It’s 9am and I’m having a conversation with a friend about sex (per usual), and we approach the topic of oral sex. Explicit details about our best encounters in receiving and giving are exposed. But as we comb through the details of our erotic experiences, I couldn’t help but realize that I hadn’t had enough.
Yes, this sexpert has had some experiences with cunnilingus, but very few and far between. As a healthy, sex positive woman who enjoys the act of reciprocation, I couldn’t help but feel cheated in my sexual experiences when I realized I hadn’t received the same pleasure as I’ve given so often without fail. In discussing this, I began to recall countless conversations I’ve had with women who experience the same absence of oral satisfaction—yet they’re held to high standards when it comes to the practice of fellatio on their partners.
It’s apparent that society hasn’t placed female sexual pleasure in high regard, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the bedroom. Entertainment and media have no issues with depicting the act of fellatio (see The Brown Bunny, or even Belly). But rarely do we see the act of cunnilingus performed in films or spoken about openly during conversations about sex that mainstream media embraces.
It’s time to take women’s satisfaction into consideration. There are several reasons why men shy away from going down on their partners, according the dozens of conversations I’ve held with male friends, associates and my coaching clients. Here are solutions for the four most common reasons.
A woman’s lack of self-care or the way she smells “down there” is a common reason men give for why they refuse to go down on their partners. I get it; the vagina can be a difficult thing to monitor if a woman isn’t connected with herself. Vaginas are self-cleaning and only require a fresh water bath or a fresh water douche in order to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria within its ecosystem. But sometimes an unbalanced diet or substances that irritate this delicate ecosystem can throw its pH off, causing infections that often bring with them unpleasant smells and abnormal discharges.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections are commonly experienced by women and can be cleared up with simple antibiotics, but it can be difficult for some women to detect. Unlike men, women can’t physically see their vaginas and connect with them superficially. So a woman must be aware of how she feels internally, take note of how her vagina behaves and feels when she is in balance, and know the signs of when something is wrong.
Cleaning the vulva doesn’t require the use of soap or scented washes either. In fact, gynecologists suggest the use of light friction and warm water to clean the folds of both sets of labia as well as around the clitoral hood. These folds of skin can collect bacteria throughout the day from perspiration and urination, and this is one of the contributors of feminine odor.
Taking a warm shower before sex is ideal in ensuring hygiene practices are on point, but staying on top of these daily is necessary. Every woman’s vagina has a natural smell associated with her bodily odor, so it’s important to remember that vaginas will have some type of smell present. Ladies, it’s time to begin treating your vaginas as the precious flowers they are. And fellas: it’s your responsibility to check in with your lady if you sense something may not be right with her lady parts. It’s time to kick the excuse of “bad hygiene” to the curb.
This would typically fall in the category of hygiene, but the removal of pubic hairs isn’t a necessary step in order for a woman to receive the pleasure of oral sex. Still, many men allow their distaste for pubic hairs in their mouths to turn them off completely from granting their partners the right of sexual pleasure.
While it’s not uncommon or wrong for a man to request his lady to trim up, it can become a bit degrading to hold her pleasure against her right to maintain her natural essence as a woman. The shaving debate shouldn’t be the deciding factor over whether a woman gets to receive an act of foreplay (or standalone sex).
To shave or not to shave is always the question, and this is a talk that should be had between lovers. Bare, barely there or bushy is for a woman to decide, but this is something that may require compromise. If having little-to-no hair is a preference, offer to help with shaving or show an act of love by sending her to a day spa for a massage and a Brazilian wax to top it off. Ingrown hairs can be an issue for Black women, creating unsightly, uncomfortable hair bumps or boils if the hair isn’t removed correctly. So make sure to take the proper steps when “trimming the patch.”
Sexual skills aren’t innate, and there isn’t a manual on “how to pleasure a woman” provided to men when they come of age. The lack of an oral sex skillset is the number one complaint that creates anxiety in men who may have the desire to “go down.” But this is an issue that can be resolved with the help of sex education.
There is a plethora of self-help books on the market dedicated to the art of cunnilingus. The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure, written by sex educator Violet Blue, is a great reference for men who need a lesson in how to go down properly. Detailed descriptions, illustrations, hygiene practices, techniques, sex positions and more are rolled out in this book for men who seek to be ultimate lovers. The index also includes a reference guide that suggests further reading, DVDs and websites that can be accessed for further education.
Becoming great at oral sex starts with a desire to do so and having the confidence to make it happen. As with any skill, practice makes perfect, so it’s important to make the time to rehearse skills learned through education. Be patient, communicate, but most importantly, have fun!
Cunnilingus may not be widely discussed in the open, but it’s a conversation that should be normalized for the sake of preserving the importance of female sexual pleasure. Beyond these three problem areas mentioned lie a variety of issues that contribute to why some men refuse to go down, but the main culprit in all of this in the mind.
Oral sex is a selfless act with its focus concentrated on the one who is receiving. Learning how to give and changing one’s mindset about the act of cunnilingus are key components in ensuring no woman experiences the absence of this ecstasy.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.