I have hangups about giving head. Please help me get rid of them.
February 3, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

How do I get over my hangups with blowjobs? (NSFW)

I (a 25 year old woman) have recently started seeing someone (a 25 year old man) with whom I have generally fabulous, wonderful sex, largely because we've both been really good about communicating what we want to do and what we like, and because each of us has generally been happy to do whatever will please the other. For us, sex has been many things, not just plain old penis-in-vagina intercourse. I really love making love with this guy.

But there's one big exception. While he happily (and frequently!) goes down on me, I have yet to reciprocate, even though I want to. He knows about my hangups, and while he has tried to help me work through this, he isn't pressuring me (bless him); I want to do this for myself as much as I want to do it for him.

Here's why I've got hangups about this:

My current beau is the fourth person I've slept with. All of the others were one night stands or otherwise short-lived relationships. I've never had the chance before to develop a sexual relationship with someone, and because of my (very) bad first experience with giving head (about which more in a moment), I've just avoided it so far.

So, the bad first time: when I was 20, I decided that I wanted to lose my virginity, and I wanted to do it with someone I didn't particularly care about much since the first time was likely going to be bad (both because there would be a lot of figuring out whether to insert Tab A into Slot B kind of things, and because I was fairly certain that I wouldn't be any good at anything. As may be obvious, I had pretty low self esteem in regards to my attractiveness, which I am pleased to say I am mostly done with). So, I decided to seduce an acquaintance at a party and be done with it.

For the most part, that first experience was great: I realized that I really liked sex, that I was better at it than I'd anticipated, and that I could, indeed, be really attractive, sexy even. But it ended horribly. He asked me to go down on him, and I tried, but I had no idea what I was doing, and while I don't think it was unpleasant for him, I wasn't getting him off. He didn't give me any idea of what worked or felt good, and after a few minutes of ineffectual effort (with his hands on my head pushing me onto him, and feeling him getting softer the whole time) he stopped me and basically told me I wasn't any good and said maybe I better leave. I got dressed and left, and he never spoke to me again, and even left the college organization we were both part of.

So, since then, I've just avoided blowjobs entirely. I've certainly read up on technique, and my now pretty extensive experience with my hands has given me a pretty good idea of what gets someone off. But even though I know, intellectually, that I've got a pretty sound position to start from, and I generally love making someone cum, I'm still terrified of giving head (I'm getting stressed out just thinking about it). My current partner has suggested that I might just try kissing his cock first, or that we do something else until he's near orgasm and then start, but those ideas don't make me feel more relaxed about it.

What can I do to finally get over that awful experience, and give my beau (and his man-part*) the blowjob he deserves? I've got a therapist, but my focus with her is mainly my ADHD; should I bring this up with her?

Email for followups: onhisgoodshiplollipop@gmail.com

*yup, beau of mine, I know you're reading this. I'm okay with that; I'm asking it anonymously because I don't particularly want my other friends on metafilter to know this is me, not because of you. Feel free to talk to me about this if you want.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

The first guy was an asshole dump his memory and move on, try a few new ideas with the new better guy as a fun re-boot to the whole thing, look at porn together and ask him if an example there is to his thinking as = good idea. Use a vibrator on each other and during your kissing/licking him. Ask if he has erotic feelings around his ass and vibrate that, try it yourself , not going inside but around the rim with a lube coating.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:53 AM on February 3, 2010

I've got a therapist, but my focus with her is mainly my ADHD; should I bring this up with her?

If you feel like that would help, give it a shot; the worst that can happen is she'd say, "this is kind of distracting us from the ADHD work, are you okay with that?"

But it sounds like you don't have a problem with the concept of blow jobs itself, you just had a bad experience with a real jackass, and it's started you on this performance-anxiety loop. Which was really cruel of him. (I don't think you were "really bad," but even in the case of someone who's "really bad," it's a dickish thing to flat-out say that.)

Fortunately, stuff like that can be undone easily -- by just trying it with someone else. Because seeing a POSITIVE reaction to something you're doing can work wonders when it comes to alleviating any anxiety, and can make you very bold (one of the things I appreciated most about one of my exes is that he was VERY, very responsive; he had a huge reaction any time I did anything, and my confidence about my sex life went through the absolute ROOF when I saw that, and stayed there even after we broke up).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

He asked me to go down on him, and I tried, but I had no idea what I was doing, and while I don't think it was unpleasant for him, I wasn't getting him off.... since then, I've just avoided blowjobs entirely.

