Can I ask for oral sex without ASKING for oral sex?
July 25, 2010 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Is there a delicate way to suggest he perform oral sex without making him feel obligated?

I've been seeing my current guy for a few months. The sex is awesome... but he's never gone down on me. This is something that I know from past partners I really, really enjoy. I am happy to go down on him and have done it many, many times without being asked. I definitely don't see this as a "tit for tat" kind of thing, and I don't think he "owes" me anything -- in fact, that's where the problem comes in.

My SO is a super generous, sincere, ultra sweet guy, and in non-sexual matters he is always eager to please and will take just about any hint to help me out. I emphatically would never want to receive oral sex from someone if he or she felt grossed out or uninterested in doing it, and I'm concerned that if I express a desire for it, my SO will go ahead and do it even if it's not his cup of tea. Worse, I don't want to make him feel bad about not doing it. It's not a deal breaker for me... just something that would be nice to have if he's willing.

Should I just accept that if he hasn't tried to do it of his own accord by now that he probably doesn't like it? Since I'm anonymous on this and won't have the chance to stick up for myself later, I'll mention now that I am a clean person and keep the area trimmed and neat.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I generally do not recommend this approach - ideally you should be comfortable enough with each other to have a honest discussion about this kind of thing - but have you tried maneuvering to put him in a position where he would be tempted to take a nibble if he were so inclined? You could also engage in similar activities on your end to set the mood.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:01 PM on July 25, 2010

There are many things we don't necessarily like to do, in and out of bed that we do for our SO, because we get pleasure from seeing their pleasure. Having said that, if that's not what he wants to do ever again, or he's made up his mind that he doesn't like doing that, then you need someone who is willing to fulfill one of your needs, in this case, it happens to be your sexual need/desire.

As you said, it isn't tit for tat, but it is about giving and receiving, sharing pleasure. The best way to find out is to talk to him about it. I think you should be able to talk about your likes and dislikes on day one...just doesn't happen that way. But a few months have passed, and I think you're ready to ask him, what he likes, and wish he'd like to try, what he doesn't like, in a non-threatening, non-judgemental way. You shouldn't expect him to read your mind, tell him what you really enjoy that he does, and mention that you'd love for him to do these other things. He'll expect it.

It is COMPLETELY possible, that his former SO, did not like receiving. It could be anything, so communication is your best bet. If he doesn't like doing it, and does it once in a blue moon, and you're ok with that, then he'll make it up some other way.
posted by icollectpurses at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Come on. He's your partner. Talk to him. Full stop. Guessing is a waste of time and you should use every opportunity to get closer to each other.
posted by teedee2000 at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2010 [15 favorites]

"Hey broseph, how would you feel about going down on me sometime?" If he hems and haws and looks nervous, you can back away from the conversation so he doesn't feel strong-armed.

I myself think he should feel strong-armed, I think this is like a standard thing dudes should be ready to do at this particular cultural moment, but it seems you and I disagree on that front, so the initial open-ended question should be enough of an exploratory vibe to see whether you want to inquire further or drop the matter entirely.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2010 [8 favorites]

Yeah, one thing that makes this question theoretically interesting is that I think the modal mefite agrees with Dan Savage's "oral comes standard, if your partner won't do oral return the defective model" statement. So my first thought was "uh, just direct his head in the appropriate direction next time it's appropriate..."

though using the word "broseph" would be fun, too.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:21 PM on July 25, 2010

Hey, have you asked him? If not, why not? I like the "hey broseph," I would probably phrase it just like that- I'm serious, +1 for originality on the cunnilingus front.
posted by TheBones at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2010

You're walking around thinking, "if he wanted it, he would have done it already, and I'm not going to ask for it so as not to put pressure on him." I think it's equally likely that he's walking around thinking, "if she wanted it, she would have asked for it already, and I'm not going to do it unless she asks so as not to put pressure on her."
posted by decathecting at 12:26 PM on July 25, 2010 [6 favorites]

"Listen, it's ok if you're not comfortable with it, but if you wanted to, I would LOVE it if you would [insert your favorite oral sex euphemism here]".
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:30 PM on July 25, 2010

I've been in this exact situation. One night during intimacy I just said, "It would feel so good if you went down on me. Would you do that for me?" He responded that he had never done that with a woman before. Don't rule out that your partner may just be inexperienced and doesn't know how to broach the subject. In any case, I recommend just saying what I said as a good way to start the conversation.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think it's equally likely that he's walking around thinking, "if she wanted it, she would have asked for it already, and I'm not going to do it unless she asks so as not to put pressure on her."

