It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that oral sex is on the rise … or at least that conversations based around it are. Whether contemplating the convenience of shaved vs. bushy or the Catholic church’s historic ban on acts that don’t lead directly to procreation (a category that oral sex definitely falls under, as does masturbation … do Catholics not orgasm or something?), it’s all over the place right now.
Okay, just want to get out there that oral sex, both giving and receiving, is a source of great pleasure for me and millions of women all over the world. The idea that oral stimulation is gross or wrong or whatever is just so far off my radar screen it’s ridiculous (unlike Paris Hilton, I’m not a hypocrite).
Oral sex is increasingly common for young women to partake in, both in addition to and as an alternative of intercourse. Researchers out of the University of Alberta recently conducted a study on oral sex (must have been a lot of fun), concluding that it’s unquestionably part of what researcher Brea Malacad refers to as “the sexual revolution of the 21st century.”
Anyway, an interesting conclusion to be drawn from Malacad’s work here is that researchers, sex educators, and safe-sex marketers need to get on the cunnilingus caboose. The fellatio freeway. Route 69. Whatever.
Viral urban myths such as rainbow parties (an alleged group-sex event where women, all wearing different colored lipstick, perform oral sex on men) and media reports of the “exploitation and over-sexualization of young women,” as Malacad explains it, was part of the decision to undertake the study to understand what young women are really doing and what it means for the teens, parents and for sex education in general.
Well, it’s kind of a relief to find out that, according to official research, “rainbow parties” are an urban legend (although I’ve heard otherwise from some pretty reliable sources). It does bring up some interesting questions, though, into what would motivate teenagers to get in on the action. So to speak.
“Both intercourse and oral sex were associated with mostly positive emotions overall, which suggests that most young women are engaging in these activities because they enjoy them,” said Malacad. “Based on the results of my study, there is a percentage of women (just over 30 per cent) who feel powerful when performing fellatio. Apparently some women find it empowering and believe that it can wield a lot of power.”
Ah, fellatio, the act that sunk a hundred politicians (and a pro golfer or two). All joking aside, though, there is some truth to the reports of that feeling of empowerment. Not to sound crass, but there’s quite a lot of guys that will be literal putty in your hand if they think they’re getting a BJ out of it.
And yeah, sexually it’s pretty damn exciting to know that a guy’s going to trust you with his junk in your mouth. It’s an interesting irony that men get such pleasure (evidently … I’m not a guy, obviously, so this is hearsay) and pain from the same basic location, and fellatio … it really kind of exploits that, in a way.
Malacad’s findings reveal that behaviours and attitudes towards oral sex are changing. Her research shows that while 50 per cent of respondents viewed oral sex as a less intimate activity than intercourse, 41 per cent believe oral sex to be as intimate an act as intercourse and the remaining nine per cent view it as more intimate than intercourse. And while Malacad’s findings indicate that certainly oral sex has become more accepted, she says the act is hardly the “new goodnight kiss” among young people as has been suggested in some media reports.
You know, I was talking to my best friend (a guy) on the phone while researching this article, and we got on to the idea of the intimacy of intercourse versus oral sex. I completely disagree with Malacad’s findings here, actually, and so did my bud. I think oral sex, based purely in pleasure as it is, is an incredibly intimate act.
Depending on your sexual proclivities, it’s possible to have intercourse without kissing, with minimal touching other than the obvious … uh … connection, and with no real inherent trust.
Oral sex is by its very nature far more up close and personal.
But does the media really fuck with the minds of adolescent girls in terms of sexuality? Kind of.
On the one hand, young women are criticized for being oversexualized, and on the other, they are encouraged to freely express their sexuality. [Malacad] refers to Kim Catrall’s character Samantha in the Sex and the City television series, a woman who was strong, independent, empowered and who very sexually aggressive, as being a role model for women to be accepted as sexual beings.
“I guess, depending on the perspective, young women’s sexuality can be seen as a positive, empowering thing for women or a very negative thing,” she said.
I lost my virginity when I was sixteen, and I was absolutely the last, by far, of my circle of friends to do so. Messages from the media had nothing to do with it, though, nor was there a lot of pressure from my boyfriend at the time (which I took for granted then but really should have appreciated more in retrospect). My friends didn’t overtly pressure me to just do it, either … although not being able to contribute to their conversations unquestionably played a role in the pressure I put on myself to just get it over with.
This mainstreaming of oral sex is a change in the tide of sexual behaviour; it also means that sex educators need to catch up to the trends, noted Malacad. With many young people still ignorant to the fact that sexually transmitted infections can just as easily be passed orally, a whole new topic of discussion needs to appear in the safer sex curriculum delivered to students. The results of her study also show that there is a seemingly untapped market for makers of safe-sex products, too.
Indeed. The idea of giving head to a guy wearing a condom kind of grosses me out, not gonna lie. I know it makes sense and that it’s downright irresponsible not to take precautions, but I just can’t get over the idea of running my tongue all over what’s basically a balloon … sounds like a blast, doesn’t it? And if that’s my mindset (and the mindset of many, many adult women like me who are educated enough to know better), what hope is there for adolescents?
If Malacad is to be believed, there’s a lot of money to be made in the “safer-sex” market, so if you have any ideas beyond the flavored condoms that taste like cherry-flavored balloons that are out there now, get them out there.
What are your thoughts on the, uh, oral tradition in terms of sex?