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On whether blow jobs are anti-feminist

Are blow-jobs feminist? Are shoes feminist? Are Cadbury’s Mini-Eggs feminist? Come on, feminists, get your fucking act together. There needs to be a Feminist List of things that are OK to do, and things that aren’t, otherwise we’ll be dithering around forever and will eventually be crushed under the weight of bikini-waxing strips we’re not entirely sure we’re allowed to use.

Every now and then someone publishes an article letting us know whether a particular thing is either feminist or not. We’ve had high heels, no make up selfies, Game of Thrones, any number of things. Basically there’s an idea that says feminism can be defined by a bucket-list of tickboxes, and if you check the right ones in the Buzzfeed-esque “How Feminist Are You?” test then you get a special golden hammer with which to smash the patriarchy.

It’s mostly toss.

I’m not an expert in high heels, or selfies, or any of that bollocks, but I am certainly pretty opinionated when it comes to sex. That’s why, when Any Girl Friday published a very balanced and interesting blog discussing the feminist merits (or demerits) of giving blowjobs, I was all over it like my own lips on cock.

Are blow jobs anti-feminist?

No, they are not. And you can probably tell that I’m not going to take quite such a balanced view as AGF, because I love giving blow jobs, and I am a feminist, so saying that they are an anti-feminist thing would be to brand myself a disgraceful hypocrite.

Blow jobs are ‘feminist’ in the same way as almost any other act: there is no inherent quality of ‘feminism’ that can be applied to a particular thing. I make breakfast every morning, and that breakfast gives me the energy to write angry feminist rants, but the act of making of it isn’t an inherently feminist one.

I think what makes an activity ‘feminist’ is mostly about the context: your motivation, the consequences of the activity, and so on. The act itself plays only a very tiny role. For example:

Susan stands outside 10 Downing Street holding up a placard that says “equal pay for women.” Is this a feminist thing to do? Yeah, probably. But what if I tell you that the reason Susan is holding the sign is because her mate has gone on a toilet break. Actually she’s not that bothered about equal pay for women, she just wants to help out her mate. Suddenly holding the sign isn’t a feminist act at all.

So, let’s apply this to blow jobs. Any Girl Friday says that:

It’s wrong to ignore that potential pitfalls of unequal power distribution involved in the act of giving head… For one, the giver is in a submissive, subservient position. They are often on their knees or in a vulnerable position – this is clearly a situation where trust is paramount. In addition, we have a whole misogynistic nightmare on our hands with regards to the language sometimes used in porn, rap songs, media. I’ve heard men say things like ‘choke on this, bitch’ and ‘I’ll force you down and make you gag.’ … Instead of being a mutually beneficial sexual act, revered alongside giant chocolate buttons and unicorns, it becomes another way of men claiming our bodies and rights to our sexuality.

I’m down with some (although not all) blow jobs having submissive connotations: I’m a sub, and to be honest I’m mostly interested in giving head as a means for my partner to use me in all kinds of horrible, consensual, utterly cunt-drenching ways. But even female submission itself isn’t ‘anti-feminism’ – it only appears so if you strip it of all meaningful context.

Expecting all women to give head like that, to ‘choke on this’ and ‘gag on it, bitch’? That’s pretty anti-feminist. But when you add in the context – that this is something I not only choose to do but that gets me off pretty hard? Then it’s actually pretty anti-feminist to tell me I shouldn’t do it.

A guy once asked me whether my desire for buttsex was letting down the sisterhood, and I’ll repeat what I told him: sex isn’t a University debate, and what you do in the bedroom doesn’t have to impact your life outside it. Just as you can enjoy getting spanked by your girlfriend yet refuse to take shit from your boss, it’s perfectly possible for your dick end to make contact with the back of my throat and for you to still respect my opinions, and live with me in an equal relationship.

Does head have to be reciprocated in order to be feminist?

AGF raises an interesting question about reciprocation: are blow jobs expected in a straight relationship while cunnilingus falls by the wayside? Obviously it depends on the relationship, but she does raise a fair few examples of people claiming that giving head to a woman is more intimate/difficult, thus it isn’t be a cornerstone of regular straight activity in a way that blow jobs are.

That’s a shame, it really is. Because, you know, if your partner likes getting head just as much as you do, and there’s an unequal balance of head-giving in your relationship, then that’s pretty crap for your partner. But likewise if your partner likes you to cook for them and you never bloody do it, that’s pretty crap for your partner too. Whether it’s anti-feminist or not depends on the context – in this case, the ‘why?’

Are you a straight dude who refuses to give head because you believe that blow jobs are more important/significant than female pleasure? Congratulations: you’re a twat. And you’re also not a feminist.

Are you a straight dude who refuses to give head because you just cannot stand the taste/smell/activity, and you’d much rather do something else? That is a sexual choice. And, while it might upset your partner, it is as legitimate a sexual choice as deciding not to do anal, or saying ‘no’ to hand jobs, or any of the other things that it’s totally fine to refuse. If your partner believes that oral sex should be reciprocal, then you might need to suck up the fact that you’re not going to get head if you don’t want to give it, but your partner cannot demand that you reciprocate just so that you don’t come across as a bad feminist. That’s shitty.

There is a huge problem with the way we talk about this stuff – the fact that in casual conversation blow jobs are often seen as a given, something that straight women absolutely must do if they want to be an enlightened, 21st-Century have-it-all kind of girl. I hate the assumption that if you don’t give head enough you’ll ‘lose your man’, the coy giggling way we pressure women to swallow spunk like they’re chugging tequila shots, and above all the occasional vague suggestion that giving head is a crucial part of a woman’s role in a straight relationship.

All of this is anti-feminist. All of this is shit. But it’s not the sexual act that’s shit, it’s the expectation, and the pressure. I don’t want that pressure on women to be replaced with a new, and equally unfair, pressure on men. If you don’t want to get on your knees and lick my chuff like I’m sponsored by Solero, then you never ever have to.

Which sex acts are anti-feminist?

I honestly cannot think of any. No, really. While almost any act, in a particular context, can potentially be good or bad for women, individual sex acts aren’t good or bad in and of themselves. Anal sex isn’t anti-feminist. Blow jobs aren’t anti-feminist. Giving your partner a hand job on the back of the night bus is not anti-feminist. As I’ve said before, sex is not the opposite of feminism.

What is anti-feminist is trying to dictate women’s sexual choices: tell them that they should or shouldn’t desire a particular thing in virtue of the fact that they’re a woman. Telling me I don’t have to give blow jobs if I don’t want to is entirely sensible and decent advice. Telling me I shouldn’t give blow jobs because I’m letting the side down is unnecessarily intrusive and repressive. Which brings me on to my final point.

Should feminists demand more cunnilingus?

In the article, AnyGirlFriday says this:

“I believe that women who give but don’t ask [for pleasure of any kind – not just oral] in return are contributing to a generation of men who believe they are entitled to pleasure.”

Which is a shame. We’ve chatted about it on Twitter and I struggled to explain why this sentence rubbed me up the wrong way.  In a few more words, and after a bit more thought, I think I’ve worked it out:

I don’t like getting head – it’s just not as fun for me as a hand-job or a shag, or any one of a million other things I do to get off. If I don’t like getting head, but I do like giving it, then it would seem that I can’t have the sex I like without ‘contributing to a generation of men who believe they are entitled to pleasure.’ I’m promoting sexual inequality with every dick I suck, and every time I pull his face up from between my legs and say “don’t bother, I just want you to fuck me.”

Luckily, though, that’s not the case at all. Because I don’t believe that an unequal distribution of head is anti-feminist, no matter how problematic society’s sexual attitudes may be. My individual sex life is about giving and receiving pleasure without being made to feel guilty about what I do or don’t want. It’s about enthusiastically sucking cock, and enthusiastically receiving hand jobs, and rejecting those things that don’t get me off.