There's something to this. I recall that as a younger man I was anxious that going down on my partners was something that they might not like, perhaps even that they'd think I was transgressing on their space or something. This probably was rooted in my earlier adolescent experiences, when a few girls I was with thought it was kind of icky. It isn't, of course, but we ere all just young and inexperienced with our bodies. As I got older, my thoughts changed, but I wouldn't be surprised if your partner was thinking just what the above poster suggested.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 12:32 PM on July 25, 2010

What's wrong with asking him to, and appending "It's not a deal breaker for me... just something that would be nice to have if [you're] willing."?
posted by gaspode at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2010

Oh, come on, lady, of course he's obligated to go down on you. You don't have to phrase it like that, but if a dude didn't go down on me on the first date/fuck I would mark it up as a strike against him and make sure to specifically request it next time. This is not a big thing to ask for.

I am shocked-SHOCKED-that you've been banging him for a few months without him going downtown. What's up with that? Only he knows, and you ain't going to find out until you ask him.

Learning how to ask for what you want in bed is awkward and tricky at first until you get enough practice that you're able to ask to call somebody "daddy" or eat out your asshole or blow a load on your glasses without blinking an eye.

Not that I've ever done that, or anything. Cough.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2010 [17 favorites]

Since I'm anonymous on this and won't have the chance to stick up for myself later

Note, you can always email one of the mods if there's some info you'd like to include. You can also get an anon address from Google, if you'd like someone to respond to you off site.

That said, this is not a good sign. It's not a bad sign yet, but it sure as hell isn't good either. He hasn't brought up to you at all, despite getting multiple blowjobs from you over several months and you haven't brought up. What the...?! Ya'll need to need to have "This is what I really like in sex" meeting, like ASAP.

For what it's worth, one of my favorite ex girlfriends is the one who stated early on "I don't suck dick". From there went the conversation of why, we shared history and there's went along great in that regard, because we had a clear and complete conversation about things we would and would not do.
posted by new brand day at 1:08 PM on July 25, 2010

Can I ask for oral sex without ASKING for oral sex?

I don't understand what the problem is with "ASKING for oral sex."

Just ask him (in a sexy voice, if that makes it easier for you), "Could you go down on me?" You can do it!

And I have to agree with Juliet Banana (and Dan Savage, per the above quotation). He pretty much is "obligated" and does "owe" you.

Should I just accept that if he hasn't tried to do it of his own accord by now that he probably doesn't like it?

For one thing: the fact that he hasn't "tried to do it of his own accord" does not mean he doesn't like it. It could mean he thinks you don't like it, because you haven't asked!

But for another thing -- and I'm sorry if this is callous -- but who cares if he doesn't like it?

I mean, it's nice of you to care. But let's get real here. The point of oral sex is pleasure and fun for the recipient. If the giver happens to have a lot of fun, that's a bonus, not the raison d'etre.

Even if he doesn't like it, my advice to him would be: "Too bad. If you want her to be your girlfriend, just do it anyway."

I doubt that most people put "giving oral sex" high on their list of favorite things to do. Some people do, but most probably don't. But the thing is that most people (who are sexually active) really love getting it. So things generally work best if both partners are willing to give it, in order to create a reciprocal arrangement where both people get to receive oral sex.

To be clear, I'm not saying he should be forced to do it. In that sense, he's not strictly "obligated." But then ... you're not obligated to stay with him.

A good boyfriend sometimes does things for his girlfriend that he doesn't happen to find especially fun. (This is a gender-neutral principle -- I'm just using the applicable genders in this case.) This might be one of those things.

But you don't even know that, since you've never even raised the topic. If you don't communicate, you're not going to make any progress or know what's going on in his mind. You're doing the classic "I can't just tell you what I want, or that would ruin it!" It would be nice if he got the idea to go down on you of his own accord, with no communication. But that's not the situation. I'm sorry, but this is going to take some communication.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:28 PM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

Yeah, to back up everyone else: The way to ask him for oral sex is to ask him for oral sex.

