Lust Thrust Thursdays: Evolutionary Reasons for Oral Sex

Hint: There are none

“I expect a man to do unto me as he would have done unto him,” -Linda King, on how she taught Charles Bukowski to perform oral sex.

Evolutionary sciences seek to explain a purpose for everything. For example, we have sex to reproduce. And if that’s the case, why do we have oral sex? It can be argued that oral sex is more intimate than sex itself. Consider the logistics of oral sex from the least arousing perspective you can muster. There is a face on a crotch. No, there is a tongue on genitals. What evolutionary event led to mouths finding foreign body parts by instinct? Oral sex is a chemical roulette dependent on pH balance, pheromones and sweat glands. What in our evolutionary instruction manual ignites the chemistry set in our brains that craves the southern and unexpected taste of another?

“For sure, even the worst blow job is better than, say, sniffing the best rose … watching the greatest sunset. Hearing children laugh.” -Chuck Palahniuk

There’s a scene from one of my favorite books growing up (Looking for Alaska by John Green), where a girl attempts to perform oral sex on her boy-type-thing, but she has no idea what she’s supposed to do. She does what comes most natural to her and places the penis in her mouth and just lets it sit there. And while that scene was effective for what the author was doing (comical scene before an emotional one), sixteen-year-old me wondered if it was realistic. I assumed it was instinct to move your head in an up and down motion, to suck as if the penis were a straw. Otherwise, what was the point of all those jokes in middle school? If twelve-years-old know fist-and-cheek motions to make jokes about fellatio, surely we all just know what to do when presented with the opportunity, right?

“Most sexually adventurous women want a man who regards cunnilingus as a basic woman right.” -Mokokoma Mokhonoana

And back to my original question: why was that invisible road down south paved in the first place? Some evolutionary psychologists believe that men started performing oral to assess if their partner had been unfaithful through taste and smell. And they continued to perform cunnilingus in order to deter infidelity. This is, of course, a very limited perspective that sounds more like the introduction to dom/sub role play. Men aren’t the only ones that perform oral. In fact, sex-related woes in our culture actually dictate that the only thing men probably don’t do as often is put the toilet seat down. Yet, this is the most prominent theory evolutionary psychologist have been able to come up with in regards to oral sex.

“Just because I like to suck cock doesn’t make me any less American than Jesse Helms.” – Allen Ginsberg

And what about the realm of any sexuality outside of the heteronormative? When in our evolutionary map did the first bromance take the next step in its relationship? Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, royal confidants from Egypt’s 2400 BC, are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couple. Surely their ancestors had figured out the inveigling ways of fellatio before their time. I doubt that was to deter infidelity as well.

“It’s just a penis, right? Probably no worse for you than smoking.” – David Sedaris

The truth is that neither hard nor soft sciences have provided a straight answer to why we perform oral besides the obvious: we just want to. Watching our partner wriggle in pleasure arouses us. Watching our partner squirm for another, for you in triads or swinging relationships, is also arousing. Humans, and other mammals, are lucky enough to feel pleasure from intercourse, so we might as well exploit that fact and enjoy the sloppy, choking, gagging and sweatiness that comes from oral sex as well.

Personally, I would like a better reason for smearing $28 red lipstick down my chin, around my nose and crevices of my neck I didn’t know existed, but of course, I complain about my lipstick in jest. In fact, the only reason I wear lipstick at all in these situations is to create a road map on my skin and my partner’s skin that can only be comprehended if the bodies are tangled and writhing like wind whipped vines, (and have you heard of rainbow parties? Let’s talk rainbow parties next time), but I digress. There’s going to be a lot of overanalyzing in this column, but let’s get one thing straight: sex, and oral sex, at the end of the day, is supposed to be good, dirty, and consensual fun, whether we know why we want it or not.

For now, remember to stay clean, breathe through your nose and gormandize your partner.

Gem Blackthorn is Queen Mob's Sex Columnist

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