Ask PJ: Why doesn’t my hetero male partner like going down on me?

Welcome to another edition of "Ask PJ", where I answer your questions about love, sex, open relationships, drugs, politics, religion, and everything else. If you've got a question you'd like to submit anonymously you can find a link at the bottom of this article. Most questions I get are about "taboo" subjects like sex, drugs, religion, etc. but I'm open to answering anything, even personal questions.
Hey Peter! First, thanks for offering this platform for open and honest discussion/debate. I am always curious to see what you’ll post next, even when I find myself disagreeing with your viewpoints. It’s refreshing to have frank dialogue (even if some is initiated anonymously). A romantic partner said something to me recently that I took issue with and I immediately thought- “now I have an AMA for Peter- I want to know what he thinks of this!” Here’s the context: I have had an on/off hetero romantic/sexual relationship with this man for a few years. He’s typically very dominant and aggressive sexually. He’s also very closed off emotionally. We were discussing sexts and what types of photos you might request when asking for nudes from a woman. During the conversation- he mentioned how a genital pic from a woman wouldn’t “do it” for him. The implication was that he doesn’t like to look at vaginas/labia and that a breast photo would be optimal. Side bar- he also really dislikes performing cunnilingus. This is a man who is by all accounts 100% heterosexual. He’s never (that he’s willing to admit) been with a man sexually and has only had relationships with women. I’m perplexed that a straight man would have such an aversion to female genitals. What are your thoughts on this? I find myself going back to his level of heterosexuality- as if that should indicate more openness and willingness to look at and enjoy vagina. However- I think it may have less to do with the spectrum of heterosexuality and more to do with his aversion to intimacy and a deep buried mysogny. I’ve had sex with men who were much more fluid on the spectrum of hetero/homo and they were much more open and generous with their appreciation of vaginas. Do you think this is a form of sexual repression? Is this a form of sexism? Or is it just that some straight men really dislike the look and taste of vagina?
Hi stranger! First off, thank you for including labia in your question instead of just referring to the whole area as "vagina". Most people have never really seen a vagina because it is an internal part of the sexual system. What is generally visible are the labia minora and majora, vulva, clitoris, and clitoral hood. Okay... anatomy lesson over (for now... unless someone has questions about that).
So, why doesn't your on/off partner like sexts with your genitals and why doesn't he enjoy going down on you? I don't have any magic insight into his mind but I think it is one of the reasons you mentioned, or possibly a combination of them. Given the other information you've provided, I think it is most likely an aversion to intimacy and vulnerability and some buried misogyny. It is kind of an old-school view that going down on a woman was unmanly and that real men didn't do that (there is even an episode of The Sopranos where this subject almost started a gang war). Basically, sex was pleasure for men and any specific act that didn't stimulate the penis or provide the man pleasure was unmanly and a sign of weakness. Since you say he exhibits other red flags for misogyny like dominance and aggression this seems like a strong possibility.
It is also possible that he just doesn't like the look and taste of genitals. As for look, that kind of makes more sense to me. I am more aroused by the entire female form, particularly breasts, more than just the vulva in isolation but I wouldn't really say that a vulva pic "wouldn't do it for me". I do think it is a shame and concerning that he doesn't like performing cunnilingus though. There are lots of things we do in an equal sexual partnership that is more for our partner than for us. Giving you pleasure, learning your body, and participating in mutual sexual satisfaction should be some of his primary concerns, even if that means that he does something that isn't a focus on him. If having him go down on you is important then I hope you are making him do it (so to speak), you are within your right to withhold certain sexual acts or sex entirely if he is unwilling to give you something you'd like. Particularly if you are willing to go down on him.
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the taste issue. In my moderate experience men generally, complain about taste as an excuse. Bodies that are showered regularly do not have any particularly offensive odors or tastes.
Lastly, is this a form of sexual suppression or closeted homosexual desires on his part? Maybe... I actually first thought this until you said he enjoy receiving pictures of breasts. I'd say most homosexual men are not aroused by breasts but it is possible that he is somewhere on the bisexual scale and is aroused by the sight of breasts but not vulvas (brains are complex and have a ton of variety, our labels never do them justice). I don't know what is going on in his head but maybe when he is doing it doggy-style or receiving oral sex he is imagining a man but it is difficult to make that mental leap when licking a clitoris. So maybe it is some sort of repression and he covers that by being a "manly man" who dislikes pleasuring his partners. I do find it interesting that you said "He’s never (that he’s willing to admit) been with a man sexually" because that seems to imply that you have some doubts about what he has told you.
So, I guess I really don't know. I think it is most likely sexism, which could possibly include the other two theories you mentioned. Either way, I hope you are getting what you want and need out of the relationship and are standing up for your own pleasure (even if that means pushing him to his knees). All these theories do point to some red flags with this guy and I hope you act cautiously.
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Feedback (Part 1)

