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Going Down in History, Part 2

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A dozen years have passed since a curvy intern and the President of the United States launched an infamous sex scandal that left a mark infinitely more indelible on our culture than a telltale DNA stain on a blue dress.

  Oral Fixation

Rachel Kramer Bussel, author and editor of many books including two collections of oral sex short stories Tasting Him and Tasting Her, says that it might not have effected how people seek pleasure and actually, it wasn’t even about oral sex.

“I don’t think the Starr Report necessarily influenced what people were doing, and in some ways it gave people a chance to be very moralistic, but it was also so much about power and adoration and the people who said, ‘I’d never do that,’ and excoriated Monica Lewinsky didn’t seem to understand what an opportunity she was being offered. I think it wasn’t just about oral sex but power and risk and the excitement, for both of them, of a forbidden affair. There was so much sneaking around and planning and secrecy that went into their affair, not just oral sex. I think part of why they didn’t have intercourse was about the timing and location of their meetings; if they’d been able to sneak off to a hotel, I bet they’d have had intercourse as well.”

It also didn’t change our desires concerning oral sex. Fellatio and cunnilingus are things that people are interested in and want to learn how to do better and “worry about doing correctly and are looking for advice about,” but Bussel didn’t see an increase in interest in oral sex erotica, nor did Mark Kernes, Senior Editor of Adult Video News see a marked rise in oral sex porn films.

“Certainly every porn movie that I’ve ever seen that has men and women in it has had oral sex and if it didn’t have the man going down on the woman it certainly had the woman going down on the man. That hasn’t changed. We have a subgenre in our award show that just deals movies that are just about blowjobs and there probably have been an increase in the number of those titles since ’98, but there’s been an increase in all kinds of titles so I don’t think you can attribute that to the Lewinsky situation. I think that’s just he natural growth of porn.”

  The New Lexicon of Sex

What Bill and Monica did do was prompt us to really consider, maybe for the first time as a culture, a new-classic question. “I think it brought up a lot of debate that continues to this day about ‘What is sex?’” Bussel says. “That issue is still alive and well and in many ways the issue of what ‘counts’ as sex is something we grapple with in various forms. Is oral sex sex? Is sexting sex? Is anal sex sex? etc. I think it made people consider what cheating is, and whether Clinton was lying, both to the public and to himself, about whether he did or did not have ‘sexual relations with that woman,’ Ms. Lewinsky.”

One definite change it has wrought is which Kernes notes the , including the attitude that oral sex isn’t necessarily sex. In the University of Kentucky, Lexington report “Sex Redefined: The Reclassification of Oral-Genital Contact,” 80 percent of students questioned didn’t see oral sex as sex (the average age of the students was 20.7). Interestingly, abstinence-only Sex Ed programs were also cited as dissociating oral sex from sex in student’s minds, since intercourse is the main focus. (Don’t they get it just by the fact that it’s called “oral sex?”)

Cathy Young of Reason magazine, however, questions how much of the teen oral sex craze that’s caused some adult hysteria lately is really true and how much has been blown out of proportion. “The teenage fellatio craze,” she writes, “exists mainly among adults.”

To purchase the Naked Reader Book Club selections, visit the Naked Reader Book Club Store.

The Naked Reader Book Club Selections for June 2010
The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio by Violet Blue The Ultimate Guide to Cunniligus by Violet Blue
Tasting Him–Oral Sex Stories Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel Tasting Her–Oral Sex Stories Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel