THE ORGASMIC DOUBLE STANDARD

By: MIGHTY PURSUIT TEAM

For as far back as we can remember, at least in the media age, we’ve all been exposed to the predominant narrative of what a sexual encounter entails. This stretches across cultural depictions of nearly every relationship -- whether it be a casual hookup, a dating relationship or even marriage. A man and a woman find themselves in bed. They go at it for a bit. The man gets off. The end. The length of this experience could vary. Maybe it only lasts 10 seconds (as seen in 2010’s She's Out of My League), which definitely doesn’t bode well for the man, who ultimately gets subjected to a brutal session of trash talking from the boys for his lack of stamina. Or perhaps the male is a sexual savant who is celebrated for his hyper-sexuality and ability to romp all night like in 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love Regardless, the message culture is sending is loud and clear.  Peggy Orenstein says it best in her 2020 NY Times bestseller Boys & Sex, “[whether] in the locker room, in pop culture, in social media, in porn, from their friends, from their own fathers -- [men] learn to see sex as impersonal and female bodies as vehicles for their own gratification.” On a more personal level, one college student added in Lisa Wade’s 2018 bestseller American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus: “the guy kind of expects to get off while the girl doesn’t expect anything.’ Now before you click off because you think this is going to be some sort of rambling man-hating tirade, hold your horses. The way of Jesus is one that affirms both men AND women as equal parts, made in the image of the same God. Militant feminism is not the answer to toxic masculinity.  Wait... are you really talking about Jesus in the same sentence as blowjobs?  Yes. Yes we are. For fundamentalists, this might be offensive. And for nonspiritual folk, this might be laughable.  But if Jesus, who claimed to be God, created the world we are living in, wouldn’t he have a lot to say about the sexual dynamics between men and women?  If he is the creator of sex, then talking about blowjobs in the context of our sexuality has great relevance. And as his followers, we can’t compartmentalize what we choose to talk about and ignore the intricacies of the sexual ethics that plague our world.  So let’s talk about blowjobs, cunnilingus and everything else that comes along with the cultural complexities of sexual pleasure.  Before we get started though… It's important to keep in mind what both science and scripture say is the idyllic sexual environment, which is a safe space with a committed, loving partner who we can openly communicate and express our feelings with and which we feel secure with. This is the backdrop to which we’re going to explore fellatio and cunnilingus today, specifically in relation to marriage. So ladies, fellas… buckle up.

THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF VALUE

The conversation around this orgasmic battle between fellatio and cunnilingus starts with a simple premise. A double standard that can often be so subtle, you wouldn’t even realize it because of how “normal” sex is depicted in our society. And the premise is this. I’m more valuable than you. For the man, it’s essential that he get off. I mean, isn’t that how sex is supposed to end? Culture has even conditioned women to think this way. One student told Wade, “I don’t feel like I’ve had a sexual experience if the guy doesn’t come.” Remarkably, Wade said that “some women feel that expecting an orgasm from a male hookup partner is demanding or rude.” And some men most definitely feel this way, as a male student told Wade, “I don’t give a s**t about the importance of the female orgasm.” Strong (and telling) words indeed. These comments came in the context of hookup culture, which as we've talked about in the past, is toxic. But you’d be surprised how often this line-of-thinking creeps it’s way into marriage through less overt ways. While men are more likely to be open to the female orgasm and cunnilingus in marriage, their actions would still suggest it’s not on the top of their list of priorities. Case in point, let’s just say you and your lady are having sex. You orgasm. And then you get up to go to the bathroom and clean yourself. The end.  No communication. No asking what you can do to please her or better yet, creating the environment in which she feels comfortable enough to voice her needs. The whole experience was designed around the man getting off. So in that sense, the worst thing you want to communicate to your wife is that she’s less valuable than you, even if it comes through nonverbal cues. Because for one, you’re not more valuable. Scripture is clear that we are equally made in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and that there should be no differences in worth and value amongst the sexes (Gal 3:28).  Two, the call from God for husbands is actually to serve their wives. Which goes to say, there should be a holistic approach - mind, body, soul - to the way men should be serving their wives. And this absolutely includes the female orgasm. Dr. Tim Keller says it best in his NY-Times bestseller The Meaning of Marriage: “Each partner in marriage is to be most concerned not with getting sexual pleasure but with giving it. In short, the greatest sexual pleasure should be the pleasure of seeing your spouse getting pleasure. When you get to the place where giving arousal is the most arousing thing, you are practicing this principle.”

THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF SACRIFICE

Servanthood is connected to sacrifice, which most certainly means putting your boo’s needs before your own. Yet for some, this sacrifice stretches to even greater lengths that are filled with certain…. aromas. “I tend to be more self-conscious about the way I taste or smell, even though I know I’m very clean and it’s really his problem if he doesn’t like it,” one student told Wade.  You’re really going there... Yup. Because the tastes and smells surrounding oral sex have great relevance to the topic of sacrifice. It’s one thing to put your needs before the other, but it’s an entirely different subject if you enjoy doing the act in the first place. And for men, there’s a cultural entitlement that seeps its way into our marriages that we deserve to get blowjobs, never even considering if our wife likes the taste or smell. But as it turns out… “Why someone might find fellatio unappetizing: the smell of a man’s genitals after being confined in a pair of pants all day, the difficulty of getting a penis in one’s mouth, pubic hairs caught in teeth, the effort to create suction that strains the muscles underneath the jaw, difficulty catching one’s breath, and the taste of precum and semen,” says Wade, pondering the whole ordeal.  Yet when the tables are turned, it appears there is a cultural taboo surrounding cunnilingus and the aromas that come from female genitals. One student told Wade, “Many girls are a little uncomfortable and insecure about being eaten out, including myself. We women are afraid of being judged and talked about as being smelly or whatever.” This is not just a hookup culture thing. The embarrassment and shame that can come over a woman when her husband starts talking about it being smelly down there is enough to silence her into never asking to be pleased again. But like… your junk smells too, bro.  Leading sex educator Dr. Emily Nagoski puts it this way in her NY-Times bestseller Come As You Are, “An important point about genitals: they get wet sometimes, and they have a fragrance. A scent. A rich and earthy bouquet, redolent of grass and amber, with a hint of woody musk. Genitals are aromatic, sometimes and sticky sometimes, too.” This applies to both women AND men. Let’s get over it. In the end, this entire predicament is quite possibly the smelliest of double standards. It reeks of entitlement and it miserably fails the call for husbands to sacrifice for their wives. We have to clean the slate, erase the cultural taboos surrounding this subject and be willing to have an open, honest conversation with our spouses about this.  And women, it’s okay to speak up. Don’t be shamed into silence. You don’t need to put up with his blatant entitlement of blowjobs, while your needs and genitals are laughed away as an afterthought.

THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF SHAME

And here we arrive at the final double standard, which is often created as a trickle down effect from the first two double standards. Women become uncomfortable and filled with shame about their own bodies. “Our culture sends mixed messages to women about their genital fluids… or their lack thereof. On the one hand, ejaculation is viewed as a quintessentially masculine event and women’s genitals are, ya know, shameful, so for a woman’s body to do something so emphatic and wet is unacceptable,” says Dr. Nagoski. But as we learned from the Erotic Bible, this was not so from the beginning of time. Scripture says, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25) Keyword is THEY.  Not “he felt no shame”, but they felt no shame. “When you were born, you were deeply, gloriously satisfied with each and every part of your body. But decades of sex-negative culture have let in weeds of dissatisfaction,” Nagoski emphatically states. It only takes a moment of pondering a baby who is quickly growing up into their toddler years to understand how true this is. Two-year-olds are shameless when it comes to their own nakedness.  In fact, you can find them curiously looking at themselves in the mirror, which is in stark contrast to the adult female that can’t even bear to look at her own vulva. And as this translates over to marriage, we have failed to create the ideal sexual environment that God had designed from the beginning: one in which we feel secure and in a safe, open space. One of Jesus’s original apostles, Paul, puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 13 as he describes the defining characteristics of love: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. By our count, there are at least five principles of love that are being violated here. This should matter to men everywhere. 

We’re not protecting women by creating environments that encourage body-shaming and insecurity. We’re not honoring them by creating embarrassment around their genital smells. We are not being sacrificial when we seek our own interests, demanding our right to a blowjob.

The fallout? Women everywhere who are intensely self-critical about their own vaginas (and by extension, bodies). Thoughts and feelings that are never quite voiced out loud, but ring true in their head nonetheless. And collectively, the amount of intimacy we can experience with our wives is capped. We rob ourselves of the freedom and beauty of being completely naked in front of one another, with no shame.

ERASING THE DOUBLE STANDARDS

If you need to be reminded from the opening lines, our posture in responding to toxic masculinity is not militant feminism. It’s the way of Jesus. Which goes to say as we call men out, we also have to call them up and into their full potential. We can poke fun at this topic, but in the end it’s a serious issue that stretches the bounds of our culture. This is about fellatio and cunnilingus -- but it’s not solely about that. The dynamics around oral sex are just a small part of a bigger conversation surrounding stereotypical roles that men and women are pigeon-holed into by society. The answer is not for women to become more like men -- often overly sexual and demanding -- but for both genders collectively to become more like Jesus as we step into God’s perfect design for sexual love, romance and marriage. It is with Jesus at the center that we seek first to give sexual pleasure, not to receive. It is with Jesus at the center that we protect our spouse, not shame. It is with Jesus at the center that we are able to create safe environments in which our marriage can thrive in the most intimate of ways. Most importantly, we must take care of our women. They are suffering from body-shaming and so often are voiceless in these conversations. Jesus provides a voice to the voiceless, a liberator to the overlooked and oppressed. It is precisely by following his way that we can bridge the "orgasm gap" and step into model to the most sexually satisfying and erotic relationships we've ever experienced. For more on sex, click here to visit our Sex Hub.

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