Getting over nervousness about oral.
July 24, 2010 8:52 PM   Subscribe

How can I get over my nervousness about receiving oral? (obviously NSFW)

Background - I'm a girl in my early 20's. I'm not very sexually experienced - I've slept with two guys, the first was a fling where we only had sex twice and the second is my kinda new BF. I'm also kinda an uptight prude - this is not a religion/upbringing thing, I am atheist and came from a fairly open family - I'm just extra super nervous about people touching me, I have a big personal space, I'm easily grossed out by bodily functions, etc.

I am SUPER petrified of a guy going down on me. In high school I hung around a lot of immature dudes who thought this was disgusting and girls who couldn't get their boyfriends to reciprocate, so I never thought this would be a problem. But both the guys I've been with have wanted to. The BF isn't about to coerce me or anything, but said he enjoys doing it and wants to make me happy.

But I'm really nervous about it, for a few reasons:
1) I'm worried that I smell/taste bad. Dude friends complain how "some chicks taste like fish" - I do not want to be like that. Since I lack the flexibility required for auto-cunnilingus, I'm not sure how I would figure this out on my own. What can I do about this? I do bathe regularly and all and don't seem to smell bad, but wouldn't I be used to it if I did? Are feminine deodorants worth trying?

2) I shave partially down there (I do the labia and stuff and my bikini line but leave a kinda triangle bush up top) so the hair shouldn't get in the way, but sometimes I miss a few spots, or have some stubble, and a lot of times have a couple razor bumps. Obviously dudes have looked at my junk before but it's different if his head is right there. I'm worried it will be gross, how big a concern is this? I do not have the money or pain tolerance to get waxed.

3) Even hygiene aside, I just feel a bit generally nervous and icky about it. Like I said, I'm an uptight prude.

But I also felt pretty nervous about intercourse, and taking my clothes off, and even kissing before I had done them a few times. So I feel like I might like this, too. What can I do to calm my fears about grossness and hygiene, and to relax and enjoy it when it actually happens?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Since I lack the flexibility required for auto-cunnilingus, I'm not sure how I would figure this out on my own. you have hands? Sorry if that grosses you out. I know we're all different and we all have different levels of comfort, but the vag is not a nasty thing! People have been admiring it for eons, smells and hair and all, and the dude "friends" who've convinced you otherwise were blowing smoke up your you know what.

(DO NOT use feminine deodorants unless you're in the mood for some yeast-y infection.)
posted by sallybrown at 8:58 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I know exactly how you feel, so you can believe what I say from experience. If he says he wants to do it, he already knows what it's going to look like and what it's going to taste like, and he more than likely enjoys it. Don't stress and don't run out and get waxed. If you keep it as trim as you say you're fine.

Also I hate to say it but from personal experience a little bit of alcohol goes a long long way in feeling relaxed and open to new experiences.
posted by amethysts at 9:02 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

I forgot to mention: the point of relaxing and being open to new experiences is feeling really, really good. That's the point. It's worth it.
posted by amethysts at 9:03 PM on July 24, 2010

My recommendation: for the first time, do it in the shower/bath in low lighting. This is fun even if you weren't worried about smell and appearance.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:04 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm worried that I smell/taste bad. Dude friends complain how "some chicks taste like fish" - I do not want to be like that. Since I lack the flexibility required for auto-cunnilingus, I'm not sure how I would figure this out on my own.

You have fingers, yes?
posted by asterix at 9:04 PM on July 24, 2010

I hope this doesn't gross you out, but one of the things that might help you get used to your own anatomy would be to take a hand mirror, or to sit in front of a big mirror, naked, and basically look around. There's no reason you should be skeeved out by your own body!

Like sallybrown suggests, you can 'test' the scent of your nether regions by taking a quick swipe down below with a finger, or washcloth or something. Many women do not smell or taste like fish, they smell like vaginas normally smell. This hangup is one that's taken and run with by the media and by companies looking to sell you douches and scented feminine products. If you don't have some sort of bacterial infection, you likely smell just fine.

Most dudes don't care about the state of your pubic hair. Some people prefer a certain look, others could care less. Do what feels right to you.

