Let’s talk about sex

Questioning the oral tradition

While at work the other day, I found myself privy to a conversation that five young women, appearing to be in their late teens or early twenties, were having over dinner.

One of the young women was regaling the others with a tale of her most recent sexual conquest, in which she specified, “don’t worry, I only blew him, we haven’t had sex yet.”

This is not an unfamiliar idea — oral sex is often regarded as a safer alternative to the penetrative variety, especially by younger women.

For some reason, it has been instilled in the minds of millennials that oral sex is somehow a tier below penetrative sex on the master rankings of sexual activity. Third base, for many people who are starting to become sexually active, is somehow viewed as less of a risk than the home run.

Based solely on my observations of my peers and eavesdropping skills, this seems to be more true for girls. Despite huge leaps to close the gap in gender equality, especially in the sexual arena, it is still viewed as a bigger deal for a woman to have penetrative sex than it is for a man.

The same is not true for oral sex — there seems to be a free pass for mouth work, especially once other people are putting the p in the v (AKA once you’re out of high school).

Even more backwards is that a lot of young women who are readily generous with their oral skills do not seem to expect anything in return. At most, blowjob=fingering, if I’m going by the observed norm for heterosexual millennials. And let’s be honest, that’s hardly an equivalence.

It’s implied that giving oral sex is somehow giving less of oneself than the alternative.

Yet, having oral sex runs the same risk of contracting STIs as penetrative sex — perhaps more so, as most people don’t use a condom or dental dam when engaging in these acts.

In addition to being at par on the whole possibility of contracting diseases spectrum, I would say that oral sex is inherently more intimate than penetrative. The nature of the act itself puts you in a vulnerable position in front of somebody else, in which you are entirely focused on the other person’s pleasure. This holds true for everybody, regardless of gender or sexual identity. Not to mention, the whole having somebody’s junk in your face thing feels decidedly personal.

I’m not saying that sex isn’t intimate, because of course it is. But with genital-to-genital sex, both parties have about an equal opportunity of having a physically pleasurable experience, at the same time.

I’m not saying that people should stop using their mouths in lieu of other orifices either, because of course they shouldn’t. What I am saying is that oral sex is sex. And what I’m wondering is how this hierarchy came to be so widely accepted, and so unevenly distributed.

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