In fact, let’s take this further: faking orgasms isn’t anti-feminist. Not getting much physical pleasure from sex isn’t anti-feminist. Choosing to have sex because your partner wants it even though you could take it or leave it this evening? Not anti-feminist. Again, these are simple acts, which only become feminist or not when given context. I’m never going to tell you that doing any one of these individual things is good, bad or ugly without fully understanding your reasons for doing them. You’re making a choice about what to do with your body. A choice that no one else gets to dictate. Not even feminists.

This blog post written with huge thanks to AnyGirlFriday for kicking off the discussion – please do check out her blog, which I’ve recently discovered. She writes on loads of interesting topics, and I hope she doesn’t mind my hijacking her thoughts to have a rant around the issue.

41 Comments

  • Lee says:

    Here’s a definitive list of things that are feminist:

    1) Any fucking thing a woman wants to do.

    I think that just about covers it…

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hmm… see I think there are problems with that as well, though, because it’s still defining it by the act itself (i.e. what you’re doing). There are some acts that are very definitely *not* feminist: deliberately campaigning against equal pay, for instance. But one of the things that would make it *not* feminist would be the context, the reasons, the arguments, motivations etc.

      Not everything I do is feminist, and I can think of a couple of examples of things I could do that would be actively unfeminist (i.e. hiring a less-qualified man for a job over a woman because I believed the woman was likely to go on maternity leave at some point). So, it’s not *anything a woman wants to do*, because I’m nitpicking. But I know what you mean: almost any act can be feminist or unfeminist, it’s all down to context. And now I’ve read this comment through I look like a terrible pedant. But then, I *am* a terrible pedant, so I’m going to hit ‘publish’ anyway =)

  • Lee says:

    Heh.

    My point was that – as I understand and apply it – feminism is the freedom for a woman to do whatever she wishes to do without being subjected to rules and criteria that would not be applied to a man doing the same thing – ie, being free to have the same freedom of expression and movement as a man without any social or political ramifications, without having unfair disadvantages imposed on her due to her gender. To that end, the act of campaigning against equal pay, while being against the wishes of most feminists, might, itself qualify as a feminist act, if it was an act the woman truly believed in.

    But you’re right, of course – there are subtleties and shades of grey, and even I am having trouble reconciling my own point about equal pay.

    Bloody pedant! :-p

    • Girl on the net says:

      Haha – yes, I think that sounds more like it. It’s not as neat as your first sentence, but then if I insist on injecting pedantry into debate I can’t exactly complain when it gets more wordy now, can I? =)

  • Azkyroth says:

    For one, the giver is in a submissive, subservient position. They are often on their knees or in a vulnerable position

    ….with their teeth on either side of an extremely sensitive body part (unless you’re giving head to a dildo for purely symbolic reasons) and the ability to make someone squirm, whimper, or outright collapse even without using them.

    I mean, it can certainly be performed submissively, but I’ve never understood this chain of reasoning that it’s inherent.

  • If blow jobs are anti-feminist, then by that logic, face sitting (which I loooove), is anti men?
    If that’s the case, someone better tell blokes, because they seem to have quite a lot of affection for it. Sample quote from a man’s VERY long post on Plenty of Fish…
    “I love a woman to “sit on my face”, and here is why: It has not a thing to do with demonstrating superiority, or dominance versus submission, force or rape, etc. I’m talking about a woman basically getting oral sex, but she is not receiving it. She is taking it from me.”
    (Here’s the URL for reference: http://forums.plentyoffish.com/datingPosts16185461.aspx)
    So here’s a guy in a MUCH more ‘submissive’ position than a chick on her knees giving head and he certainly doesn’t feel emasculated or whatever.
    Continuing in that vein, back in January when I hooked up with a soldier and demanded that he fuck my mouth, with his hands grabbing my hair, and when he was shooting his load down my throat, I certainly didn’t feel subservient or submissive.
    Every single time I’m getting it on with some unsuitable person, in whatever way shape or form (well not at the actual time, obviously) I just feel lucky I’m an educated female with the freedom and empowerment to make my own choices about how I enjoy myself.
    Surely that’s the biggest gift feminism can give any woman.

