Woman on woman oral sex: Is it better to give than to receive?

Dear Alice,

As a lesbian who has recently "come out," I've noticed some women get into giving oral sex more than receiving it. Why is that?

Need answers!

Dear Need answers!,

What people get off on sexually can vary as much as love songs on the radio. While some women may prefer to perform oral sex on the ladies they love, there are likely just as many who prefer to receive it. And while one can't claim to know for sure why people get off on the things they do, here are some reasons a woman might prefer to giving over receiving:

  • Giving head can feel powerful to some women, while receiving could cause them to feel uncomfortably vulnerable or out of control.
  • Some women are more aroused by the sensual experience of giving — the smells, tastes, and sounds of their partners as they pleasure them.
  • Women in many cultures are taught to give rather than to receive. Receiving might conjure up unpleasant feelings of being selfish or greedy.
  • Some women feel their vulvas are "dirty" and may be uncomfortable with someone kissing them "down there," so would prefer to give oral sex.

If you find yourself in a situation where your partner conspicuously gives and refuses to receive, you might try asking her why. Talking about such issues can strengthen a relationship, opening partners up to each other more and more (pun sort of intended), and creating new levels of trust and intimacy. However, it is also possible that some woman just prefer to give, as they'd prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla. Other than consent, there are no rules or "shoulds" in sexual desire or behavior. So enjoy, whether you are giving or receiving!

Last updated Jun 04, 2015
Originally published Sep 26, 1997

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