Oral sex can be such a source of tension in marriage.
I hear from both women and men in marriages where the husband would like to receive oral sex and the wife doesn’t want to do it.
It often becomes a measuring stick both spouses use to assess how much they are loved by the other. Her constant refusal shows him that her love for him is lacking. She views his frequent requests as a sign that he is more interested in physical pleasure than in her.
My marriage was like this for a long time.
“I really wish you would . . .”
“If you won’t have sex, could you at least . . .”
“It wouldn’t take as long if you would . . .”
What’s wrong with what I already do? Why can’t you be grateful for what you have? Why is there always some area where I’m not good enough? Oral sex requires even more effort than regular sex, and if you think it’s just the amount of time it takes, you haven’t been paying any attention to me.
Why was I so opposed to oral sex anyway?
I had (still have, in fact) some genuine physical challenges that make oral sex difficult: chronic sinusitis, arthritic knees, an enhanced sensitivity to smell, a small mouth, and a strong gag reflex. When Big Guy asked me “Why not?” these were the reasons I gave.
All these things could be addressed in some way. Even at the time, I knew deep down that the reasons I spoke weren’t my real reasons for opposing oral sex.
The real reasons were about my heart:
- I thought oral sex was only about the physical sensation. He wanted only to penetrate me, not to connect with me. I felt like an object.
- I felt subservient. Giving oral sex made me feel like I didn’t matter, like my experience was completely irrelevant. At least with intercourse, I could have some attention. Even if all I did was lie there, I would at least be kissed. Oral sex was all about him being serviced by me. I felt lesser. Debased. Diminished.
- Mostly, though, I didn’t want him to win the oral sex war. It would be like admitting I’d been wrong. And if I did it once, I was afraid he would expect it all the time. Because I didn’t want to do it, it would only increase the number of times I would have to either say no and risk feeling guilty or feel like I was caving in yet again. It was just easier to draw the line at “no way, ever” than to have to face battle after battle over it.
A Matter of Heart
My journey to address the sexual intimacy in my marriage involved a lot of growth in my heart.
Two areas of heart change made a huge difference in my marriage: compassion and generosity.
As I began to step forward from my own hurt, my heart grew toward my husband.
Compassion helped me understand the value of oral sex from his perspective. As my heart changed, I came to understand that whereas I saw oral sex as being a subservient sex object to my husband, Big Guy saw it as my ultimate acceptance of the most male part of him. Because it focused on his sexual pleasure, he felt fully loved; it was a blessing and a ministry to his heart, not just a pleasing of his man parts. For him, it was an ultimate experience of being made love to. There are times when this speaks to him on an emotional level that intercourse, in its mutuality, cannot reach.
Generosity helped me want to bless my husband. While I still viewed oral sex as about him, I loosened my tight grip on the idea that serving my husband diminished me in any way. My heart grew to want to give to him. Fulfilling my husband’s sexual desires transformed from a heavy burden to a special privilege.
As compassion and generosity settled in and grew in my heart, oral sex had stopped being a battle without me even trying. It had stopped being a source of tension.
Instead, it was simply one of the many ways I can bless my husband.
How Is Your Heart?
Is oral sex a source of tension in your marriage?
I know that for some women, physical challenges truly are the primary reason that giving oral sex can be problematic. If physical difficulties make oral sex impossible, a compassionate and generous heart should help you seek other ways of blessing your husband in a special way that helps him feel uniquely loved.
For a lot of us, though, physical challenges are more an excuse than a reason.
Let me state this clearly: It is not okay for your husband to pressure or manipulate you to get oral sex (or any particular sex act, for that matter). If you are in the process of working on your heart and on sexual intimacy, the loving thing might be for him to agree to stop asking you about it for six months. If he is using oral sex to measure your love for him, he clearly has some work to do on his own hurt and heart.
If you have resisted or refused to give your husband oral sex, examine your heart. Do you have a heart of compassion and generosity for your husband, or do you find yourself feeling resentful when he expresses an interest in oral sex?
Be honest with yourself. If you cannot wholeheartedly say that you have an attitude of compassion and generosity toward your husband, ask God to transform your heart. (If you need some encouragement in growing your heart, read The Generous Wife. You can read here about her post that helped my heart change.)
If you want to be able to orally bless your husband and don’t know how to start, you may find these posts helpful:
(Or, you can read a combined version of these posts at The Marriage Bed.)
If your heart is in the right place and oral sex continues to be a huge mental hurdle for you, Do I Have To? can give you some helpful strategies.
A wife with a compassionate and generous heart is a greater treasure to a husband than oral sex itself is—and a heart that is in the right place may view oral sex quite differently than it used to.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
Song of Songs 2:3
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