feminist blow jobs

10 Aug

A while back, at the last Take Back the Night, I was invited as a guest speaker at the local university.  I spoke about how compulsory eroticized male dominance over women is bad, intentional, negotiated, consensual criticized domination is ok (and can even be a tool for healing).

The talk went great and I got lots of amazing questions from students, but as the questions slowly faded into the next talk an interesting issue came up;

blow jobs.

and wow… were people upset about them.

The speaker who followed me began by talking at great length about how blow jobs were only good for one thing, a “temporary elevation of status for the woman performing the blow job”. Her quote was met with grave nods of agreement from most of the audience.  During the discussion blow jobs were talked about in hushed tones, as if we were talking about something as grave as sex trafficking or female genital mutilation.  It was described as a disgusting, unthinkable act that no self-respecting woman would ever engage in, and it wasn’t just the old guard talking about it this way, most of the folks in the audience were my age or younger.

I was flabbergasted.  Firstly, because I LOVE blow jobs.  Blow jobs are a major part of my sexuality and I have a very hard time thinking of them as something bad.  Now, do I have a certain amount of self-hate over blow jobs (‘ya know, because I was taught that men and their men-penises are supposed to be bad) so, for me, letting someone suck me off means I have a great trust in the person I’m playing with.  For me, blow jobs end up being very powerful because it takes a great deal intimacy and trust.  Exposing a vulnerable side of myself in that way makes the act very powerful, and very sexy.  Listening to my fellow feminists talk about blow jobs in such disgusted tones made me want to hide in my seat.

…but since I was still on stage, this wasn’t an option.

The other reason I was so shocked at the blow job blow back was because I don’t understand how we could have gone through an hour of talking about kinky sex that occasionally includes intentional male domination, only to throw it all out the window at the mention of blow jobs.  I mean, if I could talk about rape play and take downs without causing a stir, it makes no sense to me that something as benign as oral sex should provoke such vehement opposition.

So, what makes blow jobs different?

I’m guessing a lot of it has to do with something that has a lot of feminists up in arms lately.  Porn.

While it’s true that there’s an awful lot of objectification, slut shaming, and abuse in some of the blow jobs scenes found in porn, it’s not all like that and it’s not what all blow jobs are. There are several sites, like The Art of Blowjob, where all of the blow jobs are sensual to the point of being downright gentle.  Camille Crimson (creator of The Art of Blowjob) is not the stereotype the anti-porn feminists would have you believe is the typical porn star.

Camille describes her motivation for creating site as something saying,

“… I wanted to show the world a more artistic, sensual and erotic side of the blow job, which I think is the most incredible sex act. I made this website completely by myself to pay homage to the blow job, using all my own coding and design…”

Camille isn’t coerced.  She isn’t the victim.  She’s intelligent and empowered by the work she does.  She isn’t just giving blow jobs for pay, she’s created art and the fact that she did it with her own coding skills (especially since they’re such a huge gender gap in tech) makes it even more awesome.  That, and the fact that she certainly seems to have a lot of fun doing it.

As feminists, isn’t this what we should want to see more of?

I can agree that blow jobs are very often used as symbols of male domination, but talking about blow jobs like they always mean nonconsensual violence against women makes it sound like any girl who enjoys blow jobs is a tool of the patriarchy.

.

It should also be noted that just because something looks violent doesn’t mean that it is.

Audacia Ray (one of my favorite sex-worker rights activists) summed it up nicely on her blog a while back,

“It’s often hard to tell just from looking at a visual representation whether or not the performers are being placed under duress or if their working conditions are bad. Can you tell by looking at a tee shirt whether it was made by workers in ethical working conditions? Nope. Not unless you look at the label and then do your homework on the company.

Sometimes when I present the idea that its not the aggressive anal/choking/cum splattering that makes porn unethical or unfeminist, but the conditions under which the performers are doing said acts, people say things like, “its impossible to know what the working conditions are.” It isn’t impossible – it just requires some research. Just as people research textile factory conditions and then put pressure on corporations to have better practices – the same could happen with porn.” [emphasis added]

This is very important to me because a great deal of the porn that I’m personally involved in looks pretty violent even though it isn’t. Work at fetishannex.com feels like  family.  Everybody knows each other.  Everybody takes care of everybody else.  I mean, my boss even helped me move a washer and dryer into my new house even though he had a frighteningly busy week.  Safety is taken incredibly seriously, including potential emotional safety.  I’ve spent days talking about the potential emotional risks of some scenes with the director and co-actors before doing them. In addition to making me feel MUCH more comfortable, I’ve found it often helps us come up with some pretty wild scenarios that end up reallyreallyREALLY turning me on (see the time I had my panties cut off with a sword).

Also, since most of the really dark scary stuff was the product of the imaginings of the actors making it happen (and since it’s fairly hard to coerce yourself) I’m pretty fucking confident when I say fetishannex is an ethical porn company.

I also want to point out that I discovered my love of giving blow jobs while chained (kicking and screaming) over a barrel, and it makes me VERY sad that no matter how much I talk about how much I enjoy it (and how many times I broke character by smiling in between screams) there are some feminists who want to put a stop to it for my sake.

Even though there are undoubtedly some porn stars (and textile manufacturers) who are very unhappy, I’m not abused and I don’t want to be saved.

There is, of course, an argument that says I only feel this way because I’ve been brainwashed by the porn industry to think this is what I want and, well, since it’s a bit of a logical dead end (I can’t prove it wrong and they can’t prove it to be true) I’m not even going to try to address it.  Suffice it to say that even if I have been brainwashed, who’s it to say I should be stopped if I’m having fun since I’m not hurting anybody.  Let ze who is without lust cast the first brick.

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oh and as a parting shot… TEETH!  How ‘come nobody ever mentions teeth?

I mean, someone can still totally be forced into giving a blow job (hello, social power!) but the person performing the blowjob can probably still give a really good bite.  Even if they don’t have great teeth.

3 Responses to “feminist blow jobs”

  1. Jared August 12, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Another site that is like Art of Blowjob is http://www.felluciablow.com/index.html.
    It makes me wonder that two different red heads started doing two different sites that are extremely similar.

    It is also interesting to note that it seems like a lot of the anti-speak at least in terms of blowjobs seems to be part of some personal ick factor that is being incredibly politicized. However, that political Ick factor seems to be define what a woman is again instead of shrugging off gender constraints. I mean calling people brainwashed sexbots isn’t really productive.

    Of course calling the naysayers unsexed prudes probably isn’t helpful either. I think there is value is examining the act for meanings just like it extremely useful looking at relationships for common patterns and scripts that just may have larger meanings. But for my own two cents, I say we have to look at how blowjobs are practiced as a society instead of just making these blanket statements of how they are always good or always bad. The act itself is most likely innocent, but power dynamics lurk behind the scenes as they always do.

  2. oliver Hyde August 13, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    agreed!
    I can speak to the fact that they’re at least not all bad, but without putting my researcher hat on (and getting a HUGE grant) it’s difficult to say how blow jobs exist in and affect our society.

  3. Mommy Fiercest August 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    Fabulous and thoughtful piece. My perception has been that even in kink communities the act of giving a blow job is often considered an inherently submissive act. I must admit that while I do snicker when I see photos of pro dommes wearing collars (I know, I know, dommes can wear whatever the hell they want) I am a female dominant who loves to give my submissives head! And I never feel submissive or powerless or like I’m deep throating “the patriarchy” while I am doing it.

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