Warning from a guy: read all you want about 'technique' in order to add things to your own toolbox, but every guy is different. In fact, you're unlikely to get any new guy off on your first try unless you cheat a lot (i.e.: use your hands) or happen across a very quick-to-pop cork. In every one of my LTRs, it's taken my partner many tries (like, weeks or months) before she could consistently "finish".

But you know what? It doesn't matter. You don't have to finish. It can be part of foreplay, middleplay, afterplay... or all of these things. Most of all, it's play. Don't think of it as some task to complete: think of it as just something you do for a few minutes now and then. Do it for a few minutes, then do something else. Then go back to it later. This should help ease the mental pressure.
posted by rokusan at 11:58 AM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

Would it help you to sit down with your beau in a fully-clothed, non-sex context and have a frank discussion about what things feel good? The part of your awful first time story that made me cringe was that your partner didn't give you any feedback about what was working, like he was expecting you to be a mind-reader or something. Your new beau sounds like he's not a jerk and would tell you what felt excellent about what you were doing, but talking about it first so you have some ideas in mind before you try them out might be a good idea.

I had some awful experiences with sex in my salad days, and conversations like that helped me out a lot—talking before sex made the sex part less nerve-wracking because I knew what he liked and what to expect.
posted by bewilderbeast at 12:01 PM on February 3, 2010

No, your first BJ was not bad, your trick was. Each penis is its own unique little snowflake. Different things get it off. Some people simply do not respond to oral sex. Others really like slobbering on the head. Other people like the thrusting. You are not a psychic. If you are going to figure out what makes this snowflake melt you need some instruction the first few times with it, let alone your first few times ever.

Oral sex is more than just throat fucking. Perhaps you can ease your way back into it by having him masturbate while you lick the head or his balls. Perhaps you can do this while he eats you out, giving you some pleasure even if the BJ is just giving you anxiety. Your beau sounds like a good guy. He could also give you a pep talk while doing it. A simple "oh my god anonymous, right there. That feels so good" could help.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sounds to me like you've done what you need to do by posting this in a fashion that will alert your boyfriend to the extent of your hangups and facilitate open, honest and caring communication between the two of you.

Aside from that, I'd say the best advice anyone can give is: don't use teeth...unless he asks for it.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:06 PM on February 3, 2010

On top of bewilderbeat's suggestion, try watching blowjob specific porn, so you can see techniques and he can discuss what looks good to him. Ask questions about what you're seeing and impress him that communication would really help.

It's great that he isn't putting pressure on you, but remember to not but pressure on yourself. It's supposed to be fun and you don't have to be a smashing success at the first go around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on February 3, 2010

First of all, no one should make you do anything that you are sexually uncomfortable with. Doesn't sound like that's what's happening here, but still - a necessary disclaimer to these kinds of questions.

Having said that- this partner already sounds a ton more understanding than your first jerko one, and talking to him about your hangups is an amazing first step. It sounds like, if you go ahead and try with him, he'll help show you what feels good for him and be open to experimentation. Porn and toys can help ... but I think the most important thing is just to feel comfortable with the "man-part." Kiss, lick, play - it is your friend.

You can also use a combo of hands and mouth instead of feeling forced to "deep throat" right away. I actually knew a few guys who preferred hands being involved, said it helped them get off quicker. YMMV, but I think this is a perfectly okay way to ease into things.

I overcame a similar hangup by, well, biting* the bullet and just doing it. Once I got into it, it started to get kinda fun, mostly because I had an understanding partner as well who told me what felt good and what didn't without being judgmental and nasty. With the right person, and with more practice, it can be hot to give as well as to receive.