  • Frankie says:

    here is a handy guide to whether things are feminist or not (spoiler: PROBLEMATIC).

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Frankie, would you mind posting that link again? For some reason it’s not clickable – just clicks and goes nowhere. My blog sends all links to spam but I’ll be able to approve it when it comes through.

  • Hip_priest says:

    I didn’t even masturbate to this and it’s still the best thing you’ve ever posted.

    On a side note, have you ever found a guy who didn’t like his dick sucked? I’ve known a few girls, like you, not that into receiving oral, which was always slightly disappointing cus I like doing it

    • Girl on the net says:

      I have known one or two who could take it or leave it. Or maybe they just didn’t like my technique but were far too polite to say =)

    • Azkyroth says:

      Meh. I used to not like it all that much, even beyond the fact that I was married for five years (after like a year and a half of dating, ick) to a woman who, among other things, simply refused to wrap her mind around the whole “no teeth” concept. Partly, the stimulation tends to be softer, and partly I find it difficult to be passive through something. With my most recent partner I’ve been warming up to it, but I still much prefer getting head as a warmup either to intercourse or to something that’ll end with me coming in her face, into her mouth, or on my stomach with her watching closely, with one or the other of our hands (usually mine) stroking my cock and her playing with my balls and/or ass :3

    • endymion says:

      On a side note, have you ever found a guy who didn’t like his dick sucked?

      I guess that’s kind of an odd question: have you ever found a person who didn’t like a massage/french kiss/…? I guess for every activity there is someone who does not like giving or receiving it. If you start building up some cliché that “every man wants his dick sucked”, it’s just like saying “men always want sex” – it’s taking away agency from the person.

      Back to the question: I’m personally not so much into receiving oral. Sure, it can be very erotic if the woman is super into it, but given the choice between giving and receiving oral to/from a woman, giving oral wins hands down. The prospect of giving oral can have me all hot and bothered – receiving oral not so much…

  • Hip_priest says:

    I’m as positive as one can be that your technique is the bomb.

    You know, thinking about, I’ve never fucked a submissive who didn’t identify as feminist

  • Ian Jade says:

    The vulnerability goes both ways, too. You’re holding what between your teeth, now…?

    – this is clearly a situation where trust is paramount.
    You’re not wrong.

    That last point, that women should be asking for more, makes a lot of sense when you expand it to cover anything pleasurable. If there’s something you’d like, and you don’t feel able to ask for it, then something’s clearly off about the relationship. Especially if he’s getting his preferred form of indulgence (BJ or anything else).

  • “Are you a straight dude who refuses to give head because you just cannot stand the taste/smell/activity, and you’d much rather do something else? That is a sexual choice.”

    I don’t understand why anyone would hate the taste/smell of their partner or dislike the act of giving them pleasure. I wouldn’t necessarily blame women for contributing to this sort of inequality, but the reality is that many of us aren’t communicating our desires or having regular orgasms. Your personal preferences aside, the imbalance is still an issue. Women learn that our needs aren’t important and that our bodies taste and smell bad. This post seems to give permission to that attitude. “It’s okay if you think vaginas are gross, guys! Just do something else.”

    • Azkyroth says:

      I don’t understand why anyone would hate the taste/smell of their partner or dislike the act of giving them pleasure.

      I would say it’s okay for an individual man to find having his face immersed in a partner’s vulva viscerally unpleasant – the fact that we have “WELL OF COURSE HE WOULD” as a widespread cultural trope, though, is extremely problematic.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Jill – good point, but again I think this just highlights why context is important. Ultimately, no I really don’t believe that men should have to go down on their partners if they really don’t want to. I’d compare this more to women who don’t want to give head (or give head to completion, as it were) because they really hate the taste of spunk. I wouldn’t say to anyone that they are obliged to do any sexual act that they don’t want to.

