Why Is ‘Going Down’ Often a One-Way Street?

Emily Heist Moss surveyed friends, strangers, and GMP readers about cunnilingus. What she found was intimacy, insecurity and the “ick factor.”

To write this article on cunnilingus, I created a mini-survey to get some perspectives from Good Men Project readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and a bunch of total strangers. I threw “box job”—as Dan Savage once described the act—in the title simply because, sad as it seems, I assumed that that the technical term (which is derived from the Latin words for vulva and tongue) wasn’t widely known.

Boy, oh boy, I did not know what I was getting into with that title! In the general comments field, about a quarter of respondents took me to task for my word choice. Hank wrote, “I think the term ‘box job’ is horrible because it takes away the slow sensuality that usually characterizes cunnilingus.” Marisa added, “I sincerely hope the term ‘box job’ does NOT catch on. I very much dislike the word Box as a euphemism for vagina because there is nothing boxy whatsoever about my vagina or any vagina.” Apologies to all, in discussing the responses, I’ll stick to cunnilingus!


What was I trying to learn by surveying friends and strangers about their oral sex opinions and hang-ups? Not technique, I promise; I leave that to each of you to perfect with your partners. In a world where Axe body spray ads stretch the definition of “innuendo” and fellatio-hinting commercials make superstars out of phallic objects, I wanted to devote a little page space to the other oral sex. I’m not suggesting that blowjobs should dominate the airwaves, but since they often do, I think it’s worth considering why cunnilingus gets such little coverage in pop culture. Are we embarrassed by it? Do we think it’s gross? Does it cross an intimacy line that culturally we’re not ready or willing to discuss?

The kind of human messiness that is acceptable for men is deemed unnatural and unladylike for women. The fact that we’re all made of the same stuff—skin and hair—doesn’t seem to matter.

I was surprised, and I must say, disappointed, to read that most of the “that’s so gross” responses came from the ladies. Marisa is a 23-year-old who married her high school sweetheart. Even though her husband “loves performing,” Marisa thinks she’ll never be 100% comfortable with cunnilingus, “Every time before I engage, my brain has to go over this hurdle of ‘Ew, he’s putting his mouth down there?’” Other women pointed out that genitalia is associated with…teehee…waste, and that consequently putting your mouth anywhere near it is obviously disgusting. I wish I’d interviewed these women in person so I could follow up with their views on fellatio. They are aware that pee comes out of penises, too, right? The popularity of blowjobs doesn’t seem to have been affected by this biological fact, so why does it deter cunnilingus?

The issue of cleanliness comes up over and over again, both in its literal meaning and in regards to hair (or the lack of it). Miranda, 33, wrote: “I’m sure many women are in the same spot as I am on this topic: am I clean enough?” As Emma points out, “Anyone who’s given a blow job knows that guys don’t always smell/look/taste so good down there, so it would be silly to think that we do.” Cultural mythology, however, tells us that guys are supposed to be a little gross; it’s what makes them so manly! Stinky, sweaty, hairy, dirty… it’s just boys being boys, right? Ladies, on the other hand, are supposed to be dainty and pristine, with nary a hair out of place. We are supposed to smell like roses, and if we sweat, it should be in cute little droplets on our brow. The kind of human messiness that is acceptable for men is deemed unnatural and unladylike for women. The fact that we’re all made of the same stuff—skin and hair—doesn’t seem to matter.

Maddy, 32 and married, wrote, “I’m typically not body conscious but I cannot stand to receive oral sex. I’m afraid I smell, I’m afraid I’ll pass gas, I’m afraid that they won’t do a good job and I won’t like it and it grosses me out to kiss afterwards.” Lady after lady responded that while they physically enjoy the sensation of cunnilingus, they are too concerned with how they look, smell, and taste to “really get into it.” Do guys worry about this stuff? You all aren’t always spotless, you know, and yet somehow it seems like you’re capable of enjoying oral sex just fine. Do guys have insecurities about the appeal of their junk (besides size, which we’ve covered)? If so, how do you put those concerns out of mind in order to enjoy the action down below? How can you teach your ladies to do the same?

Beyond aesthetics, a lot of women reported being self-conscious about all the attention they were receiving. Janet, a married 33-year-old, wrote “In a way it almost seems like a ‘luxury’ that I should be able to live without. I feel guilty that it is so ‘me’ focused.” Marisa, the newlywed, expressed anxiety about how often her husband wanted to go down on her, “Honestly, it would be a relief if my partner only wanted to do it every once in a while, because that’s about how often I’m actually into the idea. As to how I handle the imbalance that exists between my husband, who loves performing it and wants it often, and me, I’d say I usually just go with it. What can I say? I guess I’m sort of a pushover in bed.”

