Dear Em & Lo: My Boyfriend Won’t Go Down on Me

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Dear Em and Lo,

When my boyfriend and I started seeing each other he made it clear he had a problem with performing oral sex and so I’ve never asked him to do it as, after all, I wouldn’t want to do something I wasn’t comfortable with or wouldn’t enjoy. However, after nearly 2 years, I must admit I do miss oral sex. Do you have any recommendations for making oral sex more appealing for him and broaching the subject? For instance, are flavored lubes nice or do they just taste weird when they mix with my own wetness? Or should I just insist that it is a reasonable request and relationships need a bit of compromise?

I Can’t Think of a Witty Name

Dear Ictoawn (ha! sounds like Icktown, probably your boyfriend’s name for cunnilingus),

Ooooh, that’s a toughie. Now, if you wrote to us saying your boyfriend really liked anal sex but you really didn’t and he was pressuring you to give in, would we encourage you to try it or to just keep your butt cheeks clenched for the sake of maintaining your own personal sexual integrity? As usual, the answer is neither black nor white. You’ve got to weigh some things:

  • He told you from the beginning that cunnilingus wasn’t his bag, so he gets some credit for that: -1 point.
  • Does he enjoy and expect blow jobs from you? If yes, count that as +1 point. If not, -1.
  • You’ve got to find out his reason for not being into it. If he doesn’t like the smell or taste, count that as +1: you can work with him to make things more palatable by showering immediately beforehand, changing your diet to make things sweeter downtown, and yes, trying flavored lube. If he doesn’t like pubes in his mouth, count that as +1: you can compromise by going Kojak. If, however, he had some sort of traumatic experience (the likes of which were captured in Teeth) that really makes it hard for him psychologically to perform the task, count that as -1. But if a previous girlfriend only just accidentally farted in face, that’s +1.
  • Can you orgasm from cunnilingus? If not, then that’s -1. If so, then that’s +1. If it’s the only way for you to orgasm with a male partner, then that’s +10.
  • How is this affecting your relationship? If it’s not that big a deal to you, i.e. your sex life is satisfying in all other ways, then count that as a -1. If, however, it’s negatively affecting the relationship (you resent him for it, you’re considering breaking up with him because of it, or worse, you’re thinking about just getting it elsewhere behind his back, which we would NOT recommend), then count that as +1.

If, when you add all these numbers up, you get a 0 or higher, then we think you’re in your rights to really encourage him to give you some oral attention. Nicely, of course. If, however, it’s a negative number, then it may not be worth pushing him to do something he just doesn’t want to do.  Or you could scrap this overly complicated mathematical formula and just discuss it with him, gently explaining how it’s something you’re really missing from your sex life, and just see where that gets you.

All relationships are about compromise, and each partner’s gotta be willing to do a few things they don’t absolutely love, be that attending the opera or doing it doggie style on holidays. However, sometimes there are things which are inherently antithetical to the core being of who we are (and that may just be opera or doggie style), in which case compromise would do more harm than good, at which point it’s time to accept that we just aren’t sexually compatible.

Whatever your case may be, here’s to you getting some oral in the near future!

Putting our money where our mouth is,
Em & Lo




  1. The fact that men are so wary of cunnilingus and or only like to give it for 2 mins before putting it in has made me decide to never pursue a relationship with a guy again lol

  2. Find out what issues your boyfriend has, and address them. Until then, refuse to give him oral on the same grounds. If it doesn’t work out, move on.

  3. Flavored lube is definitely not the solution. That stuff doesn’t taste that good to begin with and has a horrible after taste. There’s nothing wrong with the taste and smell of freshly washed genitals. No perfumes or douches necessary. But anyway, assuming the boyfriend hasn’t had a trauma that put him off oral, the most likely explanation is he thinks it’s “gross”. It may be one of those things he has to “suffer” through a few times for the sake of her pleasure until the smell and taste become more neutral to him. And that will happen. Almost 20 years ago when I first performed cunnilingus, I didn’t much care for the smell and taste, either. But I did it because she liked it. Eventually I even came around to like the smell and taste. It’s the smell of hot sex to me, now. This is probably TMI, but sometimes after sex in the morning, I don’t wash my face and hands for a bit just so I can carry around that scent with me for a little while longer. My wife thinks that’s really gross, by the way.

  4. Well, I sympathize on the dude’s side because in all honesty, I do not like having my nose and mouth and eyes up close in someone’s genitalia. I know “it comes standard” and “Dan Savage says” and “you have to” and blah blah blah, but man, I can’t think of anything anyone could do to make that less TOO CLOSE DON’T WANT THIS MUCH INFORMATION for me–even with eyes closed and showers, it still smells more than I’m okay with, and I say that as someone whose nose barely works in the first place. I’ve had an ex say this to me and frankly, it was a relief because then I didn’t “have” to reciprocate. (Plus lady oral does nothing for me anyway, so as far as I was concerned, no big whoop.)

    It’ll pretty much depend on his reasons. Some are perhaps fixable/adjustable, some are not. (Though flavored lube is probably not going to be a cure-all.) But I can’t help but think, do you really want oral from someone who’s not enjoying it? Sure, you can “make” him, and you probably should/will, but….I dunno, sometimes there is only so much you can do, and not everyone is up to good, giving and game for anything.

  5. To paraphrase Dan Savage – oral comes standard, any model that comes without it should be immediately returned to the lot.
    But seriously – I’m guessing 1) oral was not that important to the letter writer, which was why she was willing to date somebody who said he wouldn’t do it in the first place; or (more likely) 2) it was something she was willing to do without for a while to please her partner, to get a boyfriend, or for whatever reason, but now she’s really missing it. If it’s #1, the advice above is spot on. If it’s #2, part of this problem is on you, sister. That said, you have to ask yourself how long you’re willing to go sexually unfulfilled. The rest of your life? If not, speak up now, and if your boyfriend just flat out won’t do it, move on.
    You should also take my advice with a giant grain of salt, because no oral is a deal breaker for me, and I have this personal bias where when a man says he doesn’t want give a woman oral, I hear “I don’t really care about her pleasure.”

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