To this day, folks will debate that one of my favorite songs by the R&B group SWV, “Rain” is about sex even though Coko has made it clear that it’s not. Now another one of their classics, “Downtown”? That’s about the matter entirely. In fact, some hail it as being one of the most sex-positive songs of its time when it comes to — we’re all grown here, right? — cunnilingus. Its praise makes a lot of sense being that it is the act that helps women climax the most.
You know, I did some reading up on oral sex in this country, in general. It looks like around 80 percent of both men and women experience pleasure from it, around 22 percent have an orgasm most of the time (that’s it?!) and most sexually active folks who choose to partake in fellatio and/or cunnilingus do it around five times a week. Yeah, oral sex is bomb and most of us know it.
So, what if you happen to be like a married girlfriend of mine who could literally take it or leave it? It’s not that you haven’t tried to understand the hype; it’s just that, no matter how much you’ve tried to get into it, you just…don’t.
If you’re shaking your head up and down at your monitor or phone screen because this is exactly how you feel, oftentimes getting to the root of an issue can help to resolve it. So, let’s explore some reasons why either you’d prefer not to have oral sex or you’re not enjoying as much as so much of the free world seems to be.
You’re Not Comfortable with Your Vulva/VaginaGiphy
I recently saw an exchange on Twitter that was like the checkmate shot that was heard around the world. Someone had posted a clip of a woman talking about how disgusting she found uncircumcised men to be. One of the things she said was, “Eww. Who wants to deal with all of that extra skin?” Most of the women in the comments were all agreeing and then a guy posted a chart of different vaginas — many of which had all kinds of hanging vulvar skin (where do y’all think the slang “roast beef curtains” comes from?). Like I said…checkmate (by the way, women have a greater chance of experiencing a vaginal orgasm from an “uncut” man due to the extra skin…the more you know).
Anyway, my (main) point is this — no one should feel ashamed of how they were born…men and you included. Besides, I promise you that most men don’t have the same kind of hang-ups about our bodies as we do. In fact, many guys will tell you that they’re even a fan of Arby’s (if you know what I mean).
So, what can you do if you are so self-conscious about your vagina that it’s keeping you from relaxing during oral activity? A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey.” Check it out when you get a chance. The more time you spend exploring your own vagina, the more comfortable you will get with it — and that will make it easier to share it with your partner. Maybe not immediately but certainly eventually.
You Haven’t “Prepped” Your Vagina Properly
Seems like a few throwback memories are coming to mind with this topic (LOL). Y’all remember the episode of The Game when Tasha Mack was telling her then-boyfriend Danté Young (played by Terrence J) that she enjoyed having sex with him right when he got off work and before he hopped into the shower? Yeah, that’s a hard pass for me. If you want me to enjoy all (and I do mean ALL) of you, make sure that bathtub does first.
Most of the men I know feel the same way; however, this particular point isn’t just about hygiene (check out “Are You Washing Your Vagina Correctly? You Sure?” and “Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes”). Vaginal prepping also includes deciding how you want your pubic hair to be (also check out “Yep. Pubic Hair Has Trends (And Specific Needs) Too.”) and consuming a diet that keeps everything fresh down below (a couple more: “Foods That Keep Your Vagina Smelling Right (And The Ones That Don’t)” and “10 Ways To Have An 'Extra Sweet' Vagina”).
By the way, when it comes to vaginal grooming, if you’re in a long-term relationship, you might want to discuss that with your partner. The reason why I say that is I once counseled a married couple where the husband said that he didn’t enjoy being on the giving side of oral because — and I quote — “I prefer a golf course to a jungle.”
Listen, I know some of you modern-day women don’t wanna think too long about doing what makes your partner happy when it comes to your own body but being that his face is gonna get closer to your vulva and vagina than you ever will (unless you’re one hell of a contortionist!), it’s worth making the compromise. Just ask the wife in the story that I just told you. #wink
The Foreplay Sucks (Not in a Good Way Either)Giphy
As far as oral sex is concerned, it’s interesting to see where people land on whether they consider it to be foreplay — or not. On one hand, a basic definition of foreplay is it’s any kind of sexual stimulation that is a prelude to sexual intercourse. On another, oral sex does have the word “sex” in it, so…yeah…technically, it is a form of sex.
Personally, I think that before oral sex — giving or receiving — starts, there should be some other forms of stimulation going on: lots of kissing, plenty of caressing, maybe a massage…other things to get you warmed up. Otherwise, if oral sex happens right out the gate, it can seem awkward instead of seductive and that can make climaxing more difficult.