Men wrote about feeling powerful when they could bring their partner to orgasm, and disappointed when they’re technique wasn’t working. 23-year-old Kevin wrote about girlfriends who weren’t comfortable with cunnilingus, “I privately felt a little guilty about getting a blow job because I hadn’t been asked to reciprocate.” And a lot of guys echoed the sentiment of Martin, “There’s the simple and selfish truth that [cunnilingus] is a relatively effective way of ensuring I’ll be on the receiving end of an oral treat myself in the near future.” Is Martin right? Survey responses would suggest yes. A lot of women wrote about “fairness” and how receiving cunnilingus felt like a pleasurable way for a boyfriend to request fellatio. Some, however, felt like boyfriends were only tolerating the “unpleasant” act in order to earn a blowjob. Nicole, 29, wrote, “In the past, I have detested cunnilingus as it felt like a reciprocal chore my past lovers were performing.”

For a lot of women, cunnilingus is on a short list of sex acts for truly special partners. 50-year-old Sandra wrote, “It is extremely intimate and something that I do with a special partner whom I am very comfortable with. I look forward to it when the passion between my partner and I is high and shared.” I do wonder if these women feel that blowjobs are an equally intimate gesture. For younger women, I suspect that the preponderance of blowjob media exposure has made fellatio a routine part of hook-up culture, while cunnilingus is reserved for the “special someone.” I wouldn’t suggest that anyone should have either attitude towards oral sex—to each their own—only that the discrepancy between perceptions of male and female oral sex is problematic. When we normalize the type of sex that is male pleasure-centric and push the type of sex that is female-pleasure centric into the territory of “occasional treat,” we create a substantial imbalance.


No partner should be compelled to perform any sex act because the media says we should like doing it. Obligatory action may get the job done, but do we really want our partners suffering through something they don’t enjoy? The list of ways to be sexual is ridiculously exhaustive, and ruling one thing off the menu shouldn’t ruin anyone’s experience.

That being said, fellatio has become a mainstay of pop culture portrayals of sex and an expected part of most hetero sexual encounters. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is something wrong when the reciprocal act is deemed “gross,” “unclean,” or “icky.” If putting your face in someone else’s lap gives you the heebie-jeebies (for whatever reason), then don’t do it. But, if you’re expecting someone else to put his or her face in your lap, then you really need to reassess your sense of fairness. And if you’re one of the heebie-jeebie types, it’s probably worth asking yourself where those icky feelings are coming from. This is the body you’re going to have for the rest of your life, so you might as well learn to have some fun with it.

—Photo stagshop/Flickr 

About Emily Heist Moss

Emily Heist Moss is a New Englander in love with Chicago, where she works at a tech start-up. She's a serious reader and a semi-pro TV buff. She writes about gender, media, and politics at her blog, Rosie Says. (Follow her: @rosiesaysblog, find Rosie Says on Facebook). 


  1. I get pleasure from, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye


  2. To each their own. I think every person and every couple are different and enjoy different things. I happen to love receiving oral – when it’s done well. I believe most women would love it too if they could get comfortable enough to enjoy it and to express to their partner what felt good. I suspect a main reason so many people don’t find it enjoyable could be because the way the act is depicted in most porn is completely unrealistic and not conducive to pleasure. I think a lot of men (especially young men) get their techniques and knowledge from porn and probably scare their female partners off of oral sex because of their horrible maneuvers. If you take it soft and slow and communicate… wow, it’s amazing.

  3. Please sent me on above email

    9372707037 or call me

  4. Huh?

  5. I agree with Anonymous. I love the feel, sight, smell, and taste of a woman. Most men (reads nearly all men) I know, when they consider a woman to whom they are attracted, think in terms of intercourse with her. Without exception, I always wonder first what she tastes like. Yet as fascinated as I am with that part of a potential relationship, the real goal is contributing to her sexual satisfaction. Cunnilingus is the icing on the cake.

  6. The self-loathing that our society can imbue women with is tragic.
    I cannot be the only man who thinks that, when with the right woman:
    Cunnilingus is great!
    The smell is wonderful, as is the taste. I happily drown in their ecstasy.
    And that goes for everything, “down there” and everywhere.
    A gentleman, when surfacing for a kiss, discretely swabs his face on the sheets en route.
    There is nothing anywhere on a woman’s body that is not intrinsically delightful to kiss, touch, lick,
    sniff, inhale, nibble, penetrate sweetly, stroke, or lap up like a retriever with Godess’s own lollipop.
    All the women I’ve known have a working alimentary canal, and I certainly don’t want anyone to have their mellow harshed by clenching to stifle a fart for the duration
    If men like myself seem disgusting, I’m sorry, and sorry for you.

  7. So let’s reverse this premise: if a woman refuses to go down on her man who goes down on her, should he divorce her? If that was a valid argument (to men), a lot more women would be divorcées. To imply that it’s OK for women to dump men who aren’t avid eaters ignores the fact that for too many men, this is exactly the situation in which they live. Yet it wouldn’t be seen (by women) as a good reason for him to dump his woman.

