Ten women open up about their experience with not being into receiving oral sex in and out of the bedroom.
Among the several things Hollywood executives have managed to plaster across our screens, the idea that all women long for cunnilingus has got to be one of the most unrealistic ones. Based on these inaccurate portrayals, it seems as if one of the few benefits that come with owning a vulva is receiving oral sex. It’s odd, considering how pop culture still thrives on jokes about vaginal hair, odor, and shapes.
Our current environment preaches that oral sex is one of the only ways for women to achieve pleasure. In reality, though, there are plenty who choose to opt out of oral completely. Their reasonings may vary—from general discomfort to triggered insecurities. The truth is, getting head isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. There’s no “right” way to orgasm or engage in foreplay. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to not be turned on by this act, we gathered ten women to answer your questions.
“People like different things. I’m okay with not liking oral and I’d prefer not being pressured to receive it. I’m not sure if it’s me or my previous partners not being good at it, but I don’t get any pleasure from it. I tend to get stuck inside my head which blocks me from enjoying it and it makes me overthink: do I taste bad? What if they’re not enjoying it? Am I ugly down there? When I opened up to my friends about it, they definitely judged me for saying that I’m not into it. One of them even told me that I just haven’t been with someone who knows what they’re doing, because if I had, then I’d feel the complete opposite of how I do.”
“I like to see the face of whoever I’m having sex with, so it’s hard for me to enjoy it. I also feel like it puts me in a very vulnerable position I’m not exactly comfortable being in. In the past, I remember feeling guilty for telling my boyfriend not to go down on me, but when I told him how it really didn’t do much for me, he was very supportive and understanding.”
“Sometimes I feel like I am defeating the entire concept of sexual reciprocity when I tell people I don’t enjoy oral sex, but [it’s true]. I give oral sex to my partners and I really enjoy doing so. Even after I became comfortable with my body in a sexual setting I found that I was still…very uninterested in receiving oral sex. [It’s] never felt good to me no matter who was doing it… The person could be a total pro at cunnilingus and I would just be totally unaffected the entire time… My partners are usually shocked when I attempt to decline and they consider it a challenge. [But] no matter their efforts, they…truly do not succeed in their appointed quest.”
“The reason why I don’t enjoy receiving oral sex is because it just isn’t as pleasurable as I would have imagined. I’d rather play with my clit before getting fucked. [Because] I’m more of a penetration type of girl, [I] like to make myself cum while having sex.”
“I feel like I haven’t recovered from a lot of the things I grew up hearing in middle school and high school. The girls in my grade seemed to be so obsessed with how they tasted, smelled, and looked, that those things quickly became an obsession of my own. I know that my vagina smells like it should and that I follow a fairly healthy diet, but I’m still very insecure about people going down on me. The only times I have let people go down on me, I’ve felt anxious and distracted… [Nowadays,] I tend to avoid it all around.”
“I think the whole idea of [oral sex] is super sexy, and the thought of it does arouse me, but on the other hand, I find it extremely difficult to fully let loose and relax… when receiving head. I think that stems from being insecure with the way I may look, smell, or taste… I respond so much more to foreplay with fingers or toys… [because] I find that a lot more intimate [since] I can be closer to his face and my mind doesn’t race [while] staring at the ceiling… [It’s] usually not about the person I’m getting head from, most of the time [I’m] just being anxious and insecure!”
“Oral sex has never done a lot for me… [It] doesn’t feel terrible, but it’s not a sensation I’m crazy about. It’s hard for me to orgasm from it, so I’d rather do something else with my partner that might help me get me off. When I tell friends that I don’t love it when people go down on me, I usually get weird looks, but I’ve learned to brush them off. It’s not like I’m entirely against it, it’s just not gonna get me anywhere… [and] even if I did hate it, there’s no reason for me to get criticized for it.”
“Personally, receiving oral isn’t something I find super impactful, maybe because I haven’t found the right partner, but I’ve learned to be more open to it as of late. Sometimes it’s not enjoyable and it [can even] hurt, due to [my partners] not knowing what they’re doing, so I usually [tend to] skip that part out of habit.”
“I’m not sure if there’s an exact reason I don’t enjoy receiving oral sex but I think it might tie into my fear of vulnerability. I’ve always been a very private person and I’ve never been in an actual relationship until this year. Upon entering said relationship I learned that I sort of struggle with enjoying physical and emotional affection. Having someone that close to my body in such an intimate way makes me too anxious to actually focus on the pleasure my partner is trying to give me. I’ve been very fortunate to not experience outward judgment from partners or friends. I am typically met with confusion but never any shame or hostility.”
“Receiving oral sex does not feel as good to me as other sexual things, like penetration with a penis or my partner’s fingers. I grew up in a sex-negative household, so it took me awhile to take control of my sexuality and really learn to enjoy it… I’m still learning to be okay with having my partner so up close and personal with my vagina! There are all different kinds of intimacy and my partner and I share all other kinds of intimate moments together, [but]I don’t feel like my sex life is lacking in any way. I love to give oral sex, and maybe one day I’ll come around to wanting to receive it more often.”
By Ana Salazar
Illustration by Yoo Young Chun