So, what if the main issue for you is the foreplay is lacking or not as good as you’d like it to be? At the end of the day, sex is one of the ultimate forms of communication, so make sure to run that by your partner. Well, wait — before you do, read “What If The Sex Is Good...But The Foreplay Isn't?” and also do some sex journaling so that you can figure out what turns you on and what doesn’t…so that you can clearly express your needs and expectations to your partner. After all, it’s not fair to expect him to figure out what you don’t even know. Work on improving foreplay — together.
You Need to Up Your Dirty Talk Game
Maybe it’s because my top love language is words of affirmation. Maybe it’s because I write for a living. Who knows, chile? But when it comes to dirty talk, it’s not really something that I’ve struggled with saying or hearing. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things about sex.
I know we’re not all the same because many of my clients have told me that either they hate dirty talk or they feel semi-ridiculous doing it. I can’t do much for the people who stand behind Door #1 but if you’re someone who’s behind Door #2, my two cents would be to 1) stop overthinking it and 2) focus on telling your partner what pleases you, how much it pleases you when they do “it” and what you’d like to receive more of. The key is to not sound like an anxious drill sergeant and instead like…the main character (Lovely) from the movieGirl 6 (the real ones know).
Yes, dirty talk can consist of a mixture of instructions and affirmations. The good thing about that is, oftentimes, it can help your partner to know how to please you and it can sexually excite you to hear your own self tell him how. Trust me.
You Don’t Enjoy Giving It
Unpopular opinion or not, I’ve always said that I think that men have more to deal with during cunnilingus than we do with fellatio. I mean, unless he’s heavy on the pre-ejaculate, giving oral sex to a guy is basically like sucking on a thumb until the “big moment” at the end. Us though? Folds of skin. Lubrication. Pubic hair. Vaginal scents (when a vagina is healthy, most men fully enjoy our natural “aroma,” by the way). As I said…lots going on.
That’s why, when women give me the “eww” about a penis being in their mouth while also holding the stance that a man not going down on them is a deal-breaker, I find myself rolling my eyes. At the very least, that’s an entitled and selfish approach to the act.
So, what can you do if it’s simply not your cup of tea? Before totally avoiding it, try doing some things that will “distract” you a bit — put a flavored condom on it or apply some flavored lube. Play around with an ice cube that’s made of juice (literally freeze the juice and then put one of the cubes into your mouth). Bring your hands into the act, so that you can control how much of his shaft goes into your mouth. Oh, and before all of this, get into the shower with your partner. Chances are, if you play a direct role in the cleanliness part of the program, it will put your mind more at ease.
You Don’t Enjoy Receiving It
The wife that I mentioned to you earlier? She said that out of all of her sex partners (including her husband and it hasn’t only been a handful), only one guy was able to get cunnilingus right. Problem is, she can’t remember what he actually did “correctly,” so she hasn’t been able to coach anyone else through the process. *le sigh*
It’s not unheard of that some people don’t enjoy cunnilingus and/or fellatio. If you and your partner fall into one of those categories and are fine with that…fine. But if you don’t enjoy receiving oral sex and it’s not for a lack of trying, this is where communication comes into play. Don’t just settle for how your partner does it, get frustrated and quit. If he truly cares about you, he’s going to want to please you. So, light some scented soy candles, play some of your favorite throwback R&B music, put a pillow underneath your backside, and RELAX. Start things off slow. Kindly express what feels good and what doesn’t and don’t look at the experience like a race to the finish.
Also, don’t feel bad if you’re not automatically climbing the walls either. Although clitorises are highly sensitive, “waking them up” requires different techniques for different people. Something that may help (outside of his mouth) is a stimulating type of lube — one that is specifically designed to get your clit up and going (like this one here).
You know what they say — if you build it, they will come. In this case, here’s hoping that you will, sis.
You and Your Partner Don’t Have a Strong Enough ConnectionGiphy
There’s a lot to be said for sexual chemistry when it comes to achieving ultimate sexual pleasure — and that can happen well before you and someone get naked. You’re deeply attracted to each other. The body language is strong. When you do talk about sex, you seem to be on the same page (of interests and desires). If you add to that the feeling of being fully accepted and to that, being able to trust them to just…let go without any hindrance or reservations — that is the perfect foundation for some pretty great oral sex and intercourse.
See, even with all that I just said, it’s not really going to matter much if the two of you don’t have a strong connection — whether it’s physically or (preferably) holistically. So, if all of what I said doesn’t seem to work, take some steps back, so that you and he can get deeper into each other. Go on more dates. Do some more sharing with each other on a mental and emotional level. Kiss — long and passionately — to see if there is some serious stimulation there.
Two people who feel like they can’t get enough of each other before sex happens are two people who have a far greater chance of helping each other “see the mountaintop” once sex does go down. Oral sex included.
Now calm down and have some fun! I mean it.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
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