Dealbreaker: He Won't Go Down on Me

When it came to going to bed with a straight guy who wouldn’t perform oral sex, there was no roadmap to articulate my experience.

In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

Robert was shy before we went to bed together. We didn’t even kiss until our third date. But at the point of first contact, it was game-on: He gave my ass a firm squeeze and started stripping my clothes to the floor. With the lights off, he reached for a condom. His orgasm followed a few minutes later. Mine didn’t.

He apologized for the unexpected climax, but I was only a little disappointed: My first time in bed with a partner is rarely something to write home about. Besides, I liked him. So instead of pouting, I smiled and pulled him closer to me. In my mind, we had more than enough time for his sexual redemption. After some cuddling and pillow talk, I kissed down his body, moving lower, lower, lower. Then I rolled over onto my back.

“What do you want to do now?” Robert asked.

“You could return the favor,” I suggested, smiling in his direction.

“Oh,” he said. In the dark, I couldn’t make out his expression. He seemed even more hesitant than before we kissed. “I don’t really do that,” he said.


“Yeah,” he said. “I just don’t like it.”

He rolled back on top of me to do it in the missionary position. I let him. It wasn’t bad, but I was still turned on. Finally, I asked him if he was totally disinterested in going down. “I’m kind of scared,” he told me. He cited his experience with another girl who “tasted funny” and drove him away from trying it again. But as we continued to see each other, he insisted that if I gave him time to sort through his hang-ups, I would be rewarded for my patience. I agreed to wait and reasoned that he had to try it again sometime. Right?

While Robert had abandoned cunnilingus after one sour taste, I had no such hang-ups. But when it came to going to bed with a straight guy who wouldn’t perform oral sex, there was no roadmap to articulate my experience. As Robert worked through his issues, I consulted the experts. Over drinks and late-night phone calls, friends told me that healthy relationships are give-and-take, not a one-way street. But online, sex columnists advised me never to coerce or pressure anyone into a sexual act he wasn’t comfortable with.

I tried not to pressure Robert. Instead, I asked, regularly and often. But I continued to field the same tired refrain: “It could happen. Very soon. I’m thinking about it.”

When direct inquiry didn’t work, I tried physical strategies. Before sex, I’d rush to the bathroom to wash between my legs, making sure I smelled clean and soapy. I wore the kinds of panties that practically screamed to be removed with teeth rather than hands: satins, lace-covered bottoms, delicate and uncomfortable thongs. My hair was already trim, but in a vainly transparent effort to please him, I shaved every last bit of it. None of it worked.When Robert shook his head “no”—or worse yet, ignored my attempts to jump-start oral sex that went both ways—I felt ugly, rejected, and disrespected. I should have stopped going down on him, but I didn’t.

Neither one of us ever felt a strong calling to a monogamous commitment, so I managed to stick with our quasi-open arrangement for well over two years. In technical terms, we had agreed to date other people, but only have sex with each other. At least, those were the terms under which Robert claimed to operate. Privately, I saw things a little differently. In another city, I’d be hoisted onto a hotel sink without so much as a second thought. Sometimes, I’d meet with other partners in the same week I’d slept with Robert. And I didn’t feel guilty. I was desperate to have my body explored with eagerness rather than trepidation. I used protection and hoped that no one would feel betrayed.

As time passed, sex between me and Robert felt increasingly like a failed negotiation. My feelings of rejection subsumed any enjoyment I experienced from intercourse. I denied it for months. He cared about me, yet sensed that I would leave if he ever said “never” to oral sex. So he strung me along with half-hearted promises for as long as we could both keep up the pretense.

We broke up and got back together several times in those two years; there was always an excuse to hang out as friends and quickly reunite as lovers. But every time the on-again thrill wore away, I was left with a relationship totally lacking in emotional or physical depth. It became obvious that this was about more than just his distaste for oral intimacy. Let’s face it: Even his fingering was clumsy at best.

After we broke up for the final time, I realized I didn’t miss Robert as much as I did clitoral stimulation. Now I know that I should never have had to choose. Sometimes, the best way to get what you want is to ask someone else.

Illustration by Dylan C. Lathrop

AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less