On Head – Part 2

It’s been a long time since I wrote, “On Head – Part 1,” but recent thoughts have driven me back to exploring this action…from a philosophical standpoint.  In Part 1, my goal was to explore the arguments for why receiving oral sex may be more desirable than full-blown intercourse and try to defend them a bit.  There’s definitely merit to at least one particular argument, the “Sexually Selfish” argument – oral sex is designed for one person to climax (when performed as the main sexual action and not as any foreplay) and it’s a much easier climax to achieve compared to sex in terms of effort.  That is to say, when you’re getting head, you don’t literally do much.  You receive and relax.  There’s no reciprocal action going on.  And because of that “sexual selfishness” (though mutually agreed upon implicitly, barring some 69-type performance), it can be preferable to having full-blown intercourse because the receiver of head is the focal point and his or her pleasure is the sole aim.

That’s more or less a wrap-up of Part 1 (though if you haven’t read it, you should read it if only for the songs that I’ve cited).  So what will we do in Part 2?  Where can we go from here?  We go…deeper.

Part of the reason I got interested in this topic is because the underlying philosophical aspect of this appears to be kind of ethical – ought we prefer head over sex for this “sexual selfishness” reason?  Basically, if the arguments in Part 1 are strong enough to justify the claim that head can very well be preferable to intercourse (or at least grant this as a working hypothesis), then the resulting questions are, “Should selfishness be a justification for sexual preference?  Is the nature of sex such that all acts are selfish, even in pleasing your partner?  Can we really co-sign a theory of sex that assumes the nature of sex to be selfish?  What about the head giver and his or her pleasure?”  These are just some of the questions that come out of Part 1, and Part 2 will try to respond to them all…until I get tired, then just like in real life, you’ll have to give me an hour or two to recharge (har har).  So let’s start by trying to examine this sexual selfishness thing, shall we?

I never used “sexual selfishness” in Part 1 because I didn’t come up with the phrase until I just sat down to write this part.  I think it’s a pretty fair way to characterize the arguments in Part 1 – we want head because we want pleasure that is specific and particular to us without having to actively stimulate or even concern ourselves with the pleasure of the head-giver.  While this may be true, I’m not so sure this sums up oral sex.  In fact, I’m not even sure that sexual selfishness is a core aspect of sex in general.  I find it tough to believe that our general sexual practices are based on a desire for solely our own pleasure and not that of our partner.  But with regards to head…there cannot be denied a sort of self-interest at the very least, but is it really sexual selfishness?  I’m not sure yet, so let’s continue to explore.

As I said, there’s definitely sexual self-interest, which isn’t a bad thing at all.  We would do ourselves a disservice by not having self-interests sexually – we’d let ourselves be used by our partners for their pleasure but would not actively search our our own pleasure.  But where is the line between self-interest and sexual selfishness?  Why, the exact same line that we would normally draw between self-interest and selfishness.  Selfishness implies a disregard for others, or a sort of objectification that we would generally condemn as such.  Self-interest implies a level of care for one’s self while taking into account the feelings/wants/desires of others.

Back in Part 1, it’s pretty clear that I’m arguing that there’s a sexual selfishness, not a sexual self-interest, that drives why we would prefer oral sex over intercourse – it is, in fact, the absence of the desires of the partner (beyond the desire to perform) that makes head more desirable than intercourse.  With that said, I don’t wish to amend those arguments to include sexual self-interest – I do believe there’s generally, when considering between head or intercourse as the way to get a nut off, a preference for getting the nut off over having to concern one’s self with the physical needs of one’s partner that plays heavily into the favoring of head over intercourse.  That’s my descriptive claim.  My normative one?  We ought to change the mindset from the sexually selfish to the sexually self-interested when we desire head.

How can I say this?  Because amidst this entire discussion, the standing of the head-giver as more than just a head-giver hasn’t even been explored and I think we’ll find that the head-giver has much to say on the difference between sexual selfishness, sexual self-interest, and what kind of pleasure gets derived from giving head, if any.  The head-giver has a ton of control in that he or she is the sole source of the recipient’s pleasure – if the head-giver chooses not to do a good job, the recipient cannot simply change positions; one must endure whatever is given.  Why do I make mention of this?  Because the head-giver is, in a way, indicative of what the head-receiver ought to be – sexually self-interested.  I’ll invoke the control aspect of giving head to try to explain what I mean.

