Facials: Are They Demeaning?

It’s called the money shot. In straight porn it involves the male giving the female what is euphemistically called “a facial.” (Not the kind from Bliss Spa.) In some porn films, the facial is played up to emphasize his humiliation of and domination of her, but in other porn flicks, the money shot is just something the actors do. In real life, I suspect facials happen more for pleasure than for humiliation, seeing as women have a little thing called self-respect. But when I recently mentioned facials in my 10 Things Women Forget To Do During Sex piece, a hootenanny of condemnation—and defense—broke out in the comments section of that post.

Leaving facials up to the porn stars—actors who are making the facial appear to humiliate the woman—is what keeps it looking demeaning.

Our commenters, whom I just love to pieces, are really split on the facial issue! Many called it “degrading” and some called it “gross.” QueenFrostine summed the facial opponents’ p.o.v. most succinctly when she wrote:

“I am a person and I require respect. Hitting, punching, spitting and ejaculating on a person’s face is an act of dominance and a way of lessening that person’s worth. It’s saying (to me) that I am inferior and worthless. I am not some object to which you can spray in the face like you’re marking territory.”

Roastchicken agreed and added, “Leave that up to the porn stars to take a load in the face. Hell no.”

I see those commenters’ points, but I have to respectfully disagree with ‘em. I think leaving facials up to the porn stars—actors who are making the facial appear to humiliate the woman—is what keeps it looking demeaning. Certainly some facials are depicted in porn as humiliating or degrading, but not every man who wants to give a facial wants it to degrade and humiliate just like it looks onscreen. Many do love and respect their partners, and know, to varying degrees, that porn isn’t real. Likewise, some of those female partners enjoy the act as well. As commenter Alexa put it:

“Personally, I am much more concerned with his attitude toward me outside the bedroom — if he’s respecting, egalitarian, and treats me like someone he’s in love with and all that, if he wants to [ejaculate] on me somewhere, then I fail to see how that even remotely denigrates or invalidates the intimacy or ‘normalcy’ of our relationship.”

Interestingly enough, the commenter I agree with most on the facial issue was actually written by a man who called himself tonykuehn. He wrote:

“Degradation and insult are a matter of perspective, I think. If you’re not into something and your partner does it anyway (no matter what it is), that is definitely degrading and insulting, not to mention disrespectful. I think the ‘money shot’ fetish for many men is simply the strong visual stimulus… I wasn’t into it (or so I thought) until my wife suggested it and now, hooo boy. But, again, it’s something we both enjoy, partially just because of the thrill we get from being so naughty. But that’s sex, eh?”

Exactly! Personally, I don’t think facials are a big deal because I enjoy something else in bed that could look like it’s very demeaning. When I told my (ex-) therapist about my spanking fetish, she tried to talk me out of it because she thought it indicated I had psychological issues related to wanting to be hit. Maybe I thought I was “bad” or that sex was “bad” or the spanking was actually domestic abuse? Nope! I just like to be dominated in bed, and that’s it. It’s safe, consensual and it turns me on like you wouldn’t believe! Same thing with facials. I don’t see it so much as a problem of gender roles (though it can look that way from porn) as it’s a biological issue: He can give me a facial and I can’t give him one. He gets me all over his face sometimes in a different way, but who is to say that I wouldn’t want to give him a facial if we women had the equipment, right?

Different strokes for different folks, everyone.