Oral: Fetish, pleasure, something else?

Public domain mark'Cunnilingus' by Doxoc

I just read a couple of tweets by Suzannah Weiss, a Teen Vogue writer (in case you aren’t aware, Teen Vogue has run more politically and socially enlightened articles than a lot of mainstream media in the last few years, so aren’t just ‘fashion and fluff for young girls’).

The tweets were essentially ‘Holy fuck men in society in general are selfish in bed!’

Text of the two tweets:

What if sex went like this: As “foreplay,” a woman had intercourse with a man until he got REALLY excited. Then, he performed oral sex while she rubbed his balls or something else almost completely useless, and once she came, she fell asleep. That’s basically what we do to women.

Imagine if women were considered sensitive, caring, enlightened lovers for giving the penis attention — just enough attention to get men “warmed up” to please their partners. That’s how society treats the clitoris.

My first reaction was to laugh (because vanilla or D/s, that has not been my experience).

My second reaction was to go ‘Get into femdom: There, fixed!’

Then I started thinking about it in a wider sense, and then about a thread on Fetlife (login required) where someone was asking about the idea of ‘oral sex as submission’ which is not uncommon.

There is, apparently, and still, a prevailing attitude ‘out there’ that women’s pleasure is secondary (or even irrelevant) in sexual encounters even if we (in the BDSM community, on Fetlife, in sex positive spaces, in our F/m bubble, with experience and confidence) don’t encounter it.

And the fact that this comes from a writer for young women, the generation for whom this bullshit should be well and truly over, is depressing as fuck.

But IF that male-centric view of sex is still out there for a lot of ordinary vanilla folks, it kind of explains how a focus on women’s pleasure is somehow seen as ‘other’.

Interestingly, for dominant men, that focus is seen as power. And for all of the bad examples of maledom we have a laugh about, if you think that good maledoms aren’t laser-focussed on their femsub’s sexual pleasure you haven’t been paying attention.

For submissive men, that focus is seen as submission.

I think BOTH maledoms & subs can get the ‘how’ wrong if they are fetishising a sexual act ‘for her pleasure’, calling it ‘dominance’ or ‘submission’, and assuming all women are the same.

But given this little snippet of insight, I understand a little better where the fetishising of women’s pleasure comes from. Why the focus on it can be parlayed into ‘submission’, why making male pleasure secondary, eschewing or ignoring it is seen as ‘oh-so-kinky’.

Giving a woman oral is a very obvious act that can be easily fetishised on the back of that view. And I think when the act (vs the pleasure) becomes the focus, we hit the same problem with it that we hit with fetish acts all round: The woman is reduced to an object upon which to act out that fetish.

The latter is why many dominant women side-eye any man who waxes lyrical about how he is so very submissive that he will do ‘hours of oral’ (‘for her pleasure’, natch). Because, as usual with these things, a submissive man offering to ‘do his fetish’ is somehow always and unfailingly presented as the ultimate in submission, amirite?

___

In the Fetlife discussion about ‘oral sex as submission’, the OP asked the following questions: I’m including them and my answers here.

Doms: Is oral sex the end all be all for you, is it your epitome of sexual gratification or do you have other preferences?

Yep, it’s ‘the thing’ for me. I don’t want to just do that, but if my sub wants to give me an orgasm (and of course he does :)), that’s pretty much it.

To both: Is an orgasm the primary bar by which you consider sex to have been enjoyable?

Nope.

Interestingly, I realised very early on, with the first partner who could give me orgasms like that *snaps fingers*, that orgasms lose their value for me if they are always and easily achieved. When they were elusive and rare, a person who could make me come was like a *heavens open, angels sing* level revelation. I fell a little in love with them for that gift. Once orgasms were easy and plentiful, I had the space to appreciate ‘everything else’ a lot more.

How about you? Is oral a fetish? Just a sexual act? The ultimate pleasure? An integral part of your D/s? Not a thing for you?

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26 Comments

  1. To me it is just a wonderful part of sex. I love the scent of a woman’s vulva, that alone is enough to get me highly aroused. Pubic hair provides a major enhancement to that pleasure. It seems to increase that sexy scent. Then, the lips are so soft and sexy to lick and kiss. And, the reactions she has just drive me wild.