For the last month or so I’ve had an idea floating around my head. I wanted a way for friends, family, acquintances, and strangers to anonymously send me questions or comments. I wanted to do this for a number of reasons, but it was primarily just to provide a forum for me to address any misconceptions people have about me and my views, and to answer questions that people might be embarrassed to ask me if I knew their identity.

Well, yesterday I finally set up a SurveyMonkey form for this purpose and on the first day I received a handful of great questions and comments. I’m going to answer them via my blog (unless the author requested that I not), so today is the first blog post where I respond to questions and comments sent to me anonymously. At first, I was a little surprised that so many of the questions were about sex and sexuality because I’m pretty open about that stuff and discuss it freely, but I guess it is still a taboo subject for many.

If you are interested in having me respond to something or if there is something you want to tell me but want to remain anonymous, feel free to fill out the form (or send me a private message on facebook or email me). I’m going to keep it open indefinitely.

So, on to the first round of responses. I plan on answering them in the order they come in, except when I decide not to do that.

1. How do you and your partner negotiate outside sexual activity? Rules?

My partner and I have a basic set of rules (which I can go into detail about if people are interested) that we’ve established after a lot of communication, but we discuss them fairly regularly (usually while rolling) and how we operate today is different than how we did earlier in our relationship. We are both committed to the primacy of our relationship, but we also both enjoy trying new things, pushing our boundaries, and getting the most out of our lives. So, we have rules but there are some caveats.

First, communication is always open and we adjust the rules to meet certain circumstances and we encourage each other to discuss our feelings regularly. This may mean one of us wants to be more physical than our current rules allow or it may mean that one of us feeling particularly uncomfortable with a situation and we want to act more conservatively for a while.

Second, cheating is not an “extinction level event”. If one of us breaks a rule we will discuss it with each other and figure out how to move forward. That may mean loosening up the rules to allow more freedom or that may mean taking a step back from the open relationship for a while or it may mean that a certain person or circumstance should be avoided until we can process why the rule breaking happened.

2. What does “sexually fluid” mean to you? 

To me, “sexually fluid” sums up two parts of my sexuality. First, if someone is a specific gender then I do not automatically disqualify them as a person that I’m willing to sexually interact with. Some people have reported actual disgust at the idea of interacting with a specific gender (usually their own) but I don’t feel that disgust. I certainly tend to be more attracted to women, but I’m open to any circumstance that involves enthusiastic consent from all adult parties.

Second, my attraction to someone can change depending on time and place, or set and setting. If I’m at a rave or festival or in the Orgy Dome at Burning Man I am much more open to an experience that I might not be interested in during my “normal” day-to-day life. This fluidity isn’t only related to gender, it can also be related to certain kinks or other forms of stimulation and experimentation.


So, those are the first questions. I also received a wonderfully nice note from someone who I’ve never met in person who said they appreciate the articles I share on love and sexuality, even though they are monogamous…. I’m glad my sharing is creating value for some people. My favorite thing is helping people safely get insight into a world they are curious about, even if that life isn’t for them. We can all learn from each other and it is valuable to share our stories and experiences.

Thanks for all the submissions, I plan on knocking another couple out early next week. And please feel free to submit any thoughts, questions, or whatever you have about me (… there are no limits so lower your inhibitions with your drug of choice and unleash on me. Oh, and if I didn’t answer a question thoroughly enough or you have a follow-up question please don’t hesitate to send those as well.