Want oral sex but your partner isn’t providing? Here’s what you do

Men are statistically far less likely to perform oral sex on the opposite sex than women. This is particularly a problem if oral sex is something that you want/crave/need to feel sexually satisfied. But, don’t despair, it’s a problem that can be fixed.

One of my all-time favourite songs is ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by the Rolling Stones. The opening gospel choir, the casual strum of the guitar, Mick Jagger’s drawl, the lyrics. In a year where very few people are getting what they wanted, or at least what they had planned, it feels like a particularly fitting anthem to 2020.

So much of what is happening at the moment is out of our collective control, it’s been an interesting time to reflect on and examine the things that we want that are in our control. Say, our sex lives. Extended periods of quarantine and isolation have done interesting things for how much or how little sex couples are experiencing.

Is there something in your sex life that you want, that you’re not getting? Oral sex, perhaps? Because you certainly wouldn’t be alone. Studies have shown that men are statistically far less likely to perform oral sex on the opposite sex than women. This is particularly a problem if oral sex is something that you want/crave/need to feel sexually satisfied. But, don’t despair, it’s a problem that can be fixed.

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Why the disparity?

New York-based psychologist and sex therapist, Dr Valentino suggests that the most important step towards reaching a solution to this quandary is to first understand the reason behind a man’s reticence to perform oral sex, of which there could be many. The most pertinent of these is a lack of education.

“Men operate differently than women and often they genuinely don’t understand the female anatomy, which is very different from the layout of the male anatomy,” she says.

“As an example, men can become discouraged when what works for them doesn’t work for a woman. A common complaint from women is they’re too overeager or use too much pressure.”

Porn culture is another factor that may contribute to men not putting in the work. Intercourse is very penetration focused, which has been perpetuated by the ubiquity of internet porn.

“The internet has become pervasive as a matter of sex education and therefore sex has become rigidly conceived, as though it’s a precise program or narrative that needs to be followed,” clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr Ursula Ofman says.

This doesn’t mean that women are completely exempt from contributing to the solution, though. Dr Valentino recommends women explore their bodies on their own to discover what they like and what works for them so they can communicate their desires to their partner. Otherwise, it’s like the blind leading the blind.

“A lot of women don’t know what they want sexually,” she says.

“Not all women masturbate or at least are open about it as well as their fantasies, and sadly there’s still a lot of shame associated with women owning their sexual desire. Destigmatising women’s sexual satisfaction and pleasure is part of the process, especially with a male audience.”

So how should someone broach the subject of oral sex with their partner if they’re not satisfied with what they’re getting? As with most other tenets of a relationship: openly and honestly.


“To have a productive discussion about sex requires both parties to be on the same page and to feel comfortable. It’s important to be confident and say something if you’re not satisfied sexually,” Dr Valentino says.

“Positive reinforcement and gentle redirection are good tools to facilitate a conversation of this kind. If he does something you like, let it be known physically or verbally. However you are most comfortable expressing yourself.”

Being in a comfortable and safe setting usually means not having a conversation of this calibre before, during or after sex. It’s an extremely vulnerable situation to be in, to begin with.

“A conversation like this needs to happen in a low-pressure situation, for example, while on a walk or over coffee,” Dr Ofman advises.

“It’s important to approach the situation mutually and then leave some time for the new information to settle and so that both parties can reflect on the situation.”

More often than not, asking for what you want pays robust dividends. “Most men want to know what gives women pleasure because what turns the man on is usually when a woman is turned on. Women can turn that around to their benefit,” Dr Ofman explains.

Of course, everyone has the right to say no to something they don’t feel comfortable doing. And that’s something that needs to be discussed in the framework of the relationship.

Finally, Dr Valentino notes, there is always a give-and-take factor, but ultimately it’s something that should be enjoyed by everyone doing it, so it’s essential to do what’s in our control to be able to enjoy it.

Because, as Mick Jagger said: If you try sometimes, you get what you need.