    That said, it can be, like most other things, made into an act of submission or a fetish by how it is done. So, I will say that for me, it is multi layered, and can only a part of sex or be all of the above, depending upon the context.

  2. It’s an interesting point, that the male centric view of sex is prevalent that focusing on the women’s pleasure becomes almost a fetish.

    Perhaps surprisingly, my discovery of sex coincided with my discovery of bdsm (submission, specifically) so it’s hard to separate entirely my views on both. But, while I may or may not have evolved to fetishizing women’s pleasure, I’d like to think there is an element of kindness, consideration for your partner- he’ll, even just good manners (you first), in focusing on my partner’s pleasure. To that end, for a man, giving oral, is actually a very good way to ensure his partner’s needs are taken care of, because it removes the risk of premature ejaculstion.

    Now, I am not going to say that is the motivation of all men. :). Also, if a woman doesn’t like oral, or simply prefers PIV, it would be selfish and inconsiderate not to give her what she wants, but at least in some cases, oral may truly be motivated by a desire to be a considerate partner.

    1. I think ‘considerate partner’ is such an odd phrase to me in this context. I think because I’ve never had sex with a man who didn’t go ‘OMG GIMME THAT PUSSY IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOOOOWWW’.

      This vs ‘Well, madam, I’m going to be very considerate and see to your needs with some dedicated cunnilingus if that works for you’.

      *laugh*

      Ferns

      1. “OMG GIMME THAT PUSSY IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOOOOWWW”

        So, you’ve only dated Americans????

        Thanks for puncturing my facade of etiquette and refined manners.

  3. “There is, apparently, and still, a prevailing attitude ‘out there’ that women’s pleasure is secondary (or even irrelevant) in sexual encounters even if we (in the BDSM community, on Fetlife, in sex positive spaces, in our F/m bubble, with experience and confidence) don’t encounter it.“

    I’m a generation older than you, so, no doubt, that colors my experience. And I hear from different women than you as well. But I don’t think it’s the case that women in the “F/m bubble … don’t encounter it.” I hope it’s better for us, but F/m isn’t a magic shield against a lifetime of conditioning for both men and women that says, “The purpose of sex is an efficient, almost foolproof path to a man’s orgasm with a woman’s pleasure a pleasant byproduct but by no means a requirement.” The attitude Suzannah Weiss so brilliantly describes is unfortunately alive and well even in our enclave.

    For one thing submissive, or should I say, “submissive” men aren’t immune from misogyny or sex-negativity. The very FL discussion you cite has numerous men who want to practice cunnilingus without regard for whether the woman actually wants it or or how she wants it. And these are men who identify as submissive, not a cross-section of kinky men. And submissive men can be as recalcitrant and sulky about accepting sexual direction as their dominant and vanilla brothers.

    For another thing, Dominant women aren’t immune from a lifetime’s training in sex-negativity, body shaming, a lack of sexual knowledge and experience of anorgasmia. And Dominant women can be as reticent about giving sexual direction as their submissive and vanilla sisters.

    So i know you were joking about F/m as the solution to women’s sexual dissatisfaction, but I’m less confident of it than you are.

    I think this is a very valuable discussion, and I appreciate you writing about it.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment.

      I do agree with you that submissive men are as influenced by all that crap out there as any other men and that being dominant doesn’t negate it from the other side.

      And you’re right, my ‘get into femdom then’ was half-joking, but on the serious side, I do genuinely believe that female dominants are in a better position than most vanilla women to get the sex they want.

      Yes, they have to unlearn an avalanche of badness, but at least they are part of a subculture where they are exposed to a bunch of strong amazing women shouting about it, so they have a better chance than Mary Jane who whispers about it with her bestie in the sauna when there’s nobody around.

      I do realise I’m idealising by ignoring that a whole bunch of self-identified submissive men do not give one quarter of a shit about women’s pleasure, but if I can’t focus on the good submissive men, then I’m going to slide down that bitter jaded slope that we skirt when we cover any of these topics and I’m digging my heels in, dammit!

