Is It Reasonable to Say “No” to Oral Sex?

question-markYears ago, a friend and I were talking in general about sex. In the course of our conversation, the topic of oral sex came up.

I casually mentioned, “What’s not to like about oral sex?”

“Giving or receiving?” she asked.

“Both,” I responded enthusiastically.

Now I realize that this throws me into a narrow group of wives who embrace the value of oral sex as part of a couple’s sexual repertoire.

I hear from husbands who wish their wives were more interested in incorporating oral play into their sexual intimacy.

Some even wonder if it is reasonable that a wife say “no” to oral sex, whether it be giving or receiving.

Is it reasonable to say “no” to oral sex?

In some cases I think it is.  I’ll address those first, and then I’ll explore what I think are weak reasons for saying “no.”

First of all, if a woman has experienced past sexual abuse, particular as a child, and oral sex was part of that abuse, I think it is reasonable that it may be incredibly difficult to include oral sex in the current context of her marital intimacy.

I’m not saying this would be true with all wives, and I’m certainly not saying that past sexual abuse gives a wife a lifetime free pass on no sex at all.

When a woman marries, even if she has suffered past sexual abuse, she is agreeing that sexual intercourse will be part of her marriage.  This doesn’t mean she is agreeing to everything her husband may want to do sexually.

What I’m sensitive to is that sexual abuse is one of the most horrendous traumas a person can experience.  If there are triggers that linger long after much healing has taken place, it’s really not beneficial for a husband to set off those specific triggers that are extremely painful to his wife.

What about sexually transmitted diseases?

I know this probably goes without saying, but if there are concerns about sexually-transmitted diseases, then a couple needs to be wise to not expose each other to risks.

I’m not a doctor, but I do think it’s reasonable to say “no” to oral sex if there are risks of disease transfer.   And if disease risks are present, a couple still needs to take precaution during intercourse.

Lastly, I think it would be reasonable to say “no” to oral sex if this has become the only kind of sexual intimacy a couple is experiencing.  There is something powerfully unifying when a husband’s penis is in his wife’s vagina.  If this has been erased from the menu, and oral sex is the only sexual encounter happening, that’s a bit of a red flag to me.

Balance.  Oral sex can be a great complement within sexual intimacy, but not to the exclusion of everything else.

What about wives who just don’t like oral sex, but don’t really have any strong reason for saying no?

My challenge to wives who have flat out refused any kind of oral sex, whether it be giving or receiving, is to really look at why they feel that way.

Are you trying to argue it from a biblical standpoint?

In my opinion, you won’t get very far.   Most theologians and people who have thoroughly studied the book of Song of Songs believe it includes positive references to marital oral pleasure.   Also, there is no scripture in the Bible that specifically says a husband and wife cannot include oral sex in their intimacy.

I think common sense, though, is the strongest path toward broadening your perspective on this.

Obviously, as husbands and wives, we often kiss and touch each other in various ways during lovemaking.  Most people would say it’s just fine that a husband kiss his wife’s neck or even her breasts or navel during lovemaking.

Likewise, most people would not find it odd if a wife were to kiss her husband’s chest and so forth.

Following this logic, why would we think that there are certain parts of our anatomy that cannot be touched and kissed and caressed during lovemaking?  How do we possibly draw an arbitrary line where no line exists?

Are your refusing oral sex because of hygiene concerns?

The simple solution to this is that you both come to bed having washed your genital area.

Some wives are hesitant because a husband ejaculates from the same opening as he urinates.  But God designed the male body so these experiences don’t happen at the same time.   When a penis is erect, the focus is on sex, not on urination.

Likewise, some women worry that a husband will be offended by the vaginal area, but as I already mentioned… a shower, bath or simple use of a washcloth before sexual intimacy can help ease those concerns.  (A shower together can be great foreplay!)

Are you refusing because you don’t know if you will do it right?

If your unspoken reason for not initiating oral sex is because you are afraid you won’t be very good at it, I think your husband would still want you to give it a try and vulnerably ask for his feedback.  I have no doubt that if you are open to being taught, he will teach you. (Same goes for you husbands — allow her to coach you on how to orally please her).