      Now, whether this teaches men that women’s needs aren’t important and that we taste and smell bad? I don’t think so. I think what it highlights is that different people have different sexual preferences, and we should be comfortable expressing them. Yes, if you’re completely unwilling to give your partner any sort of pleasure whatsoever, but are happy to take pleasure that they want to give you, then you’re a selfish lover. But you’re not necessarily ‘anti-feminist’ (because apart from anything else, women can choose not to give their partner sexual pleasure too).

      It’s more than possible for a straight guy to be a feminist, believe that women deserve sexual pleasure, and yet either be so bad at giving head that he gives no pleasure, or so uncomfortable with giving head that he prefers sex. In that case it’s his choice whether to engage in those acts, and it’s his partner’s choice whether she wants to maintain a relationship with someone for whom that isn’t an option. If my guy decided that he wanted to stop having sex, and only ever do mutual masturbation, that is utterly and completely his choice: it always will be, because it’s his body. And even if he has incredibly selfish, anti-feminist reasons for doing it, he is never compelled to have sex with me just because I enjoy getting pleasure from shagging. However, I then do have the choice to leave that relationship, or to find pleasure elsewhere.

      Does that make sense? Essentially I think this has to come from a starting point of: your body, your choice – as I would with any other issue. From there, you can look at the context for any particular choice and say whether one is good/bad/feminist whatever. But I think there’s a huge difference between saying that women’s needs are important and that saying any individual man is compelled to meet those needs.

      I agree that women shouldn’t be told that our needs aren’t important (they are!) and that our bodies taste and smell bad (they don’t!) but I don’t think that’s incompatible with saying that there are individual men who might not want to give us pleasure in exactly the way we want. Just as men need to understand that there are individual women who might not want to give them pleasure in exactly the way they want or expect.

      • I get what you’re saying as far as choice and sexual preferences. Everyone has preferences and should have choices. But is there a difference between a preference and a hangup? Your original wording mentions smell and taste. If my partner was so turned off by those elements, I wouldn’t want him to feel obligated to perform. I don’t know if the same is true for most men, if reluctant oral is better than none at all for them, but reluctant oral to me is a hell no. I want enthusiastic oral. So the “you must reciprocate for feminism!” idea bothers me also. It’s not a chore exchange or a division of household labor. On the other hand, I don’t believe I could be satisfied by a partner who found my body distasteful. That veers from sexual choice into debilitating hangup into plain old bad lover. I’d say the same for women. Don’t feel obligated, but what’s the underlying issue? Why are you not excited to give your partner pleasure? I just can’t think of a legitimate non-medical excuse for not enjoying oral. (You don’t enjoy receiving and that’s fine. Talking about giving.)

        I once tweeted about how romance novels are often dismissed as pure fantasy, as if good men and great sex don’t exist. But women *should* expect both. A reader answered me with skepticism. She said she’d never had a generous partner. Her husband of 17 years had never gone down on her, even though she did it for him. She’d given up on expecting him to.

        I wasn’t sure how to respond to this. I’m not a sex therapist or even a sex blogger. Of course I thought she should communicate her needs to him, but I got the impression that she had. Telling her to refuse giving him oral just sucks, no pun intended. I hate the idea of tit for tat. Should she get a divorce? I don’t know but I can’t help but wonder how common this is. My impression is that some men don’t do it because they think they’re above it. They are comfortable in the power position and indifferent to their partner’s needs.

        I also think that some women are uncomfortable receiving for the wrong reasons. Fear that they smell/taste bad, don’t feel worthy of attention etc.

        Anyway, I’m all for your individual choice/preference about receiving oral. I’m iffy on a guy’s choice to not give it. And I do think this is or can be a feminist issue because feminism isn’t just about personal choice. It’s about supporting and encouraging the needs and desires of women in general, and being aware of issues that affect all/many women.

        • Girl on the net says:

          Hi Jill – I think we might just fundamentally disagree on it, although I’m a bit frustrated with myself because I think I’m being a bit clumsy with language and the way I’m expressing things. Do I think people should give each other pleasure? Absolutely. And I strongly believe that pleasure should be reciprocal, in any relationship I have. But when it’s separated out into individual choices and acts, I just think there’s much more going on, and that one needs to take into account the context for people’s choices. My personal taste (i.e. not liking head) is just one example of context around giving/receiving mutual head.

