Ask Professor Foxy: How Do I Get My Lover to Try Oral Sex?

This weekly Saturday column “Ask Professor Foxy” will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.
Dear Professor Foxy,
I’m currently seeing a great guy (for about a month now). Our sex life has been, for the most part, rewarding and fun, however we’ve bumped into an issue. He has never gone down on a girl, and is hesitant to breach that sexual boundary. He has much less experience than I do (this hasn’t been discussed but is pretty obvious), so I am trying to be an understanding, sex positive partner and not push him in to doing something that makes him uncomfortable. However, I am not really interested in a relationship with someone who NEVER goes down on me – especially since he loves it when I go down on him. How do I broach this subject to give him a positive view of oral sex without pressuring him?

Dear X,
Thanks for writing in. Part of being the more experienced one in a sexual relationship is to help less experienced lovers cross boundaries that they want to cross. First, make sure that he actually wants to go down on a woman. Broach the subject gently. It is hard for most people to admit that they are less experienced or scared to try something new. Start with telling him how much you love going down on him and how you would like the same from him. If you are comfortable, offer to show him what you like by touching yourself in front of him.
If he is comfortable admitting that he is not experienced with performing oral sex, I always suggest the alphabet method for learning what feels best. Have the person performing oral sex spell out the alphabet using their tongue on the clitoris. Both partners should pay attention to what gets the most positive response. Are A through E boring, but Q rocks? Then do some more Q. Also have him experiment with simultaneous penetration to see how that feels.
Positive feedback is best. Focus on what he does best and ask for more of that. If he does something or touches you in a way that does not work, still frame it in a positive way “Oh honey, I loved the other thing so much more.” Let him know how much you like what he is doing in a way that is sexual and not clinical.
Keep in mind that trying any new sexual act takes time to master. You should not expect the first time to be miraculous or even that great. Sex is an art and it can take time to make it work with each person.
Take your time, coach gently, and you can get there.
Professor Foxy
If you have a question for Professor Foxy, send it to ProfessorFoxyATfeministingDOTcom.

Join the Conversation

  • Comrade Kevin

    I have to say that I had patient lovers and not-so-patient lovers regarding this topic. Some worked with me and some made condescending, invalidating comments when all I was trying to do was please them.
    I think that with practice comes not just skill but also self-confidence. The ability to not be inhibited and totally in the moment is often the sign of a great lover. But it all begins somewhere. For me, I began in high school learning and since my lovers at the time were as inexperienced I was, it wasn’t so much of an issue because I was eager to perform and they weren’t so much aware of what they were expecting to receive.
    But when I dated a woman who was ten years older than me in college, I suddenly became aware of how much I had to learn. She was not especially patient, nor understanding, but I was convinced to master oral sex so that I could show her that I wasn’t some inexperienced neophyte without a clue. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best motivation, and I would have much rather she reacted the way highlighted here.

  • Edgy1004

    Prof. F.,
    You didn’t really go into what to do if he still doesn’t want to go down on her? Should she break up with him because as she stated “I am not really interested in a relationship with someone who NEVER goes down on me” or should she re-evaluate he criteria?

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    I read the headline and thought “er, giving or receiving?” I do wonder if he has some (presumably unstated) objection or if it just hadn’t occurred to him — the letter is ambiguous. I’d think the latter is easier to overcome.

  • Chris

    “First, make sure that he actually wants to go down on a woman.”
    Certainly an important point. Why is it that so many people can enjoy receiving, but refuse to give? I wonder how he justifies this.

  • nattles_thing

    This is why Dan Savage is still my favorite sex columnist.
    By all means, try Prof Foxy’s nice, sexy way of letting him know what you need. If she’s right and he’s nervous because he doesn’t know what he’s doing– and this could very well be the case — it’ll probably work.
    But if he’s still hesitant or tries it once or twice but doesn’t keep up the effort then by all means let him know that it’s a dealbreaker. It’s nice that you’re worried about pressuring him and all that jazz, but if he’s mature enough to have sex and get blowjobs, he’s mature enough to understand that he needs to reciprocate.

