Think about the last time you got it on with your partner. Was oral sex involved? If you had to rank how good it was – whether you were giving, receiving, or both – what would you say?
A group of Canadian researchers wanted to know more about it. They were especially curious to see if men and women would give different answers.
So they tracked down almost 900 heterosexual students who were willing to talk about their oral adventures, most of them in their early twenties. The students were asked to think the last time they had sex, and say whether they had given and/or received oral sex. If they had, they were asked to rate the pleasure of the experience on a scale of one to four. The students also told the researchers if they were in a steady relationship, or if it was just a fling.
No fewer than two out of three students had had oral sex the last time they’d with their partner, the surveys showed. Not surprisingly, most people on the receiving end gave the experience a full four out of four on the pleasure scale. This went for both men and women.
Who goes down more?
But when it came to how much the students enjoyed going down on their partner, there was a big difference between guys and girls. For just over half of the men, giving oral sex also scored a firm four out of four for top-rated pleasure. But fewer than one in three women found giving blowjobs very pleasurable.
For both men and women, oral sex was more pleasurable when they were in a committed relationship instead of with a casual partner. And what did make giving a blowjob more enjoyable for women was if their partner went down on them too. Yet the guys enjoyed giving head, whether they got it or not. So much for the cliché of selfish guys expecting to get, but not bothering to give.
So if guys like giving oral sex so much, are they actually going down more than girls? Well… no. Women are indeed doing more than their share of their work in the oral department, it seems. More than twice as many girls as guys had given but not received the last time they’d had oral sex. Having said that, it was actually most common for both partners to give and get.
All of this leads to some important questions, the researchers point out. If most women are into receiving oral sex, and a lot of men find going down on their partners so enjoyable, why aren’t more guys giving head? And if women don’t totally enjoy giving blowjobs, why are they doing it anyway?
Drawing on other studies, the researchers came up with a few explanations. One has to do with social norms that still exist when it comes to sex. Young adults more often think of women as being in the passive role, linked to giving oral sex, while men are viewed as the more dominant gender, studies have shown.
The fact that women are more likely to give than get could also be related to how comfortable they feel on the receiving end. Research has found that compared to guys, some girls find it harder to lie back and enjoy.
Women might also have emotional reasons for giving blowjobs – things like feeling connected to a partner or expressing their love – whereas men are mostly motivated by physical drivers.
As for why some guys find giving head to be just about as pleasurable as it gets, social norms could be involved. Men may see their role as being a ‘sexual performer’ and their mission as making sure their partner orgasms. Oral sex ups the chances of this happening, research has shown, and might be pleasurable for guys for that reason. Of course, knowing they’re able to make their partners feel great is probably also a major turn-on for many men.
This article is a part of our "Audience pick Best of 2016" series. It was first published on 23rd April, 2016.
Source: Was it good for you too?: An analysis of gender differences in oral sex practices and pleasure ratings among heterosexual Canadian university students. (2016). The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
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