I recognize that despite all the rationalizations as to why oral sex would be okay, some wives simply won’t have anything to do with it.

What is a husband to do?

Well, it definitely isn’t loving to force a sexual act, so coercion, physical force and demands are not an option.

If her heels are dug in, then I think the husband has little alternative but to ask the Lord to help him let this desire go.  As a married couple, they are at an impasse.   Lovingly trying to generate conversation is good.  Throwing the marriage under the bus because of no oral sex is not.

My hope would be that a wife who is unwilling to budge would do a bit of introspection to see if her steel-clad refusal is really reasonable.

If you are that wife, are you being reasonable on this?

Under the right circumstances, oral sex can be an amazing addition to sexual intimacy, resulting in new waves of pleasure and closeness.

For many husbands and wives, I think there’s a lot to like about oral sex.

What do you all think about this topic? Please comment and add to the discussion.

Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

228 thoughts on “Is It Reasonable to Say “No” to Oral Sex?

  1. Charles says:

    Like a previous poster I married the widow of a minister. This beautiful, slim beauty had never experienced oral or anal sex and seemed to be very sexually repressed. After 8 years of slowly introducing her to normal sex and how enjoyable it can be, she is the best partner one can imagine!! My wife spent the years of her first marriage wearing long dresses ect. hiding her perfect body. Now is enjoying being able to turn mens heads with her snug shorts that reveal her wonderful shape. She often states that she is much happier now with her freedoms than being repressed!! I have the perfect wife but I had to teach her how to be perfect.

  2. Nubia bizness says:

    Of course you would totally MISS my main point.
    What I was saying there is that oral is liken to anything else intimate and affectionate.
    Oral is giving and receiving.
    It “seems to me” that if selfishness prevails then “giving” cannot be present.
    Maybe “insignificant” was a misleading word for others. In other don’t make a mountain of mole hill.
    Giving is everything! That is what makes a bad lover into an awesome person in bed.
    Anyone can be come a great lover by simply being a giver in bed. From what I keep reading is that many women are NOT givers in bed. From what my 31 years of solitude in marriage has shown me, many women demand romance yet are far from romantic. Demand their husbands dance when they snap the fingers yet rarely give what their husbands desire!

  3. Karen says:


  4. P&S says:

    I’ve read quite a few of these comments, and I am amazed at the selfishness I see on both sides of the argument. If a person (male or female) leaves their spouse for anything OTHER THAN adultery, it is a sin, period. Even if the one spouse bids the other to leave due to physical, mental or emotional conditions, and seek a happy life, it is still sin, period. Fortunately, Jesus Christ came, lived for us, died to take away the sins of all who believe on His holy name, and lives for us, again, waiting for the time we’re to join Him in Heaven, so those sins can be forgiven for the asking.

    Before I get to my main point, let me just explain that my wife and I are highly sexually compatible and, despite my inability -due to any number of factors for things that have happened in my life- to get it up from time-to-time, she loves me for who I am, and I love her for who she is. I have been to war, I have been to prison, I have severe PTSD, and I had to fight like a dog to get my kids back from my first wife, whom I put away with a certificate of divorcement for committing adultery and destroying our family in the process. My present wife is the daughter of a long-time Southern minister, she was raped at gun-point in college, she has Fibro-myalgia and joint pain from two automobile accidents from her adult past. I am in my late 40s, she in her early 40s.

    My wife has NOT been the biggest fan of giving me fellatio, though I absolutely go nuts to give her cunnilingus, but she does it, anyway, and the last couple of times she’s done it for me she has genuinely enjoyed it more than she has in the past, and the last few times she’s even initiated it unbidden. It took us months into our marriage before she would even try it and, truth to God, had she disliked it so badly and told me she did not want to do it, I would have been horribly disappointed, but I would not have put her away from me.

    At first, I knew how much she disliked the idea, so I made sure I was clean -I keep myself as clean as I can for her- and gentle in my ministrations of her, that I was not verbally or physically guilt’ing her in any way and, as I’ve explained, she has come to like it more recently, performing it more for me. Both of us have something of a perverted mind, and we’re trying to think of ways, once our teenage Sons are out from under our roof, to introduce new things we can do while we’re yet young enough to enjoy them; fortunately, what happens in a bedroom consecrated to Christ, between a husband and his wife is a beautiful thing before God. We’re not going to get too wild, her fibro won’t allow for it.

