This is a column I've been avoiding writing. It's the column that landed the former Yale sex columnist-I refuse to say her name, I dislike her so much-on the Today show. It's the column her parents naively discovered before they knew college sex columnists even existed. Now, my parents both know that I write a sex column-after some painful exchanges, my mother no longer reads it, and my father thankfully never bothered-but that doesn't change anything. Let's face it. There is nothing not dirty about oral sex. It's someone's penis in your mouth; it's your tongue inside someone's pussy. Blow jobs. Eating out. Giving head. Gross.
And yet we love it. We love receiving it; we love giving it. Or maybe we love receiving it and we hate giving it. I'm an anomaly. I hate receiving it and I love giving it. I have never, ever gotten off from oral sex. I pride myself on giving good-no, amazing-head. But last night a guy started going down on me and I told him to stop. It just doesn't work like that for me.
Older generations are astounded at our fascination with oral sex. Newspaper, magazine, and journal articles reveal astonishment at the ease with which we give head. Writers and psychologists alike are obsessed by the way we differentiate between oral sex and sexual intercourse. A recent Columbus Alive (yes, as in Ohio) news article on the definition of oral sex put it most bluntly: "Who said Bill Clinton didn't have a legacy?"
Here's what these older journalists and psychologists don't get: it doesn't really matter whether you classify oral sex as sex or not. We still take it more lightly than sexual intercourse. For one thing (and I am by no means promoting unprotected sex), it's safer. For another thing, it's a stepping-stone. You can have oral sex and thereby postpone actual sex. Or you can have oral sex and get all the juices revved and oh-my-god have actual sex. Just don't think you're not a slut because you only give guys head and don't fuck them.
I have to confess, part of what makes writing this column so difficult is that I haven't ever gotten off from oral sex. And it's not as though I haven't had multiple people-including two long-term boyfriends-try. The gay friend I just had dinner with says that girls would kill to orgasm from actual sex, to be in my shoes. I'm not so sure. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage writing this column. Gay friend lays down the five rules of oral: 1) vampire (no teeth, although those of us more advanced may want to employ a little at times), 2) toothpaste (it's not a tube of toothpaste, nothing's going to come out if you squeeze it), 3) desert (you need saliva. Drink some water or chew some gum first), 4) fruit-basket (don't avoid the boys), and 5) instrument (it takes practice-not necessarily on multiple people, though).
Then we get to the age-old dilemma: to spit or to swallow? I will never forget the moment my freshman year when I discovered that my roommate, along with a number of our other friends, always spit. I've never dreamed of doing anything but swallowing. If you think about it, the longer it's in your mouth-i.e., if you spit-the more you're going to taste it. But then again, if you're as bad at swallowing things as I am at getting shots down without gagging, maybe you ought to spit after all. A little clean-up might be awkward enough, but a little too much gag reflex is plain too awkward.
Women are much more complicated than men. Oral sex for men-gay and straight-holds the same value. Oral sex for gay and straight women is entirely different. A friend of mine who's been with several guys and girls confesses that you almost need a different language for discussing girl-on-girl action. It's as intimate and requires just as much foreplay and time as it does for a straight girl, but it isn't a stepping-stone. Straight girls are often uncomfortable with a guy going down on them; gay girls never have that concern. They understand each other, so they give each other better head. Gay guys, lesbians, and bisexuals have a serious advantage: they know what they like and can give the same to their lovers. They don't have any of the inhibitions straight girls have. They don't brag, as so many of my guy friends do, about their amazing oral sex skills; they know better than to be cocky. If I didn't think pussy was so gross, I might actually be jealous.
I can't believe I'm writing this. I don't want you to know these things. This is my space. To be totally honest (hell, we're already sharing secrets), I'm not sure why I'm writing this column in the first place. I'm dreading seeing my byline tomorrow morning. Maybe "dreading" is an exaggeration. More like nervous. I only know that oral sex and all its gore and glory, my frustration with my inability to get off from it and the multiple awkward moments that it has generated for me, and whatever else you might be thinking of, have to be faced. So do my secrets.