. Katie

    This is amazing, Sheila!! Spot on.

    Reply
  13. Anon

    This whole topic is triggering to me, probably due to the expectations placed on women by the church and media about this. It seems that the general consensus out there (not just from Driscoll) is that a woman owes it to her husband to give him oral. I’ve never been able to even try it, because my only understanding of it came from degrading sources. It doesn’t compute for me to think of it as a loving act, like my brain can’t comprehend that.

    On the flip side, receiving has always seemed wrong to me as well. My brain refuses to accept that he could truly enjoy doing that, so it becomes impossible to relax and just let him do it.

    I feel so much guilt for how much this limits us, especially because I know he wants it, even though he would never pressure me into anything I’m uncomfortable with.

    Reply
    • Dr George

      Get professional help from mature Christuan counselors that fit the genuine principles that our valued Shelia G articulates do well on on her grest blog!

      Don’t let selfishness rob you both. Allow God to bring in His healing for you both.

      Reply
      • Dr George

        Typos fixed!

        Get professional help from mature Christian counselors that fit the genuine principles that our valued Shelia G articulates do well on on her great blog!

        Don’t let selfishness rob you both. Allow God to bring in His healing for you both.

        Reply
  14. Martha

    I enjoy receiving oral sex very much but it is giving that really turns me on 🙂

    Reply
    • Dr George

      That is so neat. Fits how if we try snd out-give each other — it can be win-win-win. Win for them. Win for us. But a real win for GOD!😀🙃😀

      Last time I I checked— the genuine GOD is the One Who dreamed up the magnificent gift of sex. If we will but follow His guidelines and not Satan who is the Deceiver—then it is win-win-win for all.

      Reply
  15. Anon

    My husband almost always takes time for me, but I feel like since he knows oral sex is what “works,” It’s his go to move. Like he’s checking a box on a list so it can be his turn even skipping regular foreplay. Don’t get me wrong; it works, but there’s no intimacy. As a previous commenter stated- I also find penetration immediately after an orgasm uncomfortable. Most often we {69} so it’s mutual, but he makes me stop before he orgasms as his preference is for penetration as soon as I orgasm. I usually don’t enjoy much from that point on, but I feel like it’s a- he feels like he’s done his duty and now it’s all for him issue. We’ve been married 23 years and my sex drive is much higher than his. He is only interested maybe once every week and a half. I find that when it’s been more than a few days I start getting argumentative, and we bicker and fight until he’s ready to have sex. The less he wants sex the more I seem to resent him. Like he’s literally walking around with the ability to solve my problems and yet- doesn’t care to. So I understand the point of view that sex is a need. Am I going to die without it? No. Do I lie awake at night for hours wanting the man lying next to me more than air. Yeah.

    Reply
    • Dr George

      Get help. This css as n be the win-win for y’all but let GOD win here also!

      Reply
    • Dr George

      Slowing down the time till penetration may be a solution.

      Reply
  16. N

    We’ve had a lot of back and forth about oral sex early in our marriage. But one thing that I’m extremely grateful for is that my husband would always refuse to ejaculate into my mouth. He has always felt that it was one of the most degrading things a man can do to a woman. Due to my tongue tie causing my facial muscles to always be tight, we discovered early on that I simply cannot do it. He, however loves to do it to me, but like many others I have a hard enjoying it for the common reasons mentioned.

    Reply
    • Dr George

      Don’t settle. Grow through this.

      Reply
  17. Bron

    I love the contrast of higher pressure on women to perform oral sex and make themselves uncomfortable for their partner’s pleasure, when women tend to rely on oral sex for orgasm more!
    I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s less comfortable for men to perform oral sex on women though. Women can perform oral sex on men in different ways depending on what’s comfortable for them, which obviously does require a partner who’s willing to accept what she can give and not project pornified expectations onto her. (Not taking into account trauma here though). Repetitive movements with the tongue and jaw can be painful and tiring for men too.
    Also, some people eg autistic people are very sensitive to sensory input. So this means not everyone will be comfortable giving or receiving oral sex- and maybe in a relationship one partner will be more comfortable with it than the other. Body fluids, hair, jaw movements, and smell can all be off-putting for either gender, and that’s okay.