I’m going to assume most every reader of this blog has either performed, been performed on, or has seen a porno and so are generally familiar with oral sex (if you aren’t familiar with it, Google it up and watch a flick – you’ll be up to speed enough).  I don’t want to go getting all graphic, but for those of us who have been fortunate enough to receive some oral sex in our lives, think back.  We lay back and are literally consumed by our partner.  He or she plays with, sucks on, licks, tickles, maybe even nibbles on our special places.

I know I said that I wouldn’t get graphic, so I won’t – I’ve enlisted the help of a friend of mine, tuesdaymidnight, to recreate the oral sex experience in words.  Here are a few excerpts from her work, it will hopefully remind everybody about what generally happens in an oral experience, and it will lead us into the discussion of the pleasure of the self-interested head-giver:

“[His] hips thrust forward involuntarily and both of his hands became laced in my hair…I peered up at him through my lashes and nearly moaned myself.  He looked fucking hot…

Eventually, I put my hands on [his] hips to stop him.

“Sorry,” he began.

I shook my head in response. If I hadn’t wanted him to fuck my mouth, I wouldn’t have let him.”

The finish to this particular scene:

“I picked up the pace then brought his cock back into my throat, swallowing once more.

This time, he tensed.

“I- I- I-” he chanted.

I pushed his hips forward and glanced up at him. I tried to give him a look of approval. He either read my expression or he just couldn’t take any more, because right afterward his eyes rolled back in his head and his cum spilled down my throat…

I licked my lips and sat back.

“Say it,” I ordered.

“That was the best fucking blow job I’ve ever had in my life.” He grinned down at me lazily, “I don’t even think it’s fair to call what I’ve had done to me before this ‘blow jobs.'”

Certainly, there are ways for the receiver to physically please the partner while receiving oral sex, but that’s not really where I’m trying to focus here.  The head-giver is willingly performing an act where there isn’t necessarily any simultaneous reciprocation involved.  So then why do it?  What pleasure is the head-giver actually receiving?

Why, the pleasure of power, of course.

Bear with me – I have asked a number of people who have performed oral sex in the past whether or not they enjoyed the act itself.  Most don’t enjoy sucking dick or eating pussy (or eating ass for those of you who enjoy the oral-anal sex).  It doesn’t make sense to actually do something that creates no pleasure for you when the goal of a sexual encounter that’s not designed for procreation is to, in fact, enjoy yourself.  While having genitalia in the mouth might not create a physical pleasure (though for some, surely it does), many of the people I’ve spoken to enjoyed the power and control they had over the head-receiver.  I should make the distinction that “having fun” and “being pleasured” are two different things.  Some people have fun giving head – it’s enjoyable in that childlike, exploratory manner where it’s totally new and you just don’t know what’s going to happen.  But that’s having fun with the experience, which is different from being pleased by the experience, I would contend.  Pleasure might involve fun, but fun certainly doesn’t have to give you pleasure.

So what’s actually possibly pleasing to the head-giver, which makes the head-giver a self-interested sexual partner rather than a sexually selfish one?  In the ironic twist, the control that the head-giver has over the head-receiver provides pleasure to the head-giver.  There’s something clearly deeper than fun going on when one enjoys giving head – it is because that person derives pleasure from an unparalleled level of sexual control.  If the head-receiver moans or groans (as noted in the above scene), it’s because of what the head-giver has done.  When the head-receiver is brought to a climax, it is because of the job the head-giver has done.  Literally, the head-receiver’s genitals are in the hands of the head-giver – this is control over some of the most sensitive areas on the human body.  Note the finish to the scene above – the head-giver forces the receiver to proclaim that it was the best blow job ever.  The head-giver earlier in the scene specifically says that if s/he didn’t want the forceful oral sex, it wouldn’t have happened.  Total control of an individual happens from the head-giver’s position.  They only allow things to happen that they want to have happen (note the “look of approval” prior to the orgasm – the head-giver is allowing this to happen with a look of “go ahead.”  Had the head-giver not wanted the orgasm to take place in the mouth, it wouldn’t have happened.) and this is tremendously pleasing to have that kind of control.