Lastly, if you're uncomfortable with it, you don't have to do it! Sounds like your guy knows that you're not totally cool with it right now, and that's good. Ease into it, maybe. Let him play with you with his hands, maybe experiment with some mutual masturbation, and eventually let his mouth wander there too. But only when you're ready.

Lastly, do you masturbate? That can do wonders with feeling comfortable with your own anatomy.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:05 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

I clearly have difficulty winding things up.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:05 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Like I said, I'm an uptight prude.

Stop saying it and stop thinking it. I also have a larger "personal space" radius than most people and intensely dislike being touched by people to whom I have not made it explicitly clear that it is okay to touch me. Am I uptight or prudish? Oh hell no.

Make a conscious decision, an active choice, to let your boyfriend past the defenses. It is okay for you to not want anyone except him to do what he does. It does not make you an uptight prude. An uptight prude doesn't spill to a website that (anonymously or not) she wants to get past her issues and enjoy herself. Don't denigrate yourself to rationalize away the fears that every single person has when encountering a new sexual partner, especially if they're not very experienced.
posted by griphus at 9:15 PM on July 24, 2010 [13 favorites]

1) You bathe regular, wash thoroughly and wear clean underpants? You're probably good. Never heard that fish thing from a guy I took serious or about a gal who practiced hygiene like an adult.

2) Hair ain't a problem for most dudes, really. Not sure where this assumption of a universal preference for a total shave comes from, but it ain't the case. Nor do I suspect the occasional missed spot or razor bump is gonna throw your boyfriend. I mean, if a fellow has his face down there, you can be reasonably confident that he likes you, right?

3) You should definitely come to this at your own pace and not feel rushed about it. Go head and take your time! It's fun to take your time. You might have your fella slide down you and kiss you everywhere but, you might have him hover his face between your legs while he plays with you with his fingers, there's a lot of ways you can approach this indirectly. The idea is to ease into it gradual - this is something you want to explore and experiment with, isn't it? And your partner is someone you trust? There's absolutely no need to feel in a rush. Try stuff, see how it makes you feel, wash, rinse, repeat.

Not sure how best to advise you on relaxing, other than to urge you not to beat yourself up for being nervous. It's really alright that you're nervous, honest - most folks are about trying new stuff.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:15 PM on July 24, 2010

Guys who joke around about women tasting like fish are immature idiots who have probably never gone down on anyone and probably didn't know what to do down there if they have.

Seriously, it's something I've never heard a self-respecting non-idiotic dude say past the age of about 20.

If your guy has said this in your presence, kick him to the curb.

Also, you're not uptight, you just feel the way you feel. There is nothing wrong with that. You get to have the personal space boundaries that feel right to you. Period.

I wouldn't worry about smell, pubic hair, or any of it. If a guy likes you and has offered to go down there, he'll be fine. Another thing: I've asked my boyfriend not to go down there when I just wasn't feeling it for whatever reason. You don't have to do this if it makes you uncomfortable.
posted by Sara C. at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]

It blows my mind to think it, but a lot of guys seem to think things down there are delicious/smell good, and that the view is nice. I chalk it up to them being guys: They've had a couple hundred thousand years of natural selection pointing them towards "this is fun." So really: You can probably relax about what he's going to be thinking, 'cause if he didn't like the sights, smells & flavors he wouldn't be gung-ho to get down there.

However, if you aren't up for it, find other things to do. It really is that simple. And there's nothing wrong with not liking or wanting to try a particular act or position. 5 months/days/minutes down the line you can change you mind if you want to.

Or you can try it, discover it's not your favorite thing, and go from there. If we're taking a poll (we're not?? Too bad, I'm registering an opinion.), I don't care for oral sex at all. I used to get yeast/vaginitis about 1 in every 3 times I consented, and honestly the itching sucks, the treatment is yucky, and the benefits SURELY were not outweighing the downsides for me. So take a minute or two online/with a nurse & and get the skinny on sexual hygiene as well, because things like that can put a real damper on one's enthusiasm.
posted by Ys at 9:35 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Would you consider telling your boyfriend, "Boyfriend, I'd like to try this out, but I'm worried about a couple things..." and just get your fears out in the open? Because if he's enthusiastic about cunnilingus, he'll almost certainly be enthusiastic about helping you enjoy it.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:37 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

i'm not a prude at all and i still get nervous about my body and my hair and my smell and my taste sometimes. in those times, we have a couple of bedroom lamps and they get the light low enough that i feel less on display but high enough that he can still see what he's doing. i also do it directly out of a bath. we set up a throne of pillows, i get a drink, sometimes a little weed, i put on music that makes me feel relaxed and sexy. i don't think anyone should ever use intoxicants to do sexual acts they really don't want to do, but i don't see any problem with using them to untwist your anxieties a little to do things you really want to do.