  8. I’m a big fan of cunnilingus. Best lovers Ive had have stopped in the middle of intercourse to perform cunnilingus then back to intercourse- it insures multiple orgasms. The most romantic thing a man has ever said to me is “Good Morning! Will you sit on my face?” That in no way means that there reciprocation is guaranteed or even likely. Fellatio is not my thing, the only time Ive partaken was when love was a factor. Perhaps its unfair but cunnilingus is almost imperative for an orgasm, and that doesn’t seem to be the case for men.

    This bullcrap about cleanliness and smell is ridiculous, and is mostly cultural claptrap. Females don’t smell unless there is something wrong- ask your gyno. If you don’t like hair down there, get rid of it! Latetotheparty pointed out that gender role training is a factor, hit the nail on the head.

  9. Oh wow, well I love being on the receiving end. I’m a single woman who loves it both receiving and giving oral. The last guy I was with said it turns him on to see how comfortable I am with my body and he loves making me reach the big Os before we hit the ‘main course’

  10. I hate to think I have anything in common with radfems, but were it not for blue-balls, i could easily forget about PIV entirely, I get so lost in cunnilingual bliss. I love it, love it, love it. It’s a total addiction for me, the copulin pheromones must really hit my brain hard. My wife finally has to stop me and say, “okay…. (catches breath)…..enough…. (catches breath)…. F*** me already!”

    Yet I despise fellatio. (I must be a strange man indeed.) But it bodes well for marital stability, though. When my 3 boys are old enough to start thinking about marriage, besides the Biblical wait-til-the-wedding stuff, I’ll tell them how important cunnilingus is, and why they should work at getting to be experts at it.

    I promise, this post is not a joke.

    • “…why they should work at getting to be experts at it. …”

      I should clarify:.. wthey should work at getting to be experts at it…. starting on the honeymoon…. no sooner!


    • I fully agree, I love cunnilingus but hate getting fellatio.

      Not sure why i would wait to get married though..

    • Heh. Best boyfriend I ever had was told by his dad “if ya wanna keep em, ya gotta go down on em good.” But the fact is that all women are different. I myself just don’t like it. Love giving head, but I’m just too sensitive to recieve. It feels like being tased. All the years and effort he’d put into becoming a great lover were focused on something I couldn’t stand and didn’t want. We were the happiest couple ever, except in the bedroom. I’d caution against raising your sons to believe that ALL women love cunnilingus. It’s not true. Better to teach them how to listen to their partners and to respond accordingly.

  11. LateToTheParty says:

    There are so many lessons in how we are all harmed by our sexist, gender role training here… And it’s really hard to escape that training!

    Amongst lots of things, there’s all this hostility toward men in the culture now that is disappointing to say the least. The article complains that fellatio has so much prominence, yet it’s women who are uncomfortable with cunnilingus. I think you answered your question. Women lack empowerment for their sexual satisfaction. I’m remembering how Michael Kimmel slams guys in Guyland on this whole issue. What a hate-filled poisonous rant that was… Having that guy on this site at all really damaged your cred wrt to “Good Men”.

    In my experience, feeling empowered around something you’ve been shamed over, is hard. But anger and blame at others over your lack of empowerment is just avoiding the issue. A safe, nurturing environment allows it to naturally emerge.

  12. wellokaythen says:

    So, no real consensus from women about cunnilingus.

    Let me see if I can summarize what I’ve learned from the responses so far, as a man trying to learn more:

    1. Be good at it, but don’t focus too much on being good at it. Just be good at it.

    2. Focus on giving her pleasure, but don’t focus too much on giving her pleasure.

    3. You should care about her pleasure, but wanting to give her pleasure is selfish.

    4. You can give her pleasure and feel good about giving her pleasure, but only if you feel good about it for the right reasons.

    5. Listen to what she says, pay attention to what she does, but remember that she could be faking or lying.

    6. If she seems to be deeply enjoying it, there’s a good chance that she is not. The more she seems to be enjoying it, the less likely that she really is enjoying it.

    7. Men who think they’re really good at it only think that because women have led them to believe that they are when they are not. Self-centered, clueless men, acting on false information.

    8. It’s expected to be reciprocal with fellatio, but don’t expect it to be reciprocated.

    Does that about cover it?

      OMG!! I almost wet my pants after reading your comment!

      All I can say is that each woman is unique so never assume that what works on one woman will work on another. Women should be held responsible for being able to communicate honestly about their sexual needs/wants/preferences. No man is omniscient.

