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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Heading south

Published: October 15, 2010
Section: Opinions

Let’s talk about sex—oral sex, to be specific. It seems men and women are taught very different things about oral sex and what to expect. Men, without fail, seem to feel that they have a right to be the receiver, whereas women understand themselves to be givers and can be uncomfortable when the roles are reversed. It certainly doesn’t help that some men balk at the suggestion that they should be providing oral pleasure to their partners. When we hear that men are disgusted by the prospect of heading down south, it does nothing for our self-esteem or our willingness to assert ourselves.

Personally, I’ve been incredibly lucky. From my earliest sexual exploits, I’ve almost exclusively encountered men who felt it was not just their duty, but their pleasure, to make sure I was at least as satisfied as they were at the end of our trysts. But I was not always as sure. I gave head before I let someone finger me, and I had sex before I let someone go down on me. I knew, in a sort of philosophical sense, that I was supposed to be enjoying these forays into adult activity as much as my counterparts, but I was uncomfortable with the idea. What if it looked weird, or smelled? At 15 or 16 I didn’t know what, if anything, was expected from me as a receiver.

Even once oral reciprocation became a normal part of my sexual experience, I rarely enjoyed it as much as my friends seemed to. I was too uncomfortable and self-conscious to really let myself go. To make matters worse, guys seemed to give up, or move on, when they couldn’t please me as quickly as they had hoped. I was (and still am) proud of my skills as a giver, but I couldn’t completely reconcile myself to being a receiver. While through the years my personal experience has changed, women feeling uncomfortable as receivers is an all too common phenomenon.

When a person heads down south, the receiver should feel excitement and exhilaration, not trepidation. We need to change the way women understand cunnilingus and the way men treat it. Men should be just as excited as women at the prospect. Apart from the obvious—it should be a turn on to get your partner off—the benefits of preforming oral sex on a girl extend much farther. First, sex is more likely to occur, since getting a woman going just makes her want more. Also, if she knows you’re not just willing, but happy, to reciprocate, she’ll probably go down on you more too.

Oral sex is incredibly powerful. It can change the way a person perceives sex and themselves. It can cause pleasure for both parties that sex alone cannot. Unfortunately, we live in a world where women are not always sure that they can expect a man to take an oral detour, and even worse, they are not always able to enjoy it when it happens. Good sex is about making sure both partners are happy, which means that everyone has to be willing to get down on their knees.