Oral sex in relationships

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MuchShy
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Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:32 pm

Hello, I’m a teenage female and I’ve been feeling concerned about something for quite a long time. I’m not in a relationship or plan to be in one soon, but I’m just worrying about the future. I feel a bit silly. I don’t want to do oral sex. It just makes me uncomfortable. I worry that this will effect my relationships. I’m scared that I’ll just disappoint everyone I’m with because I won’t do it, and that a lot of people won’t be interested in me or leave me. I feel broken and strange. And abnormal and stupid. I am sad that I feel like I will have to do it for boys to like me. If I see a cute guy, or daydream about being with someone, I think ‘oh, he’d never be with you. You’d be incompatible sexually.’ I think this may make me anxious to approach and go into relationships, as I’d fear rejection from someone I may like or come to love. And this mindset isn’t making me feel the happiest. I love the idea of romance and falling in love (in fact I’m obsessed with it) but that idea has been squashed a bit. Sometimes, I even think that oral sex is something I may want to engage in with a future partner, but I don’t feel great about this decision because what if my partner wouldn’t be with me if I didn’t do it. Then I don’t feel free in making that decision, if that makes sense. Is it wrong to think that? I’ve seen a lot of people online saying ‘no oral is a dealbreaker’ and that has made me despondent, ashamed and I feel unloveable. I would love some advice. I’m just feeling a bit pressured.
Thank you!

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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:56 am

Hi Muchshy,

So, in spite of what you've seen on line, there are lots of potential partners out there for whom you not wanting to do oral sex is no big deal. People's sexual likes and dislikes are really varied, so even though oral sex is presented as a thing that most people want or enjoy, in reality there are plenty of people who either find it "meh" or who don't like it at all.

Too, most people understand that there won't be a perfect match between what they like during sex and what their partner likes. If they don't understand that, then honestly they're not really mature enough to be having a sexual relationship with you in the first place. You get to have whatever boundaries you want around sex. A respectful partner will respect those boundaries, even if that means setting aside a sexual thing they might otherwise enjoy. Does that make sense?

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:19 pm

Yes, I understand. I still feel really guilty and broken, though. The fact that some people may leave me because they won’t get their needs met really bothers me. I would hope for someone who loves me for me and not what I can do for them sexually, or is this unrealistic, naive and selfish? I want to meet someone and fall in love, and not feel worried that they’d leave because I won’t do it. Do relationships work because people love each other even if there is a sexual incompatibility? I feel awful because I see articles saying ‘why you shouldn’t settle on a relationship without oral sex,’ and multiple people saying that no oral sex is a dealbreaker. I want to feel like sex and oral sex is a choice not a obligation. Argh, I’m sorry. I just wish I could feel ok about this.

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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby al » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:34 pm

Hi MuchShy,

Just jumping in here to say - when you see articles and things online that say “Don’t settle for a relationship without oral sex”, they’re usually addressing a person who enjoys and wants to have oral sex in their relationship, but has not communicated with their partner what they want and need, or their partner refuses to honor those wants/needs.
Everyone should be able to get what they want in a sexual (or non-sexual!) relationship, but that only comes when each person communicates them. I totally hear what you’re saying about not wanting to be turned away by someone if you speak your own need to not have oral sex - it can be tough to hear a no, especially when there are a lot of narratives out there about frequent oral sex as a foundational part of a healthy relationship. But there are plenty of other people out there who don’t enjoy oral sex, or don’t find having it frequently high on their list of priorities. You shouldn’t have to feel bad about your own needs and wants, and certainly shouldn’t have to force yourself to do something sexual that you don’t really enjoy.
In case they might be helpful, I wanted to drop a few articles here: both What’s In A No?, which is all about keeping that belief in yourself and your inherent worth even if someone turns your down, as well as Be A Blabbermouth: The Whys, What’s, and How’s of Talking About Sex with a Partner, which is all about asserting what you want and need with someone.

Another thing I wanted to say (and feel free to tell me I sound like a boring old person telling you to be patient, because I hate that) is that navigating when your own wants and needs don’t match up with someone else’s gets easier with time! Everyone has their own particular set of preferences, and part of the risk of hooking up with or dating someone is seeing whether or not you’re compatible!
Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. -Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:33 pm

Thank you for your response. I’m still very much confused and overwhelmed by how sex and relationships will work, but you have certainly given me useful advice. I’m struggling with bad mental illness and this has been a recurring worry of mine and I’m really struggling. But I’m going to work with my psychologist to feel better. I’m very grateful for your responses.

Sam W
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:12 am

Hi Muchshy,

Talking about these fears with a mental healthcare provider is really sound step in taking care of yourself. How are you feeling about having that conversation with them?

It's okay to feel overwhelmed or confused about sex and relationships. We're not born knowing how to navigate them, and there are a TON of cultural messages about them that can be tricky to sort through. Are there certain aspects of relationships or sex that feel the most confusing, or that you want to have a good grasp of before you start exploring dating yourself?