    Reply
  18. Laura

    To add another perspective: My husband always wanted to give me oral sex, but I struggled with yeast infections and his saliva exacerbated those. I don’t know how many times he wore me down until I finally let him try it again, only for me to be left miserable. So I think it’s also important to emphasize consent when we’re talking about the wife being on the receiving end. It’s not always fun to be on that side… And coercion is never fun.

    Reply
    • A2bbethany

      My mom had to give up sugar and breads with yeast, due to frequently getting those. Thankfully I’ve been spared, and she was able to stop them by giving up the common diet for a much healthier one. (Aside from an occasional flare up)
      Just my thoughts on yeast infections.

      Reply
      • Laura

        I’m not wanting to discuss yeast infections, but the consent that was trampled. My trauma was because of his sexual coercion, not because I struggled with yeast infections.

        Reply
        • Estelle

          Laura,I’m sorry he didn’t prioritize your wellbeing.

          Reply
        • Dr George

          Get that addressed with a solid Christian counselor.

          Reply
    • Dr George

      Use the non-porous Saran type wrap vs exam glove cut vs the dental dam. That is my Input from a family doc.

      Reply
  19. Abigail

    “Ladies, your genitals were beautifully and wonderfully made.” I honestly almost started crying when I read that. I have some warped perceptions of sex and intimacy due to porn and that extends to oral sex. I’ve always felt ambivalent *at best* about what’s between my legs. I’ve never understood the appeal and I’ve felt self-conscious almost my entire life. Thank you for saying that, Sheila. Thank you for reminding me that every part of me is fearfully and wonderfully made and that I’m allowed to exist as I am, without self-consciousness.

    Reply
  20. Andrea

    I have been really bothered about the pornographic understanding of fellatio and I’m convinced that’s why women don’t like doing it. References to the “gag reflex” make me bristle and I even saw a reference to “deep throat” in the FB comments (I’ve also seen it in a Christian sex manual), which is the literal name of a very popular porn film from the 1970s. Same for being on her knees or having her head held (this is called “face-f***ing” in porn). He should lie on his back and stroke her hair and back while she’s doing it. Sorry I have to get graphic to explain the difference between porn and sex. Modern secular sex manuals do this as do sex education classes in public schools; porn has become a public health concern and people need to be taught not to do that in real life.

    The way to give an affectionate non-porno blowjob is to do most of the “job” with one’s hand and run the tongue around and over the tip of his penis (circles, clock-wise, counter-clockwise…). The tip of the penis is the part with the most nerve endings, the male equivalent of the clitoris, so there’s really no point in putting the whole thing into your mouth. Think about how oral sex on a woman is performed, he doesn’t actually mimic intercourse by sticking his tongue in and out of her vagina, but licks her clitoris. Same the other way around. Also, no need to swallow. The polite consent world thing for a man to do is to warn her and give her a choice. And can we please stop using that Bible verse from Songs about his fruit being sweet to reference oral sex when we all know sperm tastes salty? 😉

    Reply
    • Anon (from triggered comment)

      This comment is actually very helpful. I’ve never heard it described in a healthy way like that (not saying no one does, I haven’t seen it though). My only understanding came from the pornified descriptions of it (from “Christian” marriage books).

      Reply
    • AS

      Eating fruit definitely helps with taste issues. Eating junk food makes the flavor of secretions unpleasant.

      Reply
      • Dr George

        Great input

        Reply
    • Dr George.

      Grest input.

      Reply
  21. Andi

    My family wasn’t actively involved in church when I was a teen, so I missed being completely overwhelmed with purity culture stuff. My formative sex education growing up came from romance novels my friend secretly gave me, and I am so thankful! The assumption is that women should orgasm regularly, and women receive oral sex far more than they give. So when I started dating and met my husband, I considered things like hair, personal scent, folds and flaps, and receiving oral sex to be a perfectly normal part of a relationship. Thankfully, he wasn’t a Christian until he was 21, so he missed most the purity culture stuff too.

