Dive Deeper with Leah Carey
I have been through the fire and come out the other side. Now I’m here to walk with you as you do the same.
I will help you take a stand for yourself, your desires, and YOUR PLEASURE.
We follow the oral sex question with a deep dive into swallowing ejaculate (or not!) We hear a wide variety of yes/no answers, but also yes/no conditions. Then Leah share her personal experience with blowjobs and the journey she took to make sure it was as good for her as it was for him.
Little boys get just as much bad messaging as little girls do. Learning how to openly and safely communicate with your sexual partner can re-educate and heal you both.
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I’m sex educator and sexual communication coach Leah Carey and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: Hey friends. On the last solo episode, we talked about whether you enjoy giving oral sex. For the heterosexuals, bisexuals, pansexuals, and others among us that includes blowjobs. Today, we’re diving to the obvious follow up question, do you swallow? This is a question that I find endlessly fascinating because so many people have very strong feelings about it, including me. So let’s jump in. Here are voices from Good Girls Talk About Sex interviews answering the questions, “Do you swallow?” And I’ll be back with my own answer in a few minutes.
SPEAKER 1: I do swallow. I used to not swallow, but I swallow now.
LEAH: What made you change?
SPEAKER 1: It got inconvenient to spit.
SPEAKER 2: I started not minding the taste. I kind of like the taste now.
SPEAKER 3: Yes, I only ever swallowed with my husband
SPEAKER 4: With my partners, yes. With random, not always.
SPEAKER 5: Swallow with a long term partner. I think that someone I’m with long term, I tend to really like their taste and the way that they smell.
SPEAKER 6: I have. It’s not my favorite thing.
SPEAKER 7: Swallow if the moment’s right but I’m a big fan of seeing squirt everywhere. That’s really what I love to watch like that’s the best moment for me is to feel him about to go and then just watch it.
SPEAKER 8: My poor husband. When I do, I don’t swallow. He takes a lot of supplements so it’s like toxic sludge.
LEAH: Oh my God!
SPEAKER 9: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I just think it depends on the moment. How close I am to the bathroom where I can spit it out.
SPEAKER 9: Or if I’m not, I’ll just suck it up and swallow it because I don’t really like mess.
SPEAKER 10: Not usually.
SPEAKER 11: It depends on the person. It depends on the time. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes no.
SPEAKER 12: Sometimes. I used to swallow, never a problem. But because of my health issues, the mucus and breathing have become an issue that that adds to so, for the most part now, I’m trying to still complete a blow job and be able to breathe. And so I will let it drip down. It doesn’t bother me on my tongue. The taste doesn’t bother me but that extra mucus in it can be a real problem for breathing.
SPEAKER 13: Very rarely. The times that I have it was all for like I knew it was doing something for my partner so I was doing it for them because they were like, “Oh, this is so hot.” Typically no I don’t swallow.
SPEAKER 14: No, I’ve heard that some do but I just can’t. I run and spit it out.
SPEAKER 15: It’s actually something I really enjoy doing and it turns me on a lot to swallow.
SPEAKER 16: Cleanliness is important, tidiness.
SPEAKER 17: Generally, I don’t. And there are times where I really want to, so I kind of let my body decide what feels right for it.
LEAH: When you don’t, what do you do?
SPEAKER 18: I usually ask them to not cum in my mouth. I get them really close and have them either ejaculate on my stomach or chest or whatever. And sometimes it’s happened that they’ve cum and I haven’t wanted to swallow, I just spit it in the towel or something.
SPEAKER 19: No.
LEAH: So what do you do?
SPEAKER 19: I just tell him not to.
SPEAKER 20: It’s not my favorite thing I don’t think it tastes very good.
SPEAKER 21: With the right partner, I do.
SPEAKER 22: No, no. If I’m too lazy to go to the bathroom, I’ll swallow but I get up after and go to the bathroom.
SPEAKER 23: Oh, absolutely. I swallow.
SPEAKER 24: I usually swallow.
SPEAKER 25: I do.
SPEAKER 26: Yes. I always swallow.
SPEAKER 27: I do swallow when I choose. I love fellatio when I really like the person and also when I’m aware of the kinds of fluids that the person eats.
SPEAKER 28: I don’t need to swallow anymore. I’m married and I gave him two kids, I’m not taking that shit in.
LEAH: My turn. This is a big deal question for me because it has caused so much drama in my world. When I was my late teens and early twenties, I started picking up Cosmo magazine. This was the mid-90s, so the Internet was on the cusp of being widely available and I was not on the leading edge of that movement. So when it came to information and conversation about sex, Cosmo was my most important media source. Well, that many boxes of Playboy and Penthouse magazines my dad had stored in the basement of our house.
I knew from the beginning that the one size fits all nature of Cosmo didn’t seem to apply to me. I couldn’t put on that color of blush and suddenly look like I was ready to walk into a ball. I couldn’t wear that particular shape of skirt that everyone would be wearing this fall because it looked downright stupid on my body shape.
But rather than figuring out that their content machine was driven by marketers who were trying to sell their latest products, I took it as a commentary on my own acceptability as a female human. I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, shapely enough, etc. I would read about the moves and the sex tricks and the techniques and think, “That doesn’t sound like fun.” And sometimes I don’t even understand how that’s logistically possible. But if this is what the magazine is selling me and I don’t’ get it then I must be the defective one. So I should be even further ashamed about my unsuitability as a partner and do everything I can to figure out how to be better.
This was the emotional and mental landscape into which one particular phrase landed. I’m not sure if it was from Cosmo or one of the girly mags, but the message was clear and unambiguous, “If you love him, you swallow.” Period. End of sentence. There was no wiggle room on this. If you love him, you swallow. This landed in my head long before I came face to face with an actual penis.
And even in that pre-sexual time, I wasn’t excited about the idea of bodily fluids. Something about the idea of all of the fluids and byproducts of sex squicked me out even before I experienced them. Though to be fair to myself, when my first boyfriend kissed my neck at age 17, I got itching and rashes on my neck so being afraid of saliva kind of made sense. And I still have no idea what he was eating or smoking that gave me that reaction.
But, moving forward when I was 21, I had my first interaction with a penis. That penis was attached to a man who wanted to engage with me sexually on a regular basis several nights a week but didn’t want anyone to know what was going on. He wanted to go out with other girls and then come back and tell me about those dates and what they did on them and his love struggles. Meanwhile, I just wanted some affection and to be important to someone.
I was miserable at the way he treated my feelings but now I can look back and recognize what I was going through was classic touch hunger. I desperately needed someone touching and caressing my body. I fantasized about it all times of day and night. And I was willing to enter an emotional and violent situation in order to get those physical touch needs met. All I really wanted was kissing and some above the waist action but he pushed hard to take it below the belt. Eventually, one night, he penetrated me with his fingers without asking for consent. I hated it, but didn’t say anything. Then he started harassing me constantly to give him a blow job and to have intercourse.
And here’s where things got confusing beyond my ability to sort it out at the time. My conditioning told me that if I gave him a blow job, I’d have to swallow. I was squicked out by the idea of swallowing and also afraid imbibing his “essence” would tie me even further to this man who I knew was treating me carelessly. But I also had a deep need to continue getting my touch needs met and there was the ever present underlying threat that if I didn’t give him a blow job, he’d push me even further aside than he already had.
So from within that level of emotional turmoil, I finally gave my first blow job. I didn’t want to create a further crisis and question my love for him, so I swallowed. And then I proceeded to spend the next three days completely nauseated, periodically gagging with the feeling of crap sliding down my throat. Honestly, even going back and remembering this makes me nauseous right now.
I spent days coughing and retching, trying to get past the memory. Oh, God! That was the last blow job I ever gave him. It was the last blow job I gave for a very, very long time. Swallowing was such an intensely nauseating experience that there was no way I was going to repeat it. But I had so fully believed the idea that if you love him, you swallow that it never occurred that I might give a blow job without swallowing.