One might ask, “Well, it sounds like the head-receiver is sexually selfish but couldn’t the head-giver be considered just as sexually selfish if they’re only giving head so that they can relish the power they’ve got?”  A very good question, Invisible Sex Interlocutor.  My response is yes, there can be sexually selfish head-givers but I would contend that those are the people who like sucking and licking and get off on that by itself.  But I would also contend that the vast majority of sexually self-interested head-givers gain pleasure from a non-physical byproduct of the act itself and perform the act both from a desire to be in control (the self-interest) and a desire to please their partner (the difference between selfish and self-interest).

Let’s face it – I don’t know many people who literally enjoy the act of sucking dick or eating pussy.  But there is another non-physical (that can translate to the physical) pleasure of being able to please one’s partner.  It feels good to know that your partner is not only under your control, but that you are able to please him or her.  That’s part of the reason you choose to do the deed – it’s because you want to please your partner, right?  Will you gain physical pleasure from balls in your mouth?

No.

But can you gain pleasure from watching your partner’s eyes roll in the back of their head and see their toes curl?  Certainly; it’s the same kind of satisfactory pleasure with knowing that you’ve accomplished a job well done.

A few final remarks in closing: The final question is, “How can the head-receiver become sexually self-interested rather than being sexually selfish?  Isn’t that part of the nature of oral sex?”  I think this is a good point to wrap it up with (no pun intended).  It’s clear that the head-giver can display with relative ease his or her sexual self-interest when he or she puts dick and/or coochie in their mouths, knowing that it’s probably not a fun experience in and of itself.  How can the head-receiver approach that kind of position while being consumed?  By acknowledging the head-giver’s desires.  I haven’t (nor could I) given an exhaustive list of what desires the head-giver has, but one thing that I’m convinced is universal is that if somebody wants to give head, that person wants to do a good job and know that he or she has done a good job.  Remember that it’s literally not all about the head-receiver’s nut (which is the sexually selfish motivation) and instead view it as another means of being active with one’s partner.  Ultimately, one ought to enjoy the experience but also give attention to the partner beyond trying to use their mouths as means to an end.

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IGNANT Friday, Vol. 6

Back to give you a weekly dose of worldly IGNANCE, it’s IGNANT Friday!  We’ve got two prank phone calls and somebody threatening to burn a holy document!

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First of all, Roy Wood Jr. is one of the funniest prank callers I’ve ever heard.  I’ve shouted him out on here before and even got to watch him do his stand-up act live.  Real cool guy and this prank call I found on YouTube is him at his IGNANT finest.  When he started saying, “I feel like slappin’ somebody today,” I fell out of my chair laughing!

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Also on YouTube, a woman got prank called about her son’s sexual orientation.  Apparently being straight really scares some parents.  This is a hilarious prank call for all of the wrong reasons, and bless the woman’s heart, she’s damn IGNANT.

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As a bonus, because I’ve just posted two hilarious videos, why don’t I post one of the funniest things I’ve seen recently.  As my friend put it, it’s “truly shoving the black experience into their face.”  Beware of watermelons.

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Finally, on a more serious (but still highly ignant) note, there’s a pastor in Gainesville who’s planned to burn copies of the Koran as a threat to radical Islamic believers on the anniversary of 9/11.  I plan to do a piece about the ridiculous hypocrisy that America’s been perpetrating against those of the Islamic faith, and this planned event speaks volumes to just how insane things have gotten.  Flip the scenario so that instead of it being an older white man planning to burn copies of the Koran, it’s an older Middle Eastern man planning to burn copies of the Bible as a threat to American globalization.  There would be riots everywhere and uprisings and anger abounds.  More importantly, what kind of message is being sent to the vast majority of Muslims around the world who aren’t radical terrorists?  All things considered, couldn’t Middle Eastern Muslims burn the Bible in a yearly anniversary of the Crusades – you know, religiously sanctioned military missions designed to terrorize those who were not Christian?

Everybody, from the White House on down, has said that this isn’t a smart move by this pastor, Terry Jones.  He’s made headlines with a 50 person congregation, so kudos to him.  But this doesn’t add up to me.  It’ll end up with more troops needlessly killed.  He’s said that insulting all Muslims is the lesser of two evils than to let radical Islam run amok in the U.S.A.