  • Newbomb Turk

    Start with telling him how much you love going down on him and how you would like the same from him. If you are comfortable, offer to show him what you like by touching yourself in front of him.
    The surest way to antagonize a partner is to make oral sex into some kind of quid pro quo arrangement “You do me and I’ll do you”. I’ve gotten along well enough with women who wouldn’t suck my cock without trying to haggle with them. You’d be better off by coming clean about what you want rather than playing games.

  • MLEmac28

    Also, if you have thick pubic hair, I’d suggest trimming it. I makes everything easier to find. Plus a lot of people aren’t fans of hair in their mouth. My boyfriend and I are both rather hairy and we stay trimmed to make oral sex more enjoyable for the giver as well as the receiver.
    Of course, there are plenty of politics around pubic hair, and women are expected to be bare thanks to the porn industry. I don’t find a problem with trimming shaving or waxing for oral sex, however. The important thing is just to do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

  • Gnatalby

    It sounds like the problem is that the boyfriend thinks it will be gross, which needs different handling than nerves about not being good.
    At the very least this is a common enough problem among the relatively inexperienced that the answer should address the possibility.

  • beckeck06

    hmm, this sounds like a question my partner could answer better than me since I’m not sure what worked! we had the same problem, but my anxiety over it was a little high. in high school i had seen someone who gave me head ONCE (and got mad at me when he found out i told my best friend about the first time i gave head (which also happened to be to him)) but then i found out after we broke up he’d been giving his buddies the count of how many times i’d given him head, which turned out to be somewhere upwards of 30 i think (found this out from our mutual friends, the “buddies”.) and he wasn’t a total jerk. which just goes to show how sexist the average joe is. anywho, needless to say I had some issues with the no-getting-head arrangement, especially since I really enjoy giving it. But after lots of explaining why it was important to me (also, i have never had an orgasm adn thought that might be the ticket), patience (and trying no-one-gives-head for a while so that i didn’t think it was unfair) he slowly started giving me head. a year and a half later he loves giving me head and does it about as much as i do him. I don’t know that he’s wild about the taste usually, but sometimes we use dental dams to get around that. OH– ASK HIM TO TRY IT WITH A DENTAL DAM (and some lube underneath) or do it after you’ve just showered. good luck! if he’s really that good, have patience. i think they do come around.

  • instrumentjamlord

    And him comfortable too.

  • attentat
  • karak

    Alright, X, this is something to think about:
    He might have a case of Mental Nasty Crotch–“vaginas are gross and smell like fish and are full of nasty fluid, while penises are like dry skin, and therefore less objectionable (HA! But I digress).”
    If he has a case of this, and you’re still willing to work with him, consider a dental dam. It might alleviate a bit of his fear of vagina, or it might prove once and for all that he’s just not the one.

  • mandoir

    Interesting article, but I think this issue goes beyond ‘quid pro quo.’ If in every sexual interaction, a couple (by “couple” I mean merely a pair of two who presumably have had sex more than once) is keeping tabs on who has done what to who and making sure that orgasms are equally distributed and blah blah blah, that likely leads to bad, dispassionate, mechanical sex.
    But this isn’t about that. This woman is NEVER receiving oral sex, and it is clearly something she likes and needs from a sexual partner. I don’t get from her question that she is demanding a quid pro quo in which every time she goes down on him, he should be required to reciprocate for her. What I do get from her question, and from nattles_thing’s comment, is that reciprocation in this case means that in general, he should be willing to give her oral sex because she likes it and is currently going without it. He doesn’t have to love it, but he should on some level want to please his partner and be willing to consensually perform the act.
    Again, an equal heterosexual sex partnership is not making sure that on every individual encounter, every blowjob is met with an equal and opposite cunnilingus. It’s just that overall, both partners are getting what they want. “X” is not here.

  • Hershele Ostropoler

    Oral shouldn’t be the price one partner pays for oral, or the cost one charges, or the reward for it, or the ransom, either at the relationship or at the session level. I would think, in a relationship where there’s affection as well as lust, it’s reasonable for (assuming heterosexuality) the man to do something he may not like per se, but doesn’t find actively repellent because it makes his partner happy. That’s a better argument than “if you’ll do me, I’ll do you” or “I’m going to stop doing you unless you do me.” Particularly if she genuinely enjoys doing it or gets the pleasing thing (as many women are raised to, of course).