Don't pressure him to do it if he says he doesn't want to. That's where it could be problematic. But if he doesn't want to, it may be time to start looking for other options. Options that are perfectly happy to go down on you.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2010

"My SO is a super generous, sincere, ultra sweet guy, and in non-sexual matters he is always eager to please and will take just about any hint to help me out."

It's pretty unlikely that these qualities simply disappear in the bedroom so there's probably something else holding him back - inhibition or perhaps unfamiliarity. Talking about it as others have suggested is a good idea, you could also simply be assertive and physically guide and show him. This can make things more exciting and help make it less a chore or gift and more adventurous experimentation. There is technique and knowledge involved that is not wholly straightforward to intuit so feedback, verbal and otherwise helps.
posted by Manjusri at 2:32 PM on July 25, 2010

I'll be frank: dude may have bad experiences with prior partners who didn't follow good hygiene; it can be a big turn off to go downtown and find the streets mucky and trash hasn't been picked up in a couple weeks. A couple of encounters like that can really leave a bad taste in one's mouth, for real.

OP, I'm not at all suggesting you have an issue with this -- I'm just postulating a cause for his reticence.

So, make a big deal about bathing with dude and getting everything on everyone all spic and span and then light him up with some oral and then do what everyone else has said: ask him to go down on you. If it's something you want, then yes he owes it to you to either give it a try or tell you why he won't. Good, giving and game.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:43 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd be willing to bet that he is inexperienced and afraid of YOUR reaction.

What seems so complex can sometimes be tamed with a bit of frivolity.

Male here. And I've "been there." Wanna know either way without stress?

A big glass of good wine. Maybe two. A can of whipped cream or some other delicacy. Don't tell him.

When it is time to "retire," ask him to get you something from another room. When he returns, greet him with open legs and a cootch with something good on it.

Not a word said, but he will sure get the message. He'll have to act. I sure know what I'd do...

We humans can make things so complicated.
posted by private_idaho at 2:46 PM on July 25, 2010

A can of whipped cream or some other delicacy.

Don't put whipped cream/chocolate syrup/food in or on your vagina. There are flavored lubes that are safe, but foodstuffs are not.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:09 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Um... how great is the oral sex going to be from someone who isn't enjoying doing it? Forcing them to do it because he has sex with you and thus he should be doing whatever you say? Really? Sorry, but "too bad, do it anyway" creeps me out. It's not too far away from "you're not horny tonight and he is? Too bad, do it anyway" and the like.

I second everyone who said "ask and see how he feels about it," btw, but I just wanted to point out that forcing someone to do a sex act they don't enjoy (as opposed to "not that into it but I'll do it for you, babe") is pretty well, awful.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:12 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry, but "too bad, do it anyway" creeps me out. It's not too far away from "you're not horny tonight and he is? Too bad, do it anyway" and the like.

To be clear, this is what I, as a man, would say to the boyfriend if I were a friend he were confiding in. It's not what I would suggest that the OP say to her boyfriend.

I don't know why you feel the need to compare my comment about being willing to give oral sex in general to having sex tonight.

The proper analogy, of course, would be between (a) someone who's not willing to give oral sex at all and (b) someone who's not willing to have sex at all. Someone who does either of these is pushing their luck as far as whether they're going to keep being considered an acceptable partner.

Sorry if this "creeps you out," but that doesn't have much to do with whether he should give her oral sex.

Again, to the OP: as someone in a sexually active relationship, you should get the type of sex you want. You should ask for it. If it's a good, healthy relationship, he should do it for you. I'm surprised this is even controversial.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:29 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you just need to communicate. Tell him you like it and then ask him to do it, as many others have said.

But what I wanted to add is that you should keep communicating during the act. It sounds like this isn't in his standard repertoire so he'll be covering new ground. Did he just do something right? Reward him with a moan or some enthusiastic affirmative swearing. No? Then give him some suggestions on what he should do where, and how. Let him know what you like; don't expect him to just guess it.
posted by kprincehouse at 4:55 PM on July 25, 2010

Should I just accept that if he hasn't tried to do it of his own accord by now that he probably doesn't like it?