*Not literally. Unless he's into that.
posted by bookgirl18 at 12:10 PM on February 3, 2010

first and foremost - stop thinking about blow jobs as a way to get someone off. you need to get acquainted with the cock and doing so while worrying about the orgasm is counter intuitive. (besides - are you aware that there are some/many guys who have never orgasmed from oral sex. it's like the myth that girls should get off from vaginal sex - not everyone is wired the same - a good time in bed does not equal an orgasm. and there's no standard way that everyone gets off)

your boyfriend has the right idea and it seems like he's going to be a great partner to get over this particular hurdle with. start fooling around, get everyone feeling nice and sexy, and then just go down and kiss around a little bit - run your hands over the shaft lightly and put your tongue flat against the underside of his penis, where the head meets the shaft, then just pull the head into your mouth. sometimes when i'm not feeling like an all out blowjob and i feel like just teasing my paramoure i pretend like i'm making out with the tip of his cock while i use my hands. basically, just play. see what happens when you tense your lips enough that when you pull them over his head, the ridge sort of pops out of your mouth a little. see how he likes you treating his whole penis as a popsicle on a hot day. try gently sucking on just the underside of his shaft. there are a million ways to do blow jobs that aren't just an exercise in piston mechanics and deep throating. once he's super hard and you're starting to feel the pressure, switch to sex. do this enough and i promise that pressured feeling will come later and later and before you know it, you'll know what he likes and you'll feel confident that you're providing it.

i'm actually going to go against freedomboy a little bit and say that porn can be a good learning tool for couples, but round about 90% of porn blow jobs aren't a good barometer of how most people do it. it's like watching the olympics to learn beginner skiing, good to get all fired up and excited, bad for basic instruction (although, there are plenty of "how to" guides with porn stars that are sometimes not too bad). what you need is a relaxed and open evening where the orgasm isn't the goal.

if you find yourself getting hung up on technique, gag reflex, or whatnot, feel free to memail/email me. i'm one of those gals who loves, loves, loves giving head - it can actually get me more excited than my partner - but i don't want to turn this into penthouse letters or anything.
posted by nadawi at 12:11 PM on February 3, 2010 [23 favorites]

I think, really, that your initial foray into this particular activity should be about you and not about him. You're worried right off the bat about making your partner orgasm with oral, and I'm not really sure why. Instead, the two of you should work on making you comfortable - just take a few (very few - like one or two) minutes the next time you're naked together to apply your mouth to his nether regions, get some feed back, and then back off and move on to something else you're more confident about. Your partner should be given a heads up to not hold or touch your head, if that would make you happier - that's a perfectly valid and not uncommon request.

You can build this activity slowly over time; there is absolutely no reason and no need to aim for orgasm with your first explorations here.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:12 PM on February 3, 2010

Ugh, how long are you going to allow the reaction of your low-self-esteem history's ghost to some asshole who undoubtedly was taking out his drunken performance-failure-anxiety on you (guess what, when guys lose their erections they get incredibly self conscious). Further thinking is not going to solve this problem, however the excessive pleasure and delight that will result from your mouth doing absolutely anything to your boyfriend's penis (and associated regions) that does not involve actual BITING or SCRAPING will rapidly erase the stain of Captain Dumbass of Yore.
posted by nanojath at 12:13 PM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

It sounds like you're with a decent guy, which means that if you just go for it, the worst that'll happen is, well, nothing will happen and you'll both have a good laugh and move on to other activities. Sex is pretty absurd anyway; if you're with a good guy, why not just have fun with it?
posted by oinopaponton at 12:13 PM on February 3, 2010

every guy is different

I just want to highlight this part of rokusan's response. Take it with a grain of salt when he says you're unlikely to get any new guy off on your first try, since he's just telling you what his experience has been. He doesn't speak for all men, though. Some guys are built like rokusan in that they're harder to get off, some guys are built like this one dude I knew who would blow his load if you looked at him the right way.

(Also, please don't look at using your hands during a blowjob as "cheating". There are no hard and fast (heh) rules to what can and cannot be done during a blowjob.)

It sounds like your first experience was really, really awful, and I hope that guy has had nothing but terrible bjs since. EmpressCallipygos is right about that performance-anxiety loop, and how positive feedback works wonders on your anxiety levels. Maybe it would help to have a drink to loosen up a little (or two!) and just fool around with your partner in a non-goal-oriented way to see how he reacts to certain stimuli. Let him know that that's what you're doing, as a way of getting more comfortable with using your mouth on him. Have him tell you when things feel good, less good, fantastic, et cetera. Take away the goal of reaching orgasm (although hey, if one happens to mosey along that's just fine) and just play with each other.
posted by palomar at 12:29 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry that first guy was such a jerk.

