The level of vulnerability and intimacy involved in cunnilingus can feel uncomfortable and even intrusive to many women. But when we start thinking too much about going down on our partner or having them go down on us, it ruins any chance of pleasure. So, why do so many of us do this?
Alicia Sinclair, founder and CEO of b-Vibe and Le Wand, says the mental block we sometimes have when it comes to oral sex can be traced back to the negative relationship and shame-based relationship that many women have with their vulva and vaginas. “Guilt and shame about our bodies can disconnect us from our ability to experience pleasure,” she says. “It keeps us in our mind, not our body.”
If this sounds like you, here are six steps to help you break through the cunnilingus mental block and experience oral sex as the insanely feel-good experience it can be.
Most women tend to be far more focused on giving pleasure than receiving in general. We often feel the need to “perform” to validate ourselves and be desired, explains licensed sex therapist and relationship expert at Adam and Eve, Dr. Kat Van Kirk. She says masturbation can help this mental block.
“Many women haven’t learned to give themselves permission to experience pleasure. Practice feeling centered through breathing and getting into your body. Examining what negative messages we’ve gotten about self-care overall can give you clues in learning to receive.”
Being concerned about vaginal hygiene is a huge mental block. As a result, we tend to have anxiety about how we will taste or smell, if we have too much pubic hair or not enough, what our labia looks like, etc.
Dr. Kat says learning to love our bodies can help us manage anxiety. “To facilitate this, I suggest sitting or laying down with a hand mirror and really examining yourself while appreciating what you have. Women might be surprised that our partners are much more accepting of our vulvas and vaginas than we are about our own.”
Focus on Your Partner’s Response
When you’re the giver, we tend to worry that we’re not pleasuring our partner enough, especially if they’re not getting off. In reality, even if they don’t orgasm, it’s still going to feel good for them. Alexandra Fine, CEO of the sex toy line Dame Products, says to be present and focus on your partner’s response. “I do my best to sense my partners’ hip motions and moans and read those as a means of communication to help me adjust where needed.”
Ease Into It
If you’re anticipating it, you might stress yourself out. So, take time to relax, get in the mood, and work up to it, suggests Stacy Rybchin, a sexpert and founder of My Secret Luxury. Dim the lights, have a glass of wine…do what you need to get comfortable. “Start with other kinds of sexual play: kissing, massage, breast play, etc. Then have them move to kissing, stroking, etc. around the area before attempting cunnilingus. If they do that, you will be very turned on and relaxed and won’t be thinking negative thoughts,” she says.
Focus on What Feels Good
One common mental block is the fear that you won’t orgasm. Thinking hard about getting off, will definitely not help you get off. “If you are afraid that you can’t orgasm this way, focus on the fact that it still feels good. Refocus the experience so that you feel pleasure and nothing else,” says Rybchin. Don’t be afraid to be vocal with moans and even guiding your partner with “yeah, more of that.” They’ll definitely appreciate it!
Note Your Negative Self-Talk
Dr. Kat says that we have a tendency to self-judge during cunnilingus and sex. “It’s basically a negative self-talk tape that takes us out of our bodies and puts ourselves in our heads, disconnecting from the experience. We become hyper-conscious about everything from how we are verbalizing, what facial expressions we have, etc. Become aware of what your negative self-talk is during cunnilingus. Journal it and then come up with opposite, positive phrases instead. It helps create a positive intention and can reduce anxiety.