So for the next two decades or so, I avoided blow jobs like the plague. But I never told the men I was with why. I didn’t explain that the idea of swallowing made me retch so they had no opportunity to say, “It’s okay if you stop before I cum.” I never told anyone that I was trying to abide by this maxim that if you love him, you swallow. And I didn’t want him to think I didn’t love him, so I wasn’t going to put us in a situation of me not swallowing and causing him to question my feelings for him.
I will never forget the day at age 42 that things changed. I was on my journey of sexual exploration and healing and I was taking any and all classes I could get on sexuality. This particular evening was the STARS class, which you’ve probably heard me talk about before. It’s the system created by Dr. Evelin Dacker that helps you walk through a conversation about sex with a potential partner before your clothes come off. The letters of STARS stands for STI status, turn-ons, avoids, relationship expectations, and safety protocols. If you’re interested and want to learn more, go back to the February 20, 2019 episode the STARS method to hear Evelin explain the conversation and hear me with a sample conversation with a friend of mine.
So that night, I’m at the STARS class, and we’re learning how to talk about the various elements of the STARS conversation. When I heard someone say, “I enjoy giving blow jobs but I don’t want you to cum on my mouth or on my face”, it was a very profound moment of discovery for me. I literally had no idea that you could say that.
I would have assumed that if I did say that to a man, he would turn down the sexual encounter because that wouldn’t be acceptable to him. But hearing this other woman say it so confidently and with an expectation that this boundary would be honored made me wonder if I could do that too.
So the next time I was having a STARS talk with a potential male partner, I slipped in this idea that I didn’t want ejaculate on my mouth or on my face. And he just nodded as if it were a totally normal boundary! I was completely stunned. So then, I started saying it to other potential partners and not one of them turned me down!
No one even made a peep about it being unreasonable or emotionally fraught for them. And something amazing happened. Once I took ejaculation out of the equation, I discovered I really enjoy giving blow jobs. This is now something that I take for granted. Having ejaculate on my mouth or on my face is a total non starter for me. And I’m perfectly comfortable letting somebody know that it’s a boundary. If someone were ever to take issue with that, it would be an excellent indication that they’re not a good partner for me. I now feel secure in the knowledge that no sexual encounter is important enough for me to violate my boundaries and make myself feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with my current partner for about two and a half years and just like the others, when I gave him my boundary about ejaculate, it was a complete non-issue. After we were together for a few months, it was clear that I really, really enjoy giving him blow jobs and he really enjoys receiving them. So one day he came over with something for us to try, non-lubricated condoms. I was concerned that they may smell or taste awful but they’ve actually been a godsend. We use the new durex brand because they have no smell, no taste, and no powder and by the way, I’m not an affiliate for them. I just really, really like their product. So now I get to give him a blowjob with absolutely no concern about ejaculate and he gets to cum to completion while he’s in my mouth. It’s a win-win for us both.
So the answer to the question, do you swallow? My answer is clear. Hell fucking no!
LEAH: I want to invite you to imagine for a moment what your ideal sex life looks and feels like.
Who are you with?
What type of sex do you have together?
How do you feel while touching them?
How does your body feel when they touch you?
Or … would you like to have LESS sex than you’re currently having?
If you don’t know, or if that vision of your ideal doesn’t look at all like what’s currently going on in your bedroom, I can help.
With personalized sex and intimacy coaching, we’ll explore where you are, where you want to be, and the steps to help you get there. There are no right or wrong answers, just the answers that work FOR YOU.
I understand that exploring your sexuality and all that goes with it – your body image, your belief in your lovability, and more – can be terrifying. Believe me, I sat in the middle of that fire for decades. I know how painful it is. But I also stepped out the other side, stronger, more confident, and more certain of my own lovability and desirability. You can do the same.
I work with couples and one-on-one – whether you’ve never explored your sexual desires before, or you want to explore things you’ve never done before like BDSM or non-monogamy, or if you and your partner need some help figuring out how to communicate together about sex.
I am queer, kinky, and poly friendly.
I want you to have a deeply fulfilling intimate life, and together we can help you get there.