I really like what nadwai says about making out with the head of the penis. The sucking and deep throating is far from all there is to oral. One thing that can be really cool is to let your mouth and his genitals get very wet and then do a lot of licking and flicking with your tongue; you can even sort of bat the penis around. Do circles and figure eights with the head of the penis and your tongue. Have fun!
posted by BibiRose at 12:30 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I suggest something fun. I suggest "exposure therapy."

So you set up a sexy "schedule" where you do a little bit more BJ action per day. Day 1 is only 1 single *uh* lick. Each day you do a little bit more. You can either operate via body part, (balls, shaft, head, whatever) or by time per session. You don't have to even have a schedule but each time you get intimate, you check the chart. That way you can decide what you are into. Eventually, you can set it for the ultimate.

This way you learn to cope with the negative feelings and become more comfortable day by day with what you are doing. Also a huge tease, but that can be fun.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:41 PM on February 3, 2010

In fact, you're unlikely to get any new guy off on your first try unless you cheat a lot (i.e.: use your hands) or happen across a very quick-to-pop cork.

I had no idea this was cheating! Or that you could cheat on a bj . . .

I think you need to be less focused on the end goal here and try to just really focus, instead, on enjoying his genitals. Which is to say that it doesn't need to be a "blow job," per se.

His suggestion to just start with kissing is great. I'd take this a step further: have him sit in a chair, sit below him, and kiss him all over the genital area--not just the penis, but also his inner thighs and balls (gently!!!). Go slow and watch his responses. Tell him not to talk. You'll be able to tell what he likes and what he doesn't from the way his body responds. Limit yourself to just lips at first (but maybe hands and other body parts, too--I've rarely enjoyed giving oral sex when it wasn't a full body kind of thing), and when you feel reasonably confident in that, move on to adding tongue, then taking parts of him into your mouth.

Keep in mind that partnered sex isn't just about rubbing one out (and it sounds like you know that generally)--if he wanted to just get off, he'd do it himself. It's about really enjoying each other and being comfortable with one another. This will probably still be nerve wracking the first time, but it only seems fair--to both of you--to give it one more shot.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

There was a time when I didn't know what I was doing. My guy didn't seem too upset when I told him that I needed to experiment on him, especially when he realized that meant a good half hour of penis worship. I figured it out, he had orgasms, and now I am a first-rate cocksucker. Be honest and playful and I think he will be, too.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:20 PM on February 3, 2010

(Lady here, no penis but the boyfriend has one.)

I agree with nadawi and others: think "touch his penis with my mouth" not "blowjob." Try that a few times, tell him "hey, I would like to get more comfortable with using my mouth, ok if I use my mouth for a little while and then have sex with you?" Odds are he will LOVE that, and he can give you feedback. And, one day, you will do x, and it will be ho-hum. And the next day, you could do x, and it will be GREAT!, and who the hell knows what the difference is.

You sound awesome and your boyfriend sounds awesome. Be gentle with each other, have fun with it, and I think you will both enjoy this.
posted by teragram at 1:21 PM on February 3, 2010

Guy here (not hers)...

First, you should know that it is a very common fantasy among guys to "teach a girl how to give head." It takes the pressure off of them to perform since there is no expectation of orgasm (which to be honest, is not always a 100% guaranteed thing from BJs) and can be a fun roleplay thing if you're into that. Plus, he gets to teach you EXACTLY what he likes and you don't have a lot of bad habits for him to get rid of.

Hopefully that helps make you more comfortable. Beyond that, it sounds like he's pretty cool in general and would be receptive if you had an open discussion with him. Based on the little nod to him you gave in your post it appears you are not adverse to him reading this so I would suggest take it a step further and just have open discourse.

Some other suggestions would be to ask him to show you a porn video with a blowjob scene he really likes. That might give you some indication of the style he likes (fast/slow/rough/gentle/hands/no hands, etc.) and can be a fun experience in and of itself. You'd be shocked at how many different ways there are to give a BJ and every guy has their preference for what they like.

Also, maybe stay away from deepthroating or swallowing initially--that is typically a more advanced method and from my experience, not every girl can handle it and it wouldn't do well for your already shaky confidence with this to puke on him.
posted by Elminster24 at 2:27 PM on February 3, 2010

Here's my advice: Don't worry about trying to get him off. In fact, don't even try to get him off. Just enjoy touching him. Enjoy making him feel good.

