The other day I watched a TED Talk by parenting coach Lisa Bunnage, who has been talking with troubled teenagers for decades. During a session, she asked a 16-year old girl about her weekend, and the girl replied: “It was the usual. I partied, drank a bit and met a new guy. He’s okay. I didn’t like him that much and I wouldn’t let him kiss me.”
Bunnage said she was proud of her.
The girl added: “So I just gave him a blow job instead.”
Bunnage hid her surprise and shortly after was in session with a 14-year old boy. He told her he was at a party and shared his drink with a girl. Then he complained: “Afterwards, she wouldn’t give me a blow job.” It happened in the early 2000s, right at the start of the hookup culture. From then on, things only got worse. Bunnage has clients who tell her they’ve been to rainbow parties, where girls in drinking games apply different colors of lipstick and drag their mouths over boys’ penises to leave a rainbow behind. That’s one of the tamest games played, according to Bunnage.
Then my 19-year-old reader Lily M. on Wattpad tells me she knows girls who give blowjobs in exchange for having their homework done: “But it’s been happening for quite some time now. I’ve known people that started either requesting or offering it as payment since 9th grade.”
What the heck?
Apparently, in our pornified culture blowjobs are not that different from handshakes. When did teens become so indifferent to their bodies? Now let’s think for a moment. Our bodies weren’t found in a dumpster for us to stick anything into them or mingle with whatever piece of flesh we happen to share a drink with.
Sex is not banal. Our bodies are not banal. We are not banal.
However, blowjobs being staple in porn and implied everywhere you look—from beer ads to burger ads and even covers of traditional magazines—what else could you expect? Images are powerful, and the repeated exposure to them influences behavior. People have been indoctrinated to believe blowjobs are not only banal but a social norm, and girls have been indoctrinated to regard their bodies as a commodity—so no, the images you see in ads, films, music videos and whatnot are not harmless.
In her TED Talk about casual sex, Dr. Zhana Vrangalova lists a series of positive aspects to it, among which connecting with new people and gaining sexual experience. What Vrangalova suggests is perfect: do it only if you want it, as it may not be for everyone, and definitely avoid casual sex when you’re drunk, as it blurs your defenses, impairs your ability to feel pleasure and also to remember your experience the next day. I totally agree about alcohol consumption, as excesses in that department are a recurrent theme in the hookup scene. I also agree with her that in an ideal world casual sex works well. After all, casual or not, sex is healthy. But in our non-ideal world, where girls are under social pressure to say yes—and then risk being labeled sluts for saying it–that may not be the case.
There’s more. According to Vrangalova, studies show an “orgasm gap” between men and women in casual sex. In a sample of 20 thousand undergrads, 80% of men had an orgasm in their most recent hookup against 40% of women. So women should learn to be more selfish and speak out their wants and likes, and men should learn to be more giving in order to close that gap. Sociologist Paula England from Stanford offers additional data from her studies: in interviews with college students, she found out that when it came to only one of the parties receiving oral sex during a hookup, men were the receivers 30% more often. “It does seem that a lot of the hookup is organized around pleasuring men more than women” she concludes. As far as orgasms go, England also confirms the gap.
Does that come as a surprise? Besides women usually requiring more time to orgasm, do you remember that thing about porn being a major reference to sex in our culture? Porn teaches exactly the opposite: men take, women give. In relationships, as opposed to hookups, the orgasm gap decreases, but it is still there.
Hookups, happiness and stats
On her website, Vrangalova has a page dedicated to The Casual Sex Project for people to share their experiences. In the first year, over 1,200 stories were up, written by people all over the world, and most related to a positive experience with casual sex. I found it intriguing that in another TED Talk on hookup culture Donna Freitas comes to the opposite conclusion. She’s a professor, and while giving a course on dating and spirituality, one of her students said she hooked up a lot and actually didn’t know why because she didn’t even liked it but kept doing it all the same. She asked the other students if anyone else felt the same. And one by one, every single person in the class said they actually did feel the same way but thought they were the only ones.
