Dear Kiki: Nervous Clam

This is a caption. --Image by Jordan Sellegren
Advice on love and life for the Iowa City area. —Image by Jordan Sellegren

Dear Kiki,

I’m a bisexual woman, and I’m in my first serious relationship with another lady. We’re absolutely in love, but lately she’s been frustrated with our sex life. I don’t really like being eaten out, even though I love going down on her. She says this makes her feel like she’s just not good at it. How can I reassure her and get over…*it*?

Nervous Clam

Dear Sweetheart,

Having this conversation was an important step in growing closer in the sheets with your beloved: You’re already on your way. The next steps involve more talking and playing and talking again! When I was just an apprentice Kiki, I was told that the first thing you should say when getting negative feedback is “thank you.” Facing challenging conversations with an attitude of openness and gratitude is like a potion for more intimacy and honesty.

I would reframe this issue as one of “getting to know each other (sexy edition)” not fixing *it*.

“I’ve been thinking about our conversation about nervous clams,” you might say, “and I really appreciated how you opened up to me about what my clam means to you. I’d love to talk more about what you like and dislike in bed, and to tell you more about what turns me on.” There are some exhaustive lists online—Scarleteen’s is a good standard—cataloging an amazing number of likes, dislikes and might-likes. Use something like that as a reference point for your conversations to establish grounds for what pleasure means to y’all.

Another good resource is showing each other the porn you both like. Try something like The Crashpad as an introductory smorgasbord of queer feminist porn. As you talk through and play through your discoveries, you might find you’re more open to her mouth on more of you. Even if you still don’t like that, she’ll know it’s not her fault and she’ll have more ideas to play with.

Another thing that might come up in all this is internalized biphobia and homophobia. The first thing you told me is that you’re bisexual and in your first relationship with a woman, even though this question isn’t really “bisexual.” Remember: You don’t have to prove you’re queer. The fact that you feel pressure around this suggests that maybe you feel you do. Queerfolk are asked to prove our loves, our bodies and our humanity all the time. Resist. That shit’s for the benefit of others, not our lovers, and certainly not ourselves. I’m casting a protective spell around you and yours so you can focus on being absolutely in love, sweetheart. Good luck!


Submit. You’ll love it.

Questions about love and sex in the city of Iowa City can be sent to Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online at

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