Explore a little bit. The moment you become uncomfortable doing something, stop - and go back to your regular sexual pattern with him that, as you've said, you both enjoy very much. Hooray for great sex! The next time, repeat the process from scratch... Allow yourself to enjoy making him feel good without the need to give him an orgasm that way. When you start to feel uncomfortable... stop. Each time, you'll become a little more comfortable and you'll learn what he likes too. BELIEVE ME, he'll love every moment of it!

Remember: Even if you become a blowjob superhero, there will be many times when you won't want him to come. If the blowjob is part of foreplay, you'll still want him to be ready for 'play', right? The idea that a blowjob has to end with an orgasm is completely false, so don't worry about getting him there. Just enjoy yourself and enjoy him.

Best of luck to you, and congrats on your wonderful relationship! The fact that you've posted this question is awesome. Your boyfriend is a lucky man, and I bet he knows it.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:47 PM on February 3, 2010

Have you ever considered that, as nanojath alluded to, the first guy reacted so weirdly because he was embarrassed about "wilting," not because he thought your technique was bad? It may have had nothing to do with you and everything to do with alcohol or ED or anxiety. You might have been self-conscious all this time for naught!
posted by sallybrown at 3:10 PM on February 3, 2010 [8 favorites]

Give yourself permission to suck. No seriously, it's totally ok to be horrible at giving blow jobs. Don' take any of this advice, don't try to remember it, just give a super horrible blow job and then see what happens.

Guess what: this guy is still gonna be around. Because you are awesome.
posted by kathrineg at 3:38 PM on February 3, 2010 [9 favorites]

Warning from a guy: read all you want about 'technique' in order to add things to your own toolbox, but every guy is different.

This. I've had women tell me they were great at bj's, then they went down and were beyond horrible.* Have your man find a porno of someone getting a bj that looks fun to him, watch it with him, and try to emulate. Hell, have him find 20 of them and watch them all and learn what you can.

Kudos to you for asking this, btw. Too many girls seem to think, "He got off; I must be GREAT!!" This is not the case.

*IMO, the only way a bj can be 'horrible' is it there are massive amounts of teeth involved, or if she tries to rip it off. My personal preference: both hands + lots of tongue + saliva - teeth = happiness. (And don't suck. Not even a little.)

posted by coolguymichael at 4:04 PM on February 3, 2010

Oh wow, what a jerk that first guy was. I'm so sorry.

If you're comfortable using your hands on him, you're ready to go.... using the gentle start up methods others have suggested. Using your hands isn't "cheating", and it isn't somehow less than a "real" blow job. Isn't that the norm? Um, not to project my own experiences here, but I don't think there's a magic "look ma, no hands!!" method that everyone else is using.
posted by kestrel251 at 4:17 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Given that you said just the thought of giving a blowjob was giving you anxiety while you wrote the question, I'd suggest practicing lying down next to him and getting your face near his penis but using your hands on it (in whatever way works for both of you). I wouldn't suggest moving on to actually using your mouth until you are very relaxed with being in close proximity and are both really enjoying that. When you feel like it's organically moving to a point where you want to use your lips/tongue/mouth, just let it happen. He seems reasonable about this, so let it happen as a natural progression.
posted by Nabubrush at 4:37 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, keep in mind that with sex questions here (and probably anywhere), there tends to be some answers along the lines of "never do this/always do that". This is pretty much only helpful if it is coming from the person you are currently having sex with.
posted by Nabubrush at 4:39 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hi there. Just to add to what others have said, think of it as exploration. Unless you are heavy on the teeth, it will feel good to him. Don't necessarily focus on getting him off. In fact, the longer he holds out, the more you get to explore and learn to read his reaction to various things you try. Here's what I've learned: when you are so immediately (in yer face, as it were) involved in causing increased arousal in your partner (and you will!) you will become more aroused as a result so the penetrative sex (should you choose to eventually have it) is even better. That's why it's called foreplay.

One other tip: for many, many men enthusiasm far eclipses technique. You can imagine how aroused you would be if your partner was very very good at going down on you but was "meh" about wanting to do it. Be hungry for him and all will be well.
posted by Jezebella at 6:51 PM on February 3, 2010

after a few minutes of ineffectual effort (with his hands on my head pushing me onto him, and feeling him getting softer the whole time) he stopped me and basically told me I wasn't any good and said maybe I better leave.

ugghh, what a cad. It wasn't you. Again, it wasn't you. Ask your boyfriend what he likes; that is what really matters. If you both start from the proposition that you are a learner then that takes much of the pressure off. Be open an honest with him about how your first boy made you feel and how that still hurts.

