Your Call: She Doesn’t Like Going Down

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

I hate going down on guys. Always have. I gag, I choke, I think it tastes gross. My boyfriend likes receiving oral, of course, and I want to make him happy, but I don’t think I should have to force myself to do something I thoroughly don’t enjoy just for his pleasure, especially when there are plenty of other things we can do — and do do — to get him (and myself) off. Am I being unreasonable? I wouldn’t ask him to do something he really didn’t want to do. And I can’t help but think, If someone’s got to make a sacrifice in this relationship, why can’t it be him sacrificing his desire for BJs, since that won’t result in him throwing up? (Btw, I enjoy receiving cunnilingus, but it’s not a deal breaker — I can take it or leave it. My boyfriend says he enjoys giving it to me, so that only adds tit-for-tat pressure!)

— That Blows

What should TB do?


  1. If she refuses, then they are not sexually compatible and should separate. My wife is so vanilla she makes a vanilla bean seem like a jalapeno. Anything not missionary more frequently than my birthday and our anniversary (conveniently six months apart) is taboo in her eyes. It didn’t help any that she never told me what her real sexuality limits were until after we got married. I should have left her, and I regret that I did too late.

  2. blow him already – if you can’t put his junk in your mouth, but you can allow it in your vagina – you got issues

  3. If she doesn’t then he shouldn’t. Simple. Also her right to say no… his right to find a new girlfriend that does. Simple. I had one who changed up the pitch after marriage on this and many other sexual aspects… when kids get old enough I will divorce. Simple. I will then be giving compatability surveys to all future marriage candidates that I will find online. Everyone should give a compatability questionnaire so they are assured and right prenuptial agreements with this in mind. Simple. But women that lie or want their cake and easy it too would hate this.

  4. Some of these are ridiculous. No, you do not have to do anything that you dont want to. I am currently in this situation as well and im kind of astounded at the responses.first of all, If he decides that he doesn’t want to be with you anymore because you won’t blow him, then its quite obvious that the only thing he was after is sex. Sex should never define your relationship and if it does your not dating, your bed buddies. If the experience is that bad for you then tell him. Communication is good. Always.
    I agree with you that its not a fun thing to do, especially when asked for all the flipping time. Personally, I dont have a gag reflex that makes it hard for me to do, I just dont find the experience pleasurable and that’s okay. You like and dislike what you do, its how your wired.
    On an off note, its kind of disgusting that people think that you have to go down to have a fun, happy, and productive sex life. “Learn to like it”? Are you kidding me?
    Im a fan of bondage and my boyfriend won’t do it because it makes him uncomfortable, I could not imagine pushing him to do something that obviously puts him in distress especially considering that sex is supposed to be fun and a way to express to your partner that you care and want to share yourself with them. the same goes for this conversation.
    Now, I’ve never been married and I am by no means educated on what a happy marriage includes but it strikes me as odd that so many of the women on here are saying that they had to learn to like it. Why would you force yourself to do something that you do not enjoy? As a compromise to the relationship? I understand compromise on things that are actually important, and if this is so big of a deal then He might just have to ” compromise” and live without it.
    This responses on this thread are rather disturbing at points, and shame on anyone who tells you to suck it up and do what he wants. You are intitled to the word no. Feel free to use it.

    1. or… you set the standard as 99.9% of women do by blowing him.. then once that relationship marker was set… no more.

  5. Derek and Steve, we love both of these comments. Even more than these specific comments, though, we love that an intelligent, thoughtful sensitive, flame-free conversation about oral sex is taking place on this site. Keep it coming! (Er, as it were.)

  6. Derek: Great post.

    There is a striking contrast between many of the responses provided in this thread and those in the one entitled “My Husband Won’t Give Me Oral.” Several posters here have emphasized that no one should feel forced to do do something that he or she does not want to do. In that thread the husband is treated as a jerk for having the same views that the letter writer here expresses. Double standards, anyone?

    I agree that no one should feel forced to perform any specific sex act. On the other hand, sex IS important to many people, and no one should be obliged to stay in a relationship if his/her needs are not being met. This is not an issue of “entitlement” – it’s about whether each person’s wants and needs are being satisfied in the relationship. It’s up to the participants to try to reach a satisfactory solution. If this proves impossible, both will have to decide whether the relationship is worth maintaining.

    1. A lot of women don’t orgasm from sex though. So Oral is the only way many of them can get off. Guys can get off from anything.