      As for number 7, well, I’m pretty sure I am responsible for that bit of confusion. I apologize. I don’t feel I can fully explain why I said what I said without getting into details I don’t really want to share in a public forum. Hmmm…let’s just say this…a highly responsive woman is usually highly responsive every time she has sex regardless of the man/woman she is having sex with. Men often mistakenly interpret that responsiveness for a high level of sexual chemistry between the two of them or due to his incredible sexual skills. That would not be a good assumption to make. If you encounter a highly responsive woman in your bed, ask her if she’s like this with all her lovers. I believe that most of the time, a highly responsive woman will answer you honestly. She may show appreciation for some technique you used but she will also let you know that she always orgasms easily and over and over and over again.
      Even though I orgasm easily from cunnilingus, it is never the main event for me. Regardless of whether or not I receive cunnilingus, if there’s an erect cock in my vicinity it usually ends up spending some time in my mouth…and if I can push the situation to allow for full-on sex that usually happens too. That’s just the kind of girl I am! 😉

      • Haha oh Jeni! Sounds like we’re soul sisters. I’ve just always been responsive and uhm. Vocal. And no, it really had nothing to do with porn. I’d only seen pictures by the time I got around to losing my virginity. That said, there have been very few guys who were not capable of getting me off. It’s not very difficult for me and I know that’s a huge blessing. I was completely baffled when I learned most women had trouble. Maybe I have extra nerves down there or something.

        But, I keep my mouth shut unless asked. I don’t mind a guy feeling like a stud for getting me off if it makes him feel good. But, with what the article said, I agree with the part about guys just going down because they feel like they *have to*. If a guy didn’t genuinely want to do it I probably wouldn’t want him to.

    • Zigspective says:

      It’s almost like women are *GASP* people! With their own opinions and different behaviors and everything!

  13. No guy in particular says:

    I think a lot of people are too afraid to talk too much about oral sex beyond “ew, that’s gross” or “sure, can’t get enough!” As a result, they may be missing out on the possibility of problem-solving. Some of the challenges to enjoying oral sex, like the “ickiness” factor, feeling self-conscious, disliking smells and tastes, etc., could be minimized with some basic practical steps (take shower together first, for example, solve any infection issues, etc.) and a little experimenting with new things.

    Like a lot of relationship issues, some of the awkwardness could be dispelled with a little more open communication. I’m not saying this means that everyone should be able to enjoy it, just that the deal-breakers may not be as insurmountable as you might think. For God’s sake, talk about it, talk about what works and what doesn’t, brainstorm about possible solutions, communicate, communicate, communicate.

    This is one of those cases where a hetero man and hetero woman will probably never fully understand the other, or at least where you just have to trust that when the other says it’s okay, it’s okay. If you’re not attracted to women, it’s hard to understand enjoying going down on them. If you’re not attracted to men, it’s hard to understand enjoying going down on them.

    On the taste/smell issue, if that’s a big stumbling block, in my experience saliva produced during the activity tends to dilute the taste and smell of your partner. The most intense taste/smell is at the beginning and rapidly diminishes after that. Just on a practical note. (Can’t speak for fellatio, from what I understand the most intense taste is at the end?)

    • “Can’t speak for fellatio, from what I understand the most intense taste is at the end?”
      Love that!! Generally speaking, you are correct. Occasionally, I’ve encountered men who haven’t seemed to wash their genitals in a week or so. In that case, fellatio was an intense experience from beginning to end…it kind of turned me off of repeating the performance with them again…or I took them in the shower and thoroughly washed them before going down on them again. 😉

    • Those genital wipes they sell these days, or even just standard old Tucks, are a great product too. Just wipe things off before sex and voila. Keep a box in the bathroom. They are great if you want to have sex first thing in the morning without showering first. Or at the end of the day when you are feeling a little “off” down there. A good way to introduce this to your partner is to say, “I really like to use these to clean up a little before sex, it makes everything more pleasant, why don’t you try it too?”. That way nobody feels ashamed about it.

  14. Why are so many articles on this site posted by fem-nazis? It is annoying, as it makes me feel like the genuine effort on the part of men to pursue an ideal is not in their own hands. The CEO of the Good Men project is a woman?

    I performed cunnilingus probably 15 times more than I ever had sex. And I probably gave it about 5 times more than received oral sex. Of course, this was all one partner.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Cody — I’m not sure what you mean by “so many” articles. Right now, out of 28 articles on the front page — 2 are written by women.

      The articles that are written by women tend to be popular — but not any more popular than the best articles written by men.

      Yes I am a women. I can’t change that. The “genuine effort on the part of men to pursue an ideal” is, of course, in the hands of you or any men that want to participate. We simply made the conscious choice not to exclude women from the conversation if they want to be a part of this also.

      I open up the invitation to you the same way I do with anyone who comes to this site and complains we are “doing it wrong” — write for us. Submit a post — it certainly could be about how you would like to pursue the ideal as a man, and the challenges you have with that. It sounds great, and we’d love to publish it. Or it could be about anything you think would be important for men to be talking about. But don’t name call us “fem-nazis” — we are not.

    • keisha brown says:

      you know part of being a good man is speaking like one right?

