One step a-head

Sex on Tuesday

Photo of Khristina Holterman

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I can’t remember the last time I gave a blowjob. It’s not because there hasn’t been an opportunity or that the guys I’ve been with haven’t wanted one. No, it’s two things: I simply don’t feel like it, and I’m not being eaten out. 

But this realization was one I had to earn, and a lot of dicks stood in the way. 

Your first blowjob is hard to forget. It’s possibly the first time seeing a penis so up close and personal, and usually you’re not very good at it (unless you somehow already know all the tips and tricks, in which case, I’m jealous).

I’m lucky in a sense, though, because the first guy I gave head to was my boyfriend, and so I felt comfortable and loved regardless of the outcome — or, lack of an outcome, as ended up being the case. 

It was humiliating. Sure, I’d gotten some advice, watched some porn, and thought I understood the basics. But I was also extremely nervous and inexperienced — two things only time and practice could eliminate. 

So, alas, I kissed my way down to his dick, intimidated by this foreign object staring back at me, closed my eyes and focused, hard. Sucking mindlessly, I would glance up to him watching the movie instead of me, realizing he wasn’t feeling a thing. I tried harder, took a couple of breaks, flushed red with embarrassment. Finally, I asked for help. He tried guiding my hand, instructing my untrained body, until after what felt like hours I gave up, extremely frustrated and with an aching jaw.

I wanted to cry. He certainly didn’t finish, and I learned I certainly had no idea what I was doing. 

Fast forward a couple of years — many hookups later, countless blowjobs later — and head is the last thing I want to give. Nor do I even care about being good at it. 

Giving head in casual hookups, I learned, feels very different. 

Upon first entering the world of singleness, and eager to show off my newfound experience, I would gladly give a blowjob before sex. But as much as I tried to please my random partners, I quickly realized there would be little to no reciprocation. 

Somehow, minimal, unpleasant fingering made them deserving of blowjobs, but I was getting no head in return. In the world of booty calls and casual sex, it became apparent that getting eaten out is as rare as an orgasm. Translation: It probably won’t happen. 

On the anomalous occasions I did receive head, it felt like the guy was barely trying or simply didn’t care about my pleasure, in a constant hurry to get to the finish line of fucking.

But still, the desire in me to please my partners persisted. And so I accepted his mediocre fingering in exchange for the mind-blowing, if you will, oral I gave him. 

This sense of obligation isn’t uncommon. It’s said to be in our biology as women to nurture and care for others, but we’ve also been conditioned to consistently “put out” for our male counterparts. When a guy asks for head, it makes sense for me to match his request. But somehow it feels like I’m wishing for too much. There’s often a sense of shame attached to it, too. 

I’ve listened to immature boys complain about how “gross” it is to eat pussy, or even refer to a girl as “clam chowder.” Hearing such things would make any girl apprehensive to request reciprocation, fearing that the outcome may be far worse than none at all. 

So what can you do? Withhold. 

Unless a guy’s getting down there munching box first, deny him his beloved blowjob. If he’s unwilling to give head first, the odds he’ll reciprocate after he gets his are slim. 

It’s the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If I’m following said maxim, he better be too. If his head game is weak, he better believe I’ll be matching it, and if his head game is nonexistent, as is often the case, mine will be, too. 

It’s easy for me to say this now, after far too many times giving in to a man’s wishes over mine. But I’m not afraid to change the rules. If he isn’t willing to reciprocate, I’m not willing to play. Or we’ll skip to the end, the aforementioned finish line of fucking: a draw.  

Dismantling unequal societal expectations is hard but simply not participating has proven to be much easier. The last time I had casual sex and got eaten out first, I was the one staring off, unamused by his lack of skill, watching The Hunger Games playing in the background and waiting for him to ask for guidance. 

Maybe that’s cruel, but honestly, it felt deserved. And besides, we ended the game in a draw.

Khristina Holterman writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected]