Avoiding the Gag Reflex

Many a woman – and I’m sure a few guys out there have experienced that annoying gag sensation while giving a blowjob. For some it can be a real problem. The feeling of choking or even simply the fear of choking on the penis can cause some to avoid giving blowjobs all together. It can become a point of contention, as some men just don’t understand why their partners don’t just get over it. While other men think there is something wrong with them or their anatomy that would cause their partners to avoid giving them oral pleasure.

While there may be physiological reasons why people find themselves gagging on penises, the greater issue is often related to psychological fear. Even after just happening once, some partners begin to behaviorally associate blowjobs with gagging. They get themselves into a loop of setting themselves up for a self-fulfilling prophecy until eventually they just give up. It becomes easier to avoid the behavior than to address it. Add poor communication into this concoction and you have a recipe for disaster.

Many people with sexual hang-ups either don’t have the vocabulary or the comfort to address their issues. Without talking about it, some of these partners actually end up resenting their partners for desiring oral sex, while the reverse is true as well; many men end up resenting their partners for not performing blow jobs. It can be quite the catch twenty-two.

Here are some pointers to avoid the gag reflex loop.

  • Take control of the play. Often the more in control someone feels when giving a blowjob, the less like they are to feel anxiety about it. Initiate the play and control the movements with your hands as well as your mouth. If you are sensitive to this, ask your partner to stop controlling your movements by holding the back of your head – at least for awhile — until you feel more comfortable.
  • Use your lips, tongue and teeth to take the emphasis off of inserting the penis to the back of your throat.gag reflex
  • If you have a male partner who is really into deep throating, experiment by running your tongue up and down the full length of his shaft without inserting it into you mouth. Or try a cock ring, which can really intensify things.
  • Pay attention to what is running through your mind while giving a blowjob. Avoid negative thoughts and self-talk. Fixate on a fantasy that really gets you off.
  • Give some attention to your pleasure while getting him off. Masturbate yourself or have him masturbate you with his hand or a toy.

 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

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