      • That is exactly the thing – Why should men note any woman’s opinion on what is and what is not a part of being a good man? One _good_ reason – why?

  15. sometimes couples just need a little direction when it comes to cunnilingus…

  16. Bored with it all says:

    There was a time when I loved it, but that was long ago. When I sensed that my partner was doing it more out of obligation than actual pleasure, it was no longer a turn on to receive it. Men can be really selfish, which is a turnoff–as a result my partner and I get together less and less. He blames it on my lack of interest. I would say its more that I’m insulted and bored. Others in the past were really into it, which made it fun, but if a guy isn’t wild about it, why bother to be vulnerable like that? Also, I prefer it when fingers are involved too and for some guys, that takes skill to manage both, apparently. I love going down on a man, but if he’s not as into me as he is into having me be into him, sex in general just becomes an insulting bore. Yawn. He can think that I’m not as sexual, it saves me from having to explain to him that it boils down to being bored with his selfishness.

  17. I will unabashedly own up to LOVING being on the “receiving end”, though, often when a man is going down on me, I’m fully engaged and we are partners in the orgasm. I am not bored out of my mind, not thinking about the physiological aspects, and not planning reciprocation (which BTW, I also thoroughly enjoy and freely offer up to my partner).

    The only time I shy away from oral sex is during my “time of the month”. In any other case, I find it highly pleasurable and a welcome aspect of a great sex life.

    So, please know that at least one female reader of this post does not fall into some of the categories identified through your survey.

  18. I am one of those assigned-female-at-birth (AFAB) individuals who is !!not!! into receiving oral sex. (How strange, right?) And, this one is going to make you laugh– I’m very lucky to have a male partner who isn’t into giving it! All physical discomfort aside, however, I *love* going down on him. And we don’t consider this an inequitable arrangement.

    It goes something like this… I don’t like the sensations I get very much from oral. It’s just uncomfortable, and not very much fun. I am a g-spot girl, LOL, having my clit be the center of attention is just TOO MUCH. I also think that all the smells and fluids are a little intense to be up close and personal with (Yes even on a clean woman.) I’ve been downtown on other ladies, and come to a similar conclusion: YUCK!!!!! This is not my cup of tea! There must be some wiring that other people have that I just -don’t-, because I cannot imagine why anyone would do that voluntarily. Why the hell would I want anyone else suffering through that when I’m not even having fun as a result? This is missing the point of sex. Next please!

    Then, there’s my partner. Apparently, even though he’s very into women, getting his face down there is not pleasant for him– too messy and icky, sensorily unpleasant. (He said that if I HAD been into it, he never would have said anything, and totally would have given me whatever I wanted– what a sweetheart!)

    We talked about it for a while, and came to the conclusion that if we both don’t like it very much, we just shouldn’t do it. There are other things I *do* like which he does for me, that are centered on my pleasure, and I have never felt that our sex life is lacking. All in all, a very sexually satisfying conclusion to what has been in previous relationships a bone of contention.

    (That bone of contention is another reason, natch, why I don’t like receiving oral sex– there is nothing more uncomfortable than a partner going to town and having a ball while you’re lying there bored out of your mind and waiting for them to get it out of their systems… I feel bad because *I’m* not enjoying it, and thus not ‘peforming’ like they expect me to… and they feel bad because I’m not enjoying it, and usually feel it’s something wrong with THEM and their ‘peformance,’ and then they want to know what they are doing wrong… what an anxiety-inducing little drama!)

  19. I just LOVE oral sex, giving or getting. I can absolutely guarantee that if I can get my tongue between my date’s thighs, she will quickly wind up screwing us both utterly silly. Any woman who declines oral sex has NO idea what she is missing out on.

    • I don’t understand how putting your tongue between someone’s thighs can be such a game changer….you sure you have the geography correct?

  20. Pretty weak anyone who feels uncomfortable about kissing afterward.
    I think someone above found that the empowerment a fellow feels from giving (fine, aiding in) an orgasm to be part and parcel of the prevalent patriarchy*. Wuh-weh-wha? Because the rest of the comment was much on the wildly over-simplified-my-way-is-the-only-way side, I’m going to assume some tongue was in some cheek somewhere. Either way, thanks for the cliche.

    *I took some liberties because I like alliteration

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      Let’s face it, the subtle smells and the pheremones are part of the turn on. I have never been with a woman personally who didn’t like kissing afterward.

  21. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    1. I have a feeling that the responses were selectively mined to reflect the younger generation’s 1950s-like ambivalence about sex. Most people from my generation have no problem getting or giving cunnilingus. (I’m 66) The “box job” bit that was on the survey fortunately never came up. Grotesque.

    2. I personally hate costuming in bed. Just wanted to weigh in on that one. I think I’d die laughing if I saw a garter belt. Fortunately, I never have.

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      3. While we’re at it. I don’t get why shaved parts are sexy. They’re okay. But the hair’s another thing that can be stimulating.