      1. Also, I found the thread you were talking about…It only had 5 comments. This one has 50 comments, so of course the responses would be different when there’s 10 times the amount of comments….But plenty of people in this thread are actually saying that it’s OK to leave your partner if she doesn’t perform. The people on the other thread mostly said that she should stop giving him oral…not that she should leave him. Men feel entitled to oral, but they can orgasm from anything. I’ve actually heard before that BJs aren’t extremely pleasurable…I think men just like the dominance feeling.

  7. Good points, Sara. No one should feel that they have to do any specific sex act. Now, I think it is a good idea for any committed, monogamous couple to try and explore things that their partners really enjoy, but if you really don’t like it then don’t do it.

    That being said, I also think the other partner has every right to say good bye to a relationship that does not include things that they really enjoy and would miss greatly if there was a lack of it. I don’t want to be with a woman who doesn’t make me laugh, who isn’t loving, who wants to spend her weekends at work, who doesn’t like giving blowjobs, that hates dogs and won’t let me adopt one, and who can only orgasm after being urinated on. All are valid reasons to not want to be with someone who you otherwise love a lot.

    For me, blow jobs give me the opportunity to relax and just feel pleasure and joy. Thrusting is hard business, and there are a great many things to keep track of (back pain, arms about to give out, sliding knees, etc). Not to mention, the anxiety a lot of men feel about maybe coming to soon or their dick not helping a woman have an orgams and all the attendant feelings of failure and unmanliness.
    Fellatio allows me to not have those worries. I don’t have to make decisions. I don’t have to worry about anything. All I get to do is feel, to experience amazing sensations. I don’t think I could be married to a woman who would not provide that opportunity to me. It is far to blessed and amazing experience for me to never do it again.

    Now, if your man is willing to pay the price of admission (no blow jobs) then great, but if he is unwilling, as I would be, then he has every right to end the relationship and find what he needs elsewhere. Just as you are free to leave a man who demands fellatio from you constantly, or a man that does not fit your needs.

    And it is not because I don’t care about the woman. We all have needs and wants and they are all valid things. If I loved a woman who hates dogs and never, ever wants one of the damned things, I don’t think I could marry her. I love dogs and I want one very much. Likewise, I don’t want kids and a woman who wants kids has every right to leave me so that she can get the things she wants and needs. Sex is no different. Unmet needs cause all kinds of problems and it is important for everyone to be honest with themselves about what they need and desire. So, I don’t think shaming someone for really liking and wanting/needing a sexual act is a helpful thing to do.

    p.s. A lot of these issues might be solved if we just all got into being monogamish and opened up our relationships. 🙂

    1. If you are in a totally committed relationship and love the person you are with sometimes you need to make a sacrifice. This is what life is all about. This is when your partner will truly know that you are committed. It is totally selfish to think that the person you love should do without for the rest of their entire life something that gives them pleasure. If you are willing to step up to the plate and make an effort you will be rewarded for your efforts. Where does it say that people should suffer because one partner does not want to make an effort to please the other. When someone says that they do not like something its not always because they have tried it and experienced what it may bring in to their lives it could simply be the way they feel or assume that it would be. Knowing what your partner wants and sharing yourself with them is what truly bonds you together. And will ensure you have a lasting relationship together.

    2. You should know these things about someone before you marry them, otherwise you shouldn’t marry them only to find out later that they don’t meet your needs and divorce. If however you do know before you marry them and you still marry them, I don’t think it’s fair to them to walk away. I personally have the most terrible gag reflex ever, can’t even take pills without gagging and almost throwing up. I made this know up front when my husband and I first started dating. He expressed that he did like them a lot and, because I wanted to make him happy and “please” him, I told him that I was happy to try. I did try, kept trying, every time ended badly for us both. Obviously he married me regardless. Over the years we’ve revisited the subject multiple times, and I was willing and happy to try, even did research on what I could do to be able to do this for my husband, and still came up unsuccessfull. Then all the sudden, after 9 years, he decides if I can’t do this one thing that he likes so much he needs to find someone that will. He says if I WON’T give him what he needs he will just have to go somewhere where he can get it. So how is it fair to say that you would divorce someone that doesn’t fit your wants and needs…… if they don’t and you can’t truly accept it then don’t marry them. Saves everyone a lot of pain, troubles, and nonsense. And I hate that it seems everyone assumes that it’s always a case of not wanting to do it, I guarantee you most women have some reason behind it that they’re probably too scared to admit.

      1. Sorry to hear that, Ann, sounds like a shitty thing your husband did to you after all these years. Hang in there. xo

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