THE BLOG
08/25/2014 02:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Wife Used To Go Down On Me a Lot, and Now, Nothing

Blend Images - Jose Luis Pelaez Inc via Getty Images

Reader No Oral writes:

I've been married for five years, and gradually, my wife stopped performing oral sex on me. I feel like this was a bait and switch because she used to love doing this. I've asked her to do it, and she says she's not in the mood, or some other excuse. What should I do?

2014-08-24-unicorn.jpg
some men think you'd have better luck finding me than finding a woman who gives oral sex long term
zombiefun.com

Dear NO,

Well your question was brief so I think you're a practical, no-nonsense kind of dude. I will be to the point as well.

1. When women are in a new relationship their sex drive dramatically increases, hormonally.

2. When their sex drive is up and/or they are very aroused, they are less inhibited. So that's when you get all the oral sex.

3. As the relationship continues, their sex drive tanks. (I'm coining the word monotogamy for this boredom in monogamous relationships. Good, right?)

4. Thus they no longer want to do the stuff they used to want to do, like oral sex.

5. For tips on how to get her sex drive back up and why she should go down on you even though she wouldn't pick it over a trip to the dentist, see my article here.

Here are some other tips, this time to help you communicate more effectively:

1. Be direct. Say that you miss oral sex and you're sad and angry that she won't do it.

2. Go as deep as you can into the underlying feelings here. I know you miss oral sex but do you also miss her WANTING to give you oral sex, i.e. do you miss her finding you so sexy and attractive that she felt aroused by you? Do you miss her wanting to make you happy, with oral sex and in general? If you can state this, she may understand your perspective better.

3. Think deeply about your own contribution to this issue. She may feel that you are dismissive of her feelings, and continue to pressure her without caring that she no longer enjoys this activity. Do you badger her, nag her, make snide remarks? This will all make her feel distant and that she is only a source of sexual gratification to you, like a Real Doll. Maybe you're one of those head-pushers. DON'T BE A HEAD PUSHER. (If you don't know how to get her to realize you want oral sex without head pushing, here are two key points: 1. She is not stupid and she knows, even if you're in a coma and your dog just died, you want oral sex, and 2. ASK HER what you can do besides head pushing as a signal. If she likes head pushing though, keep on keeping on.) If you have been engaging in these sorts of behaviors, and realize how you've been making things worse, a heartfelt apology may make her more willing to examine her own part in the problem.

4. Is she happy within the marriage otherwise? Are you connecting with her, talking on a deep level, taking her out on dates? Ask her openly if she feels happy with you. If she feels bitter, resentful, lonely, or any other negative emotion more often than not within the marriage, she is going to feel completely put off by the idea of sex with you, of any variety, especially something she may not like as much as regular sex. If this is the case, seek couples counseling, stat.

5. If it turns out she says she is happy in the marriage, but just hates oral sex more than the Westboro Baptist Church hates liberals, you must DETACH EMOTIONALLY from this outcome. She doesn't not love you. She doesn't love oral sex within monogamy. If she were married to anyone else, including Brad Pitt, she still wouldn't be giving him head after a few years. This emotional detachment will allow you to view this issue as a problem for THE TEAM (your marriage = a team, ideally) and think of ways to solve this issue without acting rude, passive aggressive, and personally attacked by your wife's oral sex aversion.

6. Relatedly, you must realize that the lack of sex drive I am talking about is no joke. Going down on you, as handsome a devil as you may be, is probably in the best case scenario, a boring neutral activity for her, e.g. laundry, and in the worst case scenario, something as vile to imagine as eating a live grasshopper (DON'T HATE MAIL ME IF YOU LOVE TO EAT LIVE BUGS. I'M COOL WITH THIS. IT'S AN ANALOGY.) So, if she's going to do this, then it's ONLY because she loves you. So, be nice about it. What if someone told you to eat a live grasshopper to save your marriage? Or a pile of dirt, or whatever you find repugnant, and the argument for you doing so was that, when brainwashed in an earlier phase of life by a Bug Eating Cult, you did it happily? (Bug Eating Cult here is analogous to being crazed with new relationship hormones.) You can read more about low libido in couples in the book Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage by Laurie Watson.

7. You should empathize and validate your wife's perspective, by saying things like, "I know you really don't want to do this anymore. So I know I'm asking you to go outside your comfort zone." Also, make sure you ask her curious, not attacking, questions to assess the extent of her aversion, so that you can better understand and empathize with her feelings. Ask, "So, on a scale from 1 of eating a grasshopper, to 10 of you can't live without it, how do you feel about going down on me?"

8. Don't get sucked in to the unhelpful mind set of she has to WANT to give you oral sex. You cannot make anyone want anything. But, we are working on having her DO it, not WANT TO DO it.

9. Try to problem solve together. Tell her you know she doesn't like it, but it's still very important to you that she tries it, and that Dr. Psych Mom says she should try it after she is already excited, not before. (She is going to tell you, F Dr. Psych Mom. But stay strong.) The worst thing you can do here is try to put your penis in her face when she is not excited at all. Thus, oral sex shouldn't be foreplay anymore. Try oral sex halfway through sex, when she is excited. In general, when women are not feeling much sexual desire, a good thing to try is stopping and starting sexual activity, exactly as is recommended to address premature ejaculation in men. Women often best respond to gradually building sexual stimulation, that starts and stops in a more teasing way (see Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy and a lot of erotica for women). If she is more excited, her inhibitions will loosen, and she may find it easier and even pleasurable to go down on you (analogy: eating grasshopper when you're drunk).

10. Adjust your expectations. Expecting oral sex three times a week is setting yourself and your marriage, and your wife, up to fail. How about 1-2 times a month? That would be lovely.

So, you're asking, A. what happened to this being a brief answer, and B. what if she still won't do it? Well, sorry about the first. I got aHEAD of myself. Ha ha! Moving on. If your wife still says no to oral sex, and no to couples counseling to address deeper issues as well, then it's your call here. If you do not want to be in the relationship without either oral sex or more sex or better sex or whatever, be direct. Do not be passive aggressive, stay in the relationship and be bitter and resentful, or, worst, be unfaithful. It makes sense to me that if this is important to you, and you used to get it from her, then you would currently still want it from her. If you are trying your best to be a supportive and loving partner to her, and communicate lovingly and directly, and offer to go to counseling, and she still cannot try and suck it up, no pun intended (well I guess it was half intended) and give you oral sex every so often, with a semblance of enthusiasm, I would say she is not terribly committed to your happiness.

Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Hopes Your Partner Can Get Out Of Her Own Head And Give You Some Head (this topic is rife for puns, I apologize).

For more tips on sex and relationships, visit Dr. Psych Mom on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.