      Ferns

  4. Right on the button (as it were)! Why does female-pleasure-focused sexual activity get fetishized while focusing sexual activity on penile climaxing “normal” – as in default – instead of, say, considering this a form of assisted male masturbation? All wrong. Cunnilingus is swell. It isn’t necessarily female dominance unless the partners enjoy incorporating that power-exchange aspect into their sex play. whatever that is. It’s just “sex.” Or, “sex” – or Tuesday.

    1. There are *so many reasons why it’s this way and they all suck :(.

      It’s astounding and depressing to me that it’s still a thing.

      Ferns

  5. In some ways, this is the fault of ‘progress’ and science. Once upon a time, people believed that both male and female orgasms were involved in procreation. Men would give their partner’s orgasms, because they believed it helped increase the chance of pregnancy. Science proved that only the male orgasm mattered for procreation, so the female orgasm was ‘unimportant.’ Add in the Christian value that sex was for procreation, not pleasure (but incidental pleasure cannot be helped) and you have men now focused entirely on their own orgasm.

    Freud made things worse. He believed that clitoral stimulation was a problem and women should avoid it. He promoted that all sexual activities should centre around PiV and that a properly balanced woman would find this more enjoyable and more satisfying. Activities like cunnilingus were looked down upon as ‘infantile’ and bad for the woman. The ‘G-spot’ would later be used to ‘prove’ Freud to be ‘correct.’

    I have read studies in recent years that show women are (on average) vastly better educated on matters of sex than men. It has been suggested that, as a part of Feminism and reclaiming their sexuality, women are actively seeking this knowledge. On the other hand, men take their sexuality for granted and put in little-to-no effort to educate themselves. “You put your dick in, you put your dick out, you put your dick in and you shake it all about, you do the hokey-pokey and you turn around, and that’s what it’s all about.” (I made that up, but feel free to sing it!) Many conservative groups also actively seek to hinder access to sexual education, fearing it will lead to a decay in morals and, ultimately, the collapse of society. This results in a lovely melting pot: lack of access and incentive to educate themselves, mixed with generations of misinformation, results in men who are terrible at sex and unlikely to ever improve.

    For me personally, as a submissive man, cunnilingus is an enjoyable sexual act (one of many). It is not something I view as innately submissive, but a Dominant woman could use it in a Dominant way if she wanted to (same as pretty well anything). With or without cunnilingus, I do like to know that I am providing my partner sexual pleasure. If sex were always about me and she never got anything out of it, I feel it would significantly reduce my pleasure. I do not think this is a submissive thing, just a part of my vanilla sexuality.

    1. I love this comment, thank you.

      I think part of the thing is that women HAVE to be better educated because sexual pleasure for many has to be learned: It’s not like the clitoris is obviously ‘there’ and randomly sticking out of their pants when they feel a sexual response as they are growing up.

      When I first learned about masturbation, I didn’t ‘get it’. I knew what to do, but it just didn’t work for me. I can’t remember how old I was. But I had to figure out how to get pleasure, and it wasn’t easy.

      Even porn (yes, back to that, as always) genuinely shows men how to get pleasure. Blow jobs! Jerking off! PiV! PIA! Penis somewhere, anywhere!

      But it 100% does NOT show women getting pleasure. It shows women simulating pleasure (usually because endless PiV… ooh, so hot!) or performative ‘tongue out’ licking for a minute or two. Bah.

      Ferns

      1. I remember having the same experience with masturbation. It seemed like a fine idea, I had certainly got the impression that orgasms were nice, but however I tried I could NOT get it to work! Until I was in my late teens.

        I think fetishizing women’s pleasure tends to put a lot of pressure on women to perform sexually, for fear of disappointing their partners. It becomes a situation where an orgasm isn’t something you do because it’s pleasant, but something you give to your partner to show them that they’re a good lover. And if a young woman goes into sexual encounters with the idea that she has to perform, or her lover will be disappointed and feel insulted, it’s that much harder for her to actually figure out what does give her pleasure.

