Topping the Velvet: A Conversation About Cunnilingus

T

“What are ways to perform oral sex while remaining the
dominant partner?”—Reddit

 

“People I know say that giving a female oral is an inherently
submissive act.”—Reddit

Vagabond: When I first started seeing questions and comments like these on BDSM forums, I was surprised. It had never occurred to me that someone in a dominant role would think performing oral on a woman was somehow a submissive act by default.

Mimsy: I’m confused by these comments as well and am disappointed that they always seem to be specific to men going down on women—as if the act of cunnilingus is somehow threatening to these guys’ manliness.

Vagabond: I understand that this may not be the case in all cultures and subcultures, but when I was growing up, all the straight guys I knew were obsessed with the idea of giving a woman head. This is doubly true of my primarily dominant friends, who often fixate on a fantasy of keeping a woman restrained and “at his mercy” as he goes down on her.

Mimsy: The truth is that no sex act is inherently dominant or submissive. It depends on the dynamics of the scene.

Vagabond: Exactly. Imagine this: I order you to get on the bed and spread your legs open. As I start licking you, I pin your arms down by your sides so you can’t move. As you get close to coming, I stop and tell you to—  

Mimsy: And if I wanted to turn the tables and make you feel submissive, I could push your head down, demand that you look at me, or give you specific orders about how to pleasure me.  

Vagabond: So how do you think the act of performing oral sex on a woman became automatically equated with submission for some men?

Mimsy: I think one problem is that cunnilingus is sort of overlooked in the pantheon of sexual activity in popular culture and media. In porn, for example, it’s usually portrayed as a cursory stepping stone to intercourse. Far more screen time is devoted to blow jobs because there’s far more emphasis on men’s pleasure in media generally.  

The fact that cunnilingus is given short shrift in porn as well as mainstream movies and television makes it seem like it’s not worthy of men’s time, which plays into the idea that going down on a woman is akin to performing a giant favor without getting anything out of it in return. In that scenario, the man is serving the woman and is, by extension, in a submissive role because of this.

Vagabond: It’s true that cunnilingus isn’t given much screen time in “boy-girl” hardcore porn, but I can attest that it’s ubiquitous in “lesbian” porn, which is by far the most popular porn category worldwide. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that according to recent sex research, almost all men fantasize about going down on women, whether they’re  tops, bottoms, or vanillas, and evidently they love to do it.

Mimsy: It seems as though there’s a disconnect between the prioritization of male pleasure in media and what men, whether top or bottom, are actually into.

Vagabond: Obviously submissive guys love to please their dommes. But dominant guys want to tip the velvet just as much—only for their own pleasure first and foremost, not for her benefit.

I feel the most dominant when I perform oral sex on you, because your attention is completely mine. I can make your entire body move and shake with the tiniest flick of my tongue. I can deny you pleasure or torture you without moving an inch. I also feel completely in control of your mind. In those moments, I believe you when you say you’ll do anything I want as long as I don’t stop.

Mimsy: I’ve never felt any sort of role reversal when you go down on me. In fact, I feel like you have me under total control.

I guess the question now is how to convince all the doubters out there that it can be a dominant act.

Vagabond: We should remind these insecure guys that allowing a false media narrative to get in the way of their pleasure is pitiable. Why let submissive men have all the fun? Taking what I want and making a submissive beg—well, I can’t think of anything more dominant than that.

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