Although the survey included respondents of all genders, Deysach points out that 35 percent of male-identifying respondents said giving was their preference compared to 27 percent for female-identifying participants. With this in mind, it's clear that a great many folks of varying gender identities prefer giving oral sex. And given many popular societal assumptions about the dynamics surrounding oral sex, this is fascinating to unpack.
“Both giver and receiver can enjoy oral sex for a variety of reasons.” —sexologist Sarah Melancon, PhD
“We tend to assume oral sex is performed for the recipient’s pleasure while ignoring the experience of the giver,” says sociologist and clinical sexologist at Sex Toy Collective Sarah Melancon, PhD. “Both giver and receiver can enjoy oral sex for a variety of reasons.”
So why is it, exactly, that some folks find so pleasurable about giving oral sex? Below find six reasons why people enjoy giving oral sex more than receiving, according to sexperts and fellow self-identified givers.
6 reasons some folks enjoy giving oral sex more than receiving it
1. They enjoy the sensation of using their mouth.
Talise, 31, says she likes performing oral sex for this reason. “I just like having something in my mouth, whether it’s gum or someone’s genitals,” she says.
Deysach adds that the textures and tastes associated with giving oral can be very erotic to people. “Our mouths are full of receptors and nerve endings, and having one’s mouth enveloping their lover’s genitalia can just be hot,” she says.
2. They get aroused by making their partner feel good.
Some folks simply get turned on from the reality of pleasing their partner. “It makes them feel like they are being a good, attentive lover,” says Deysach. “For many people, being able to bring a partner to orgasm with their mouth gives them great delight—they take enormous gratification in making their partner feel good.”
In fact, that pleasure can be quite visceral. “While I’ve heard reports of [vulva-owners having orgasms through performing oral sex on [penis-havers], one can enjoy physical sexual pleasure even without direct contact to their genitalia,” says Dr. Melancon.
3. They’re insecure about or ashamed of their genitals.
Sexual hang-ups are common and can often get in a person's way of experiencing their own pleasure during oral sex. “I don’t like being eaten out because I’m pretty self-conscious about what I taste like,” says Erika, 33. “I’d much rather do it to someone else than have them do it to me. I just can’t focus when they’re down there because I’m too in my head about if I smell or taste funky.” (Spoiler alert: Every vagina has a smell, and yours is likely completely normal. If you suspect it has changed recently, see your OB/GYN who can diagnose bacterial vaginosis (BV) or any other potential issue.)
Although the act of giving may be less intrusive or triggering to folks who may feel this way, here’s a friendly reminder from Deysach: “Most people will not offer to perform oral sex if they don’t want to, so trust your lover that they want to taste all of you," she says. "If your partner has offered you oral but you’re feeling any sexual shame or hesitation, remember that they’re offering to give you pleasure, and you are deserving of pleasure.”
4. They gain an ego boost or desired sense of dominance.
To some people, the act of giving oral sex can be a power trip. Deysach says some folks might like the sense of control they can get from having their lover’s most delicate parts in their mouth. “Think about it—with someone’s bits in or against your mouth, you have the potential to not only make someone feel great, but also to hurt them...and wielding that power can be a thrill for some people,” she says.
Michael, 29, who prefers giving for this reason, says “the ego boost of getting my partner off is better than the orgasm I get [from receiving].”
5. They’re impacted by sex-negative cultural or religious beliefs.
According to Dr. Melancon, sociocultural beliefs can drive home the sentiment that receiving pleasure is inappropriate, dirty, or sinful, and can ultimately lead to discomfort. “This…can be intertwined with religious beliefs, particularly those that emphasize ‘purity’,” she says.
6. Receiving oral sex makes them uncomfortable.
Oral sex is extremely intimate, and some people prefer to give rather than receive because they’re uncomfortable with receiving on an individual emotional level, says Dr. Melancon. “If giving is simply a preference, there’s no emotional weight around receiving, no negative body image or view of your sexuality or pleasure, then forget about receiving and just enjoy what you enjoy,” says Dr. Melancon. However, there are ways to lean deeper into the act of being able to enjoy receiving oral sex if that’s your goal.
“If you prefer to give because of some of the negative reasons described above, it’s worth taking a deeper look into what’s happening emotionally behind the scenes,” Dr. Melancon says. In this case, journaling, communicating with your partner, and/or talking to a therapist might help. Deysach also recommends breathing deeply and re-focusing on the sensation of the moment whenever your mind starts to wander. “Remember you can stop the action at any time if it’s not working for you, but you may want to allow yourself the chance to experience what, for many, is an extremely awesome sensation.”
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