In days of yore, when reproduction and male orgasm were the primary goals of heterosexual sex, ‘the main event’ was the penis moving in and out of the vagina. Indeed, even today what most people mean when they say ‘sex’ is penetration (of a penis, into a vagina). That’s problematic in so many ways, but what I’d like to highlight is the expeditious, goal-oriented nature of it all. Fellatio gets a man off, but it doesn’t make babies. Cunnilingus is something difficult women insist on before allowing penetration. Tender, prolonged touch? Mutual masturbation? What?
So you’re left with wham-bam-thankyou-ma’m. It gets the jobs done. All the jobs that matter anyway. And in one fell thrust.
So at some point, we get birth control. People can have sex without making babies. Not long after that, there’s the possibility of artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization. People can make babies without having sex. Between these two medical miracles, the sexual revolution starts taking on steam in the U.S., which both encourages the value of personal pleasure and empowers many (though by no means all) women to insist on getting theirs both in and out of bed.
So baby-making moves to the back burner and the ladies get a front one (we can argue if it’s the big one or the little one in the comments).
Somewhere in all this shifting around, Dr. Kinsey shows up and lets us know that the vast majority of women cannot orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. We find out that this thing called the ‘clitoris’ plays an important role and many even know where it is (or the pearly part of it that sticks out anyway). Taking us a few steps back in all this ‘liberation’ is the emerging notion that the ability to ‘make her come every time’ is a key component to successful heterosexual masculinity.
Suddenly PIV isn’t nearly as efficient as it used to be. All it does is make babies and we already have turkey basters for that.
Enter oral sex.
On the one hand it’s the ultimate ‘all five senses’ sex act. You see your lover’s genitals up-close, you smell them, taste them and hear them moan all at once. Oral can happen almost anywhere, from a skeezy bathroom to a pile of silken cushions. It can be decadent and messy, or wipe-your-face clean. Its flagrant sensuality and portability skirt around a lot of the stiff ‘givens’ we want to put around sex. To top it off, it has no procreative potential whatsoever. In a world in which procreation is the endgoal of sex, then oral is decadently subversive.
However . . .
Oral mainly stimulates the vulva, accessing the most sensitive bits. Orgasm-wise, it does the job very, very well, and for many women, very quickly. Quick recovery, then turn him over for a hand job or perhaps a bit of fellatio. Ah . . . the streamlined efficiency that U.S. capitalism so loves. Appropriately, oral sex is lauded and instructed in all of the mainstream outlets. It sells. So sex is goal-oriented again. This time the goal is pleasure (or orgasm anyway), a big, fast, easy Bang. Orgasms had. Heterosexual masculinity affirmed. In one fell lick.
Dang-it. The Patriarchy has my cunnilingus!
I can’t help but wonder, if, in thinking about and practicing heterosexual sex at this point in time, there isn’t a place for re-thinking PIV sex as slow sex, pointless sex. Sex for pleasure. A kind of deep-tissue massage for the recipient, who can then return the favor with a dildo (a V isn’t absolutely necessary, then again, neither is a P), in a highly sensual, sexual activity that leads . . ., well, that meanders.
What do you think?