Rachel Kramer Bussel

Rachel Kramer Bussel
Location
New York, New York, USA
Birthday
November 10
Title
Writer
Bio
I'm a writer, editor, blogger and event organizer based in New York City. I've edited 39 anthologies, including Obsessed, Gotta Have It, Fast Girls, and more, and write widely about sex, dating, pop culture and books.

APRIL 4, 2012 2:28PM

Where Have All the Blowjobs Gone? Why Esquire Is Wrong

Rate: 17 Flag

In the latest issue of Esquire, writer Goeff Dwyer frets that "[t]he blowjob has fallen on hard times." What he really means is that the female-delivered not-so-enthusiastic average quality male-received blowjob is on the wane, but even sticking to heterosexuality, Dwyer simply doesn't know where to look. Firstly, he pits fellatio against cunnilingius in some kind of oral sex bracket game, as if the two cannot coexist peacefully and be enjoyed mutually. Secondly, he ignores the spaces where men and women are celebrating women who love to open their mouths.

Blowjobs are, in fact, popular enough that Violet Blue's The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio was revamped for a second edition, while sex educator Jamye Waxman is teaching a bjowljob bootcamp at Toronto sex toy store Come As You Are in May where you can "Learn about the frenulum, the taint and how to go down deeper. Find out why gagging can be sexy, and why enthusiasm gets you farther." Other books on the market: Fellatio 101, Going Down: An Illustrated Guide to Giving Him the Best Blow Job of His Life, Blow Him Away and Oral Sex He'll Never Forget: 52 Positions and Techniques Guaranteed to Blow Your Man Away. Camille Crimson and her partner Mike Flirt have a whole series of videos dedicated to The Art of the Blowjob and she writes, "From an industry standpoint, although blowjobs are really popular, they're either treated as a boring prelude to sex or they're really rough and there's very little skill involved. We wanted to show that a blowjob can be beautiful and something exciting for both men and women, so it felt like a calling."

Perhaps Dwyer's use of Updike's poem "Fellatio" is telling. Dwyer says that Updike celebrated "that each of these clean secretaries / at night, to please her lover, takes / a fountain into her mouth." But what's happening now is different, because women are giving blowjobs to please themselves at least as much as to please their lovers, and as someone who falls into that category, I believe this kind of ownership of the BJ can be a little unsettling for men used to having to wheedle their way between a woman's lips. We don't just like going down, we talk about it, in detail. We're not closing our eyes and hoping the guy will come quickly; we want to savor every last moment of it, from start to messy finish. Violet Blue offers up a FAQ on "What Do Men Taste Like?" (answer: "The taste of come can be neutral, slightly sweet or lightly tart, or stronger, salty, musky. Things that can make the flavor of semen strong or pungent are vitamins, asparagus, beets, coffee, cigarettes, a diet high in red meats or garlic.") while blogger Chelsea G. Summers delivers a deep-throating primer ("Take a moment and think about your mouth and throat. Now pull the base of your tongue at the back of your throat down, as you would if you were about to yawn. Think about making a big, round cave at the back of your throat as you kind of retract the base of your tongue.") In a list of "rules for blowjobs for women," Selena Kitt's first and most important one is to enjoy it. I concur; not only is it obvious if you're not into it, but you can get much more out of it if you find a way to make it work for you. But I digress. My point is that female pleasure is now as much a part of the straight blowjob equation as male pleasure.

The idea that women don't like giving head is part of what's fueled the launch of Masque, a line of sweet-flavored strips that dissolve on your tongue and are designed to "mask" the scent of semen. Their about page states, "We understand that, for some, the tastes associated with fellatio can make the act less than enjoyable." I'm not their target audience, as I have enjoyed giving blowjobs since I started doing it, and neither is blogger Minx Grrl, who tested all four flavors (watermelon, mango, strawberry and chocolate), and wrote, "I doubt my test subject could pick which one his favorite was, but I may have added a little more gusto to my cock sucking since I really enjoyed the mango...I love the taste of my Master so the mango was a lovely side note to him as opposed to masking his flavor altogether." Minx Grrl also posted recently about coming for the first time from receiving oral sex, further proof that fellatio and cunnilingus are not mortal enemies but friendly erotic teammates.

On the other hand, though, we're still debating things like whether facials are inherently degrading. The idea that women don't like giving oral sex is so pervasive that sometimes, for those of us who do like it, we're treated as anomalies, outliers whose judgment simply cannot be trusted. Just as we shouldn't be pitting fellatio against cunnilingus, we shouldn't be pitting BJ-lovers against BJ-haters (though those poles are pretty extreme). I'm in the lover camp, and in fact I would consider a guy who didn't like getting blowjobs a dealbreaker, but thankfully have only enountered that type of guy once. That doesn't mean, however, that I've loved every blowjob I've given, am always in the mood, or that I can't understand why someone wouldn't be into it. To each their own.

I think the problem Dwyer highlights isn't the lack of blowjobs being enjoyed by givers and receivers but the fact that sex acts are not and will never be "trends," no matter how much writers want them to be (see AJ Daulerio's 2010 "Hey You: Bring Back the Handjob"). They might get highlighted in pop culture and I think public displays of sexuality are a good thing in terms of bringing awareness and entertainment, but just as interns weren't climbing under their boss's desks in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and otherwise non-kinky women aren't racing to emulate the submission in Fifty Shades of Grey, men aren't missing out on blowjobs simply because Dwyer says they are. And if you are a guy and aren't getting your dick sucked as often as you like, look harder for someone who wants the same thing you want.

