Sex & Relationships

Ask Joan: Can Oral be taught?

Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email

A member writes:

Six months ago, I made a strong connection with a man who lives far from me. We met in person once, then developed a lovely, long-distance texting and phoning relationship. We recently booked a trip to get to know one another in person and explore the possibility of a real ongoing relationship. We spent four nights in the same bed, mostly cuddling and kissing, and having penetrative sex twice. I came close to vaginal orgasm, and I love the way we kiss and feel to each other.

The problem: My new lover told me that he is not into oral sex — it is not his thing. Receiving oral sex is the main way I can reach orgasm with a partner! We are in our late 60s, and he has never even tried cunnilingus. He only received fellatio one time 40 years ago, and he did not like it. I felt sad, disappointed, and confused.

I really like this man. Oral sex is an intimate act and I am not going to pressure him or demand he try it right away. I want to be sensitive, not demanding. We are just learning about each other, and there are many levels of intimacy. I get the feeling he may be open to trying, yet he seems inhibited, or maybe it’s lack of confidence.

How do I teach and encourage him to go down on me? He is a virgin with oral. What if he is unteachable or turned off by oral sex?  I am not sure yet if this is a deal breaker.

At this stage of my life, this relationship feels like a gift and is satisfying on many levels. I am delighted to find a man who feels so kind and compatible. Neither of us has been in an intimate relationship for many years, and everything is new and exciting. Am I missing some red flags?

— Can Oral Sex Be Taught?

Joan responds: 

Can a man in his late 60s who has never performed cunnilingus be taught to do it, like it, and become proficient at satisfying his partner this way? Yes, if he’s open to learning.

I think it’s important to understand why he never tried giving oral pleasure to a partner in the past and what’s behind his reluctance now. Does he just need education? Or does he find the idea distasteful? Try asking him questions like these:

  • “I’d like to understand your feelings about cunnilingus. Why have you never tried it?”
  • “What do you imagine when you think about doing it with me?”
  • “What would need to happen for you to be willing to try it with me?”
  • “How can I help you feel comfortable about doing it with me?”

If he says something like, “It seems dirty,” or “I don’t like the taste/ smell,” or “That’s not something a man does with a woman he respects,” then I think his sex-negative beliefs are too ingrained, and you’re probably sexually incompatible. Enjoy what’s good between you now, but will it become a deal breaker in the future? I’d say yes. You have a right to the kind of sexual pleasure that works best for you.

But suppose he says, “I worry that I’d do it wrong and I wouldn’t please you. This is all new to me. I don’t know what to do or how to do it.” Ah, what a lovely invitation to teach him!

All vulva owners are different, and even if he had previous experience, he wouldn’t know what you like. If he wants to learn, start with baby steps if he’s nervous. For example, you might ask him to get close to your vulva and watch while he uses touch to excite you. He’ll see how your genitals respond to stimulation. You could show him with your own lubricated finger what you’d like his tongue to do in the future. Let him get used to the idea of what you’d enjoy without pressure to do it right away if he’s anxious.

Once he’s ready to try, take the pressure off by saying you’re not expecting an orgasm through oral sex (for now) — you just want to help him know what arouses you. Give him plenty of honest, positive feedback, such as, “a little higher on my clitoris,” or “suck gently,” or “flick faster.” Think of it as exploring, not trying to reach a destination. Later, when he feels comfortable and competent, help him learn how to stimulate you to orgasm orally.

These books are excellent guides — buy him one or both, and bookmark what you’d like to try:

I admire your willingness to go slowly and take every moment as a gift. I hope it pays off for you! But please don’t back off from asking for what you want and need for sexual pleasure.

Send Joan your questions by emailing All information is confidential. Joan can only answer questions that are chosen for publication.

Joan Price is the author of several books including “The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50” and the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age.” Visit Joan’s  blog, “Naked at Our Age” and her Facebook page. For senior sex news, tips, event and webinar announcements, and special offers, join Joan’s mailing listView Joan’s new free webinar, “Safer Sex for Seniors.”



5 responses to “Ask Joan: Can Oral be taught?

  1. I’ve been walking my dog(s) for decades in the same little (upscale) town.

    Ithe following has never ever happened to me, but has happened twice in the last month:

    a good looking woman in a loose low cut top, sitting at a sidewalk table infront of a restaurant, wants to pet my dog.

    My dog loved attention, and usually attracts 2 or more strangers a night to pet snd scratch him. We do these walks for him, not for me. He meets fog friends most nights too.

    Twice, lately, really good looking women, have leaned over to pet and play with my dog – revealing their boobs for me to admire, and subsequently, get a reaction in my pants.

    I’m not complaining.

    I’m trying to understand.

    I’m a child of the 60s, and getting into a hot tub, pool, or ocean with a a dozen or more naked people is something I’ve done more times than I can count.

    There is something going on.

    Is it

    • we are more free with our bodies now, and what I’m experiencing is just that – and platonic

    • or are they hitting on me – and I am really stupid?

    • or something I haven’t thought of?

  2. I have an oral problem the other way. I’m 65 and my wife of 42 years is 60, For years we pleasured each other orally and both enjoyed a lot. We still have sex a couple times each week, but that is slowing down somewhat, but oral stopped suddenly about 15 years ago. I do not know what happened except my wifes mother told her that she and her father engage in oral sex. anyway, I have asked my wife for oral a few times a year but it never happens. When I get close to her and try I am steered away. I am starting to have a problem with losing sensitivity in my penis and I never climax when we have sex. She always says she does and normally will go off just from foreplay.
    We both enjoy a lot of foreplay and I have always felt it was my duty to get her off. Problem is I never go off with her anymore and she feels like she is failing me and doesn’t want to be as active, and if she would only give oral sex a try again I feel it would really help. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Excellent, very helpful comments and advice! For BOTH of their sakes I hope he turns out to be educable re: cunnilingus. It’s a kind of sexual intimacy that I adore. And then perhaps he’ll also discover the special joys of receiving fellatio from a skilled and caring partner.

  4. I love to see this question being asked… “Can Oral Sex be taught”?

    I feel it can, but both parties must be willing to try to allow it to happen.

    I personally love to provide Oral Sex to my partner, if they are wiling to receive it, and willing to allow me the time to provide it, don’t want to be in a hurry to do it. Good Oral sex takes time, and IMHO, if I do it right, will take some time, and the other person, may like my process and my time to do it, very satisfying, and, may want me to do it, again. Maybe, because she loves how I do it, and it could become addictive to her.

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