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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. We explored the constructs and discourses to year-old men and women in England used in their s of oral sex during in-depth interviews. Among young men and women in the United Kingdom, for instance, a higher proportion agreed that men expect to be given oral sex i. In the United States and Canada, studies record more young men and women reporting experience of oral-penis than oral-vulva contact with a different-gender partner, both across their lifetime Fortenberry et al.
Other studies indicate men may receive more frequent oral sex than young women; for example, an online survey with U. These disparities arise despite roughly similar proportions of young men and women in nationally-representative surveys reporting ever having experienced oral sex with a different-gender partner Chandra et al. Existing research offers some insights into understanding asymmetric patterns of oral sex between young men and women.
Expectations about oral-vulva contact may vary according to relationship context: Recent studies have found U. In interviews with young women and men at two U. Similar distinctions were made by male university students in an earlier Australian study Roberts et al.
Despite compelling evidence of inequities in the meaning and practice of oral sex between young men and women, notions of mutuality and equality nevertheless appear to be an important part of the Oh sex gril landscape within which young people make sense of their oral sex encounters. Backstrom et al. Noting that meanings are unlikely to be singular or fixed, Braun et al. Burns et al. Our analysis drew on data from a qualitative study that explored the meanings of different Oh sex gril practices among a diverse sample of young people ages 16 to Participants were recruited from three socially and geographically contrasting sites in England: a London, b a medium-sized northern city, and c a rural area in the southwest.
All participants were invited to participate in a second interview, deed to capture s of change and continuity in the intervening period.
Interviews were conducted in and We also used snowball sampling and, in the southwest, we used convenience sampling, approaching young people directly in a town center. Throughout recruitment we emphasized that interviewees need not be sexually experienced to take part. Our in-depth interview participants were 37 women and 34 men aged 16 to 18 see Table 1 for characteristics of our sample. Participants varied in the and nature of their sexual partnerships e.
By second interview, an additional Oh sex gril reported having given oral sex, and an additional four reported having received it. Three women and one man reported genital contact with same-sex partners. Please note that as we did not use a probability sample, these s are reported here for information only and should not be understood to represent in a statistical sense the proportions that would be found in the general population. Among those lost to follow-up 11 women, 17 men we were unable to reestablish contact with 18 including four out of five young people living independently from their families at first interviewfour declined, and six were unavailable at a mutually convenient time.
As the age of sexual consent in the United Kingdom is 16, and in accordance with U. To ensure young people had time to consider their participation, we did not interview them on the day they were recruited, and we encouraged them to discuss their potential participation with anyone they wished. We also discussed our obligation to share with relevant authorities any disclosures relating to being harmed. In the in-depth interviews, we sought to elicit s of the meanings of various different sexual practices, whether or not our interviewees had personally experienced them.
In the second interviews, we explored themes that had emerged from across the set of first interviews and issues specific to each participant. While we offered participants the option of being interviewed by a man, none elected to do so, and all said either that they were neutral or that they would prefer a female interviewer. All interviews were conducted in private rooms, mostly in institutional settings already familiar to the participant e.
We encouraged participants to use whatever language was most comfortable for them in discussing sexual practices, and—wherever possible—we waited for interviewees to introduce and explain their own vocabulary. Interviews lasted between 50 and 90 minutes Oh sex gril were recorded and transcribed verbatim, with interviewee permission.
We used NVivo 8 software to organize the transcripts and field notes during analysis. During this initial analysis, we identified a constellation of themes relating to oral sex that were consistent across the field sites, including ideas about cleanliness, disgust, choice, and reciprocity.
For the present study, we examined all s of oral sex across the entire data corpus and identified the varied constructs and discourses our participants used to frame and explain their talk about oral sex. We encouraged our participants to reflect on the meaning of different sexual activities whether or not they had personal experience of them, and so most interviews included talk about oral sex.
We made constant comparisons within and between cases and sought counterexamples Oh sex gril challenge our emerging interpretations. We do not wish to imply any such additional meaning when we use these terms. We identified two seemingly contradictory discourses regarding oral heterosex, which we describe first below. Most participants drew on both discourses in their s, and in the second part we examine what is produced at their intersection.
Explanations of this ethic often emphasized equivalence Oh sex gril oral-penis and oral-vulva contact. Helen, year-old woman, southwest, emphasis added. Owen, year-old man, southwest. Cameron, year-old man, north. Like it is … obviously boys pee out of their dick as well, but, like, only at the end. Like all the pee touches all of that area, sort of … quite a lot more of what you are licking. I think anything to a girl, the way girls talk about it, is more of a big deal than it would be to a boy. Pippa, year-old woman, southwest. They feel uncomfortable.
