There’s a scene in Louis CKs brilliant not-a-comedy Horace and Pete in which crotchety misogynist Uncle Pete lectures Steve Buscemi (whose character is also called Pete) about the emasculating dangers of giving oral sex to a woman. It’s good enough to be poetry, so you should watch the entire thing, but here’s the relevant snippet.
Uncle Pete: That’s disgusting.
Pete: What is?
Uncle Pete: Going down on somebody. You don’t do that.
Pete: What? People do that. Women like it.
Uncle Pete: A man doesn’t do that. What is it with people your age going down on each other? It’s no good.
Pete: Are you telling me you don’t like a girl doing that to you?
Uncle Pete: Yeah. Yeah, I like it. I don’t like her. And I’m not doing it to her. Not on your life.
This scene tickled my giggle nodules for a couple of reasons – not least of which was that it’s so bloody familiar. Uncle Pete is a deliberately unlikeable ratbag from an age when tins came with little keys attached. But what he’s saying (that if you’re a real manly man you wouldn’t even consider licking a cunt) is a sentiment I’ve heard over and over again. I’ve heard it said by adults. By people my age. By people who seem completely, actually serious about the words coming out of their mouths.
And, of course, it’s a belief that rife in the BDSM scene. The fear has its roots in the strange notion that going down on someone is an inherently submissive act. How, some people seem to wonder, can I still be dominant if I go down on my girlfriend? Will I still even count as dominant if I lick a cunt every now and then? Will my Official Dominant Man badge (these questions, by the way, are almost always asked by men) be revoked if I admit that I enjoy it?
All these questions stem from the idea that dominance is a set of actions you perform rather than a way of relating to a partner. Some actions, the belief runs, are dominant (doggy-style, spanking, throat-fucking, et al) while some are inherently submissive (giving oral, giving a massage, manual stimulation). Do enough actions from the wrong list and your alignment will shift. Next thing you know you’ll be getting fucked in the ass while wearing your girlfriend’s panties.
But that’s a dumb, limited way of looking at things. If that’s the way you see the act of giving oral to a woman… maybe try and use your imagination a little more. In case that’s hard, here’s a scene taken from a book I never finished writing:
I press her back into the bed and she parts her legs and I can taste her skin. The beautiful sweat of her body. All curves. I put a hand flat on her chest where her ribs meet and push her down into the bed. “Don’t move,” I say. “If you move I’ll stop.” I look her in the eye just long enough to see that she hears me, that she understands. And then I bring my mouth to her, to her cunt. Pliable, intimate skin that tastes of her. That is already wet. Her wetness and my spit co-mingling. Her hands grip the bedsheets. She breathes like she’s on a tightrope. I can feel the little twitches in the muscles of her legs, supressed as best she can. I can feel the moans she’s holding back under the ball of my hand.
Ask yourself who is in charge in that scene. And then ask yourself whether submission and dominance are ways of approaching a sexual encounter or just a laundry list of different acts. Almost anything can be done in a way that is dominant, submissive, neither or both. If you think something is always and only just one of those things… think harder.
One thing that’s noticeable in the many, many (many) Reddit threads that seem to crop up on this topic is a note of pleading. The implication is that the original poster would love to be able to go down on his partner, but just can’t see a way to do so without losing dom points. If only there was a way he could make it work. Perhaps this post is addressed more to them than to anyone else: if you want to do a thing, do the thing and enjoy it – and don’t worry so much about how it looks. When you do, you end up sounding a lot like Uncle Pete.
Who is, to be fair, hilarious. But that’s not the point.
In case you didn’t know, I also write filthy stories. Wanna read some?
Got an opinion on this? Tell me all about it, but don’t be a dick.
If you loved Horace and Pete as much as I did, we should be friends.