I would bring it up with your therapist as well. I am sure it is much more complex than you can describe here and with her you can explore those complexities.
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on February 3, 2010

It is a shame that your first experience with this felt so demeaning. For some silly reason or other, this sexual activity above all others has been cast as disempowering to the performer (partly due to porn, partly due to young men dumb enough to push ladies' heads down without their consent. Seriously, do they know how many pounds per square inch the human bite has?).

When done between trusting partners, it's not demeaning, not unless both of of them want it to be. I'm not the kind of chick that quotes Sex & the City, but I'll make an exception for this thread in regards to fellatio: "they may have you on your knees, but you've got 'em by the balls."

It might help to think about how vulnerable your partner is in these moments, which can be really sexy. Trying it horizontally might help you feel this way easier. It might also help to completely forget about your fellow's pleasure, and focus on how awesome this thing that you're kissing can make you feel. Savor your delayed gratification, making it more about teasing yourself than pleasing him.

(sorry to be all "Tame the cock!" ok you're right no I'm not)
posted by inkytea at 9:44 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Calm down! I had an equally embarrassing first time experience ('Uh, could you use less teeth?' The shame!), and I think very, very few people can be experts the first time. Don't be so hard on yourself. It was one time (with a real jerk, I might add).

What helped me: finding a great partner (which it sounds like you already have) and reminding myself that I wasn't 'bad' at blow jobs, just inexperienced. If you feel more confident with handeling him, perhaps a good place to start would be an erotic massage, followed by some oral exploration to see what he feels like on your tongue, if you feel like it.
posted by brambory at 10:16 PM on February 3, 2010

I'm in no way saying this was the case, but one of my exes had very similar reactions as that jackass of a first you had. The sex seemed fine (amazing for me, at the time), but for some reason blow jobs just weren't his thing and it was an incredibly demeaning experience all around.

I later found out that he had initially tried pursuing men, had a few bad experiences, and had suffered quite a bit of humiliation from peers at school. A few years later, I put two and two together and realized the great sex we had was primarily with me facing away from him. A terribly sad situation for several reasons, but possibly another thing to consider that I don't think anyone has mentioned.

After him, I never felt the same, and it took many years and a few good men to turn me back onto it. In fact, I told guys not to go down on me simply because I didn't want to feel guilty over the idea not being able to give back to them what they would hypothetically give to me. That and I was super self-conscious about everything down there in general.

Reading about it or watching porn has never helped me; I don't know how many deepthroating FAQs I've read or how many times another ex told me "It's not that hard, I don't know why you can't do it." This same guy couldn't reciprocate oral to save his life despite his own probably-exaggerated admissions of getting plenty of girls to climax that way. Of course, I didn't realize this until I'd been with other guys who cared more about my reactions than their own. Same guy also refused to listen to my advice for two years regarding my own desires and yet continually pushed for his own. I really don't seem to know how to choose them. So yeah, I've been there, done that; felt used, felt like it was always going to be that way.

I've found that, as long as you're genuinely enjoying it, he will too. It's just something you need to want want. Like a cheesesteak, or a whole gallon of ice cream and a chick flick in a Snuggie, or a day at the spa, or a bubble bath and some Ace of Base. One of those sort of things.

Besides the jerks I've [apparently continually] been with, it's also been a stigma issue for me, maybe you as well: I had a hard time separating wanting to really suck dick from feeling like a slut. At the same time, I'd never really been with someone that I felt deserved it so passionately until recently. Everything before that just felt forced. I just felt like it was something you did to make them happy and girls that liked it were lying to themselves or using it to tease.

Once I got over my 13 year old mindset, let myself enjoy being gone down on, and was more-than-fine with the fact that thinking about giving head made my mouth water, things have gotten much better. It really just took someone I could really trust and feel at ease with. It very much sounds like you have someone like that now - so congratulations - the hard part is over!

