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Sex and the SafeRide

Fluid Dynamics II

By Alexia Summers
COLUMNIST

Tracey Cox, the author of “Hot Relationships,” offers women a few tips on oral sex in a column on Women.com. The final tip to convince your man to give you oral sex advises a girl to “point out, gently but firmly, that it seems awfully unfair for you to try so hard to give him pleasure if he’s not going to return the favor. Again, I don’t support making threats, but it is certainly acceptable to point out the unfairness of it all.”

This references one of the most prominent unwritten rules in all of American sexuality: girl goes down on guy, guy better go down on girl. I’ll put it in my mouth, but you better go down on me, deal?

But is that reciprocity implied or even required in real life? Just because someone gives you oral sex, must you return the favor? Or should it even be considered a favor? It seems that this is the case. Throughout popular culture, we are constantly bombarded with images of casual sex, sex with no strings attached, and sex purely for pleasure. Rapper 50 Cent put it rather nicely, “I’m into having sex, I ain’t into making love...”

Despite this absence of real emotional connection between lovers, the sexually active have come to realize that you can’t get something for nothing. Even sex doesn’t come for free -- especially for those who desire it purely for pleasure. When two selfish lovers come together on a one-night stand, there has to be a certain level of reciprocity if anyone is going to get some.

The origins of this reciprocity could potentially be linked to our society’s concern with giving and receiving. We attempt to give presents that will cost the same amount as what we expect to receive. I have come to realize that this tendency is inherently American. While visiting a friend in Mexico, she asked me, “Is it true that you take turns inviting your friends over? If someone has you over to his or her home for dinner, the next time it is your turn to invite that friend over to your house?”

I had never thought about this rule of polite society, but I agreed that it most definitely was the case. With deeply-rooted materialism and social equality, sexual obligations are also implicit.

Since childhood, we are taught that there is reward in sharing equally and being generous. However, this generosity is eventually downplayed as we learn the value of money. As we grow older and lose our childhood innocence, we grow more selfish and more aware of what we want and how we plan to get it. Sadly, this selfishness is translated to all areas of life, even sexuality. When it comes to oral sex, many would not agree that it is better to give than to receive.

Oral sex should not be about giving to receive or giving because one has received. Oral sex should be enjoyable for both people involved. If mutual enjoyment is not the case, then the oral sex is no longer deepening the intimacy between the couple. Instead, this lack of shared enjoyment shows a deeper problem, selfishness (desire to receive) or guilt (necessity to give).

This “balance of oral sex” will create either a surplus of sexual pleasure for one partner or a sexual debt for the other. In a relationship, it is obviously better to seek equality, but only to a point. Keeping tally on whose turn is it really will only cause intimacy to seem more like a chore -- this week you lick the penis and next week I’ll rub the clitoris.

Instead, consider oral sex a pleasure, regardless of role. Do not allow yourself to feel forced into giving oral sex and do not expect to receive every time. By focusing more on the act of oral sex, you can become better at pleasuring your partner. When a couple is focused on each other, oral sex can be an intimate experience shared equally.

Alexia Summers is a pseudonymous female undergraduate who writes about sex and dating in college from a woman’s perspective.