    My point is men should not coerce their wives into giving them head, nor should wives coerce their husbands and, although husbands and wives SHOULD try at least once on each other, it should stop being a point of contention if one gives an unequivocal no. Even then, this DOES NOT have to be a permanent condition. A wife who does not like the idea of fellatio, but has a husband who is intelligent, understanding, and has God’s patience, may find her mind changed over time by HIS generosity, strength-to-wait, and soothing words of encouragement. This might take years, it may never happen, but every wife should try fellatio on her husband at least one time -and he better be clean and keep himself from being too handsy-, and every husband should try cunnilingus on his wife at least one time -and SHE better have a clean butt and front and be ready to grab a handful of hair once she’s comfortable enough to allow herself to enjoy it.

    Nothing has to be permanent, but it may take a LOT of patience to change it.

  5. GoodDad says:

    P&S, I disagree with your traditional view of marriage. Adultery is the only reason to divorce? What about sexual neglect? Marriage is the one and only place to have sex and when one partner says no, they’re breaking the agreement.

    I’d further like to take you to a battered woman’s shelter and tell a wife she’ll be in SIN if she leaves her abusive husband. We’ll then go meet a few husbands who’ve had their wives gamble away their retirement, or drink themselves into horrific parents. Please tell me that the departing spouse is the sinner and that they should stay around for more abuse. Your legalistic view of marriage makes open season on the victims of marriage abuse. I have a better view – you have to BEHAVE like you did when we were dating! If you don’t, you falsely presented yourself and I made a marital decision on fraudulent information. You do NOT get my lifetime to get off the drugs, the gambling, the child abuse or finally decide that you’ll have sex with me. You treat me with respect or you’re gone. Any other view of marriage makes the abuser the victor and teaches children that happiness and safety don’t matter, only staying married. Not exactly a good sales pitch.

  6. TheMaskedMarvyl says:


    Yes, we will all be held accountable before the Lord, and I will take whatever accountability I owe. My wife was not honest with me before marriage even though we had a very serious conversation about it because she wanted to wait to have sex until after marriage. What accountability will she have for not being honest with me? It’s very easy for you to recommend divorce to me, when you don’t know my family situation. What is that saying, oh yes, “Judge Not lest Ye be Judged.

  7. stacy niccols says:

    I believe every wife should be obligated to perform oral sex for her husband. all he should have to do is ask

  8. Married Sally says:

    I am with Stacy. I just think it’s so basic that absent some extreme factor, it’s a basic obligation.

  9. Lulu says:

    stacy niccols
    How can a woman who has no desire what-so-ever to put a penis in her mouth, be expected to do so, even if she is married ??
    I have been married for 3 months. There is no way I am ready to have oral sex. We waited until we married to have sex. Turns out he is impotant, and used to masturbating himself to an orgasm. It takes a lot of work to get him to come and I don’t enjoy yanking on the flacid penis until he eventually comes. Imagine trying to get him to come with my mouth??? No thanks!!! Masturbation seems to prevent normal vaginal sex. The vagina is just too soft. A hand is firm and can work fast. I can totally do without sex at all. It is not important to me. He wants sex, often, but can’t perform well. I am not willing to have oral sex and I sure don’t think I am obligated at all.

  10. D says:

    If you’re going to quote it, quote it right; “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” This doesn’t mean we can’t make judgements, but only that those judgements need to be righteous judgements not hypocritical judgements.

  11. Ron says:

    Sally and Stacy, I agree with you. I think giving and receiving oral sex should be a part of marriage unless there are some extreme circumstances. Just “not wanting to” is not a good excuse and the refuser is holding back giving to their partner.
    Now, if i could just convince my wife of that!

  12. eric says:

    after my kids graduate HS, we will be divorcing because our sex life has been so miserable and practically non existent.

    we’ve had counseling and she has been unwilling to be flexible. “It’s that important.”

    hardly touched for 20+ years…like prison.

