What are the limits of "GGG"?
April 2, 2014 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I think being Good, Giving and Game in bed is one of Dan Savage's finer points and strive to be that kind of lover. But there are some things I have a hard time deciding if I just flat out do not like or if they're things I can get over. I'm curious of other people's experiences. *NSFW

Mainly my questions are around oral sex.

I was never into someone going down on me (35 y.o. hetero woman) because I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to. I hated the way I smelled and couldn't believe someone would want to taste anything down there.

I've finally gotten over that, but am still not a fan of when he kisses me afterwards. We've talked about it and for he most part, he'll kiss other parts of my body before coming up, which has helped.

The other thing he's asked me to do twice is to finish him off orally after we've already started intercourse. I go down on him because his pleasure is my pleasure, but mentally it can be hard to focus on putting him in my mouth after he's already been inside of me. This last time I did my best not to breathe through my nose.

I guess what I'm asking is, while I'd prefer not to be kissed directly after he goes down on me and I'm not a huge fan of going down on him after he's already been inside of me, does this trump his preference?

This is less about identifying what's comfortable or uncomfortable for me and I'm aware I can ask for or deny whatever I want. But are there some things you can come around on (for example, not liking a particular position [ex: because you don't like the way your body looks in that position]) given some time AND would these specific instances help my own self loathing about something I shouldn't be ashamed of (re: the look, smell and taste of my vagina)?

Thoughts and feedback are appreciated. TIA!
posted by patientpatient to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

while I'd prefer not to be kissed directly after he goes down on me and I'm not a huge fan of going down on him after he's already been inside of me, does this trump his preference?

No. Being GGG means you're willing to do things that aren't necessarily turn-ons for you for the sake of your partner, not that you're willing to do things that are specifically turn-offs. If you hate the way you smell and you have to try to remember not to breathe through your nose while it's happening, that doesn't sound like it's any fun at all and I wouldn't do it if I were you.

Can you come around on it? Sure. I don't think anyone but you could tell you what would help in that regard, though - but I think there are probably others ways to help you ease into getting acustomed to your own scent without having to do it during showtime, so to speak - maybe licking his fingers after he's had them inside you. That can be easy to work into a dom/sub dynamic so maybe give that some thought if you already do stuff like that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:59 PM on April 2, 2014 [10 favorites]

"Game" doesn't mean "completely without opinions on all sexual matters" or "just let your partner do whatever whether you like it or not".

I think if you really dislike it, don't do it.

That said, seriously, it's OK, your taste/smell is not that strong and this isn't nearly the big deal you are making it out to be. If it genuinely makes you uncomfortable, fine, but to be honest I think this is something you could probably come around on after trying it out once and realizing that it's not such a big deal.

I hesitate to say this, but have you talked about some of this stuff in therapy? Because this all seems like something that is much more "in your head" than a concrete thing you are actually perceiving with your senses in a pragmatic type manner. There's nothing wrong with "in your head" -- and, again, if you don't like it, you don't like it, and that's OK -- but, you know, if you want to work on this, you probably can.
posted by Sara C. at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

If you tried and you don't like it, you never have to do it again.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:08 PM on April 2, 2014 [18 favorites]

I agree that if you are uncomfortable or actively turned off, being GGG does not require you taste yourself in either of those contexts. However, if you are interested in exploring ways to be more comfortable, maybe make a point of showering first the next few times.

I completely agree with Sara C. that barring a medical issue, you do not smell/taste nearly as strong as you think, but if you start at your most comfortable, then maybe you will have more positive experiences to balance out some of the negative ones associated with those sex acts for you.
posted by juliplease at 1:08 PM on April 2, 2014

Being GGG means being willing to try stuff even if you're unsure about it. It doesn't mean that your partner's desires override your own forever and ever. If you don't like this, you don't have to do it, and you don't have to feel bad about not wanting to do it, either.
posted by KathrynT at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

It may help to shower, maybe together, before sex, and to have clean towels available for some wiping up during. You could even have a damp washcloth next to the bed. It may also help to focus on how sexy it is to please your partner. And I agree with the comments about what it means to be GGG, so if it really is unpleasant for you, don't do it/ do it only when you want to.
posted by theora55 at 1:17 PM on April 2, 2014

A health note first - check with your doctor to make certain there isn't any biological cause for a really strong vaginal odor. None of us smell like lillies-of-the-valley, but a really strong odor could be a symptom of an infection. So I'd make sure that this isn't the case first.