For more information and to schedule your free Discovery Call, visit www.leahcarey.com/coaching. A new client recently said that before her Discovery Call she was extremely nervous, but that I made the experience feel easy and comfortable.
Book your free Discovery Call today at www.leahcarey.com/coaching.
LEAH: Today, in place of an “Am I Normal?” question, I want to share a conversation I had a couple of months ago with a listener that has stuck with me. He emailed me through an anonymized email address so I know absolutely nothing about him except for the few details that you’ll hear in a moment. I’m blessed to get occasional emails from listeners like you about how much this podcast means to them. Sometimes it’s hard to know if things are landing well with listeners so I cherish that feedback and support. Most of these emails are from women telling me how much they learned about themselves through listening or made changes in their own sex lives or otherwise felt more empowered as a result of hearing these conversations. This email comes from a very different point of view and I really can’t get it out of my head. And I should also mention that I am sharing it with his permission. So here’s what he wrote:
“I stumbled on your Good Girls podcast whilst wandering the byways of the Internet and after listening to a few episodes, I feel compelled to write to you. I grew up in a working class family consisting of my mother, my father, and my three brothers, a totally male environment. This was compounded by all of my education being in single-sex schools. Sex was hardly mentioned except my mother instilled the idea that sex was dirty and that all women hated it and suffered it simply because of men’s needs. She also believed virginity was sacrosanct and no one unmarried girl would surrender it voluntarily.
I had a few girlfriends through my teenage years. However, my approach with them sexually was firmly based on the ideas given to me by my mother. My marriage to my second wife has been sexless for some thirty years. We cannot communicate on that level yet I hear the conversations in your podcast and women talk about enjoying sex and that they masturbate and I’m astonished. How can I be in my 70s and so amazed at what I’m hearing? To hear real normal women talking in the way that they do on your show was literally mind-blowing. I have never in my life heard women speak about their experiences in such and open way. I’m just so astonished! Unfortunately, I have nobody to talk to about this but I felt like I had to tell someone. I think things might have been a lot different if I had heard your talks in my youth. I want to thank you most sincerely for doing the podcast and for opening my eyes albeit so late in the day. And can I suggest a change of title? To Good Girls Talk About Sex and Men Should Listen To?”
Friends, there is so much here to talk about but I want to focus on the one thing that keeps on coming around for me. As little girls, we got a lot of really unfortunate messaging around our place in the world, our bodies, our sexuality and so much more. It left many of us not pretty enough, not sexy enough, not desirable enough, not strong enough, not worthy enough, just plain not enough.
The accompanying belief that follows for most women is that men have it much easier. They were constantly told that their worth and status was based on how they look, how much they eat, how sexy they are, etc. But the truth is that little boys just got as fucked up by cultural conditioning as girls do.
They learn that they’re not allowed to have feelings that their wroth and status is based on how strong and assertive they are and they should know things without ever having to ask questions. That’s what I hear in this man’s message. He is in his 70s and mourning the fact that he missed out on the richness of connected human relationships because of his conditioning.
Here’s the hard truth. We don’t do any better with our little boys than we do by our little girls. All of this talking I do about learning to communicate with a partner about your needs and desires, it’s not just for your benefit. It’s for his too because he may have been taught that you have no needs or desires. He may have been taught that his worth as a lover is based on his ability to give you pleasure without ever needing instructions. He may have been taught that asking questions demonstrates weakness.
If you are in a relationship, heterosexual or otherwise, and you’re not getting what you need or want from it, it can be as much a kindness to your partner to learn how to ask for what you want as it is an empowering move for you. And as a reminder, that’s a huge part of what I do in coaching. You can visit leahcarey.com/coaching to learn more.
LEAH: Speaking of women who are willing to talk about what they want and need, I’m so excited to share this week’s podcast recommendation. It’s called When Women Speak and it’s hosted by Sara Sanderson. Here’s how Sara describes the show:
“What if sharing stories not to be defined by them but to set them free opens up to reclaim and embrace all that we are, the messy, the imperfect, the mistakes, heartache, sadness, and joy, all parts of our innate wildness, no longer shamed into silence. When women speak, anything could happen.”
