If you’re a woman who’s shared sheets with a man, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a sexual phenomenon Nikki Glaser discusses in her latest stand-up, Good Clean Filth.
“They don’t go down on us as much,” the comedian laments.
“There are certain guys who are really outspoken about it, and we just let them be.”
Glaser’s talking about the unsettling normalization of women being expected to perform oral with no reciprocation from their male partners – a practice notoriously endorsed by DJ Khaled, who controversially bragged he believes there are “different rules for men” in a 2015 interview about his sex life with his wife.
What’s most striking about the oral sex gap, is the disparity between how women are conditioned to view the task when performing it, as compared to receiving it.
I routinely hear female peers express concern they’re “too much hard work” to get off, then discuss “giving head” over cocktails as though it’s something as nonchalant and commonplace as a handshake.
There’s an unspoken agreement among straight women oral sex is a requisite component of dating and sleeping with men – a kind of sexual obligation acknowledged by Sex & The City’s Samantha Jones, who famously remarked: “Honey, they don’t call it a ‘job’ for nothing!”
And this isn’t anecdotal. A study published in The Canadian Journal Of Human Sexuality revealed 63 per cent of men received oral sex as part of their most recent sexual encounter, while just 44 per cent of women could say the same.
This was despite the fact more than half the women surveyed said having a partner go downtown was the most reliable way for them to reach climax.
An informal survey of friends revealed common reasons cited for being denied oral are “I really only do that with a girlfriend”, “I’ve got a sore neck” and “It’s just not my thing”.
However, the same women said their male partners still expected to be on the receiving end of the act, and that they felt pressured to perform it, even when they didn’t enjoy it.
It’s also notable that, each time I post something on social media about this issue, I’m met with men complaining women smell or taste repellent, insisting this is why they won’t go downtown. One man even bizarrely described a vulva as “smelly roast beef flaps” in a recent comment.
But frankly, as someone who also sleeps with women and is yet to meet a vulva I find detestable, I can’t help but wonder if these men actually like and are genuinely attracted to women at all.
Regardless, this attitude remains disturbingly common, perpetuating shame and misinformation around natural vaginal odour. You really only need to take a walk down the toiletry aisle of the supermarket for evidence of this.
The popularization of so-called “intimate washes” designed to fragrance women’s genitalia speaks to just how pervasive the narrative that vulvas require constant renovation to be palatable to men has become.
There is, of course, no male equivalent – no douche or wash aimed at targeting unpleasant penile odors (which most women have silently dealt with) – because men’s bodies don’t face the same level of scrutiny women’s do.
We never hear of men bashfully asking, “Does it… taste/smell OK?” While having a partner venture down south, and yet, women remain in a constant state of hypervigilance around their partner’s perception of their genitalia.
A memorable scene in the 2017 film snatched, where Emily (played by comedian Amy Schumer) is caught hitting her leg up on a rest room sink to douche herself, later bashfully joking to her date, “That was not what it looked like. I was just washing my vagina in case we had sex,” captures an experience ubiquitous among people with vulvas; most of whom, have at some stage in their sex lives, had a male partner tell them their natural smell wasn’t acceptable.
And while there’s an entire industry aimed at convincing women their vulvas will only be worthy of the same attention they give their partners when they’re smellless, hairless and perfectly symmetrical; the reality is, there’s no vaginal deformity or odor epidemic going on.
Only a plague of male sexual entitlement and laziness.
Because, despite what women have been brainwashed to believe, sex is supposed to be a reciprocal exchange.
A partner who expects something from you while demonstrating zero investment in your pleasure is essentially someone who doesn’t view you as an equal, or even a complete human being. (Incidentally, these are also the men who think half a dozen pumps before collapsing on top of you constitute groundbreaking sex.)
If you have a vulva, take it from a woman who’s never met one I had a problem with: there’s nothing wrong with your body. So, throw out that dodgy vagina soap taking up precious space in your shower, and get rid of your selfish boyfriend while you’re at it.
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