  22. I don’t know who the heck this woman was surveying but it certainly doesn’t apply to myself or any of my friends. Love it. If a man doesn’t do it, he’s out. But i’ve only had one partner that didn’t do it, and that was over before it started but it wasn’t just that issue.
    I’m just really glad that I’m a little older and the guys that I might be dating have actually slept with a women or seen a women with pubic hair and aren’t freaked out by it. Just another reason porn sucks.

  23. I have to say that I have met very few men who have the ability to make me truly enjoy cunnilingus. It has taken me 13 years to train my own husband in the subtleties of my ‘bits’. I have met many a man who prides themselves on their ability only to be left thinking ‘Is that it?’ Consequently I have a very take it or leave it attitude. In the swing scene it is generally frowned upon if either men or women are reluctant to perform orally and so whenever we meet new people I am always quite apprehensive when we get to that point where tongue is applied to clit. I have been surprised but often I am more than happy to move on to other activities.
    As a bisexual woman I have taken a bit of care to learn the art of making a woman scream and like so many men in forums the world over I am often told I have a good tongue. However I will also say I do get a bit of ‘ICK’ factor from time to time. Some women don’t smell all that nice and some pussies are not to my liking so the survey respondents comments are valid.
    In short, licking a pussy is not that easy (neither is sucking a cock well) and if you are not really into the pussy in question you will not do a good job.
    Another point I will make (and then I will run very quickly for cover) as a rule women are more compliant than men. They are more likely to perform tasks that they don’t particularly like if they feel they are expected to. Men on the other hand will often only do something if they can see an immediate benefit for themselves. And so women will do blowjobs because they think it is expected, many of them will learn how to do it well. Men will be less likely to perform cunnilingus if they don’t want to and when they do they will do a substandard job. Hence women will be less likely to enjoy it and ask for seconds.
    Of course there will be many men who disagree and state how much they like licking pussy and how they always make a woman scream. I refer them to my opening comments.

    • My experience is similar to Gemma’s. When I was younger, I use to put on more of a show and if a guy went down on me, I just pretended it was great. Sometimes it actually hurt and my little cry of pain was mistaken for pleasure. I take responsibliity for that. But I also think men need to take responsiblity for the social information they get from sexual media. Alot of men don’t really seem to know how to really make love. They just copy what they see in porn. Further, it’s really annoying when a man makes my orgasm about his ego. All they want to do is make you orgasm but not because they want you to truly enjoy yourself. They just want to feel good as a man because of an idea that he made me orgasm form his uber wonderful masculine skills. So sometimes I would fake it and hurry the process along because he took the fun out of it by making me feel like I had to perform. Which I did because when I performed, I certainly got more praise then when I just acted like myself.

      I especially agree with Gemma’s comment here: “Men will be less likely to perform cunnilingus if they don’t want to and when they do they will do a substandard job. Hence women will be less likely to enjoy it and ask for seconds.Of course there will be many men who disagree and state how much they like licking pussy and how they always make a woman scream. I refer them to my opening comments.”

      • LOL
        Yeah, it is pretty funny how many men make female orgasms about their ego. They often seem to infer that if a woman is highly responsive sexually it is because he’s such an awesome lover. Occasionally that is the case but usually a woman’s responsiveness has nothing to do with the man and everything to do with how much she likes sex.
        I rarely experience bad sex anymore because if a man’s skills are substandard or annoying I just flip him over and ride him until I’ve gotten off to a satisfying degree. Granted, the men I have to do that with rarely get an opportunity have sex with me more than once.

  24. “Men wrote about feeling powerful when they could bring their partner to orgasm . . .”

    What a depressing statement. It shows that most men still believe that they are superior to women and want a male-dominated society.

    Hey, a man does not bring a woman to orgasm. He follows her to orgasm. Men who are good in bed are good sexual followers. They joyfully follow the woman’s lead, take all the responsibility for birth control, and let her be on top.

  25. If a woman feels ashamed or overly self-conscious of her genitals, I don’t understand how she could possibly consider herself empowered or liberated. She’s just playing according to the rules of the patriarchy. To feel pride in one’s body and an insistence on claiming one’s own pleasure is powerful in my book.
    Most women require direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm. One of the best ways to receive this is through having their partners perform cunnilingus on them. Other women prefer handjobs or vibrators. The method of getting there is irrelevant. What is important is losing the shame and being able to communicate to partners exactly what is required for them to receive pleasure.
    Women have to learn how to communicate in an empowered way about their bodies and their sexuality. Don’t fake your orgasm. Tell your partner what works for you. If s/he refuses to listen or do what you request, then leave. You are NOT obliged to endure a bad sexual experience with a partner who doesn’t listen to you or attend to your pleasure as well as his/hers.