He’s also been found out to not know a damn thing about Islam, and let’s just follow out his “lesser of two evils” argument.  Instead of finding a way to address a small subset of a large (note: Islam is the second-largest religion in the world) population, he’s chosen to piss off the entire population?  Does that even make sense?  It’s like throwing gas on a fire.  What’s worse is that every demonstration that takes place in response to this threat can be a feather in his cap, showing that there are, in his mind, more radical Islam people now than ever before and his threat pushed them into the light.  Blah, blah, blah.  Turns out a Texas evangelist bought Terry Jones a plane ticket to New York City that got him in NYC around 10pm EST.  After all of that talk, he ended up canceling the event.  This is about as bad as someone talking a lot of shit right before a fight…then not showing up at all.  IGNANT!

On Education Through Mistakes

There’s always been a a saying that you don’t learn without making mistakes.  In fact, the argument is given that true learning is made through making mistakes – you learn what NOT to do, which can be better than knowing what TO do in some people’s eyes.  It’s a very interesting cultural pedagogy that many of us adhere to.  A common example?  A young child is standing next to a recently hot stove.  The little one isn’t quite aware that stoves, while they look room temperature, can still be quite hot after they’ve been turned off.  And when the little one, who’s senses have apparently deceived him or her (count that as a plus for Descartes), touches the stove and yelps out in shock and pain, s/he has now learned through a mistake (which was through no fault of his or her own) that one should be more careful around stoves.

This example of how we educate ourselves of the world works in some instances – dealing with people is an exercise in making mistakes if for no other reason than different people work differently and in the process of learning people we’re going to do things that they don’t want done…and they’ll correct it and we learn that “they don’t like X, so I won’t do X.”  Well, if we care about these people/respect their wishes/etc., then we won’t do X.  This is to say that there’s merit in the pedagogy because there will be plenty of times that we will learn through making mistakes.

But, (and if you all have read this blog long enough then you all knew I’d have the “but” moment) I don’t agree with the idea that this method of education is how we all have to learn.  The common idiom is, “You have to make mistakes in order to grow,” or something along those lines.  I’m not so sure why this thought prevails like it does, and perhaps I’m just too stringent about mistake making, but do we HAVE to make mistakes?  I’m not so sure.

There’s definitely a bias I carry with regards to this topic.  I don’t like making mistakes.  I can deal with being wrong – I fundamentally expect to be wrong more often than not.  But to be wrong is not the same as making a mistake.  Making mistakes are generally due to one not knowing what is right or wrong in a given situation and grasping at straws.  But if this is how mistakes happen, then the only way around them is to either know what to do in any given situation or operate with a theory that can help you deduce what to do in any given situation (if we were to continue to just grasp at straws, we would continue to make mistakes).

I’m not totally arguing against the merit of education via mistake-making.  I think that there’s value in being able to look back at what you’ve done, notice the errors of your ways, correct them and keep it moving.  But my fear is the abuse of this style of education by people who purposefully screw up and have a built-in defense of their actions: “I’m human, I make mistakes, and I can learn and grow from these mistakes.”  Seeing as it’s impossible to know what to do in any given situation, and that I want to avoid the social abuse of “life lesson learning,” I do believe that there’s a theory which gives us the tools to be able to make sound decisions about what we should do in any given situation.  Some people would consider those theories to be ethical theories, and I’m pretty comfortable running with a deontological theory.

Not to proselytize my chosen ethical path, but deontology is (in a very small nutshell) an ethical system based on duty.  The theory was made famous by Immanuel Kant and has been around since.  Is the system perfect?  No, otherwise the questions modern ethicists face would be rendered null and void.  In fact, the imperfections of the system lead to mistakes being made, which allows us to look back and adjust for the future.  I want to keep education through mistakes around, because it is vitally important, but we should also do well to remember that if we operate from duty, that we wouldn’t go around purposefully making mistakes or being unnecessarily careless (well, most ethical systems could be plugged in and a similar outcome would be reached.  I just have a soft spot for my duty ethics).