          I think the lady who emailed you had a really tough choice, and that’s an incredibly difficult one – I don’t think I’d know what to say to that either. I think ultimately it would come down to what her priorities were, and whether there were other things about the relationship that made her happy, which compensated for lack of sexual pleasure. Personally, I’d struggle to be with someone who refused to give me pleasure, but I think it’s potentially a valid choice for someone else, if they want to do that.

          I did want to ask you another question, though, because it’s sort of the basis for my thoughts in general on this: if a guy really enjoyed giving head to a woman, but she was repulsed by the taste of his spunk, do you think that she should give him head anyway? She can give him pleasure in other ways, certainly, but he’s incredibly keen on getting head and blow jobs are his favourite, yet because of previous unpleasant experiences they are just not something she wants to do.

          And final thing, because I wanted to highlight common ground as it sounds like we agree on most of the issues around this:

          “My impression is that some men don’t do it because they think they’re above it. They are comfortable in the power position and indifferent to their partner’s needs.”

          I’m with you wholeheartedly: if a guy actually believe this then that’s odious and – of course – totally anti-feminist. He would be kicked out of my bed faster than you can say ‘twat’.

          • Well, spunk isn’t an issue until the end. Women who don’t love the taste of semen can still enjoy the taste of skin and the act itself. I know someone who prefers to spit because semen irritates her digestive system. Not swallowing isn’t the same as refusing to go down. It’s like a guy wiping his mouth or rinsing at the sink after giving oral. The orgasm’s been had. Who cares what he/she does after? I guess dental dams and condoms could be used also. Anyway, I just can’t imagine anyone (male or female) who enjoys receiving oral having a satisfying sex life with someone who refuses to do it. The discomfort/distaste is a problem. The fact that women aren’t having orgasms or getting oral as often as men makes it a feminist problem.

          • Girl on the net says:

            That’s not really the point I was trying to make, though – I was mainly trying to get at the fact that there are sometimes legitimate disgust reactions to certain bodily things. Earlier you were talking about there being no legitimate non-medical reasons for not enjoying giving, and also that not giving oral enthusiastically pushes someone into ‘bad lover’ territory. There are ways you can get around it in that example, sure – condoms, not doing it to completion, spitting, etc. But ultimately that’s still, I think, a legitimate reason for not giving enthusiastic oral.

            Again, I agree that there are huge issues around attitudes: if men give head far less often than women because they don’t believe that female pleasure is as important, then that’s absolutely a feminist issue. But while I agree that challenging those ideas is important, I think adding pressure on individuals to perform sex acts that they don’t enjoy, or to specifically request sex acts so that they can avoid letting down the sisterhood: that’s where I get a bit uncomfortable. I think it’s totally acceptable to say that, ideally, sexual pleasure should be reciprocal, yet still in your own sex life decide that there are certain things you just don’t want to do – it’s all about *why* you don’t want to do them. If you don’t want to do them because you believe that women don’t deserve pleasure, then of course you’re anti-feminist. But there are other reasons why you might not want to, and many of those are legitimate choices, so it’s the broad sweep of ‘women have to ask for this’ and ‘men have to do it’ that makes me uncomfortable, because it doesn’t take into account the nuance and variety of human motivation.

        • Azkyroth says:

          I just can’t think of a legitimate non-medical excuse for not enjoying oral.

          Having been pressured into it by the babysitter when he was a preteen?

          (Really, past experience mainly or exclusively with partners who hadn’t been educated in proper hygiene would do it, but… x.x)

        • Ian Jade says:

          “I just can’t think of a legitimate non-medical excuse for not enjoying [giving] oral.”

