How Girls Got So Casual About Oral Sex

Oral sex among teens has suddenly become a big deal. I blogged earlier about all the rah-rah about a new study that said 50% of teens have had oral sex, or when Cornel West equated cocaine, oral sex, and blogs as all evils among adolescents.

Caitlin Flanagan wrote a long, funny, and serious essay/book reviews in the latest Atlantic on this topic, although she can’t avoid the cliched pun when closing with a serious point about feminism ("Here are America’s girls: on their knees.")

She writes with charming accuracy (from my viewpoint) on how oral sex became hip, how the media went bonzo over it, how parents attempt to transmit do’s and don’ts, and how over-eager gender studies professors try to turn this into the latest patriarchal domination story. She also examines the feminist implications of all this, even meandering into ghangsta culture and what it means that girls taught to exercise their free will and be aggressive are deciding to listen to rap music which is telling them to lick and suck. This deserves its own article and was a bit of a distraction.

Of course the reason why oral sex is an interesting trend for we feminists to look at is it’s apparently a one-way street. Flanagan concludes:

…A girl may derive a variety of consequences, intended and otherwise, from servicing boys in this manner, but her own sexual gratification is not one of them. The modern girl’s casual willingness to perform oral sex may—as some cool-headed observers of the phenomenon like to propose—be her way of maintaining a post-feminist power in her sexual dealings, by being fully in control of the sexual act and of the pleasure a boy receives from it. Or it may be her desperate attempt to do something that the culture refuses to encourage: to keep her own sexuality—the emotions and the desires, as well as the anatomical real estate itself—private, secret, unviolated. It may not be her technical virginity that she is trying to preserve; it may be her own sexual awakening—which is all she really has left to protect anymore.

3 comments on “How Girls Got So Casual About Oral Sex
  • “[sic]it may be her own sexual awakening—which is all she really has left to protect anymore.”


    One would need to realize that there exists something to protect in order to begin protecting it. My take is that girls are no more aware of their own capacity or “right” to “extract” sexual pleasure for themselves then were their baby boomer and gen x counterparts.

  • The New Yorker recently ran the following item, titled “Overheard on the Barnard Campus”: “I can’t decide whether to get married this Christmas or come back and face all my problems.” Phone Sex
    If Susie becomes engaged, she can, in a way, stop trying so hard.

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