Making mistakes is bound to happen.  There’s no way around it.  But we don’t need to make mistakes on purpose – there’s no sense in trying to get something wrong just so you can be sure that that was the wrong way.  If anything, we ought to try to get something right so we can find out if that way is the right way.  Essentially, go get an ethical system and stick with it.  Duty attracted me and coupled with my other interests and projects, it fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece into my life.  Go find what works for yours.

IGNANT Friday, Vol. 5

Welcome to the 5th volume of IGNANT Fridays!  Quite a few IGNANT stories to share, so let’s dive right in!

First off, a musical selection that is beyond ignorant.  It’s so ignorant it crosses into IGNANCE only insofar as you find this so disturbing that you have to laugh.  You be the judge on this one, folks.

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Next up, a buddy of mine in law school told me that his roommate bought a GPS…and doesn’t own a car.  When my buddy asked his roommate, “What are you going to do with a GPS and no car?”, the roommate responded, “I’m going to use it to walk to school!”  I’m putting it in the IGNANT category, but I applaud the man for being persistent in his endeavors to own a GPS.

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My friend has recently moved her children from North Carolina to Memphis.  Her kids were in an honors program of sorts and she wanted to keep them in that program here in Memphis.  In order to do this, the scores from the school in North Carolina have to be transferred to the Memphis City Schools – not a hard task, right?  When you’ve got nationwide IGNANT people, yes, yes it is a difficult task.  Her kids weren’t accepted into the program in Memphis because the scores Memphis City Schools had from the school in North Carolina weren’t the right kinds of scores.  When my friend started calling around, she figured out what happened – MCS called the school and asked for test scores.  So the NC school just started giving out recent test scores for her children, like “A,” “95,” “B+,” “88.”  Instead of asking for the honors test scores, MCS didn’t specify and just took these scores down!  And instead of asking what kind of scores MCS was looking for, the NC school just gave test scores!  And we wonder why the kids today are so damn ignant

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Finally, I heard a story about a man who had shrooms FedEx’d to his house.  The police found out about it and came knocking on his door.  They asked him about the shrooms and he let them in while admitting he did FedEx them.  He then proceeded to show the cops around his place, showing the assortment of drugs he possessed!  This included cocaine, marijuana, and of course, the shrooms.  And yes, the cops arrested him.  MIGHTY IGNANT!

That’s all for this volume.  Remember, tweet me, email me (mrphilosopher3@gmail.com), Facebook me – give me more IGNANT stories!

Dr. Laura’s Views Revisited (The Intelligent Side)

The other day, I posted an ignant rant of sorts regarding the good Dr. Laura and her (former) radio show.  Having given it a few days to set in, to the intelligent side of the court we go, and there are two specific issues I would like to highlight in her statements beyond the use of the word, “nigger.”  She’s made some sweeping generalizations about Black people and the use of the word “nigger,” and also about the current state of racism in the United States now that there’s a Black man as the President.  Both of these views are problematic for the intellectual side of me (clearly, not so much for the ignant side).  As to the first (and possibly more pressing) issue, there’s a slippery slope that continually gets presented with her depiction of the “common” use of the word “nigger.”

At first, “nigger” is all over HBO and used by Black comedians, according to her.  Then she says that Black guys say it all the time.  This is concerning because both of these generalizations end up going from a smaller, more restricted group to a larger, more expansive group.  So from HBO and Black comedians (and to be sure, both of those are reaches in their own right) to now all Black guys saying it is a pretty large leap – in the grand scheme of Black people, the percentage of Black comedians relative to the Black population is minuscule.  But what worries me is just how quickly and how unverifiable these claims are.  To go back to Aristotelian logic, we’ve got claims like “All B’s are N’s,” “Some B’s are N’s,” and “No B’s are N’s.”  Substitute “are” with “say” and I think the logic still holds (“All Blacks say nigger, some Blacks say nigger, no Blacks say nigger”).

