Cunnilingus and/or fellatio. Mutual simultaneous oral sex is sixty-nine.

Oral sex occupies the middle ground in sexual ethics. Bill Clinton famously claimed that while he had received oral sex, he was nevertheless speaking factually when he claimed not to have had sex with that woman. Ordinary citizens, especially those for whom virginity is important, can enjoy oral sex without feeling like they've lost their innocence. Which is bullshit, really, because when you've seen the look on your partner's face at the moment of orgasm, and they've seen the same look on your face, you're no longer the same person.

Oral sex is also a wonderful way to learn about what your partner enjoys, since you're not necessarily distracted by your own pleasure.

I must agree, BUT...

If you've had oral sex, you're technically still a virgin. However, seeing that look on your partner's face does change something. I thought it was great the first time her eyes rolled up in her head and she had that "first orgasm" grin. Oh, and her toes curled up. That was terrific, too. Nothing like it. A year and a half later, we're still getting better at pleasuring each other, and although intercourse is now the main deal, a good hand job or blow job (for either of us) works when the schedule is tight, or the location is a little too public to actually strip and get down (like the changing room at the Gap or a grove of trees at a state park at three in the afternoon). But anyway, oral sex is indeed a mighty fine thing, even if it does taste a little fishy.

Okay, so I overheard a conversation between two sixteen-or-seventeen-year-olds in the shop today, and it brought back to mind something that has bothered me ever since the Bill Clinton -Monica Lewinsky thing.

Girl One: So, girl had sex with boy after the party?
Girl Two: No, she bottled out and just gave him a blow-job.

Just? JUST?

I will never understand the concept that says that oral sex is a lesser thing than penetrative sex. How much more intimate can you get than putting some other person's bits in your mouth (or vice versa) for goodness sake? I've seen people cringe at the very idea of using their boyfriend/girlfriend's toothbrush to clean their teeth, but they'll blithely go down on that same partner. Is it just me, or does this lack any semblance of logic?

Now, I have a lot of good friends, people I love dearly, and I can see situations where, if they were particularly depressed or needy, I might indulge in a little horizontal jogging to cheer them up or offer comfort, but I can't even imagine providing "Lip service" (as my mother so discreetly calls it) to anyone I wasn't "in love" with.

Yet the view that "Oral sex isn't real sex" seems widespread. I've heard people who've vowed to remain chaste till their wedding discussing how they overcome their lustful urges through the giving and receiving of it. Now, I'll accept that one can retain one's virginity that way, if one holds to the technical definition of a virgin, but somehow, I can't call it chaste, pure or innocent.

Oh well, maybe, I'm old-fashioned. Maybe, I'm strange. I still don't understand it.

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