But it's been one of the biggest hurdles in my personal life.. and over some of the littlest things! ;)

Best of luck.. and on preview:
Savor your delayed gratification, making it more about teasing yourself than pleasing him. - this, a million times over.
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:19 PM on February 3, 2010

Have you ever considered that, as nanojath alluded to, the first guy reacted so weirdly because he was embarrassed about "wilting," not because he thought your technique was bad? It may have had nothing to do with you and everything to do with alcohol or ED or anxiety. You might have been self-conscious all this time for naught! -sallybrown

THIS. Really, I cannot count the number of times I have experienced/discussed/been traumatized by my own (or others') misinterpretations of a situation. You are assuming it was you, when really, the guy may have just been saving face.

It's easier to say, "Hey, anonymous, I am so unerect & it is totally your fault" in the face of our social norms saying penises must be rock hard & ready all the time. It was a totally asshole move to pull, but sometimes people are assholes. He's gone, & may very well still be blaming others for his insecurities. He cannot grow in that way. You have the option to grow & break through that, so please don't let him ruin awesome sexy playtime for you anymore.

Good luck. Smashing complexes is hard but rewarding.
posted by opossumnus at 10:34 PM on February 3, 2010

said: "Have you ever considered that, as nanojath alluded to, the first guy reacted so weirdly because he was embarrassed about "wilting," not because he thought your technique was bad? Sallybrown"

I agree one trillion percent. He was embarrassed about his own sexual issues and brushed it off on you. And that makes him an ass. People say the most stupid and hurtful things in order to hide their issues. I dated my first girlfriend for over two years. She weighed more than I did and, in order to feel better about herself, she often made negative comments about how "skinny" I was. It wasn't until many years later I realized the issue was hers and that I'm actually in great shape.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:37 PM on February 3, 2010

Since you are so concerned about his judging you while you get your sea legs what about asking his permission to play around, kiss, and blow his penis while he is asleep? It would give you a chance to become comfortable without a set of eyes on you. Good Luck honey, blowjobs are awesome and empowering and penis' are a lot of fun.
posted by saucysault at 4:24 AM on February 4, 2010

Can you *imagine* having a penis? And having someone you care about wanting to pleasure it? It's really not that complicated.

My girlfriend received some advice from a girlfriend when we were first seeing each other. She said "Hold it like you own it." Sure worked for her.

I take oral sex as a gift, not an obligation. If a woman isn't into it, I feel squicky about it. But if she is genuinely enjoying it, it is wonderful. Your approach will be communicated and it will never be "bad."

If you genuinely appreciate this part of his body, enjoy it YOURSELF. If you do, your partner will as well. With me, orgasm has little to do with it. It's the intent behind it.

As time goes on and you become more relaxed and comfortable, ask him what is feeling especially pleasurable. He'll tell you. Listen to his groans, his breathing, note any tension in his thighs. Pay attention to his testicles and the area behind them.

Suggestion: Some afternoon when he is not expecting it, ask him to come hither. Tell him he has a spot on his pants or something. Then slowly unzip his pants while looking him in the eyes. Gently squeeze him. He will know exactly what is going on. He will be helpless.
Be gentle. Allow him to touch you. Pay attention to how he is touching you; it will tell you all you need to know.

Remember, you are giving him a very sweet gift. Pretend you were given a popsicle of the most exquisite chocolate. How would you approach it? It's the caring that counts.

Enjoy and he will. Your first encounter had zero to do with oral loving.

One more suggestion: As you both become more comfortable with this, you might wish to hone your technique. How? Ask your partner to find a porn video that exemplifies his fantasy. Now, I don't watch much porn, as there is little love expressed. But I have seen some HOMEMADE porn that is genuinely between two lovers. I have seen some blowjobs that make me want to show them to my lover. "THIS is how I would like it." If I were your lover I would ask you to avoid looking at commercial porn at all costs. It has zero to do with real loving.

posted by private_idaho at 7:25 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, wow, he was to be jerking. Pretend you were licking a nice blob of something that you would normally pay a lot for but instead found it in a bin—that's what it's like. There are many wonderful stories that can assist you with your helps. Again, you can help. It is NOT your fault for going limp in your mouth. Just because you have a mouth doesn't mean that.

One of the best ways is to use other objects, like candles or faux-penises, and try and get them to do as you desire. Once accomplished, there are modulations to the other activity you can transcend to. This is the best way.