  13. Ann says:

    I dont understand. We are newlywed, and both older. I’m 49, never had sex or really any experience. He is 64 and lots of worldly experience. His first wife was sexually abused by her father and punished him with tearing him down and being in adulterous relationships, as well as rejecting him repeatedly. I know hes had some wildxexperiences, but he will not becdpecific. Sex at first was very painful, and he was more happy with my hands on him and him giving me oral sex for about a few weeks before we prayed and God opened me up to have regular sex. What I dont understand is why do I have to be handy with him first, then he waits a bit to get inside me? Honestly, it became frustrating because then he couldnt maintain the erection for very long. It is getting better. But when he does oral sex on me, he will keep at it, until Im at orgasm and a bit worn out. I tell him that is very nice but doesnt mean as much as when we come together as one. I also dont really feel much when he is inside me, so he uses his fingers mostly. Oral and regular sex does not provide the same experience. I would honestly ask him to give up his oral sex in order for us to be more connected the regular way. He gets a bit too rough with repetitive action, and hes a bit overweight, but I’ve told him that and he doesn’t care. Also about my feelings about his giving me oral sex, he doesn’t believe I’d rather just have regular. Needless to say our vommujucation us not good. Also as i’d like to have a child too, when he is ready and ejaculates, it is too late to come inside me, and I dont feel that woosh of fluid. He says it happened when I think I know it did not. I know I’m able to still have a child. Could the issue be hes scared to displease? Is this the ghost of his first wife in our marriage making him believe I only want what these other women in his experience wanted? I can’t even kiss him after he performs on me. Praying about all this and wanting us to be closer, a

  14. Jean says:

    I used to enjoy giving to my hubby but he became too demanding wanting it every night. Yet when I ask for him to do me he made excuses. Now he gets it 1 or 2 time a week and isnt happy he threatens to find a new wife that will do it. As a Christian ,and he is not ,I feel a marriage should be 50 50 if he gets oral I should too. He stop kissing me years ago for no reason sex is suppose to be when he wants. When i ask i am told not now, I am not ready, I am watching tv. But when its 3 am and I am sleeping he comes for it . I feel like I am more of a just there for sex rather then his wife anymore. Every position has to be his way, he has to enjoy sex and I dont he tells me it hurts me very bad he was not like this years ago until 6 years ago we have been together 18 years now

  15. Jill says:

    The problem about weather to swallow or not has never been an issue with my husband and me. Oral sex is a part of our sex life, but it’s not a means to an end for him. He likes oral but doesn’t like climaxing in my mouth, he’d rather change position and have his orgasm inside me. I have said that I’d be willing to have him finish in my mouth, but he really isn’t into that. Communication, tell each other what you like.

  16. Andy says:

    30 years married and my wife won’t do oral any more she says she feels cheap but I feel it’s, her being a jehovahs witness she won’t let me do it to her either I love giving oral as much as receiving our sex life has dwindled to about once, a month but I could really do without as there’s no fun there any more and it’s not fair to change the rules after so long a marriage. I have been offered no strings oral off a younger girl and have turned it down up to now but I’m very tempted I had to change job to be away from this hot girl. I will retire abroad to the sun but it will probably not be with my wife as things stand.

  17. David says:

    If you are married, you should make every attempt to satisfy your partner sexually. If he likes his penis sucked, do it. If he has hygiene issues, tell him to wash it good first. If you can’t handle swallowing his cum, tell him to pull it out. Personally, I think it’s rude to make him pull out a mind shoot it on a towel, or other spot. Think about it, do you think (ladies) that you are 100% dry and odor free? Not that it’s a bad odor, but you like us to go down on you and the guys are getting plenty of juices. Then you are disgusted by your man’s juices? Suck on a peppermint while you are doing it and you probably won’t taste a thing. There are probably 100 different options of what to do with the semen in your mouth… let it shoot into your cheek, roof of mouth, on tongue, keep going as he’s finishing and let it dribble out… Try different ways, I’m sure there is SOMETHING that will be tolerable by you and trust me, he won’t complain from your efforts.
    Keep in mind, oral sex is designed to pleasure your partner, not so much you. If you make a conscious decision to say “I don’t like giving oral sex, you are being selfish.
    This doesn’t have to be just oral sex. If you BOTH don’t have an interest in it, fine, leave it out. Maybe she wants you to stick your finger in her butt. So what! Clip your fingernails and do it!
    Your welcome. 🙂