  6. Yes to the first 4 a resounding fuck no to the last! Both giving and receiving. I know to some circles (for circles read idiots) a Domme giving oral is submitting, no me neither. I love the whole thing whether as a ritualised symbol of my dominance or just good fun on the spur of the moment.
    Coug

    1. Heh… I 100% agree on the ‘fuck no’ :).

      It’s funny that to many giving oral is submissive and to many others receiving oral is submissive. Come on, idiots, have a fucking meeting or something and PICK ONE!!! :D

      Ferns

  7. Oh, one more thing. Most people seem to agree that giving head is more of a submissive act to perform on a dominant than the other way round.

    But you know what? I love it when people break the “rules”, and a Domme who performs fellatio on her sub, and who can do so perhaps without seeing as dominant or submissive, or perhaps just because it’s what she wants to do is a very special lady who can get past the stereotypes, someone more evolved.

    Likewise a Dom who services his lady sub in similar vein.

    1. “Most people seem to agree that giving head is more of a submissive act to perform on a dominant than the other way round.”

      If by ‘most people’ you mean ‘woefully uninformed sheeples’, then yes.

      Others with a lick of sense (heh, see what I did there) and even the most basic understanding that golly gee heck a dominant might just… stick with me here… get to do a thing they want to do because they want to do it *gasp*, those folks, not so much.

      I’m not convinced that that revelation takes any special evolution, just a bit of experience and common sense..

      Ferns

  8. “Others with a lick of sense (heh, see what I did there) and even the most basic understanding that golly gee heck a dominant might just… stick with me here… get to do a thing they want to do because they want to do it *gasp*, those folks, not so much”

    THIS TIMES A BAZQUILZILLION! (It’s totally a word fuck off)
    Coug

  9. Thank you for all of this, I definitely relate to the “side eye”. I find it incredibly frustrating that oral is the most offered act of submission when talking with sub guys. I’m too the point that I let them wax poetic about their skills and love of pussy and how it’s so servile and wonderful and such a gift, and then I lob a rhetorical question into the mix: “Did you ask me how I felt about oral? I’m actually not really a fan.” and then we get to see how the REAL conversation about submission works out.

  10. “It’s funny that to many giving oral is submissive and to many others receiving oral is submissive. Come on, idiots, have a fucking meeting or something and PICK ONE!!! :D”

    Completely agree with you. I’ve actually known a number of dominants who refused to give oral because they viewed doing so as a submissive act. I think such nonsensical thinking revealed a great deal of how little they understood about the D/s dynamic, and perhaps about their own lack of self-confidence. Now with regard to your question…

    “How about you? Is oral a fetish? Just a sexual act? The ultimate pleasure? An integral part of your D/s? Not a thing for you?”

    Giving oral does play a significant role for me as far as D/s, but only I suspect because it was an integral part of my sexual experiences long before I discovered and explored the kink side of my nature. While not submissive, I’ve always viewed giving oral as an important part of ensuring a female partner’s pleasure as I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t enjoy it.

    Unlike the type of men Suzannah Weiss describes, I’ve always considered my partner’s pleasure just as important as my own. That view didn’t change when I worked out my dominant nature. I always find myself rolling my eyes when I read something like Weiss’ tweet. Such views usually stem from a gross generalization based almost exclusively on one’s own anecdotal experiences, and I suspect a very small sample of men. Are there selfish men like Weiss describes? Of course. Are all men as Weiss described? Of course, not. I doubt in this century even most men could be characterized that way. My advice to women like Weiss is to stop having sex with selfish bores.

    While it isn’t a fetish for me, I’ll admit I do enjoy everything about giving a woman oral—the scent, the taste, the texture of the delicate skin on my tongue and lips. In fact, and I’m possibly in the minority here, if a choice had to be made, I’d rather give a woman oral than receive oral from her even though I do quite enjoy the latter. I view neither as necessarily dominant or submissive acts, but simply part of arousing, pleasurable sex play.

    As arousing and pleasurable as I find giving a woman oral and receiving oral for that matter, I don’t consider it “the ultimate pleasure” as I know by experience that there are many other sexual acts that provide great pleasure. In addition, the intent of oral needn’t always be that it will end with an orgasm. Often, one may have other equally arousing outcomes in mind. In conclusion, giving oral to a woman partner, submissive or otherwise, isn’t something I’d ever be even consider omitting from the mix.

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