          I’m more than a little uncomfortable with this phrasing. It seems to imply that oral is something everyone should be doing, unless they have a “legitimate” excuse.
          How about “I don’t like it”? “It turns me off”? “I don’t want to”?
          How about we don’t even look for excuses not to perform, and instead focus on communication between partners, and mutual pleasure?

      • Ian Jade says:

        “I think there’s a huge difference between saying that women’s needs are important and that saying any individual man is compelled to meet those needs.”

        This point seems to keep coming up. Really, I’m not sure that compelling men to perform any kind of sex act was the intention. The original AGF quote talks about women ASKING for their needs to be met, and I read that as calling for dialogue and communication in a situation where it is acknowledged that both partners have needs and desires, and that they are both equally entitled to hope for those needs to be met.

        The issue (and, in fact, what makes it specifically a feminist issue) is that men appear to have identified a need and to be happy to ask women to meet it, while women generally are seen as much more reticent to ask for whatever it is that they desire sexually. It’s the imbalance between these attitudes – rather than the statistics for oral sex – that is problematic.

        • Girl on the net says:

          Ah, that was more in the follow-up comments than in AGF’s individual post, to be honest. My worry about the way it was put in AGF’s post is that it put a pretty heavy load on individual women. They’re contributing to a generation of men who believe they’re entitled to pleasure. That’s what I was really uncomfortable with: it’s essentially saying that as a woman, and a feminist, you have a responsibility to ensure that you receive pleasure from your sexual encounters or you are letting the side down. There are any number of reasons why, in this or that encounter, with this or that partner, sexual pleasure might be more difficult, or might be something you don’t want at the time. I think it’s consistent to have this personal choice and at the same time hold that there shouldn’t be a male/female pleasure imbalance overall.

          I fully agree that the imbalance in attitudes is problematic – I just think that encouraging people to speak up against the attitudes is very different (and ultimately a much better idea) than telling people they need to make different individual sexual choices.

  • Richie says:

    Whilst I understand that this blog has a serious point, I have to say that;
    “If you don’t want to get on your knees and lick my chuff like I’m sponsored by Solero, then you never ever have to”….
    ….Is one of the highlights of my year.
    I would never stoop to saying LOL but I did actually laugh out loud.
    For that alone, I love you a little bit.

  • Katie says:

    I kind of find it hard to see how giving someone a blowjob without asking for anything in return contributes to entitlement, but maybe I just love blowjobs too much. Also, goddamnit, I’m now going to be distracted ALL DAY.

  • Sarah says:

    I found this really interesting – I agree with you, giving head is in no way anti-feminist. It’s something I do because not only do I genuinely enjoy it, but I love the fact that he gets off on it as well. It’s a win win for both of us.

    I didn’t agree, however, with your comments about AnyGirlFriday’s comment that “I believe that women who give but don’t ask [for pleasure of any kind – not just oral] in return are contributing to a generation of men who believe they are entitled to pleasure.”

    She wasn’t implying you had to enjoy or recieve head – just that you should expect your male partners to give you pleasure in some form. For you, that doesn’t have to be receiving head – it could be getting spanked, or fucked, or whatever. Judging by your blog, you do get pleasure from the sex you have – that’s all AnyGirlFriday was advocating.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Sarah – yep, I know that, that’s why I added in the bit in brackets, and why I have that para at the end:

      “In fact, let’s take this further: faking orgasms isn’t anti-feminist. Not getting much physical pleasure from sex isn’t anti-feminist. Choosing to have sex because your partner wants it even though you could take it or leave it this evening? Not anti-feminist. Again, these are simple acts, which only become feminist or not when given context. I’m never going to tell you that doing any one of these individual things is good, bad or ugly without fully understanding your reasons for doing them. You’re making a choice about what to do with your body. A choice that no one else gets to dictate. Not even feminists.”

      This isn’t something I’ve misunderstood, just something that I disagree with. I don’t think anyone *has* to give you sexual pleasure, ever. I think that it’s the decent thing to do, in a reciprocal sexual relationship, and that if you don’t care about your partner’s pleasure then you’re a dick. But there’s a difference between saying that and saying you’re obliged to do it. Let’s flip this around: if I, as a girl, have a one-night stand with a guy, and he goes down on me, then directly afterward tells me that I’m obliged to give him a blow job. Am I? I don’t think so.