  18. Jill says:

    Sheesh. I can’t believe that this post actually has to exist. Of course it’s not unreasonable for a marriage to not consist of oral sex. It’s a preference not a requirement. If they are having regular intimacy, pleasure and orgasms without a mouth ever going near a genital, then that’s all that matters. To be asked to engage in ‘introspection’ if she won’t ‘budge’ is absolutely not necessary and she should never be worried about it. As for semen, the only amazing thing about semen is that it contains half the genetic material to make a human being, beyond that, when it’s in a mouth, it’s just a bodily fluid. I’ve read many secular posts on fellatio which don’t try to make you feel guilty about not doing it and don’t suggest that your sex life is somehow lacking or incomplete if you choose not to!

  19. Keep it Real says:

    When u think about it, the proportions are way off with oral sex n the woman gets the short end of the stick, so to speak. How would most straight men like a big sausage shoved in their mouth for 10 to 30 minutes? Many women have bad gag reflexes! And then to shoot a bunch of c-m In her mouth is just not a natural sexy thing- nothing personal to you! It doesn’t taste or feel very good either. On the other hand, a woman’s cliterus is like a very tiny penis…u guys don’t get choked doing oral. And u don’t have to finish the whole meal

  20. Alan says:

    Apparently it’s “reasonable” (not to mention acceptable) to say “No” to ANY kind of sex, including oral.

    My wife sure has done it for the better part of our 27-year marriage.

  21. I'm not the only one says:

    I’ve been married for 21 years. I absolutely hate oral. Giving or receiving. It feels gross, the whole idea of it disgusts me.
    I’ve given it about 4-5 times in the 21 yrs for special occasions but I felt like throwing up every time. it is so gross. My husband gave it to me once but after that I never let him do it again. He probably wants it but oh well. We have lots of fun when we make love without oral.

  22. Just can't do it says:

    What am I supposed to do? It nauseates me to the nth degree. He doesn’t like the little os I can stomach. He has admitted to finding females who will give it to him. Now, should I stay or leave him? Even with the threat, then actual infidelity bc of it I can’t make myself do it to him.

  23. Andy says:

    Men break their bodies for their wives, they lay down their lives for their wives and they do it it without complaining. In return we NEED our wives to give us their bodies and minds. If all a man wanted from a woman was sex he wouldn’t get married. A man needs more than just a vagina, that is what prostitutes are for. Women seem to think that as long as they “allow” their husbands to have sex they have fulfilled their duty. A husband needs more than his wife’s body, he needs her mind as well. That is why oral sex is so appealing and enjoyable for men, the woman has to be an active participant, her mind has to be involved. If the woman enjoys giving it and is enthusiastic about her man’s pleasure, there is absolutely nothing that will make a man lust for his wife more than that. Deny his requests, remain emotionally distant during sex, convince yourself that sex is good enough and your husband is selfish if he wants more from you and his eyes will wander. When his eyes wander you will become to him exactly what you don’t want to be, a sex object. He will have sex with you because he has to, not because he wants to. Yes, it is that important.

  24. Mick says:

    We’ve been married 30 years and from the start, my wife and I had oral sex regularly. She wanted to wait after marriage for intercourse which we did. But after 5 years of mutual oral, we kind of had a thing for oral. So oral was more frequent than intercourse. She seemed to think like me until she got more deeply into religion.
    ( Catholicisme. ) Then she started guilt tripping about oral. Now after 30 years of Oral and Intercourse, she just wants to do missionary position. Pleasing God (based on her beliefs) is more important than pleasing her husband. As if God forbids pleasure and only allows sex if the goal is reproduction. She is really all mixed up I think. I feel betrayed. She just doesn’t want to please me anymore. When we hot married she knew what I liked. She just changed and shows no intent for pleasure. Our frequency was just once a week for the last 10 years. Three kids. Am I insensitive?

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