as to the fish thing - everyone else here is correct - that's an overplayed stereotype that has too many dumb jokes about it. it's not really rooted in reality. pussy tastes like fish just as much as cock tastes like mildewy gym socks - which is to say, only if you're doing something really, really wrong with hygiene or health. this thread might show you how varied people's perception about the taste is (and, take note, that except for the first comment everyone who mentions fish says "only if she needs to see the doctor").

i also agree with the people that say tasting yourself is easy to do and might dampen your fears. keep in mind that the taste and consistency will change based upon time of the month, hydration, diet, and arousal level.
posted by nadawi at 10:22 PM on July 24, 2010

Yes, some women really do smell/taste like fish. This is not the natural smell/taste, which I enjoy personally, but is probably the result of bacterial vaginosis. Yes, most women have healthy vaginas and do not smell like fish. Some do, though.

You need not worry about smelling this way yourself. If you did, it is impossible that you wouldn't smell it on your fingers after masturbation. Try that and then never worry about it again. Given how conscious you are about this issue, I think you would already know if you smelled bad. Stop worrying about it.

If your guy is asking to go down on you he probably enjoys the normal smell/taste. A couple of women wouldn't let me go down on them because they said that they thought it would be gross for me. This was really disappointing for me, because I (like many guys) really enjoy it.
posted by rwatson at 10:29 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I regret the "Ladies, I sure do love cunnilingus" aspect of that answer. The short version is that this is a real concern, but probably not for you.
posted by rwatson at 10:37 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

You have already gotten all of the advice you need so let me just add again if he is asking he knows what's up. Don't let a couple of immature assholes rob you of your pleasure. Plenty of guys, including myself, love to do so. Give it a try.
posted by Silvertree at 10:43 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Imagine a man who's afraid to drop his pants, because he's afraid his penis is really, really small. Like, cartoony small. And he bases this entirely on a few immature girls he knew in high school who made fun of guys with small dicks.

You can't let fear of a worst case scenario stop you from trying things. In this case, you're not asking anyone to do it; they're asking you if you'll let them. That implies a certain amount of comfort and experience on their part, and a desire that -- let's face it -- if there was something wrong with you, they wouldn't be expressing.

Ultimately, I tend to be quite oral (TMI, I know) but more than a few women I've been with said they'd had guys who didn't enjoy this sort of thing -- but all of those women, every one of them, had nothing whatsoever wrong with them (and lots of things right) in that department. Don't sweat it unless it become a real and expressed problem, and even then, there's likely a cause and a solution. Your body's a beautiful thing, embrace it and explore it.

Besides, those guys talking about fish and all that? The guys I grew up with who talked like that had never actually done the things they talked about. Keep that in mind.
posted by davejay at 11:26 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you'd like some light reading that may ease your mind a bit (about flavor, but also about cunnilingus in general), there's a really excellent AskMe from a few years ago.
posted by carsonb at 12:12 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your immature guy friends were/are just that -- immature jerks.

Don't go any faster than you're comfortable with re: trying new things, but also don't be hung up the supposed "wisdom" of guys who probably don't know anything about sex.

As mentioned above, if your partner wants to go down on you then chances are a) he's done it before and b) he really enjoys it, in no small part because it can make you feel really great as well.

As for more practical advice, take a shower together before heading to bed. I honestly doubt you have any more of a "smell" issue than anyone else, but psychologically it might help out a bit. And showering together is also really fun.
posted by bardic at 1:11 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

After all the "go ahead!" comments, be reassured that receiving oral sex isn't required of anyone.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:55 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

he enjoys doing it and wants to make me happy

Jump on this. Tell him it's never happened and you're nervous. Eat a mango a while before if you're worried about how you'll taste or smell. Whatever you do, don't use feminine deodorant products -- your boyfriend wants to taste you. Then have a glass of wine and relax.
posted by motsque at 5:21 AM on July 25, 2010

Shower up to make sure you're as clean externally as possible. Trust your man to be honest and let you know if things taste bad. Some "flavor" down there can be adjusted by diet and some women just have a taste that has to be acquired.