  • seaside slut says:

    such a fantastic post. I can’t add anything other than a thank you. x

  • Thank you; that was superb.

    I happen to be someone who really likes both ends of that bargain, but who also got given massive, deep-seated horrible hang-ups by his Evangelical mother about women giving oral sex to men being intrinsically abusive, even if the woman thinks she wants it. Every time I read something like this written by a sex writer whose politics I can respect, it helps draw some of that poison.

    (Also, just to second Pandora’s sentiments, you write *really hot* stuff even when you’re not actually writing for erotic impact ;) )

    ~TC

  • PS: having then read the comment thread, and reached the bit about chacun a s’on gout… There’s a case I didn’t see mentioned in the debate, which is that *specific people* one can want to go down on *taste different*. On average, it is my experience that my partners taste *great*. But I have also had the opposite, and I suspect that is as individual and un-choosable in my responses as it is in their … tastes, as it were.

  • Matt Svenska says:

    I like the idea you are suggesting, have you got any posts about online dating?

  • Sarah says:

    I love giving head, couldn’t give a toss if I never get if again. It doesn’t make our relationship unequal though – I’ll suck him off for ages, and then he’ll do something that I really want to me (unless I’ve been bad, then I don’t get a say…. Which is also awesome). Can’t see the harm.

    Now there are other things that I do like that cause me some level of moral concern – being slapped hard round the face, him spitting in my face him forcing his cock down my throat while I gag and cry. I honestly do have days where I feel pretty dreadful about wanting those things. But overall, I accept that I’m in an incredibly loving and safe relationship and this is just a bit of fun play acting, nothing more.

  • dsdfg says:

    Hmm… facials probably are. But then again that’s almost certainly the point. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never done it.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Did you read the article, or just knee-jerk reply to the headline? =)

      • dsdfg says:

        I read it all, thank you. And if you you don’t think the misogynist undertones are why it’s done a lot of the time then I disagree. As I said, it’s probably why it’s done in the first place. And of course there’s nothing wrong with that – taboo is hot, for whatever reason.

  • Amy says:

    If blowjobs are anti-feminist then I’m fine with it because I sometimes can be pretty anti-feminist. I don’t see any good coming out of mixing politics with pleasure. I don’t even like to think about sex in terms of power. I admit though, one of the many things I love about giving blowjobs is feeling empowered by the ability to make guys feel great. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. It was one of the first joys I discovered about blowjobs. Here we were, my friends and I, young and clueless about everything in life, but somehow with the ability to take any guy out there, and make him ejaculate his semen in our mouths after only a few minutes of sucking and licking their dicks. Amazing! I remember even after giving my first blowjob that I was pretty impressed with myself after somehow managing to make the guy cum. Feeling empowered doesn’t decrease at all when the guy I’m blowing, takes a more, umm, active role in the blowjob. But what kind of power is it, that makes you feel good AND the other person happy? So I’m not sure “power” is even the right word.

    Does there have to be an equality of oral sex going in both direction? I don’t think so. I’m often, very often, perfectly happy to suck a guy off and get nothing in return because I don’t expect it or want it. So equality doesn’t really apply, the way I see it. I guess the real question is, like you pointed out, are blowjobs anti-women. I don’t see how. How can something that makes me feel so good, so empowered, so aroused while it satisfies men so much be bad? That’s the amazing thing about blowjobs. There’s nothing else that makes me feel so good in so many ways.

  • Fabulous article and wonderful comment threads.

    Thanks.

  • Bodhi says:

    The assumption that giving a blowjob is automatically a submissive act has always annoyed me – it’s as submissive as you allow it to be. When a woman gives a blowjob SHE can be the dominant one, giving and controlling the guy’s pleasure. Plus, you know, if you’ve got your teeth around my penis, I’m not going to mess with you. Unless you want me too.

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