I’ve been thinking about blow jobs of late. In the giving and receiving yes, certainly. But more particularly on the politics and power dynamics surrounding them. And while that’s an area I intend to explore further, right now I am simply reflecting on how I’ve gotten to where I am today…
I remember learning; or more accurately *figuring out* what a blow job was in grade 11 gym class. My first real boyfriend didn’t come along until that summer, so I suppose I should be grateful that the entire notion didn’t come as an utter shock once *he* introduced the idea to me. Looking back, I find it amusing that the entire concept of oral sex hadn’t crossed my consciousness before then. And slightly more amusing at how little it took to figure it out.
A girl I was acquainted with was talking in the change room about meeting “Cedric” at a party, and how he had driven her home. And how else was she supposed to thank him other than blowing him? Based on the shocked/disgusted/judgmental looks on the faces of my other friends, I realized she had said something fairly shocking. I was fairly quiet as we walked to our next class, trying to figure out what she could have done to result in such a reaction from my fairly open and kind friends.
I knew what sex was; I wasn’t that sheltered, so I tried to sort out another activity from the context. OK: driveway; car; “blow job;” gratitude; not sex…Then it hit me what she must have done. Like a moment of divine inspiration.
Oh! That’s a thing! Interesting.
I then took a moment to process the idea that saying “thank you” is also a way of thanking someone for something. And I considered the notion that perhaps she was pressured and was trying to play it cool. Or perhaps she just liked doing it. I didn’t know, and I was too fascinated with this new concept to sit in righteous indignation over the actions of someone I only sort of knew, and really didn’t even like that much.
My first boyfriend Dave really liked sex. Ya know, not unlike many teenage boys. (If you are interested in my actual diary entry from the first time we/I had sex, please see here) And I can’t remember if it was him that told me that getting blowjobs was one of his favourite things in the entire world. It seems like something he would have said, so he gets the credit. It was at that point that I realized what a big deal it was to ALL MEN (at age 17, of course there are only absolutes). So I shrugged, and resigned myself to swallowing when he told me that it was the thing to do.
You see I never thought I would *ever* have a boyfriend. And sex seemed like some exotic thing that only the pretty and popular got to have, and I certainly didn’t feel that I fit into that category. Sexuality seemed to me more like a gift, something that lucky girls had the opportunity to express. I never judged anyone for it, nor felt that it was something that should be regulated or deemed bad or immoral. And if swallowing and blow jobs and sex were the things to do, then I would work with that. Now of course Dave was an asshole and told me that if I didn’t have sex with him soon I would be “forcing him to break up with me” and so I can appreciate the notion that I was pressured into it. I recognized the fact that I had the right to say that I wasn’t ready, but I somehow thought that he also had the “right” to express the limits of his patience. Ya know, and then make out with Maria at a party even though I *did* give it up, and then get annoyed with me for making an issue of it. Ah youth.
Anyhow, next came Rob in early University. He had more experience and would talk about how enthusiastically this one girl serviced him over the summer. I certainly don’t remember her name now, but I nicknamed her “hyper chick,” ostensibly because I felt energetic fellatio was the result of some sort of disorder. Or something. Anyhow, I was somewhat competitive, and as he was going away for a couple weeks, I wanted to give him something to remember me by. What I lacked in technique, I made up for in creativity and effort I’m sure – he received a very thorough blowing, and laughingly assured me that I had certainly guaranteed his fidelity while away. And from that, I was felt I had a skill. Blow jobs were now my *thing.*
Gawain tells me I have a “good sense of cock.” And while I find this assessment to be delightful, I still have moments of wonder at how that came to be. It’s surely a result of insecurity and naïveté in many ways. I didn’t want to be different or less than the other girls that I assumed were more experienced or skilled than I was. I had heard about being a “dead fuck” in high school, and it seemed like the worst possible thing to be. And this was from conversations with my girlfriends – not boys. But upon reflection, it made sense to me – why would someone want to be with someone just lying there? And it translated to blowjobs – why would someone want a blowjob from someone who was miserable about it?
I occasionally would like to speak with my 17 year-old self and have a calm discussion about proclivities and pleasure and manipulation and objectification. But the fact remains, a lot of this has been ingrained in me. And I also still have some sort of belief somewhere in there that sex is more for men. *Sexuality* is for women, but *sex* is for men. Ugh, so wrong and complicated and a little bit sad. But there it is. Something I am working to conquer. And I am so lucky to have a man like Gawain to work through this with.