As woman, this sets you free. Congratulations on trying to get past this are what's in order for you and your long-time companion.

Watching things, things found at the flea market even, can bolster an otherwise empty generation of ideas, not to mention that perspective—be it war or larger problems—can make miniscule things seem blander when elevated to the tip, no pun intended. What I'm saying is: bring it to the limit and then wait there for some time. Then, bring it past it a little and you'll have everything you need. Also, you need to forget everything you know.

Ideas in this realm are often false, or more severely, true enough to seem true or even transposing a non-truth atop them in a playing-card style fashion so that you cannot but help seeing them splayed out and this doesn't help you focus on the task of it. It does not have to end with him finishing or even really starting if you're in control and it's your desire. It sounds like you've got a good man. Please be kind to him and best of the luck!
posted by luckypozzo at 9:11 AM on February 4, 2010

Here's the advice given to me by a friend who'd been sexually abused for getting over a blowjob hangup: "Act like a cat and play with it."

It's silly, and you feel more than a little ridiculous, but it worked for me. My partner settled back and got comfy, and I pretended like I had never seen a penis before was and approached it from a completely different mindset - that of a cat. Which sounds a little creepy, but hey. What this exercise in ridiculosity did for me was that it took the pressure off an event that had previously sparked a certain reaction in my brain, and made me reexamine my approach to the penis. Taking it out of a sexual context, relieving the pressure to perform, was incredibly helpful for me. After about ten minutes of awkward poking and prodding (dare I say pawing) and head-tilted examining, my partner asked if the two of us were well-acquainted enough yet - I laughed, and it felt like a weight had been lifted.

The hangup did rear its ugly head after that, but I was more able to recognize it and stop it in its tracks, and I definitely felt more comfortable associating with my partner's member, which I think is a big part of your question.
posted by Devika at 10:22 PM on February 4, 2010

I recommend starting with handjobs. Watch what kinds of pressures, placements, etc get him excited. Eye contact! Occasional is fine, long and steady is fine. But try for at least some eye contact. Then add in a little kissing, then some more kissing, and before you know it you'll know whether it's something you want to keep practicing, or you'll decide it's just not for you. This guy sounds like a winner, so I'm willing to bet that he'll be verbally supportive, but feel free to let him know ahead of time that you would appreciate the encouragement. You don't need to write him a script, but you can let him know if you would prefer he tell you what is awesome, or if you want suggestions about what to do next. Or, of course, a combination of those.

There is no law that says you have to come to like blowjobs (ha! I made that double entendre on purpose, I am soooo proud.) The points there are 1. It's probably going to be awesome for him to have your mouth anywhere near his fun bits, whether he has an orgasm as a result of that and 2. You may not learn to enjoy giving the BJ, and that's fine, too.

(And before anyone screams eponysterical bilabial is a reference to language, not sexyfuntimes. kthxbai.)
posted by bilabial at 2:51 PM on February 5, 2010

follow-up from the OP
Thanks everyone, for all your advice. It was all extremely helpful, and made me feel a lot less stressed about things, and earlier this week I was able to go down on my beau without major anxiety (I did have to stop once, but he held me and told me that I was safe and that everything was okay, and it was okay, after that). The advice from rokusan, bewilderbeast, nadawi, sallybrown, and kathrineg in particular was really helpful (nadawi! I want to give you big huge internet hugs!), and everyone who told me I was awesome and wonderful and all that: that made such a huge difference. It seems ridiculous now, but it had never occurred to me that that first dude might have been dealing with his own issues, and that his reaction might have been more about him than it was about me. It sounds kind of weird to say it in this context, but even though I was really nervous about giving my guy a blowjob, as I went for it I felt like "Even if I'm bad at this, Metafilter's got my back." So, yeah, MeFi, I was thinking about you while I was having sex. I really love you guys; I'd been carrying this thing around for five years, and you (and my mefite beau) helped me blast it away in just a couple days. Is there anything you can't do?
posted by jessamyn at 8:28 PM on February 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

MetaFilter shoots and scores! YAY!

I love a happy ending.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:30 AM on February 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

And it sounds like there was a happy ending in more than one way, amirite?

I keed, I keed. Hurrah for getting rid of sexual hangups!

posted by ocherdraco at 6:13 AM on February 7, 2010

posted by kathrineg at 8:46 AM on February 7, 2010

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