But you're under no rule that says you have to let anyone ever give you oral if you're just not into it. You should try it once or twice before saying it isn't for you but that's one of my general rules.

And, by the way, if you're BF is good at it, you're about to have a really, really nice time. Set the mood too, low lights, soft music, a glass of wine and you might get a ticket to O-town if you want one.
posted by fenriq at 7:19 AM on July 25, 2010

Obviously dudes have looked at my junk before but it's different if his head is right there.

It's really no different than if someone was to open their eyes while kissing you and see all the pores and hairs on your face close-up. Bottom line, no one is really paying attention to those things in the moment.
posted by hermitosis at 8:40 AM on July 25, 2010

He wants to.

You are afraid he might not enjoy pleasuring you, because maybe you have an unusually rusty undercarriage or something.

Now, if that's really the only reason you're against it, yeah, you're cheating yourself. He wants to!

If he takes a look at your junk and he's all like, "On second thought, ick," well, maybe you can get him to offer up some helpful suggestions. He very probably won't be all like that, though.

Of course, maybe you won't like it. Maybe his tongue is gross. Maybe a lot of things.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on July 25, 2010

A little bit of humor can't hurt:

My Angry Vagina

Stop shoving things up me. Stop shoving and stop cleaning it up. My vagina doesn't need to be cleaned up. It smells good already. Don't try to decorate. Don't believe him when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it's supposed to smell like pussy. That's what they're doing, trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden. All those douche sprays, floral, berry, rain. I don't want my pussy to smell like berries or rain. All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cook it. I want to taste the fish. That's why I ordered it.

rachaelfaith's response is right on, I think. The most important thing here is that you get comfortable enough with yourself to do what you want to do. If you are happy being an uptight prude, then that's great! If you're not (which it doesn't sound like you are, considering you asked how to get over a certain aspect of that) then actively work to become more comfortable with yourself. Other folks mentioned having a drink, throwing on some music that makes you feel sexy, taking a bath, and then having fun sexy times with the boyfriend, but you could do that before fun sexy times with yourself, too. The more relaxed and comfortable you are on your own, the more relaxed and comfortable you'll be with a partner.

And seriously, any boy who's worth a damn won't give you a hard time about stubble, razor burn, or a missed spot.
posted by SugarAndSass at 9:24 AM on July 25, 2010

girl, you don't know what you're missing out on.

relax, may I say... for fuck's sake.
posted by uauage at 1:11 PM on July 25, 2010

do you masterbate? know how that feels? And when you french kiss and how that feels? now imagine a guy french kissing your pussy. Imagine how that would feel...

take it slowly, and relax, so as he is working his way down and you are panicking about all this, remember, you can stop at any time.

Also, do communicate while he is doing it. If i was down on a girl and she pulled up her "hood" i would go for the clit if i was licking elsewhere.

Honestly, the smell/taste thing is (as stated previously) lies cooked up by people who either (a) are immature, or (b) want to sell you something so are making you feel insecure about this.

Nthing the "try it yourself" idea. The taste of pussy is very difficult to describe, "tangy", is a word i would use, but that tells you nothing, but god i love the taste of it.

You are missing a treat, especially if he is good!
posted by marienbad at 7:07 PM on July 25, 2010


Ask him to stop if you start feeling too weird, but otherwise, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Thinking about it probably won't help as much as just having him do it and then seeing that he likes it, likes you, etc.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:26 PM on July 25, 2010

I'm all for people getting to know their own bodies, but as far as the taste/smell thing goes, don't give your own assessment of yourself too much weight. I mean, I know I smell fine, but it's still not an aroma I want to bury my face in. Which makes sense since I'm not sexually attracted to myself. Just remember that your boyfriend IS sexually attracted to you and therefore finds your smell intoxicating. And in my experience of past boyfriends and guy friends, if a guy enjoys the act of going down on a girl, it's not in spite of the smell/taste -- in fact, that only enhances the experience for them.
posted by spinto at 11:26 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

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