My new boyfriend says he doesn’t like being given oral sex. I can’t say it bothers me hugely, but I’ve never come across this before and I’m quite puzzled. I thought all men liked it. Am I wrong?
Not all men like oral sex. Statistics from the second UK National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle show that most men (88.3%) and women (87.8%) have tried oral sex at least once, but they don’t tell us how many of them tried it, hated it, and have not done it again. In Jessica Wood’s 2016 study exploring gender differences in oral sex practices and pleasure ratings among heterosexual Canadian university students, nearly a third of men said that they didn’t like receiving oral sex.
You and your boyfriend are still in the honeymoon period and being open about vulnerabilities or insecurities could have a transformative effect on your relationship. Openness liberates you from pretence and being brave enough to discuss what does or doesn’t work for you both is an opportunity to guide each other without fear of being judged or humiliated.
What might your boyfriend say if he felt safe enough to be honest? The most likely explanation is that he has had a bad experience. It is not particularly easy to do this well and it can be awkward if it goes wrong. If he had a bad experience with his previous partner or the sensation he experienced was painful, uncomfortable, or boring, he may have decided that it is easier and less embarrassing to not go there.
Alternatively, he may have anxieties about the size and shape of his penis or how quickly he ejaculates. Some men find oral sex over-stimulating and since they generally prefer intercourse anyway, avoiding it means they save their orgasm for penetrative sex. Some men find it can make them lose their erection. If this happens just once, it can create a cycle of anxiety in which worrying about losing an erection during oral sex ensures that it happens repeatedly. And hygiene can be a concern, although a quick shower before sex sorts that out easily enough.
If you think the issue is your technique, he will find it hard to tell you the truth because he won’t want to hurt you, so you would need to give him explicit permission to be completely frank and promise you won’t be insulted. It is hard to master fellatio and many men would rather have none than something badly executed. And since he does not seem to be too bothered about receiving it, one option is to leave it off the menu. This would take the pressure off and if you don’t let it become a big deal, he may feel more comfortable about it as the relationship cements.
However, if you are keen to improve your technique, my book, The Sex Book, available at amazon.co.uk, contains lots of detailed information.
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