In the current issue, British author Geoff Dyer reports that in an informal survey of ten of his male friends, 80 percent preferred cunnilingus to fellatio–that is, they preferred going down on their female partners to having oral sex performed on them. By contrast, in a post on Jezebel.com, self-identified feminist writer Hugo Schwyzer suggests that while the sample leaves a lot to be desired–and a rise in cunnilingus is not necessarily synonymous with an active avoidance of fellatio–there may be some truth to Dyer’s “trend.” Schwyzer argues that a preference for cunnilingus may be due to men’s performance anxieties: The dramatic increase in women’s sense of sexual entitlement often leaves men worried about their own performance.
Now it’s easy for a social scientist to decry the methodology.
Being “done” may carry little cachet in the sexual competence department; if a guy is going to boast about what a great lover he is, he actually has to do something, and do it well.And he can train his tongue to perform more adequately than he can control the size and response of his penis.Scott Mc Kay of The Onion’s Tech Trends program reports on the new Samsung Apex, a wearable computing device that streams video into your left eye, internet into your right eye, and sucks your dick at the same time., which should be an authoritative voice on the subject. If I “surveyed” the first ten male names that come up as friends on my Facebook page, for example, I’d find that 50 percent of American males are heterosexual, 80 percent are Jewish, and 100 percent went to Ivy League colleges. Most serious researchers–as well as legions of commenters on blog sites reporting the piece–have refuted Dyer’s “findings.” After all, a quick “survey” of heterosexual porn sites suggest the blow job is alive and well.
In fact, sexuality research suggests that what we might call the phenomenology of oral sex–the meaning of the act from the point of view of the actor–is not in the least symmetrical. What happens to men’s experience when (a) women want some reciprocity, and, even more, (b) they actually want to perform oral sex, actually get off on it? Consider these tidbits: Contemporary heterosexual porn certainly makes it evident that men like oral sex, but the thing they seem to like even more is coming on the woman’s face.
When straight men describe their experiences with oral sex, they talk about power. In that traditional masculine phenomenology, could there be anything more detumescent than women’s active desire for oral sex? They assume–rightly in most cases (though certainly not all)–that women’s sexual pleasure is not addressed by ejaculating on their faces.