  26. i feel compelled to balance the scales.

    as a 41-yr old woman who has never been married, i can say that throughout years of a variety of experience i have never NOT wanted a man to go down on me. that said, sometimes when it became apparent that he just wasn’t going to “get” the subtleties of my instrument (even after gentle instruction), i wanted nothing more than to move on to other delights. but when it’s good, oh, praise god. the very idea of a man’s mouth between my legs sends pleasure up my spine. it probably doesn’t hurt that my very first giver was one of my biggest crushes and he looked up at me midst concert and said, “you are so beautiful.”

    it’s a gift i intend to continue to receive with great appreciation. i never want to feel obligated to return the favor (those kind of men were rare, thankfully, and are now long in my past). i give often and enthusiastically, when i am inspired, too. i suppose i worry about cleanliness as much as any guy might. and, yes, please kiss me before, during and after. 🙂

  27. I am amazed, and a little saddened at how much of the talk centering on oral sex is either “Me” (do I smell/am I clean/will I make her/him/orgasm?) talk or the language of transactions (what do I have to give in order to get?). I know that is human nature, but really, so off the main point of mutually satisfactory intimate relations.

    Cunnilingus is one of the most intimate gifts I can give my partner, and I never have given it just because I wanted fellatio. I enjoy giving it because it gives my partner pleasure, with no expectations other than to make her happy. To my mind, that is what good sex should be all about: giving intimacy and pleasure, without getting wrapped up in ego and self-absorption. And to be honest, there are times when I don’t feel like intercourse, but still want to give my partner pleasure.

    Having said that, it can also be great fun to just get busy, as deeply and pleasurably as you can! I don’t worry about perfection, I accept my partner’s body as the gift that it is, in all its messy, glorious physicality. Yeah, cleanliness matters, size may matter, lack of blemishes may matter. But none of those is worth obsessing about, because obsessing over perfection, and putting your own wants too far ahead of your partner’s wants is guaranteed to lead to dissatisfaction. Why? Because you will never be happy.

    Finally, I do wish that more balance was present in a broad cultural sense, and that ‘mainstream’ culture would emphasizing the supposedly “normal” masculine over the supposedly “unseemly” feminine, when it comes to portraying human desires. It isn’t fair and ultimately it feeds into a culture of constant dissatisfaction.

  28. This is an issue of why I prefer women of later years–45-55, myself being 60. So many divorced women of this age have been “around the block” a few times, so to speak. They always seem to have a very definite sense of themselves at a level much higher than many younger women. They grew up in an age where they began to discover and speak out (Kinsey Report) about their own eroticism and sexual yearnings.And these past fifteen years of divorce have been really fun. I have known women who ask for and greatly participate in sexual adventures of their own choosing. I am especially fond of garter belts and stockings and they are in abundance with these ladies. (Many times wearing no panties under their dress with this lingerie..makes me crazy when they tell me as much over dinner) And female oral sex (cunnilingus) is something they all seem to crave and delight in. After a formal dinner or out for pizza..lots of small talk is a relaxing way to pass the evening. Dancing at home to the stereo, cheek to cheek, really gets the mood rolling. And here is what I discovered, these gals are not nearly as athletic as they once were, might have a few varicose veins, an incision from childbirth..something they might have some embarrassment about. But to a lady, they are ready to peel off as much clothing as needed, spread their legs wide open, to get what they want. We are both just a few hours past a long , hot shower, and I have seldom had any problem with odor. Matter of fact, it is fun to see how many ladies are into Brazilian shaves..no hair at all !!!! My issue is to provide pleasure to her without coercion or demanding a blow job in return. The orgasms of some of these gals would register on the Richter scale.. I either stay the evening if asked or get myself home late in the night. Now for me..some ,not all the time, I will get an invite a few days later to the ladies home, and be treated to the most exquisite blow jobs a man could ever wish for. And the sex at these sessions is even more incredible, because there is no worry about pregnancy AND ANY THING GOES !!!!

  29. Sevenonesix says:

    I’m a woman, and I’ve never really cared for cunnilingus. I take a really long time to come, so I always, always end up faking it with partners during oral sex so that we can just move on already (because it’s become like some sort of badge of honor for men, they just don’t want to drop it until they can “make you scream”). And yeah, if you’re going to go down on a lady, no stubble please. It may look sexy, but it feels like sandpaper.

  30. “Lady after lady responded that while they physically enjoy the sensation of cunnilingus, they are too concerned with how they look, smell, and taste to “really get into it.” Do guys worry about this stuff? You all aren’t always spotless, you know, and yet somehow it seems like you’re capable of enjoying oral sex just fine.”

    I’ll chime in to say that I, for one, absolutely worry about this stuff. While the idea and basic physical sensations of fellatio are incredibly hot to me, actually receiving the act is fraught with these same issues. I worry that I’m not big enough, yes, but also that I’m too big, and thus uncomfortable for her. I worry that I stink horribly. That I’ve been lazy and selfish in waiting too long between shavings/trimmings, and thus have so much hair that I’m forcing my partner to suck and floss at the same time. I wonder if I’m being a selfish lover by getting into my oral sex, when cunnilingus performed on my wife does nothing for her. Etc., etc., etc.

