The Soapbox: You Like To Go Down, So What?

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According to an article in this month’s issue of Esquire, the blow job is all but becoming extinct in favor of cunnilingus. In an informal poll, conducted by the writer Geoff Dyer, eight out of 10 of his “more mature male friends” preferred “eating p**sy to having their dicks sucked.” And guess what? The two who preferred BJs were gay! He uses this data to assert that the excitement that surrounded fellatio beginning in the ’70s has all but faded.

Clearly, that must be the case, if his friends say so. But it’s not just his friends. He says blow jobs are out in pop culture as well. I mean, Michael Fassbender’s character in “Shame” tells a man in a bar that he wants to go down on his wife. It’s of no consequence that he’s a sex addict, I suppose. And in a scene from Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, Joey Berglund says he considers getting a blow job as “little more than a glorified jerk off.” Should we talk about how he had been sleeping with his neighbor since he was 13 or something? Perhaps I should remind Dyer of the entire page in Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot dedicated to the sucking of Mitchell Grammaticus’ c**k. That came out just this year.

Dyer says of his perceived decline of the blow job:

“[Cunnilingus] was regarded in much the same way as paying for a round at the bar: You had to do it, but if you could avoid it, you did. It would be a mistake, though, to see this change as meaning that men have gone from being selfish recipients to selfless givers of pleasure; it’s just that what constitutes pleasure has shifted.”

Pleasure has shifted for whom? For men? He didn’t poll any women did he? And just because his “more mature male friends” (what does that mean anyway?) prefer giving oral sex, doesn’t mean any of them would refuse a blow job when open mouth came to d**k.

Well, I’ve conducted my own informal poll in my bedroom over the last decade and I think you’ll find my research fascinating. According to my data, 100 percent of men don’t turn down blow jobs. I’ve never had it happen. Not once. And I’ve had my share of bedfellows. Some like BJs more than others, but they all like them. On the cunnilingus front, my informal poll found that nine out of 10 men like eating p**sy. There was a religious guy I brought home once who told me he didn’t enjoy giving oral sex. I laughed and sent him home. Every other guy I’ve invited into my bed has been more than happy to put his face between my legs. For how long? That’s a whole other story. I will just say that some are more enthusiastic than others, and some are certainly better at it. But 90 percent are eager and willing. On a more frustrating note, 80 percent of the men I polled seem simultaneously concerned and unconcerned with my pleasure while between my legs. Sure, they want me to enjoy myself. That 80 percent was eager to please. But what it takes to please, to really please, often eluded eight out of 10. Even when explained to them explicitly — very explicitly. The wanting to please, 80 percent of the time, did not translate to orgasms. My poll also found that 100 percent of the time, wanting something bad enough does not make it so.

On a more serious note, none of this matters really. What matters is what both partners are into. I personally don’t always enjoy receiving. Sometimes I like giving a good BJ. Call me old-fashioned. Maybe men are more into into going down these days, maybe they’re not. So what? If they are, should we reward them for being more excited about it? Should we praise them for being less inclined to avoid our vaginas? Maybe cunnilingus is becoming more mainstream, the way fallatio did in the ’70s. Or maybe the crappy economy is making it more erotically charged for a man to have a woman sit on his face. But this much I know: Enthusiasm for eating pussy is not to be worn as some badge of honor, some mark of modernism or male sensitivity. Some of the biggest assholes I’ve ever been with have been the most enthusiastic givers of oral sex. Men, don’t mistake giving cunnilingus for having “given” in bed.

All in all, Geoff Dyer’s findings don’t mean d**k (pun intended). Let’s be clear: Just because men enjoy eating pussy doesn’t mean blow jobs are dead.

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