    Reply
  22. Jane Eyre

    This brings up the issue of what it means to have equality and reciprocity in bed. If he orgasms through intercourse and she doesn’t, is it equal and reciprocal for her to receive oral sex (without the expectation of giving), or is equality that they both have to give? Or is it “normal” for her to be penetrated in a way that causes him to climax, rather than normal for both spouses to climax (whoever that happens)?

    The idea of oral sex terrifies me because sex is already such a one way street. Receiving wouldn’t balance things out, either, because my husband doesn’t listen to what I like.

    The whole “get over it” language is so reminiscent of the secular culture. It’s what people tell Christians who want to wait for marriage – “get over” your “hang ups.”

    Reply
    • Dr George

      I hear snd feel your pain and frustrations.

      Please get professional balanced solid Christian counseling.

      Reply
  23. Ray

    My wife and I have naturally come to this realization that receiving oral sex is much more important for her sexual satisfaction than it is to mine. It quickly became the most reliable way for her to orgasm.

    I will say that while I was happy to give oral sex, at first it was very uncomfortable on my jaw and that little flap of skin under my tongue would even bleed sometimes. But with more experience and time both have been a non issue. I also at first used a flavored lubricant, but now love the scent of her just naturally as she is. Over the years I’ve grown to love to give oral sex and my wife and I often joke who likes it more, me giving or her receiving.

    I originally had the mind set that since I’m giving oral sex, so should she. I also took the time not get over any discomforts and thought that if she kept trying she would learn to love to give as well. However, I began to realize that it was more of an aversion to even the thought that semen could be in her mouth and something she just didn’t enjoy or prefer. Since we have a great sex life and both are very happy, we decided to not make oral sex an issue. It’s something she needs for orgasm that we both enjoy.

    Oral sex for woman should be talked about as a great tool often needed for orgasm! Oral sex for men is more about another way to spice things up.

    Reply
    • Dr George

      Grest point.

      Reply
    • Dr George

      Great point

      (Thanks for fixing my typo!)

      Reply
  24. Cari

    Such a wonderful post. Thank you

    Reply
  25. Marie

    I don’t want to put an “obligation sex” message on men, or a “keeping score” mentality, but it was awful to have my husband introduce me to oral sex as a seemingly sensitive lover, and then become emotionally abusive and withholding of affection, and for 10 years continue to ask me for it but never again offer to do it. A small part of our problems leading to a life-saving divorce, maybe, but I’ve only had him as a partner and it seemed so unfair. Of course I had swallowed the “service him” message completely, yet I had the higher drive and was seldom fulfilled.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous and confused

    So you say the clitoris isn’t hard to find, we can’t seem to find it. Married for way too long for this to be an issue but we’ve recently been working on making sex pleasurable for me and now sex is worse than ever and we can’t seem to find it. Red good girls guide and now doing 31 days but yeah all of it ducks and I just wanna cry because it takes forever and nothings working. After over ten years I finally told that I’ve been lonely in our marriage because I felt used and cut off emotionally to help the trauma of it and he’s trying but it’s made it so much worse. Do you have a blog on what to do? I grew up in purity culture and was always told sex was shameful, sex is your duty and never touch yourself or you’re going to hell, so I can’t help him. Oh and was molested at 4 1/2 and raped (virginity taken) early teens. My husband is amazing but this is frustrating him and making me
    Feel defective

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Anonymous, I’m so sorry! I’ll just say two quick things. First, it’s probably very important for you to get some trauma counseling from a trauma-trained therapist who knows specific evidence based therapies for trauma. You likely have a lot to deal with over the past abuse (and I’m so sorry about that).

      As for the clitoris, look at an anatomy picture (just google medical female genitalia anatomy) and then look at yourself, and you’ll see it. Likely the reason you haven’t found it is that it hasn’t felt good when he’s rubbed it, because you’re not aroused or excited yet. It’s important just to relax and feel excited FIRST. Rubbing the clitoris when you’re at a 0 on the excitement scale doesn’t feel pleasurable for many women; just off-putting. So kiss, touch, have him pay attention to the inside of your arms and the backs of your legs, etc. That’s likely the issue.

