sex, blow job, oral sex, experimenting, sexually adventurous, virginity

Because fellatio can be feminist too.

Back in my teenage years, when sex seemed like a strange tribal ritual on a distant shore, the concept of giving a blowjob was much more in vogue.

Although I never ran with the crowd who were experimenting with their sexuality from a young-ish age, I was intrigued by their stories of what had happened at the latest house party.

Regardless of the rampant professing of adolescent girls that their sexual prowess was well and truly on point, I had difficulty believing putting an erect penis in your mouth, moving it up and down, and enduring the salty shock of an ejaculation either in or on you was, “not that big of a deal”.

However, the reason for these reservations wasn’t only physical. It was because girls who gave head in school were hailed as bigger sluts than girls who were having vaginal sex. Fellatio was stigmatic; an obliging submissive act in which you were putting yourself wholly at the service of whichever guy you were pleasuring. There was nothing in it for the woman but a pair of sweaty balls in the face and an inconvenient gag reflex. If you liked it, you were the worst skank on the planet.

As I moved into the adult world, and the mysteries of sexual activity were unveiled one by one, blowjobs became less of a big deal and more of a go-to. A lull in the lovemaking? No problem! A little oral stimulation and you’re both back on track. Easy, simple, effective, and most importantly, reciprocal. However, even in my mid 20s, the ugly stigma attached to a woman providing oral sex for a man remained and has continued as I’ve moved toward my thirties.

While I’ll often hear a guy proudly declare, “I love going down on a girl, it’s so hot!” which is met with affirmation from his peers and titillation from the women present (after all, the idea of a man making a women heave and sigh with good feels isn’t considered a submissive act on his part, on the contrary, he’s the sexually dominant one, fulfilling a woman’s most basic physical need with a few choice moves down below); whenever a woman announces she enjoys fellatio, it’s greeted either with silence, condescending laughter, or groans of dissent.

“They don’t call it a ‘job’ for nothing!” is an oft-recited Sex and the City quote. And funnily enough, women will rarely announce it around men. Their enjoyment of blowjobs is revealed only in the sanctuary of girly coffee dates.

Most pointedly, rather than being seen as the dominant sexual partner, the woman is seen as succumbing to a man’s will. The idea of her giving pleasure of her own prerogative, as something she actually enjoys doing, is instinctively dismissed among the majority of social groups.

I only started to think about this seriously a couple of weeks ago. I was chatting to a girlfriend about a guy she was fooling around with, and she was getting the gleeful blow-by-blow (so to speak). After describing how he had ripped her clothes off like they were Tarzan and Jane, she launched into a blushful explanation of how she had immediately given him a blowjob. As soon as it was out of her mouth (no pun intended), she stopped talking, and a look of anxiety came over her face.

“Oh, I did it because I like doing that, you know?! Like, not for him, for me. I like it!” she said, the desperation in her justification audible.

I nodded, and she continued her (very enviable) story. But I wondered why she thought she had to justify her enjoyment of giving oral sex at all.

In spite of the apparent sexual revolution of the 21st century, female sexuality and sexual pleasure is still considered, by men and women alike, to be secondary. Women talking openly about sex isn’t yet considered normal to the extent it is with men. Just ask Amy Schumer, who has been labelled a ‘sex comedian’ because she mentions sex a lot. The myriad of male comedians who do the same don’t get labelled anything but ‘performers’.

I cop strange looks and the assumption I’m either sexually frustrated or a nympho whenever I talk about sex around men. Even though my parlance is actually less sexual than theirs, I’m treated like an oddity. A woman voicing her enjoyment of fellatio to other women equates to her being happily submissive, and therefore anti-feminist. If, heaven forbid, she admits it to men, it’s considered a come-on. She’s automatically an ‘easy lay’. And that is one colossal, cataclysmic shame.

So isn’t it time we updated our archaic perceptions around women when it comes to oral gratification? Blow jobs needn’t always be associated with the bored, gag-filled acts we see in porn. Nor need they be seen as purely submissive. Oral sex can be one of the most enjoyable, empowering sexual acts you can share with someone, both on the receiving and the giving end. And aside from anything else, giving head is one of the few times you’re guaranteed to have a man under your complete physical and emotional control. And that sounds pretty damn feminist to me.

Comment: Where do you stand on oral sex?