If there aren't any physical problems, then - well, hell, we all have things that just ick us out. And it is perfectly valid for your own odor to be one of them. You probably could get over it if you worked at it, but I wonder if the act of trying to Focus On This Like It Is A Big Thing may just make this all super-heavy in your own mind and make you feel all weird if you're not "getting over it" as fast as you think you should or something, so....I give you permission to chill about it if you just plain don't like it.

I also doubt that you honestly do smell or taste as bad as you think (providing you don't have a medical problem), but it is still okay if YOU do. Hell, I flip right the hell out if I see anyone putting in a contact lens; even though I know that it isn't causing them any pain or injury, it still freaks me right the fuck out, and no matter how many times people tell me there's no reason for me to freak out I just do and that's just that.

You tried, you still don't like it, that's valid. Maybe if you still want to try getting over this (not because you're getting pressure to, but because YOU want to), then try it again, but it's okay to be just plain icked out about stuff even though you know intellectually that there may not be a basis for it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on April 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

I guess what I'm asking is, while I'd prefer not to be kissed directly after he goes down on me and I'm not a huge fan of going down on him after he's already been inside of me, does this trump his preference?

If you want it to, then it does. You're in control here and naturally don't have to do anything you don't like.

But are there some things you can come around on (for example, not liking a particular position [ex: because you don't like the way your body looks in that position]) given some time AND would these specific instances help my own self loathing about something I shouldn't be ashamed of (re: the look, smell and taste of my vagina)?

It's possible, but really comes down to the individual and whether they want to work on it. You're aware you have some self loathing going on, which may be impacting your enjoyment of some sexual acts. The only way to find out for sure is explore the self loathing, either by yourself or with a therapist, and once you're over that, then see if those sexual acts still bother you. It may be just a thing you don't like, for whatever reason, everyone has them. Some people don't like broccoli and never will, while others love the stuff. It just depends on the individual.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2014

Being "game" doesn't and shouldn't extend to things you're uncomfortable with. It's for the things that you wouldn't think of trying on your own, or that seem a little silly or awkward - and even then, it's okay to say "nope, not for me." You've tried it, and it's not for you.

I think it'd be great for your self-esteem and your personal pleasure if you grew more comfortable with your own smell and taste, though it's completely optional. It's super common for women to feel embarrassed, disgusted, or just not particularly fond of their own genitals, because we've been taught that human smells are dirty and gross; that can take a while to get over, despite an enthusiastic partner's attempts. (So, like, don't feel ashamed of being ashamed.) If this is something you want to pursue, make the exposure slow and gradual. It sounds like your partner is happy to work with you on this, so your next step might be to talk about your aversion in a broader sense: things you'd like to avoid for now, things you're currently comfortable with, things you're not yet comfortable with but would like to work towards, and how he can help with all this.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:27 PM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Being GGG means, for example, that if you don't like giving oral sex, you'll look for other ways to participate in his pleasure, or if you don't like having intercourse during your period, you'll -- again -- look for other ways to be sexual with your partner during that time, or support him in getting his rocks off, even if it's "just" whispering sexy comments in his ear. It does NOT mean that you have to do every little thing that your partner likes (and vice versa), and if you really dislike something, you absolutely get to draw that line and still consider yourself GGG. If your partner is putting pressure on you about this, that's a jerky move, and I hope he'll stop.
posted by spindrifter at 1:42 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hey OP, I feel exactly the same as you on all counts! Tried it all, didn't like it, probably won't do any of it again. It's okay to just not like something!

For me I think the GGG principle is more being open to new experiences. My partner likes a particular thing that is a little unusual. Once I tried it I discovered that while it doesn't excite me particularly, I also don't find it unpleasant and I'm happy to do it every so often because I know he likes it. If I found it actively unpleasant I likely would not do it again, but trying is the important thing in my opinion.
posted by jess at 1:46 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whoops, bad on me for not reading all the way down your post. All that said, I do think there's a value in learning to like things -- imo, it's always better to like (harmless) things than not to like them, because then there are more things to like! And I do think that probably the taste and smell of your vagina is in that category ... or would be for some people.