Before someone comes back at me with the claim that I'm making it more challenging for the straight women who don't like going down to avoid it, let me be clear that I don't think blowjobs or anything else should be mandatory in bed. You have to figure out what you like and what your partner likes and the Venn diagram of where those intersect, and if there is no intersection, that's a problem you'll need to resolve in order to have a satisfying sex life.

While not all women (or gay men) love giving head, I'm pretty sure the days of the reluctant but willing secretary are on the wane, and those of us who want to be blowjob queens straight out of Liz Phair's classic nineties song "Flower" are doing so, and we don't need Esquire or anyone else to tell us we don't exist.

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Hail to the BJ! Wonderfully written, you brave woman you.
very enthusiastic, a rare counterpoint to all the bitter women out there [alas they are numerous... probably for every 1 blog like yours there are 10 complaining about men in some way.. at least!].... you sound like a pro. so when can we get started?! j/k! anyway great to read a sex positive blog once in awhile. I collect a lot of sex related stuff in my blog & it seems like every few months these "trend" pieces come out but they all seem meaningless & nearly bipolar. "everyone is doing it!" "nobody is doing it!" ... a bunch of media hyperventilation.... breathlessness over breathlessness you might say... whatever!
The first time I saw an ad for Masque in Cosmo, I fell over laughing. A savvy girl understands how to swallow, rendering such a product entirely unnecessary.

I won't lie, there have been times when I've gone through the motions and just wanted it over with. However, if I'm really turned on by someone, I am all over it. Nothing turns me on more than knowing I can send him over the edge with my mouth.

Giving head can be quite empowering.
--r
As another fan of giving a good BJ, great post! Extra points for incorporating Venn diagrams into a post about oral sex.
Why would anyone write, other than for the obvious reason, to create controversy where none exists, that something like oral sex is in decline?

You may as well write about how people are starting to dislike birthday cake.
Amen sister! A fine piece of writing and a subject close to my heart. You have spoken my mind on every account. I wrote a piece last year advocating for February 15 to be established as Steak and BJ Day.

http://open.salon.com/blog/bluestocking_babe/2011/02/06/february_15th_national_steak_and_bj_day
I saw that ad for that product and thought, oh god you got to be kidding. What the hell is wrong with the way our bodies taste? Enjoying ourselves is sometimes the only real pleasure life holds. Cool post and although I don't want to be a queen in any sense, an appreciation for your lover's body is essential to me.
"(sic) Gone to Vegas every one!
Boy will they ever earn,
boy will they ever earn!"
I could teach a class...
I know they're popular at my house...
Perhaps looking up the healthful ingredients of what man has to offer would be of interest to doubters.
Also a proud member of Team Blowjob.

Masque. Wow. This is the first time I've heard about this. What if a similar product existed for women? Wouldn't we be terribly offended? "Hey baby, I don't like the taste of your pussy, let me just pop in this watermelon strip..."

Part of the point of oral sex is enjoying the tastes and smells of your lover. All guys might not eat pussy *because* of the taste, but its all one big sensory package. Why mess it up with a strip of fake flavoring?
i am all for getting sucked off by guys if women don't want to--better suction thataway. "i was bi long before it was trendy." i think steve coogan said that...adapt and survive. yeah.
----It was Tony Wilson, mate. You wish it was Coogan....----
Huh. You mean there are actually people out there talking about something other than abortion?
There used to be a similar product for women, Cupid's Little Helper Strawberry Flavored Douche.
Wow, I could write a book here ... the old saw about it's better to give than receive, is very powerful with me; I love being down on an appreciative woman; the beauty of such music really occurs in my head, realizing that I have touched the right nerve, at the optimal time, that music fueling this dynamo to please .... ( I'm like a loyal, loving dog that you may not always like -- but being there is a joy of sorts), much in the way one feels satisfaction from a well constructed poem, a mound of clay that I felt kneady - ripping Solzhenyten here -- about, working it into a pleasant swirl, just the feel of shape. And yes, I love receiving the delicacies of a well meant tongue ...
There will never be, despite some wunderkind out of Esquire, a season out of fashion ... I feel too little education is much the dangerous thing here.
And to the guys out there: a little creative energy is appreciated by your woman; think tennis: would you want to play with someone terribly better than you -- or, purely miserable. Hey, now here's an idea ...
Let there be joy!
Wow, I could write a book here ... the old saw about it's better to give than receive, is very powerful with me; I love being down on an appreciative woman; the beauty of such music really occurs in my head, realizing that I have touched the right nerve, at the optimal time, that music fueling this dynamo to please .... ( I'm like a loyal, loving dog that you may not always like -- but being there is a joy of sorts), much in the way one feels satisfaction from a well constructed poem, a mound of clay that I felt kneady - ripping Solzhenyten here -- about, working it into a pleasant swirl, just the feel of shape. And yes, I love receiving the delicacies of a well meant tongue ...
There will never be, despite some wunderkind out of Esquire, a season out of fashion ... I feel too little education is much the dangerous thing here.
And to the guys out there: a little creative energy is appreciated by your woman; think tennis: would you want to play with someone terribly better than you -- or, purely miserable. Hey, now here's an idea ...
Let there be joy!
You had me from the beginning, but the Liz Phair reference at the end make my heart flutter. I wholeheartedly support blowjob queens everywhere.
What a positive post, in a sea of genral negativity. I am reassured by all the authors you cite and their affirmative enthusiasms! Amazing how the pop culture invents so many 'pseudo-trends' that have no basis in trality. [r]