The Orion

Oral sex: The land of inequality

Illustration+by+Emily+Reising+Photo+credit%3A+Emily+Reising
Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

Emma Vidak-Benjamin

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Illustration by Emily Reising Photo credit: Emily Reising

When it comes to oral sex, I think it’s safe to say that men and women are held to different expectations and pressures in bed. As a girl, I’ve felt a little shortchanged, and I don’t see an equal amount of giving and receiving surrounding oral sex.

Reflecting on my sexual experiences, I can recall getting asked (or even being expected) to give a blow job and have always felt pressure to conform. If I resist, I’m always met with a reaction that makes me feel guilty for being reluctant— which is completely twisted. Also, there’s a certain stigma surrounding girls who refuse to “give head,” turning them into a prude or uptight, yet another pressure within oral sex. Men and women have both allowed oral sex to become a land of inequality and little opportunity, and girls (including myself) are having trouble breaking out of the mold.

My first encounter giving oral was completely terrifying and the guy I was with did nothing to make me feel more comfortable. It was almost like he automatically expected me to know what I was doing. And of course, as the double standard goes, I was never offered oral in return. It made for an uncomfortable situation and started the long road ahead filled with pressures and expectations.

I’ve found it rare to be offered oral sex in return, or to even have it offered at all. On the other hand, I’m usually not brave enough to ask because of the idea that in bed, men are supposed to receive and women give. In the back of my mind, there’s always a voice telling me not to ask, don’t cross any lines and don’t come off as weird.

I think this idea stems from previous relationships but I’ve noticed the same thing in each, as do most of the girls I talk to. Also, women’s roles in the media are generally presented in a submissive way, and the idea that women give and men receive is prominent. Because this is so widely viewed, it’s set the norm for oral sex, which needs to change.

Since when is it weird for men to ask for blow jobs? I have found that many men have no issue with this, so it’s unfortunate that women have a sense of insecurity when asking for oral sex. Men might have the idea they don’t need to give oral because women don’t ask, so they don’t think it’s necessary. A lot of men I know say it’s “different,” yet we all know oral sex is a two-way street.

Of course, there are men out there who are more than willing and might even enjoy oral sex on both the giving and receiving end. I think more men should realize that offering to pleasure a woman only gains him brownie points and he will almost always get lucky again. And I give kudos to those men who step up and recognize that equality counts, even in the bedroom.

However, we should all know that during sex, every decision is up to you and only you. With that in mind, women should feel completely confident saying “no” or refusing to give oral sex. I automatically feel guilty for not wanting to do something I have every single right to not want to do, and I think it’s time for this to stop. And men, it’s time to stop taking all of this for granted and start offering up a lot more to make the world of oral sex a little more equal.

Emma Vidak-Benajmin can be reached at [email protected] or @gnarlyemma on Twitter.

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Oral sex: The land of inequality