Why Some People Can't Orgasm From Oral Sex

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
You are not a monster if you think giving or receiving oral sex kind of sucks. The stakes can seem high when your partner is between your legs and their next breath is contingent on when you finally orgasm — if you ever orgasm.
It's very common for women to never have an orgasm, and some people specifically can't orgasm from oral sex, says Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist who specializes in teaching women how to orgasm. "Plenty of women don't love the actual sensations of oral sex because they don't find it pleasurable, or they just don't like the experience," Marin says. We all have our own preferences, and what's euphoric to one woman could be uncomfortable for another. The thing is, orgasms do not need to be the finish line for sex — oral or otherwise. "Of course orgasms are fun and feel great, but you can have a lot of pleasure without having an orgasm," she says.
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If you want to orgasm during oral, it can happen, and Marin says it's helpful to pinpoint what might be stopping you first. A lot of people like the feeling, but have a crippling "mental blockage" that gets in the way of enjoying it, she says. "More often, people feel like [giving oral is] a chore for the other person so they get self-conscious about the experience." Other people find oral sex a little lonely, because their partner is so far away and they can't make eye contact, she says.
But that's okay! You don't have to like it, or any other sex act, at all. "Every woman has the prerogative to write off oral if they don't like it," she says. That said, Marin says if you're with a new partner, it's fine to just be straightforward about your attitude toward oral — but be open to the possibility that they could change your mind. "Give it a try again, because there's such a different experience from partner to partner — they do it in different ways and we have different connections," she says. You can tell your partner you've never really been a fan, and that has nothing to do with them, but it's never really worked for you, she says. Getting reassurance can be helpful to your partner, too. "They might say, 'I really love going down on you; it doesn't feel like effort. I could do it for hours,'" she says.
It's also possible that you're self-conscious about being the center of attention, Marin says. "Split it up so one night you're the queen, and the next day have one where it's all about your partner," she says. "That reciprocity — being clear about my day versus your day — can help you relax and feel equal and fair because you're sharing the attention."
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And if it just takes you a long time to orgasm from oral sex, take your time and embrace it, she says. "We believe that female orgasm is so complicated and difficult, so people think, Is this too much effort? I don't want them to do so much work," she says. In order to have an orgasm, you have to feel pleasure, she says. Use the time to really feel good in your body, whatever that means for you, and come (or don't) as you please.
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