What are the general concerns about it do you think, when you say people feel uncomfortable? Becky, year-old woman, north. Our interviewees often drew on both discourses—that oral sex on men and women was both equivalent and not equivalent—within the same narrative, yet interviewees did not comment on the apparent paradoxes that resulted i.
We identified three key themes: First, men must tread carefully when ing for giving oral sex to women; second, the intersection creates a discursive space for young women to challenge sexual inequality; and third, the intersection works as a decoy, distracting from other inequalities in the negotiation of oral sex between men and women. Many 21 out of 34 men in the in-depth interviews had given oral sex to a woman at least once.
Men who had given women oral sex often emphasized what they gained from doing so, perhaps as a way to for this perceived expense:.
Yet Daryl also acknowledged that he is not always called upon to reciprocate. His and the s of many other men suggested he took for granted that he would receive oral-penis contact. In other words, when he did not reciprocate, he said, it is because of her discomfort, not his unwillingness.
This allowed him to portray himself as fully compliant with a reciprocal imperative without actually having to reciprocate each time. Luke, year-old man, southwest. But I—I dunno …. There is a crucial difference, however: Giving a woman oral sex is potentially more stigmatizing than giving her an orgasm and may, therefore, require additional ing work to mitigate potential costs e.
Only Oh sex gril young men in our study expressed enthusiasm for giving oral sex—one only to his long-term girlfriend and the other to multiple casual partners. Both described themselves as atypical; for instance, the latter man said:. You must have heard that word before? I say that in front of my friends. Of the 13 men who had not given oral sex to a woman, 10 strongly emphasized that they did not want to do so. Men who said they received but did not give oral sex alluded to notions of reciprocity in their s, though they positioned themselves differently in relation to this discourse:.
Oh sex gril, year-old man, southwest. Me giving it? She [girlfriend] knows it would never happen. She knows it never, ever will happen. Jayden, year-old man, London. Unlike the men, young women in our study rarely explained or rationalized why they might give oral sex to men, possibly because oral-penis contact is simply understood as another way women use their bodies to help men ejaculate see also Potts, Some women did, however, report using the construct of oral sex on men and women as equivalent to claim their entitlement to oral-vulva contact. Carly year-old woman, Londonfor instance, described arguing with male friends:.
I think that is pretty unfair. Carly challenged the construction of oral sex on women as more costly than on men. No, not at the moment. Gabrielle was an exception:. You just done it. Gabrielle, year-old woman, London. Maddy, 16 year-old woman, southwest. Yet among our interviewees, narratives of choice to give oral sex also varied by gender. Mark, year-old man, southwest. It was just … it felt right then to do it.
Helen, year-old woman, southwest, our emphasis. Nobody in the study implied men would ever be forced into oral-vulva contact. It was horrible.
I was so upset. Yeah, I hate it. I cannot stand it.
I did ask him that actually. While managing ejaculation appeared to be a possible topic of conversation between partners, the broader embodied experience of giving oral sex seemed more difficult to acknowledge directly. I did. I just caked it in strawberry lube and carried on [laughs].
Among our interviewees, such hidden labor in giving oral sex was described only by young women. Our study contributes empirical data on narratives of oral sex encounters between young men and women. We found that ideas about reciprocity have discursive currency among our young interviewees yet work to obscure considerable gender disparities in narratives of choice and work.
This extends the existing body of work highlighting how men and women construct and invest in stories of equality and reciprocity which gloss over empirical realities of inequality in heterosexual practice Braun et al. Understanding the conditions under which young women, and—crucially—young men might develop and articulate more positive s of vulvas is an important area for further study.
There is some evidence that favorable experiences of oral sex may be one context where positive s can develop. This climate encourages young people to narrate their experiences as if they are characterized by equality e. Other studies have also identified how sexual acts can be constructed as work Frith, When assessing the data presented here, it is important to recognize these s of oral sex were generated through face-to-face conversations with older women in which articulating certain discourses may have been especially difficult.
Given the nature of the research, young people who are uncomfortable speaking about sex are less likely to have participated. We thank Tim Rhodes and Kaye Wellings for their contributions to this project, and the three anonymous referees for their comments. National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Journal of Sex Research. J Sex Res.
Published online Feb 5. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer. E-mail: ku. This is an Open Access article. Non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, is permitted. The moral rights of the named author s have been asserted. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. METHOD Participants Our analysis Oh sex gril on data from a qualitative study that explored Oh sex gril meanings of different sexual practices among a diverse sample of young people ages 16 to Table 1.
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