  31. First, I’ve long liked “mouth-to-muff.” In my single life, I came to feel the most women weren’t comfortable with having a face between their legs until the relationship was really established: If a woman wasn’t comfortable with me seeing her without her makeup, she likely wouldn’t feel comfortable receiving oral sex.

    I once overheard a woman talking to her girlfriends about a new beau. She praised his prowess in bed, except for one thing: he went about giving oral sex like he was “painting a fence.”

    So guys, when you’re doing it, don’t think about painting a fence.

  32. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I’ve met very few women who aren’t wild for it, and some that seem much more interested in it than intercourse. I may have a biased sample, but I think it’s been a prelude to intercourse virtually any time I’ve had sex in the last 40 years or so. It’s more or less sure fire foreplay.

    I think the man giving it needs to be calm, very turned on himself, not have in mind that it’s an “exchange” for felatio, and willing to keep doing it forever (at least seem so.) Cunnilingus, itself, needs foreplay– kissing and/or body stroking for minutes on end. Don’t dive on it right away.

    Female partners have said that common problems are: too fast, not on the clit and lips, sucking the vulva or clit (in a bad way), too hard, rooting or wallowing in the vulva, etc.

    Sixty-nine is more complicated. It should be done from the side, and depends on the couple’s ability to slowly synchronize breaths and strokes.

  33. These results are fascinating. So many women who aren’t into cunnilingus despite the fact that they’re supposed to be. Even a woman who went along with it for the sake of the guy.

    I’m curious how the numbers broke down. Were the women who didn’t feel comfortable with it in the majority or just a large and vocal sub-group? How many women liked it but felt embarrassed and self-conscious versus didn’t really get much from it? How many didn’t like it because they thought it was going to be something they had to reciprocate? How many just wanted to save it for later intimacy?

    What role did age play in all this? Were older women more comfortable in their skin as I might expect?

    Before you conclude that there’s a huge imbalance in terms of giving oral sex, though, I think you need to ask the question directly of these women. I think there is a lot of pressure on young women to perform fellatio, but the question is are these women giving in to the pressure? Do they feel they have to please the guy but can turn down their own pleasure or are the women you interviewed women who wait for sex and/or are more able to express not wanting something than most women.

  34. I’m glad this article tackled the fact that it’s mostly women (in my own humble experience) who have a problem with cunnilingus.

    First of all, blowjobs may be a punch line in pop culture. But in my opinion, they are the Bigfoot of sexual encounters. Often talked about, seldom seen. All these women say “I love giving head,” but I had my share of sexual encounters in my younger days and most of these women are LYING! I, on the other hand, genuinely love going down on women. It’s fun and I enjoy it. I don’t do it specifically so I’ll get a blowjob, but a little reciprocation every once in a while would be nice. That’s just common courtesy.

    But I have run into a bunch of women who just can’t handle someone going down on them. I’ll never understand it. I don’t care if a woman just came back from the gym. In fact, I think that’s even sexier. Maybe I’m just a freak. But seriously, these women need to get over their hang-ups because I’ve found a woman who doesn’t let herself enjoy oral sex tends to be vanilla in bed and the sex really suffers.

    • I don’t think (straight) guys realize how physically exhausting it can be to give a BJ. Personally, my neck cramps up, my jaw aches, and my lips get sore. I learned to give really good BJ’s to get them over with quickly! Don’t get me wrong, I love giving pleasure. But the pleasure for me is mental; physically it isn’t that much fun. I always wonder if guys feel the same way about giving oral sex to a woman. (Their necks can cramp too.) I worry a lot about how I smell, and I don’t want any guy to put his face down there unless I take a shower first. Guys do joke about that smell, so I don’t think this is just a “hang up” on my part. I certainly don’t want somebody going down there and thinking “yuck, wish she’d taken a shower!” when it’s too late.

  35. One good way of easing into this activity is coupling up sixty-nine style. It can help reduce center stage anxiety – two busy mouths have less time to reflect. Center stage is quite wonderful, and that is my personal wish for world peace.

  36. Going down on a woman is like when you were a kid and you lost a tooth in the back of your mouth. At first you were afraid to touch that fleshy, strange opening with you’re tongue. But once you start licking you end up loving it and can’t stop.

    • That last comment seriously made me laugh out loud. It’s a mildly nauseating metaphor but completely true! 😀 That totally made my night. Thanks MoPrice!

  37. The Wet One says:

    And there’s nothing gross about it at all.

  38. The Wet One says:

    Munching rug is what life is all about my friends! WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. I’m totally down on my woman. As often as possible in fact. I love to hear her scream. ;-D


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