So, the other day, I was having a chat with some of my single lady friends, and of course the talk came down to the dearth of good men and then it led, inevitably, to how to deal with the endless dry spells we all have to put up with, and from there to the trials and travails of trying to get laid while single. And suddenly, something struck me. When did blowjobs become mandatory? No, seriously.
Sometime in the past eight years, guys in India seem to have decided that when they get laid, they get head. It happens every time. You’re getting hot and heavy with a guy, he’s not trying to eat your face in the name of kissing, he smells nice and responds to you, and then he grabs your head and pushes it down to his crotch. If he’s really nice it’ll be a gentle nudge and not a shove; he won’t say, assuming you find it hot, ‘Suck my dick’ (though if you do find it hot, more power to you and, I imagine, less frequent coitus interruptus to have the conversation that porn is not real life). If you’re unlucky, like I once was, he will literally try and hold your head in his crotch until you swear at him and throw him out.
Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with blowjobs, giving or getting, and they are a very wonderful and valuable part of the whole gamut of sexual experience, just like cunnilingus or doggy style or all sorts of lovely things people are doing to each other all the time everywhere. But, just like cunnilingus and doggy style and light bondage, it doesn’t have to be part of every sexual encounter. (Unless, of course both people want it, in which case please be thankful for compatible sexual partners =D).
The thing with oral sex, and well pretty much any good sex, is that the goal is for both people to be comfortable and pleasured. Granted it’s very rare you’ll find someone who wants to have sex with you who perfectly complements everything you like, but that’s why we have multiple partners people. (And safe sex and STD tests and consent.) Some women can only come with oral, and the general effort to discuss women’s pleasure and expand sexual experience means that most guys (that I run into) are game to go down on women. Many of them take it very seriously and pride themselves on their prowess. And then ignore the women who don’t enjoy oral and say so, dismissing them with ‘Oh you’ve never had it done right.’ Eyeroll. Guys, the point is about what pleasures the woman. If she’s telling you something, then listen!
But I digress. The main thing that occurred to me, and probably has been said before and better, is that many many people learn about sex from porn and, in porn, there’s no sex without a blowjob, and usually a facial. Boys, here’s a secret. Some people might like that, but most people don’t really enjoy having to extract gooey cum from an eye or a nostril, cum that will turn into crusty ick when it dries. Sure, if it gets you off they’ll do it, but maybe you needn’t ask for it every single time? Some people enjoy being face fucked, but again, I gotta say it’s a minority, just like some women like it when you try and kiss their whole mouth nose and chin, but most of us? Ugh, please give me a wet wipe.
And girls, here’s a secret. You don’t have to do it. No part of sex is mandatory (for anyone) though generally, if there’s something that’s the only way for your partner to get off, and you don’t like it, you might want to rethink the whole thing. Good sexual partners are willing to try stuff once, and maybe do things they don’t hate if it makes their partner happy, and, equally, they are willing to make sure they’re clean and don’t expect their partners to do things they don’t actively enjoy every time they have sex.
Porn, while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, is really problematic in how it phrases sex, because the majority of porn that’s really out there is just… pretty fucked up*. For example, you don’t see normal penises. You rarely see a man as more than a pair of legs and a butt attached to an abnormally large penis. You see a woman as a collection of places to shove a penis hard. Everyone is making crazy loud noises, but no one is actually communicating what they like or how they like it. Moaning ‘yeahhh yeahhh yeahhh’ is about all the woman does and grunting and saying ‘you like that’ is about all the man does.
Real sex, on the other hand, involves actually caring what your partner wants. It involves a huge range of sizes and shapes and colours of genitals, a positive plethora of tastes and kinks and turnoffs. Now, considering we’re unwilling to admit to having sex in India, especially if we’re women, I don’t blame us for not being really on board with this communication thing. Also we’re all a giant bundle of insecurities with our clothes off–I have love handles; there are spots on my back; am I too hairy–largest of which of course is, I’m bad in bed. So yeah when you’re using your best move and someone says they don’t like it, it’s hard to hear and harder to respond to and come back from positively. I remember some years ago the first time I gave this guy head and he told me, dismissively, that I was really bad at oral sex. It took me a long time to come back from that and that boy didn’t get any head at all during that time. And then I got over it enough to try a different tactic and became ‘you give the best head ever’. Now if only he’d told me what he’d like everything would have been simpler. And once I realized that I needed to mix it up, all was well.
The communication problem is worse with women though, because, first, we often don’t even get to find out what we like. I have women friends who have never been on top because they’re concerned about how fat they might look, and then finally, egged on by their women friends and their partners have finally tried it only to become total converts. It happened with me. There are so many things I didn’t even know to try. And how could I find out these things? Well because I’ve been lucky in some of my sexual partners, and they have not just introduced me to things I love, they have encouraged me to ask for things, try things, look for things and eventually find out lots about myself in bed. But, if I’d ended up in a monogamous relationship eight years ago like many of my peers… I might have been stuck not knowing so much, and kind of mildly frustrated with my sex life and wondering how to fix it–like many of my peers.
More problematic for women though is that when we do talk about what we want, we’re usually judged quite a bit for being slutty. Many of us also don’t even know how to begin to articulate our frustrations (this is a guy thing too), and, given the larger social cost women pay by being sexually active, we’re even more reluctant to open the can of worms that knowing what we want implies. And of course, often enough, when we do, we aren’t always heard. That said, anyone who veers from the porn/romance novel script is usually greeted with horror and does so with great fear of rejection, ridicule and judgement.
I had a conversation just this morning with a friend who told me another friend had an open marriage and it was disgusting. When I asked him why, he said it was because the husband didn’t want it, but was giving in to keep his wife. Well, that might not be the best way to have an open marriage but that doesn’t mean it won’t work or that it is repulsive. We gotta be willing to allow people to have their own needs and respect their right to fulfil those needs as long as it doesn’t harm or exploit someone else. (Psst, it outrages my sense of morality does not count as harm.)
And we gotta start talking more about sex, so that we can understand the mindboggling variety of body types and personal tastes there are, so we can learn there is no such thing as normal, so we talk about sex like the important and joyful part of life that it is, we don’t hide it and whisper about it and pretend that it is wrong. We gotta start pushing for sex positive pornography because the way the world is people are going to learn about sex from porn, and we need to make sure the healthy stuff is out there. And hopefully we will soon arrive at a world where nobody is going to grab anybody’s head and shove it into their crotch (unless previously requested/consented to of course).
*There are exceptions. This is a great place to start reading more about sex positive porn. And this. Also, Caitlin Moran’s chapter on sex in How to be a Woman.