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:06 pm

Hi, I’m back again. At the moment I feel quite anxious about this (being uncomfortable with oral sex and thinking that no one will be with me etc.), and was wondering if I could clarify some things?
I do feel uncomfortable with oral sex, but sometimes I feel like it would be something I’d like to give. I don’t even know if I do or don’t want to do it. I’m leaning towards ‘don’t,’ though. I just already feel like I am obliged to do oral, otherwise a lot of guys will leave me. I feel a lot of pressure. So, I just would like to be with someone where it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t do it. And that it’s not a dealbreaker for them if I didn’t do it. Is that an ok thing for me to want? Are there other girls that feel the same way as me?
If no oral sex was a dealbreaker for my partner, even if I did do it for them I would feel like that they would leave me if I didn’t and that puts pressure on me.
I worry because I think everyone thinks that oral sex is a ‘standard’ part of sex nowadays, and I feel stupid.

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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Alexa » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:21 am

Hey MuchShy,

It sounds like all you're really asking for is a partner who doesn't put pressure on you to do things you're uncomfortable with, and the opportunity to try things out sexually if/when you and your partner *both* feel like it. To me, that sounds like any healthy and happy sexual relationship! And it's certainly more than okay to ask for.

Not only are there other girls that feel the same way as you, there are other people of all genders who feel this way. It's such a normal experience to have sexual things you're unsure about or don't want to do, or only feel like doing once in a while when the timing is just right and you're in the mood. That's true for different kinds of sex for all kinds of people all the time.

Even though social norms and porn suggest differently, there is no "standard" way of having sex. We have this great, short articled titled What's Sex? that shows just how diverse ways of having and enjoying sex really are, if you're interested.

I also know that for me, when I have spent a lot of time worrying that other people will put pressure on me, I end up putting pressure on myself -- worrying so much ahead of time that I'm more anxious about something than I need to be. Does that sound familiar to you? How do you usually handle things that make you anxious? If you work with that anxiety now, it might help you to feel comfortable asking for what you want in relationships later on.
Alexa K.
Scarleteen Team

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Fri Feb 28, 2020 5:35 pm

Hello, thank you for responding. I think some of the anxiety I get is that I’ve seen quite a few people online say that they’d break up with someone if they didn’t do oral sex. And that makes me feel pressured I suppose. But I also certainly think that I need help for my anxiety (which I am currently getting) and I am putting quite a bit of pressure on myself. Also one last question (which I think you’ve basically answered,) is it normal for people to be unsure/a bit uncomfortable with the idea of oral sex? I feel a bit weird because I feel like I should be ok with it because it’s so “standard.” Sorry if I’m just repeating a question that I said before I just like things being reiterated :)

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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Mo » Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:05 pm

It's totally normal for people to be unsure about oral sex! I don't think there's any particular kind of sex that people have any sort of universal instinct or desire for; plenty of people like it and plenty dislike it. Trying any kind of sex for the first time can be intimidating or worrisome but I think a cultural expectation that this is just "standard" or expected can make oral sex feel more intimidating. What I would hope for you is for any sexual partner to communicate with you to ask what you might be interested in, sexually, and not make any assumptions about what you are or aren't interested in or push you to do something that you don't want or feel intimidated by.

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:30 pm

Hello! It’s been quite a long time since I’ve visited this topic. I’ve been feeling good about this issue, but I saw something online saying that if your partner doesn’t have a legitimate reason for not giving oral sex, they’re just being selfish And that it is expected that you HAVE to give if you received. It has made me feel like I am selfish. I just feel uncomfortable with the idea of giving it (and also receiving it a bit), it gives me some anxiety and that’s it! Am I being selfish? As another question, would it make the relationship unbalanced if you don’t want to give when you’ve received? It said that in the post it would create an imbalance in sexual satisfaction. Do you HAVE to give if you have received? Because it seems to be said often and in the media that you have to. Also, I see a lot of things saying that if men don’t give they’re being selfish and an a**hole. I understand they’re being a jerk if they have sexist ideas about it, but in these posts they say that if the guy doesn’t have a good reason not to do it he’s a bad partner. This makes me concerned for men who don’t want to do oral and have this boundary, and makes me insecure (even though I am a female) for not wanting to have in oral sex. I would like to hear your advice,
Thank you ^-^

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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:23 am

Hi MuchShy, nice to see you again!

So, needing a "legitimate" reason to not want to give or receive oral sex is, quite frankly, nonsense. For starters, "I don't want to/I don't like it" is a legitimate reason to not engage in any sexual behavior. Demanding "legitimate" reasons for boundaries is often a red flag to me, because more often than not it's a way for one person to badger another into doing what they want by continually saying that their reasons for saying no aren't good enough. It starts feeling like an attempt the reframe having boundaries as being selfish. But more than that, sexual things that are done out of obligation rather than excitement are not going to feel good for anyone. After all, I wouldn't want a partner doing something because they felt like they should; I'd want them doing it because they're excited to, you know?