When I'm trying to learn to like things, I go very, very slowly. Especially if it's something with a little bit of a disgust button attached to it -- it's not beneficial to punch the yuck button over and over. It might help if your partner is vocal and enthusiastic about liking how you smell and taste, and if you continue to get small, light exposure to it over time (kissing after he's kissed you elsewhere), along with positive feedback both internal and external. I'd skip going down on him after he's been inside you, at least for starters, because that's kind of too big a "dose" for now. Go slowly and be gentle with yourself, and it's okay if even if you're trying to make progress on it you don't include it in every sex session.
posted by spindrifter at 1:46 PM on April 2, 2014

Being GGG doesn't mean you don't have limits, it means you are willing to work within your and your partners limits to find things that do work for both of you.

I have a similar squirk about not wanting to kiss my husband after oral so we now keep a towel and a wet facecloth around when we are having sex so he can wipe his face down. It would also work if you are doing oral on him, you can give everything a quick wipedown. We started keeping them around for the whole after sex clean up as when we first met the nearest bathroom was miles away and got in the habit, so it's not like they'll go to waste if you don't use them. So that was an example that there are ways to be GGG about this and still respect your own limits/likes/dislikes.
posted by wwax at 1:52 PM on April 2, 2014

For me, it means exploring, compromising, and communicating with my partner to ensure all parties are satisfied and enjoying their experience.

It's okay to not like things. Not liking the thing means you tried the thing and gave it a fair shot. That in and of itself means you acted Good, Giving, and Game.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:57 PM on April 2, 2014

I'm curious of other people's experiences.

I learned to like parts of me I had never liked before because of positive feedback from a guy I was attached to for a time. So, yes, you can get over things, sometimes things you weren't even trying to get over.

But I do have a medical condition and there are some things I am just kind of prissy about. I don't think it has anything to do with self loathing, inaccurate self perception, etc. I think it's probably a cleanliness thing.

Most people are raised with either a guilt model or a shame model and are taught to view all kinds of things about themselves in very negative terms, including personal preferences that may have perfectly healthy root causes or which can be viewed in neutral terms. The tone of your post does not sound like you really have self loathing and major shame about your sex life. I don't know if this is your sock puppet account, but you didn't do this as an anonymous askme and the tone of the post just does not strike me as someone with major, serious hang-ups. It sounds like you just do not like this one thing and have, for whatever reason, concluded that your preference is somehow "bad" and "hung up" and blah blah blah.

I agree with folks suggesting you consider getting checked medically (though that may not immediately turn up anything in specific -- it took years for me to get a proper diagnosis). And then I think you should reconsider the conclusions you have drawn that not liking x thing is somehow evidence of self-loathing. I have trouble understanding why a man would like oral on a woman because I am sure I would not like performing oral on a girl. But I know some men do like it and I kind of blithely chalk it up to "hetero men and hetero women have differences in that regard." It doesn't mean I am somehow sick or ...bad...or whatever.
posted by Michele in California at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can certainly dislike that enough that you don't have to do it. I think being GGG does mean that you ask yourself whether it would be good enough for him to wipe his face or wang with a washcloth before you have your face up close and personal with then after they have your fluids on them.

Part of HIS being GGG is that he accepts that maybe that's not as hot for him as if you didn't have him clean off first but it's what is necessary for your enjoyment.
posted by phearlez at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2014

compromise is the mother of all invention - have a nice big glass of water by the bed and he can drink / rinse before kissing you.
posted by Mistress at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I prefer to try new things on my own before trying them with my partner (to the extent possible) to see what I'm comfortable with outside of "the moment." If you do have any interest in learning to like this (not that you need to do it), maybe go in steps by yourself first - start by pleasuring yourself in the bathtub and then smell/taste your finger/toy after, for example.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:49 PM on April 2, 2014

There are lots of men who don't want to taste their own spunk after a girl goes down on them, and most of them aren't called self-loathing. You may be self-loathing, or have some internalized misogyny, but maybe also you just don't like it. Doesn't matter-- that's fine!
posted by stoneandstar at 4:43 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding the suggestion for face cloths and water.

