Monday, October 24, 2005

Oral Sex: How to Have Fun and Still be a Virgin

A reader just read my piece on Abortion, Abstinence-Only, and the Debate Over "Need." and alerted me to this article published in the Dickinson College's school newspaper, The Dickinsonian (from Oct 6th).

Here is a bit of the article on Oral Sex, modesty and Christianity:

Liz is one of many who are struggling with the concept of oral sex.

During a recent interview, Liz confessed secrets about her oral sex life. She kept emphasizing, however, that she only engaged in oral sex - nothing else. "I'm still technically a virgin; no penetration," she repeated over and over again; "I'm saving myself for the right man. Only he will get to have real pleasure from me."

Some label Liz a church mouse; others, like her roommate, consider her a whore.

She says a daily prayer and calls her mother just to say she loves her. On her bookshelf sits a worn, leather-bound King James Bible, complete with pink note tabs highlighting Bible verses she reads and memorizes at night. Next to God's Holy Book are the past six issues of Cosmo, also with pink note tabs, highlighting sex tricks that she should keep in mind to please her man. She keeps a notebook listing the tricks she thinks she needs for weekend entertainment.

She has an off-campus boyfriend at a large northern university whom she has been dating for over a year. Whenever his name came up in conversation, her eyes took on a dreamy expression, and the corners of her mouth turned up in a smile. At the mere mention of him, her audacious voice would suddenly become subdued. She is in love.

Liz has several current oral sex partners other than her boyfriend. Most of them are off campus and attend large colleges and universities in Pennsylvania . Her boyfriend encourages these extra-curricular activities so she'll "be a better girlfriend."

According to Liz, pleasuring multiple men is not a form of cheating. "It's just an activity, like running cross country or playing tennis." She continued, "I don't feel anything emotionally when I go down on other guys. I only feel something when I perform for my guy. I perform for him." She has, in one night, given head to six different guys, three while they were playing poker at a non-Dickinson-affiliated party. No guys, including her boyfriend, reciprocate the kind of oral 'activity' she performs on them. (my emphasis)

She spoke with a mixture of pride and shame about her sexual activity. Her voice was nonchalant, yet confident; her eyes were bright and focused. It was as if she was challenging me to listen to her bold, sensual words. But with every detail of her private life she revealed, her face grew a shade pinker. The same bright eyes became downcast, looking at the floor in embarrassment.

She talked only of techniques, how she has improved on her oral performance, and how her boyfriend "loves her more now that I know what I'm doing." At one point she stopped and said, "Are you still confused about what I'm saying? Wait just a second." And before I could stop her, she went to her bookshelf, where her Bible and stack of Cosmos were, pulled down a box, and took out a neon-blue dildo, with a smiley face at its tip. She uses it to practice her oral techniques. Liz's face was blood-red; her eyes were looking intensely at her beige carpet. "My boyfriend gave it to me on our anniversary," she said shyly, "(In order) for me to improve."

I will never look at smiley faces the same way again.

Liz is trapped by a desire to please and her apparent modesty. She has to be a pure but experienced whore to keep her boyfriend. She never talks about any kind of pleasure she gets from what she does. She smiles whenever she talks of her boyfriend, but however whimsical-looking, her smile appears hollow. Liz is in conflict, and no one knows it.

When the interview was over, her roommate came running after me. A silver Christian cross adorned her neck and a braided "Jesus Loves Me" bracelet lay across her right wrist; a white cotton dress clung loosely to her torso and draped across her knees. The picture of maidenly innocence. In a quick, hushed tone she whispered, "We're not all like (Liz) you know, right? Good girls know that their mouths aren't meant to go, you know, down there. We know better than that. We don't taint ourselves."