Freitas wondered if her students were an exception, and for the next 10 years traveled the US talking to college students about sex, hookups and everything in between. “Young adults believe they are supposed to be casual about sex in college,” says Freitas. She lays out the official social contract for the hookup: 1) Anything from kissing to sex; 2) Brief; 3) Feel zero emotion so you don’t get attached—which means avoiding communication in order to avoid caring; 4) Alcohol—unofficial clause. In regard to their attitude towards hookups, 41% of the students interviewed by Freitas were profoundly unhappy, 23% were ambivalent (the “whateverists” as she calls them, whose numbers are growing) and 36% were “more or less fine.”
Something else came to light in her research. Students kept repeating that “hookup is efficient.” She didn’t know what they meant and probed. They explained: while being so busy with their tight college schedules, they believed they didn’t have time for relationships, and hookups took care of sex—just like a washer takes care of dishes. They regarded hookups as the only option. Freitas states: “There is a lot of suffering, alienation and shame around hooking up for both men and women, and not living up to hookup culture’s expectations of ambivalence and callousness about sex.” On the other hand, they all got excited about the possibility of going on a date. So students, both men and women, would like to date but felt they were not allowed to. They yearned for romance, connection, communication—and “talking for hours and hours.”
So… how come Zhana Vrangalova and Donna Freitas reached such disparate conclusions? I think I know why that happened. Casual sex can be good if it is authentic: respect yourself, your wishes, your boundaries, and have an authentic connection no matter how casual. Hookups are not authentic, they’re a social imposition. I also believe most stories about casual sex on Vrangalova’s website were positive because when people have a good experience they’re more likely to want to share it than when they have a meaningless or unpleasant one.
I was shocked when I watched the 2000 documentary Behind the Life by Dawn McGhee featuring interviews with pornstars. One nicknamed Kitten lost her virginity anally when she was 12. Another known as Veronika lost her vaginal virginity when she was 12 too: her classmate called her and asked if she “wanted to fuck” and she replied, “sure.” He brought along a friend, and Veronika had sex with both boys thinking it was what she was supposed to do.
So we see pre-teen girls losing their virginity through anal sex and with more than one partner. Where did that come from? Sounds familiar? Yeah, we can imagine a little porn scene right there.
Enacted by 12-year old children.
It goes to show, once more, how the pornified culture robs children of their precious innocence all the while distorting the essence of sex. Another documentary, the excellent Hot Girls Wanted directed by Rashida Jones in 2015, follows a group of 18-year-old amateur porn actresses. One of the girls shrugs: “Sex means nothing nowadays.”
If hookups are supposed to be meaningless, they end up being unfulfilling. It’s as simple as that.
Sex is not banal. Our bodies are not banal. We are not banal: we crave real intimacy, be it casual or not. If it’s not real, what’s the point?
Efficiency? Social validation?
Never sleep with someone you wouldn’t want to be
There’s a school of thought that discusses the energetic cord forming when you are in a relationship. That cord links you and the other person. Sex, no matter how casual, creates energy cords in a similar fashion. Now, if the person you’re intimate with has bad energy—either from themselves or other sexual partners—that’s what you’ll be carrying around once the energies of both of you mingle and the cord is created. If you don’t cleanse your energy and cut off the cord, it will stay with you.
A woman named Lisa Chase Patterson wrote this:
“Pay attention to whom you share your intimate energy with. Intimacy at this level intertwines your aural energy with the aural energy of the other person. These powerful connections, regardless of how insignificant you think they are, leave spiritual debris, particularly within people who do not practice any type of cleansing, physical, emotional or otherwise. The more you interact intimately with someone, the deeper the connection and the more of their aura is intertwined with yours. Imagine the confused aura of someone who sleeps with multiple people and carries around these multiple energies? What they may not realize is that others can feel that energy which can repel positive energy and attract negative energy into your life. I always say, never sleep with someone you wouldn’t want to be.”
“Intimate energy,” by the way, includes blowjobs.
On my next post, I’ll take a look at the rape culture. Does it exist? Is it a joke? The rape culture on American campuses was mapped by two brave survivors and later confirmed. It turns out to be an epidemic. Yet many deny it and hate those who speak against rape. Why is that? Let’s talk about it.