His motivation for not going down on you could be any number of reasons. But you have to force the issue if you're ever going to know for sure.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:31 PM on July 25, 2010

Ok, I see 19 other people have already taken the "just ask him to" answer (survey says... 92 percent!). Well, then for second place, I'll suggest that you ask him if he has ever done that before, if "hey, so have you ever gone down on a woman...?" feels like an easier pillow conversation than "do me!" Another option would be to suggest that you mutually go at one another, if "how about we..." is easier for you to say than "how about you..." Or you could go down on him in a rather upside down manner until voilĂ , how conveniently are you both positioned? But then again you could always just say "hey, you know what I really like...?
posted by salvia at 6:38 PM on July 25, 2010

'I'd like to see what ELSE you can do with your tongue.'

If he's a bit dense, grab his hand, place it in the appropriate area, and repeat the suggestion.
posted by Heretical at 6:45 PM on July 25, 2010

Get into bed upside-down. (From Cynthia Heimel's Sex Tips for Girls.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:06 PM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think you make some sort of bet with him that you can win. The stakes: a night of whatever I want in the bedroom. I don't know too many guys that would turn down a bet like that (as long as they know you well enough to feel safe.)

Then when you win, take him in the bedroom and tell him for his penance, it's time to head downtown. The more it drives you wild, the more he's likely to do it again, even if it doesn't do anything for him directly. If you can position it as a special treat, to be given when you really, really deserve something special, that drives you crazy with appreciation, he won't feel obligated to do it every day. It will give him that super manly-feeling positive reinforcement of hey, I really pleased anonymous, even if it isn't his favorite thing to do.
posted by ctmf at 7:24 PM on July 25, 2010

"Hey stud, I think it would be so hot if ran your tongue all over my [where ever you want]."
"Oh yeah, can't you tell how excited it makes me?"
"I don't know..."
"What if you ran your hands all over my body instead?"

I think something like this could work in your situation. You let him know that you've been thinking about him going down on you and that it gets you excited, but you also leave room for him to back out if he's uncomfortable. If he is uncomfortable switch to plan B, maybe have him do something else that drives you wild. Later, you can ask why he feels uncomfortable and troubleshoot from there.
posted by carnivoregiraffe at 7:59 PM on July 25, 2010

Seconding what salvia said. You can find out what he thinks about cunnilingus by asking him if he's done it before, what he thought of it or why he didn't like it. (Two women can taste and smell completely differently of course).
posted by Deor at 7:35 AM on July 26, 2010

Doing that thing you're talking about is approximately my favorite thing to do in the bedroom. My SO has vitaligo, which means that she's got some white spots here and there, most noticeably in her groin region. Nobody has ever seen them but her doctor, and me. I don't care. She really cares and is super self conscious and really won't hardly ever let me do it, which stinks.

Anyway, not sure why I shared that--BUT previously in my life I have dated girls who have been less averse, and one of my favorite, FAVORITE things to get was the head push. Like, when I'm nibbling them on their chest or tummy and you get the shove down combined with the slight raise of the hips...or when you're around the navel and she lifts her hips so slightly, just to let you know she's...well, willing.

There's some dirty talking too...that, well, works. "I want to taste myself on your lips", that sort of thing...that usually gets the job done.
posted by TomMelee at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

True confession: the first few times I went down on my 1st girlfriend/sex partner it was a chore. It wasn't disgusting, but it didn't really do anything for me. But it soon became clear that it did everything for her. I soon realized this and grew to love it and look forward to it, and would be stunned and disappointed if a woman didn't want me to go there.

As for asking without asking, that's pretty tricky. In my case I was the one that offered, believe it or not. But we were both young and figuring stuff out together. So your sweetheart needs a little clueing in - it's not a big deal, and you should not feel weird for wanting the most basic thing from him.
posted by O9scar at 11:46 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If he's uncomfortable with it, he's uncomfortable with a pretty freaking basic part of sex. What if you said "I'm just not all that into penetration"? If he's willing to receive, he should be willing to give, at least sometimes - and I would say he DOES owe that to you - once he knows what you want. If he really doesn't enjoy it, then it would be considerate on your part not to demand it all the time - and considerate on his to spontaneously do it sometimes without you having to ask. I mean, is it 100% fun to give a blow job? There's the achy jaws and all the rest - but there's also the excitement of giving pure, intense pleasure. So he might come to enjoy it, as O9scar said.

And if he's unsure about technique, try telling him to trace the alphabet. If he hums the song while he's doing it, you'll never hear it the same way again.
posted by Betsy Vane at 1:05 AM on July 27, 2010

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