This article about a lady whose dude wouldn’t go down on her is very good, and you should read it. But here’s the part that interests me most:
While Robert had abandoned cunnilingus after one sour taste, I had no such hang-ups. But when it came to going to bed with a straight guy who wouldn’t perform oral sex, there was no roadmap to articulate my experience. As Robert worked through his issues, I consulted the experts. Over drinks and late-night phone calls, friends told me that healthy relationships are give-and-take, not a one-way street. But online, sex columnists advised me never to coerce or pressure anyone into a sexual act he wasn’t comfortable with.
I’m mostly in the Jaclyn Friedman camp of sexual ethics: Everyone is fully entitled to boundaries, and sex acts should be consented to enthusiastically, not agreed to grudgingly. But I’m also a Dan Savage sympathizer, insofar as he argues we’re also entitled to sexual pleasure and when in relationships we should try to sexually please our partner — we should (safely) try new things, and be giving and generous in bed (and expect the same in return).
So of course you should never coerce or pressure anyone into a sexual act he or she isn’t comfortable with. But at the same time, I think it’s important to interrogate the aversion to certain sexual acts — especially those that come with misogynist or homophobic baggage. There are important cultural and historical reasons why “I won’t go down on women” is slightly different from “I won’t let a dude come on my face.” Does a dude have a 100% right to be like, “I don’t like giving oral sex, and that is a boundary for me and I won’t do it”? Yes. Without some relatively good reason for why he doesn’t like oral sex (other than “it’s gross”), do women who enjoy receiving oral sex (who I realize are not all women, but for the purpose of this post I am talking about those women who do enjoy it, which are a lot of women) have a 100% right to be like, “That is some misogynist bullshit right there, and if you are not only unwilling to give me what I need to be sexually satisfied but you also pathologize my body then you are officially kicked to the curb”? YES.
I mean, look: If you have a spine issue that makes the head angle excruciatingly painful, ok, I get that. I do not doubt that straight men exist who don’t eat pussy for some reason other than being misogynist assholes. But I don’t think, for the most part, neck injuries are why dudes refuse to give oral sex (although — and this may be related to the fact that dudes are somewhat hesitant to say woman-hating things around feminist bloggers — I have never actually met a dude who said he didn’t like giving oral sex. I have heard they exist, though, and they sound terrible). It seems to be that dudes refuse to go down on a lady because they think it’s gross, or because they find it emasculating (how a close encounter of the vaginal kind amounts to some sort of “no homo” moment is beyond me, but ok), or because they just don’t have to since vaginal sex is ostensibly for both of your pleasure and if your girl doesn’t come then, well, whatever. Girls don’t like orgasms as much as boys anyway, right? Either way, it comes down to the idea that female bodies are icky, or that female pleasure just doesn’t matter that much. And if that’s your dude’s view, ok — he’s entitled to think that. He’s also entitled to go to Puppy-Kickers R Us meetings. But he’s not entitled to access to your body any more than he’s entitled to kick the neighbor’s dog. He’s not entitled to a pat on the head and approval of his sexist views, just because they overlap with your sex life (He’s definitely not entitled to blowjobs either). Sure, you have to respect his boundaries — but that doesn’t mean you have to keep on having sex with someone who doesn’t respect you, or that you have to keep your mouth shut as to why it’s offensive that he makes a gross-out face in response to your vagina.
While you’re obligated not to pressure him, I think you are entitled to be like, “Well, we appear to be done here.” And I think you’re entitled to tell him that his vagina-phobia is why.
Also, has there ever been a straight man in the history of straight men who refused to give oral sex but was also anywhere approaching decent in the sack? (Definitive, 100% correct answer: NO).
- Your must-read for the day, and some scattered thoughts on sex by Jill September 27, 2012
- Liberal, Sex-Positive Sex Education: What’s Missing by Clarisse Thorn September 22, 2011
- The Problem With Purity by Jill August 24, 2012
- How my life wasn’t always Happy Fun Boundaries Are Perfect Land by Clarisse Thorn March 2, 2011
- Interview: Heather Corinna of Scarleteen by Chally August 2, 2010