      Reply
      • Anonymous and vonfused

        It appears my longer reply disappeared. I will definitely be looking for a therapist. On a positive note the intimacy app you recommended helped us to laugh and enjoy each other (relationally)like we haven’t in a long time. As my husband before marriage he and Jesus struggled with porn he is afraid to look for help online, do you think the orgasm course would be helpful or is it the same stuff?

        Reply
    • Steven Green

      Been married ten years and can not find my wife’s clitorus. I read that she has a “buried clitorus.” She can not feel it either. To me, it seems like it is missing.

      Reply
      • Dr George

        Get professional help. Make the Investment in each other here.

        Reply
  27. Anonymous and confused

    Thank you for caring about marriages. I have been praying that God would use what we’ve learned to help us understand intimacy and being vulnerable and that we ultimately learn what intimacy feels like and grow in that area with God as well. It’s amazing how we were created for intimacy and tht by not communicating I wasn’t helping either of us.
    Thanks for saying the hard things and helping so many!

    Reply
    • Dr George

      Thanks for showing how people can grow.

      Thanks also to whomever it was that gave you the input and inspiration to allow growth and healing to happen.

      Reply
  28. J L

    Excellent points! Even though it doesn’t work for me, it helped me finally get there by increasing my acceptance of my body and convincing me of his interest in my pleasure.

    Reply
  29. AS

    Oral sex is much more acceptable than it was in the past. A Natural way to improve adverse tastes is to eat a healthy diet, especially fruits such as pineapple. We often use oral as part of foreplay and saliva can be a natural lubricant for intercourse. I’ve found that I must use natural products that are pH balanced to prevent infections. And if you are the one performing fellatio, you are actually the one in control if it’s consensual. With that perspective, I find it enjoyable being able to arouse my husband in this manner.

    Reply
  30. Shannon

    I thought my husband was crazy when he first mentioned oral sex. I was like “you want to do what to me where?!” (He was my first and only sexual partner.) I thought it was disgusting and couldn’t understand why he wanted to put his mouth on an area that, to me, was dirty and disgusting. I never liked my “private parts” but didn’t mind them as much after we were married only because he liked them. After almost two decades of primary anorgasmia I finally told him he didn’t have to do oral ( or manual) anymore since it didn’t work anyway. It still creeps me out to think of him touching me in any way down there. I’m fine if he never gives me oral again…it’s disgusting. I have no problem giving oral to him though because I know he really likes it. We stop before ejaculation because we don’t want me to vomit on his genitals. 😆

    Reply
    • Dr George

      I don’t want to be a broken record here, but counseling for you will be win for you, win for him, and I think win for God.

      Don’t let the past haunt the now—let alone the future.

      It would be fine if you choose for it to be one way. But for these reasons it sounds like it is I distorted past understanding—Is why you have no aversion to it.

      What God creates—we should never put down or allow Satan to distort and put negativity on.

      Reply
  31. DB

    Contributing to my woman’s pleasure is as much my responsibility as providing for her materially. As such I have no qualms stimulating her orally. Her pleasure gives me great satisfaction