When it comes to the idea of reciprocity during sex, there are still some very flawed ideas running around, including the idea that if a partner likes or does a certain thing, they have to be willing to do it back to their partner regardless of their own boundaries. But good, healthy sexual relationships are less about perfect balance of actions (I went down on you so now you go down on me) and more about making sure everyone is enjoying themselves. I really like how it's explained in this article: Reciprocity, Reloaded. Does that make sense?

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:08 pm

Hi! I've been having a hard few days recently. I've been really confused about what my sexuality is. I've been wondering if I am grey asexual, asexual or sexual. I might create a separate topic to talk about this later, but I got triggered by something yesterday and I just wanted to talk about it. I found an article about "Thorsty Asexuals" and it was just about a woman who was confused about her sexuality. I related quite a lot to her. In the article she also said that she does like receiving oral sex but doesn't like giving it because seeing genitals turns her off. I also sort of relate to this. Then the person writing this article responded to her question and in his answer he kind of called her a 'lousy lay.' This really hurt my feelings and it made me think 'no one is going to want to be your boyfriend,' and it made me feel even more isolated. It seems that everywhere oral sex is expected and it's unusual that I don't really want to do it. THEN I saw there was responses to it on AVEN (Asexual website). A lot of people said she’s being selfish. And then there is a comment saying that ‘people who don’t like reciprocating still do it because sex is give and take.’ And I wanted to feel like I could go to that website and feel safe and supported, and now I feel horrible. It has made me feel like a immature selfish person. I think 'what's wrong with me.' In a relationship I just don't want to feel like I HAVE to do this specific thing or my partner will leave me. Should I just 'suck it up?' (pun not intended) I don't mean to be selfish. I just have this anxiety about this one part of sex. I wonder if instead of grey ace or asexual I am sex repulsed. I have lots of anxieties about sex and I have severe anxiety and OCD. I feel really alone and a bit ashamed if I am sex repulsed. I go to so much therapy, and I don't want to have to fix something else about me. I can't stop crying and I feel so weird. I am questioning whether I am grey ace because I do experience sexual attraction a bit and I think I'd like to have sex, but I become anxious at sex scenes, and I feel that I don't want to do oral sex. But when I think about it, I don't want to HAVE to have any kind of sex to keep a partner, and in a relationship if I thought 'I can have sex if I want it, but if I never have it at all it doesn't matter to my partner and they'll stay with me' it feels like a HUGE weight off my shoulders. That's why I thought I might be asexual. Or it could be because it is just my crippling anxiety... I'm so confused. I just wish I was normal and I didn't have this intense anxiety about sex. I think the anxiety is because I really want to be able to find a boyfriend and I feel that I'm weird and I feel pressure that certain things are 'normal' and expected with sex. :( I feel horrible.

Sam W
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Sam W » Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:09 am

Oh, I'm so sorry that you ran across that article, and that you found people parroting the idea that not wanting to do certain sexual things is selfish on AVEN. Sometimes a sexual activity just isn't for us; that doesn't make us a selfish partner or somehow "immature." There is no universal "normal" when it comes to sex, so if you want (or need) to build a sex life with a partner that doesn't include oral sex (either at the start or ever) then that's okay.

It does sound like knowing (and, more importantly, really feeling) like you have a choice in the matter plays a big role in how you feel about sex. That actually makes a lot of sense; when sex feels compulsory, that can quickly make the whole idea of it repulsive or anxiety inducing, especially if you introduce the fear that someone may demand you do a sexual act you're not even remotely comfortable with. Something that may help with the questions you have about your orientation is to think about how you'd define your sexual attraction if you could guarantee you'd be with a partner who was okay not having sex. Would you still feel little to no interest? Does the idea become more appealing? Does another anxiety take the place of worrying you'll be asked to do something sexual you don't want?

MuchShy
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby MuchShy » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:47 pm

Hello! If my partner said he’s ok with not having sex ever but is still ok with it I think I’d be more comfortable with sex, and I think I would be interested in having sex sometimes. The idea does become more appealing. I’m not sure ‘how much’ I would like to have it though (how frequent I would want it). I think I know things I would really like about sex and things I might like to do and I do have sexual attraction. I feel a bit like a weirdo that I feel like there has to be NO PRESSURE to have sex at all. Thank you for talking to me about how there is no ‘normal’ with sex and that those people maybe shouldn’t have said those things on AVEN.

Sam W
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Re: Oral sex in relationships

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:36 am

You're very welcome! And honestly, it's not all that strange to only be interested in sex (or find the idea of sex appealing) if you know there isn't pressure to do it. When we know our partner won't demand sex, it becomes easier to think about it or even talk about it with them, because you know those conversations won't be treated as "proof" that you wanted sex when you didn't. Plus, pressure--even just our own fears of it--is a major arousal killer.


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