Why It Matters When Men Say They Don’t Go Down On Women

I once had a boyfriend in college tell me that it was unusual that he had gone down on me as early on in our relationship as he had, given that he usually waits longer to make sure he knows “where that’s been.”

They say everything we put on the Internet lasts forever, and DJ Khaled may have learned that the hard way recently. Or maybe not. It seems like he may be just foolish enough not to care.

Whatever. Anyway, a resurfaced quote from a 2015 Breakfast Club interview recently went viral on Twitter. In the interview, Khaled says he never performs oral sex on women. He then follows with the ironic sentiment that women should not be allowed to refuse to go down on men.

Hereeee we go.

“It’s different rules for men,” he said in the interview. “There are some things that y’all might not wanna do, but it got to get done. I just can’t do what you want me to do. I just can’t.”

Besides the terrible grammar, this is cringe-worthy for so many reasons, tops among them being that this is obviously a huge double standard. Twitter blew up with humorous backlash to Khaled’s remarks, but there’s a much bigger and more ominous picture behind this than just the trashing of a weak man’s reputation.

“All I Do Is Win” came on recently at a bar and I made a little bit of a verbal stink about it among my group of friends. Some of my girlfriends nodded in agreement, but I had one male (shocker) friend (and I use the word “friend” very loosely here) outright ask me: “Who cares?”

Here’s why I care.

It’s well known that many women struggle with what’s been dubbed as “the orgasm gap.” The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) surveyed adults age 18 to 59 about their most recent sexual experience. The results revealed that 91 percent of men climaxed during their last sexual encounter. Compare that to only 64 percent of women who said they climaxed.

Additionally, there’s still a horribly pervasive stigma throughout society that not only is sexual pleasure meant exclusively for men, but that a woman is “needy” if she asks for basic sexual reciprocity, because going down on a woman is supposedly risky or “dirty.”

I once had a boyfriend in college tell me that it was unusual that he had gone down on me as early on in our relationship as he had, given that he usually waits longer to make sure he knows “where that’s been.”

My heart weeps for the naïve person I was to have not broken up with him right in that moment.

But when we read, hear, and experience enough of this, it becomes more and more difficult for women to feel comfortable asking for what we want. And when only about 25% of women are consistently able to orgasm during vaginal intercourse, it’s clear that being unable to ask for things like foreplay and oral pleasure can directly lead to a pleasure imbalance in the bedroom.

I hate to break it to you, men, but a penis isn’t any cleaner or more fun to put in a mouth than a vagina is. More importantly, what I just fundamentally do not understand is the concept of not wanting to perform satisfactorily for your partner in bed. How is it not absolutely demoralizing to realize that your partner is faking having a pleasurable experience in bed just to stroke your ego, or perhaps worse, simply gritting their teeth and waiting for it to be over?

The implication behind both of these scenarios is that A) your partner doesn’t trust you or feel comfortable enough with you to be honest, or B) they don’t see this as a long-term relationship worth investing the communication efforts into. Perhaps both. Either way, um… suck city?! Why would anybody want either of these things to be the case?

Of course, it’s easier to be lazy and self-serving in bed. And when our society keeps reinforcing to men that they can be, and will still get laid, why wouldn’t they be?

This is why a comment like this from someone as prominent as a celebrity singer is so harmful. Every time this is reinforced — and I mean every. single. time. this is reinforced (even the small, everyday moments like that “who cares” comment) — it keeps adding to the fake veneer of legitimacy surrounding this ridiculous stigma.

I’m tired of hearing that this comment has something to do with Islam.

I’m tired of reading bullshit pseudoscience about how there’s no biological point to the female orgasm, so it doesn’t matter.

I’m tired of having to feel ashamed of asking for something that I’ve already given freely because I am a sex-positive person who cares about my partner’s pleasure (of course, following that both partners are consenting and STI-free).

Men, if you don’t care about whether your partner is having a good sexual experience, you do not love them. You do not care about them. Stop excusing yourself, for the love of God, stop Tindering, and instead, take some time to go do some research and work on making yourself a better person.

Ladies, if your partner doesn’t care about whether you are having a good sexual experience, they also do not love you! They do not care about you. Leave. Stop letting your good nature be taken advantage of. Learn how to ask for what you want in bed, as well as outside of it, and if your partner is unwilling to even consider providing those things, you need to take a serious look at how viable this relationship will be if your emotional needs aren’t being met.

And yes, sexual satisfaction has an emotional component. Throughout my years of reading, writing and, well, doing the do, I’ve become much more confident and sex-positive than that naïve, aforementioned college girl. If there’s one simple fact I’ve learned in my short 23 years of research and experience, it’s that what happens in the bedroom really does matter in a relationship. It’s not necessarily everything, but being sexually compatible is important, and if your partner is unwilling or uninterested in discussing your needs, those quieted desires are only likely to build up inside of you over time, welling over into hostility and bitterness toward your partner.

We need to get rid of the damaging societal stigmas surrounding women and sex, and women can help by remaining firm in our beliefs and needs. However, men play just as important a role. You should care about your partners’ pleasure.

How is that we’ve fostered such a toxic society that so many men don’t see this as important? It is truly saddening. We can do better.

And contrary to Khaled’s ridiculous comments, women can refuse men, too. Just understand that, all things being fair and equal, you shouldn’t necessarily be demanding the same thing back then. Or if that’s really how your relationship works for you both, then to each their own! Setting boundaries and communicating are key components to a healthy relationship with sex. Male or female, you should be asking your partner on a reasonably consistent basis if they’re getting what they need mentally, emotionally, spiritually and, yes, physically, out of this relationship.

One little tip for couples that have hit a wall with differing sexual preferences but still want to try to make it work — if your partner suggests something you don’t want to do, you can try the “instead” tactic. Say “Instead of X, what if we do Y?” Like I said, communication is key.

And going off that, because it unfortunately still bears mentioning, remember that any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent is sexual assault — even if it’s with your significant other.

Find someone who treats you as an equal inside and outside the bedroom. You deserve equal treatment and respect — as well as orgasms.

I’d also suggest boycotting celebrity figures like Khaled who have made disrespectful comments toward women, in the hopes that we’ll someday see a world where they’ll never feel comfortable making ‘anotha one.’

Kate Harveston enjoys writing about social justice and policy change. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking the mountains of Pennsylvania to find inspiration. If you like her work, feel free to visit her at onlyslightlybiased.com.

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