As I’ve spoken about here, I’m making an ongoing effort to diversity the podcast voices that I listen to and I’m sharing them with you. The first episode of When Women Speak that I came across was Sara’s conversation with Emma Case in the episode Am I Welcome Here? Why We Must Do More Than Simply Say Everyone Is Welcome. It spoke deeply to me about how much work I, as a white woman, still have to do. Here’s a clip from that conversation. The first voice you’ll hear is Sarah’s, the second is Emma’s.
SARA: When you asked to be a podcast guest for Why Women Speak and Stories Worth Telling, would you mind sharing what your first reactions were because the topic of stories worth telling, any story came to mind? What happened when you first heard about this?
EMMA: First of all, so the title When Women Speak, it’s quite interesting because maybe like yourself, I’m in a number of different Facebook groups and women’s networks and whatnot. And so I think about these, specifically for women, regardless of what the title is, what came to mind me was that quite often, there’s also a silent W in these titles.
So for example, When Women Speak, now actually what I hear or what I see play out in these groups, the missing W is white, when white women speak. Now, I think that this is almost like something that is running at the back of my mind when I enter into these spaces. Te thing that I am always asking myself, almost like a silent question, is “Am I welcome here?” So we’re here to share stories, but is my story welcome here?
And so as much as somebody can have a bio or a welcome video that everybody is welcome, I’m looking for those non-verbal cues that evidence that actually that one, I’m welcome here. Two, I’m going to be heard and three, I’m going to be safe here.
When I was invited, the very first indicator for me within When Women Speak was that it was you that invited me. Having you as somebody who is visible as a woman of color, indicated to me that my presence potentially would be welcome and it’s that simple.
SARA: Wow, that brings tears to my eyes and those are tears of recognition and pain and a sense of lossness. It visualizes a small girl wanting to belong and try to figure out how to make that happen. I can see that so easily that voice gets pushed back and then carry on, carry on, but really, yeah, there is a scanning of “Am I welcome? Is it safe?”, which potentially for white women wouldn’t even be a narrative that’s playing out.
LEAH: That is when women speak by Sarah Sanderson. You can find links to the show and social media in the Show Notes. I highly recommend taking a listen. I want to thank Sarah and Emma for letting all of us into is raw and honest space with them.
One thing I heard Emma say in that clip is that it’s all well and good to say that women of color are welcome in a space, but she’s looking for non-verbal cues and that’s actually true. I think many women will recognize that constant background awareness as something that they do in predominantly male spaces.
Now, you can’t see me behind this microphone so in this moment, all I got is verbal cues. So let me be explicit in saying this to all women of color and all people of marginalized communities. You are welcome in this space. I will do everything in my power to create and maintain this as a safe space for you and at some point, I will probably fuck up. So I hope that you let me know if and when I do, so I can correct the issues and make reparations.
Your stories are important. When you’re ready and comfortable to share, I’d love to talk with you.
LEAH: That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying the show, please take a moment to leave a 5-star rating and review on Apple podcasts or, if you’re using another podcast app, go to www.ratethispodcast.com/goodgirls.
And remember there is a treasure trove of audio extras available FOR FREE at Patreon. Go to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. While listening to those extras is free, producing this show is not. If my work is meaningful to you and you have a few dollars to support it each month, I’ll gratefully accept your patronage at Patreon. I donate 10% of all Patreon proceeds to ARC-Southeast, an organization that supports women in the Southeast United States to access reproductive services that are increasingly difficult to obtain.
Find out more and become a community member at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
Show notes and transcripts for this episode are at www.GoodGirlsTalk.com.
Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube at GoodGirlsTalk for more sex-positive content.
If you have questions or comments about anything you’ve heard on the show, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX.
Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby.
I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor and Maria Franco.
Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo.
Before we go, I want to remind you that the things you may have heard about your sexuality aren’t true. You are worthy. You are desirable. You are not broken.
As your Sex and Intimacy coach, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours, no matter what it looks like. To set up your free Discovery Call, go to www.leahcarey.com/coaching.
Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
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