    Reply
  32. Sadie

    The situation is flipped for my husband & me. I have no qualms giving oral, and my husband likes receiving it. But he thinks giving it is gross and refuses to give oral anymore, even though it’s the only thing that feels good for me. We’ve been married about a year and a half, I’m not sure if I’ve actually orgasmed yet but the oral was starting to feel consistently good. But a few months ago there was one time that he tried manual and it felt kind of good. So then he decided he was done giving oral and would only do manual. Well it’s been a few months and the manual hasn’t really felt very good again. And when he tries manual it makes me sad because I just want to feel good but it never works. I am struggling because I want to be respectful of his boundaries but I also want to feel good.
    This is actually the second time in 1.5 years that he’s said no more oral. First time was about a year ago – he didn’t try anything for two months before he started giving oral again. But this time I think it’s just entirely off the table in his mind. And he is at least trying manual, it just isn’t working at all. I don’t know what to do. I feel like my body is broken and now there’s way too much pressure for manual to work so of course it’s not going to. It also makes me feel really upset that he’s so grossed out by giving me oral. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and I was specifically bullied about my pubic hair on a couple occasions. So to have my husband think it’s gross just really hurts in an old wound. (And I do keep it trimmed & clean). Anyway I’m sorry for such a long comment, I just really don’t know what to do and would appreciate your advice.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Do you orgasm in any other way, Sadie? Because that would change my answer. I think some of us just don’t like certain things, and those boundaries do need to be honored. But if you’re not orgasming in any other way, then it isn’t fair to withhold orgasm from you. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know it can be really, really tough. But that would be where I would start.

      Reply
      • Sadie

        The only thing that really feels good is oral. There was one time manual felt kind of good, like maybe with more practice it’d feel good too. And he has been trying manual some, but it doesn’t go anywhere. I honestly don’t know if I’ve orgasmed yet at all but at least the oral felt better. When he does manual it starts to felt kinda good and then it just stops. I wish it felt as good because I want to respect his boundaries. I’d expect the same from him. But now there’s so much pressure for me to feel good from manual and trying just makes me upset because it just makes me want what I can’t have. I feel so rejected that my husband thinks that it’s gross. I didn’t really feel insecure about my body going into our marriage and this has made me feel so much worse.

        Reply
        • Shoshana

          I read somewhere sex ed curriculums say very little or nothing about the clitorus so kids are coming out of high school ignorant about this. My ex and I both fell into this category. Oral sex didn’t feel good because my ex concentrated on the vagina instead of the clitoris of which we were both ignorant. I remember thinking that orgasms happen through piv. Made sense right? Wrong! I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening to me. After I figured it out, orgasms came much easier through clitoral and g spot orgasms-not by the ex though that was too much work for him which is why he’s an ex. I read a book called “Vagina” I think by feminist writer Virginia Wolf. She said while the penis is directly connected by a nerve straight to the brain, the clitoris and the vagina are each connected by a separate nerve which means the brain “talks” separately to the vagina and clitorus. The author sited some animal studies that show when female rats aren’t receptive to a male, they will fight to the death rather than mate. Autopsies of the rats vagina show their vaginal walls thickened in female rats not receptive unlike female rats who were receptive to the males. Why am I bringing this up? After all humans are more complex than rats! The author also sited some research that all women should be capable of vaginal orgasms, but most don’t. Why? The author suggested that trauma from abuse whether from domestic violence, sexual assault, or other types of trauma may make human females subconsciously not receptive to vaginal orgasms as the brain signals this trauma to the vagina. Trauma could also just from living in a mysoganist patriarchal culture. Triggers like a President bragging about “grab by the p*ssy”, pornified sexualized culture, men calling female presidential candidate a c*nt, me too, abuse scandals in and outside of church ,etc, can take it’s toll. Than add in modern day stresses working full time, all housework/childcare responsibility, church telling women they’re depriving men, the Driscoll’s of the world, ignorance about female anatomy, selfish male lovers/ husbands, one sided sex, pregnancy, childbearing..
          The list goes on. It is any wonder women can’t orgasm especially through piv. Patriarchy and misogyny is killing women’s libidos. If a woman doesn’t feel safe for whatever reason, her brain maybe signaling this to her vagina so piv orgasms do not happen especially if the clitoris is ignored. Just trying to put this all together. Even women who are out right abused by their husbands may feel stressed just by our woman hating culture enough not to feel safe. Too bad poor lab animals had to be sacrificed in order to give any insight into this. The legs of the clitoris extend into the walls of the vagina. If a woman feels trauma or stress,etc, her vagina may not be receptive to piv even when she goes through the motions so no orgasm there.

          Reply
          • Shoshana

            Sorry author of Vagina is Naomi Wolf not Virginia Wolf

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