Perhaps also stock mint gum (for him, before kissing you) and flavored lube (to replace the taste on him when you finish him off - it doesn't take a lot).
posted by bookdragoness at 4:44 PM on April 2, 2014

Lemme point you to my previous answer on Sweet Spot feminine hygiene products. High level summary: a properly pH balanced "lady's sweet spot" keeps itself healthy, fresh, muskily fragrant, and Delicious. This is also the pH range that is inimical to yeast infections and such concerns. Similar mechanism to the old advice of use ing live bacteria yogurt on a yeast infection.

Most modern soaps throw a lady's sweet spot out of pH balance. SS ( and other similar products) are oriented at helping the body take care of itself.

Because a lady's spot, when healthy and happy, is indeed quite sweet. And that is absolutely, 100% reason for letting someone lavish some oral attention son you. Everybody involved wins. They picked the name of the company specifically to address the common notion that a lady's sweet spot, when healthy and in proper pH range, is something other than a part of her to be celebrated with kisses and tongues.

Start thinking of your sweet spot as something healthy, wonderful, delicious, and worth a little effort on, and see how that changes your experience of oral sex all around. :-)

I recommend the unscented.

Best of luck.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:23 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Lots of good advice above, but let me give you a straight, cis-male's take on this one:

>I was never into someone going down on me (35 y.o. hetero woman) because I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to. I hated the way I smelled and couldn't believe someone would want to taste anything down there.

Arousal is a multifaceted process, and we can be aroused by all of our senses, including taste and smell. For some of us, the taste, smell, and close proximity to our partner's genitalia is over-poweringly erotic. The very smell about which you are reticent or embarrassed may be one of your partner's biggest turn ons. That doesn't mean you have to be cool with it just 'cause it turns him on, but I think you can take it on faith that for many people the taste and smell of a happy, healthy vulva -- especially an aroused vulva -- is intoxicating and awesome!

posted by plowhand at 5:30 PM on April 2, 2014 [8 favorites]

I've got no issues with my partner kissing me post-oral, but I'd probably balk at post-sex oral, because that's a whole mouthful and it's not something that arouses me at all. A washcloth is a nice idea, but mostly? It's okay not to like something! I go through periods in my life where I dislike oral, and that's fine.

This is why I fucking LOATHE this GGG bullshit because in practice it completely prioritises the requester and negates any actual preferences short of 'hate it' and even then, gets used as a reason to open the relationship if you do.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:07 PM on April 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think if you want to get over it, you should do that on your own, as suggested above, but that's not mandatory. But trying to overcome something deep-seated and personal while also being relaxed enough for sex with another person is not really a recipe for success.

Absolutely it's ok to change your routine so that you don't have to do things that are turnoffs for you; see if lube and your hands/other body parts can work for him, and have him either not kiss you on the mouth afterwards (which leaves lots of other areas to kiss!) or have a glass of water/rinse handy.

He needs to be GGG too, when it comes to what you want.
posted by emjaybee at 7:13 PM on April 2, 2014

Just adding to the chorus really, but I've found that one's capacity to enjoy a given activity can change significantly. I didn't enjoy cunnilingus a whole lot when I first started doing it, but I've grown to love it immensely. Not totally sure why, but I think it's largely because it is such a deeply intimate thing to do and just I love doing that for my woman. Point being, that I grew to love it because of what it means rather than what it is. I tend to really enjoy the actual experience now too, but that took a little while.

That's not to suggest that you will or should grow to love the activities you've mentioned. We all have different sensibilities and preferences; some people just don't like mangos even though they're delicious and you shouldn't feel bad if you try things but can't get to like them.

Which brings me to the other observation, that being GGG is a joint thing. As others have noted, he should really to be prepared to meet you in the middle somewhere. Various good suggestions have been made already about washing/rinsing/whatever and those things don't have to be unsexy. Personally, I find alternating between PIV and fellatio to be extremely arousing and the thought of my darling tasting herself is central to that for me, but if I had a lover who needed to not do that bit, then we would find a way to accommodate it. To me that's being GGG.
posted by mewsic at 8:48 PM on April 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

First, going down in a woman is arousing-arousing to me. Like it makes me hard.

Second, "GGG" always sounded like horseshit to me too; focus sex on the stuff you actually like, not "can tolerate". It's perfectly fine to have preferences.
posted by ead at 11:14 PM on April 5, 2014

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