As a quick aside, I think it’s interesting to note that Dr. Laura, in her own words, “articulated the ‘n’ word all the way out.”  This may or may not be something to work on later on, but “nigger” is a pretty particular word in the history of the English language – and I don’t really hear full articulations unless it is meant to be an insult (albeit for comedic purposes at times).  This would probably be a precursor to the nigger/nigga distinction, but that’s for another time.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand – Dr. Laura’s slippery slope.  To go from a smaller group who use “nigger” to a larger group that apparently all use “nigger” without any sort of qualifiers like “some,” “a section of,” (I would even take a “there are many”) takes us down the slippery slope of saying that all Blacks say “nigger.”  Not to set up a strawman, but this type of slope could implicate an entire group of people or indict a culture due to the negative history of the word (that, ironically enough, these people didn’t create).  I’m not a fan, Dr. Laura.  These types of broad, sweeping generalizations have got to be avoided, even in an open discussion of the use of the word, “nigger.”  Quite frankly, these types of generalizations, while possibly unavoidable out of some sort of Humean habit, are dangerous when unchecked because they lead to multiple stereotypes about groups of people, and nobody likes being stereotyped.

Another question that comes up for me is: Why do some white people WANT to say “nigger” so badly?

A quick story: I was talking to a white guy I met in a bar one night about being a young man in Memphis and how he views the city.  Somehow, we got to talking about race relations and segregation and things of that sort.  At some point, the “n” word came up and he asked on a few occasions if he could use it in front of me.  I said that it’s his choice to say the “n” word and that it’s my choice to kick his ass if he did.  He laughed…but he damn sure didn’t say it.

Another quick story: I was talking to this white woman at a bar in St. Louis.  I’d told her I was a philosopher (great pickup line when used appropriately) and she was excited because she didn’t have deep conversation ever and was craving it (see, great pickup line).  We were talking and she was saying how she was tired of all of the racial angst and that she just wanted this stuff to be done with.  She was really exasperated and said, “And I’m sick of all of these white guys saying “nigger.”  She was making a general example of how the word was being used, so I didn’t mind it.  It wasn’t “nigger” to be able to say it and say it in my face to try to rub it in my face that you can call me nigger; it wasn’t malicious, it was historical.  I can live with that, like reading it in a book.  Though in hindsight, she didn’t need to say nigger – the “n word” would have sufficed.

All of that is to say, I still don’t get why white people want to say “nigger” so badly.  I have my theories though, and that’s perhaps to come in a later blog post….?

The second problem I have with her from my intellectual side is her idea that even with a Black president that there are Blacks trying to demonize white people still.  Here are a couple of quotes:

CALLER: — since Obama’s been in office —

SCHLESSINGER: — the point I’m trying to make —

CALLER: — racism has come to another level that’s unacceptable.

SCHLESSINGER: Yeah. We’ve got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever. I mean, I think that’s hilarious.

And on “demonizing”…

SCHLESSINGER: I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don’t get it.

Both of these statements make me laugh.  I think she may have fallen into False Claim #1 with the Obamamania – him being the President doesn’t end racism.  Like there’s a Black president and then racism *poofs* and disappears.  That’s ridiculous.  A Black president doesn’t mean all Black people have equal clout as whites and are respected as their equals – there are people who really think Obama was not born on American soil, for God’s sake.  I agree with what the caller said, that there are some white people who are very nervous about a Black person in power and that these nerves are showing right now (think about the recent serial killer in Michigan).  Vitriol towards Blacks has been steadily rising with the rise of Obama, in my estimation, though it hasn’t been directed towards all Blacks.  It’s been directed towards Obama, and as a Black president, I believe that Black people take up for him (as well we should, in some regards.  In our minds, he needs support because he’s the first Black person to pull this off – he needs some backup).  Nevertheless, since Obama’s election, I’ve been worried about this particular claim gaining weight – that we are now beyond race and therefore;

1) We shouldn’t have such sensitivities to the past – it’s the past, duh!  The racism of the 20th Century is over in the 21st Century!

2) Because the racism is gone, we should all stop making white people feel bad about the past because we are all a part of a brand new future!

Of course this is kind of hyperbolic, but I think it’s a reasonable (albeit, thin) explanation of two implications of the post-racial era.  Being “beyond race” in and of itself isn’t very problematic for me, but the implications of the post-racial era do scare me sometimes – and this is one of those times.  I’ve touched on this subject briefly on a number of occasions, and won’t continue to do so now.

I won’t belabor the points any further – Dr. Laura’s infamous rant has produced a couple of problematic views that she (and I imagine many others) hold regarding Black people in the U.S. in the current cultural climate.  Thoughts?