Social media buzzed this weekend with a resurfaced 2015 interview with DJ Khaled on the morning radio show The Breakfast Club. On the talk show, Khaled stated that he doesn’t perform oral sex on women, but believes that it would be inappropriate for a woman to refuse oral sex to men—”It’s different rules for men. You gotta understand, we the king.” He goes on to reassure the listeners that he takes care of his women by bragging about the types of homes he has them living in and types of clothes he has them wearing. Khaled does not once mention the idea of giving a woman pleasure during sex as an indicator of taking care of her; he doesn’t even mention that he provides any pleasure to women during sex. When directly asked if Khaled performs oral sex on women, he stated, “Never! I don’t do that!”
Since the reappearance of this interview, celebrities and commoners alike have weighed in dismissing DJ Khaled’s antiquated ideas and voicing support for female sexual pleasure. When I saw the original story, I felt like America’s Next Top Model Cycle 4 Tyra Banks as I sat screaming at my phone screen, “WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!” After all, DJ Khaled appears like a good guy. He perfectly plays the role of an attentive father, dressing his son in adorable miniature two-piece suites, giving the four-month-old an executive procedure credit on his latest album, and frequently declaring that his son is his best friend. All of this is so cute and seemingly pure that it might be one of the few things that all Americans can currently agree on. To say we’ve been crushed by this revelation is an understatement. However, while DJ Khaled is the most recent man to make headlines for essentially declaring female sexual pleasure as optional, this idea isn’t new. Women’s sexual pleasure has been pushed aside for most of America’s history.
“DJ Khaled’s outdated ideas about men abiding by different rules than women are not only immature, but perpetuate the dangerous idea that women and men shouldn’t expect equality in sex, relationships, careers, or life.”
America has made some progress in our public view of women. Generally, as a people, we now believe women are capable of working outside the home, we believe they deserve the right the vote, and we’re starting to believe that women deserve to be paid as much as men for equal work. Our country cares about the wage gap, at least during televised conferences and in op-ed pieces. While you might be hard pressed to find a man willing to go on record saying women deserve to make less money than men for the same job, men still seem comfortable believing women coming out of the same sexual experience sans orgasm is acceptable. We’ve managed to wrap our heads around the pay gap, but there is still a mental discrepancy with the orgasm gap. Modern sex is primarily a vehicle of pleasure, not procreation, so shouldn’t everyone engaging in it come away with an orgasm, or at least a solid attempt at one?
In 2015, a study in Great Britain showed disparities among gender and oral sex while also providing a broader cultural understanding of why this occurs. The study was one of the first to show (which won’t be groundbreaking news to any woman) that we’re socialized to value’s men sexual pleasure over women’s, and that we’re socialized to believe female genitalia is “gross” and “dirty.” For many women, we’ve long been told that keeping a man sexually fulfilled is the best way to keep him around. For centuries, women have worried about men looking elsewhere for sex and stressed over keeping their boyfriends and husbands sexually satisfied. Furthermore, we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s normal for men to feel justified cheating if women don’t provide them with enough sex.
As for female genitalia being viewed culturally as gross and disgusting, this is seen in the form of product creation and advertisement. Summer’s Eve is of the most mainstream successful vaginal washes/douches products created to feed off of women’s fears about having unpleasant vaginal odors. No true medical or hygienic need for this product exists. In fact, it’s been proven countless times that douching can be harmful, and at the very least it’s unnecessary. Your vagina is fine as-is; it’s generally self-cleaning, like an oven, and only needs to be washed with soap and water. Sure, if it’s hot outside and you’ve taken a spin class, it might not smell like…Summer’s Eve Island Splash, but neither does your armpit. Humans are aromatic, living creatures—and Axe Body Spray hasn’t created a line of products to keep men’s musty, dick-cheese scent at bay. Men’s genitalia doesn’t smell like Island Splash after a spin class, either.
According to the 2015 study, women’s fear of their own bodies have caused a discrepancy in how well they are able to enjoy oral sex compared to men. The women in the study felt “reluctant” and “shy” about receiving oral sex compared to their male counterparts, due to anxiety surrounding their partner’s perceived reaction to their body.
It hasn’t helped women that the fields of medicine and psychology have long devalued women’s pleasure. Freud famously stated that clitoral orgasms were “adolescent,” and as women mature, so should their orgasms (meaning that once women start having sex with me, they should orgasm through penetration). However, in 2017 one of the most comprehensive studies about female orgasms was published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. The study found that a mere 18% of women could achieve orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. Almost half of women in the study reported that they need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve orgasm.
The orgasm gap is real, and while making sure everyone is getting off is individually important, the cultural impact of the orgasm gap far exceeds the bedroom. Caring about women’s sexual pleasure correlates to how we view women as equal human beings, and not merely as vessels for men’s wants and needs. Valuing women’s sexual pleasure means that, as a culture, we view them as humans who deserve equal treatment across all sectors of life. This translates into equal pay, appropriate work place treatment, and a decrease in sexual violence and harassment towards women. While various reasons exist for sexual harassment and assault, one glaring factor is that women are viewed as sexual objects to men. Men need to stop feeling comfortable perceiving women as things that give and objects to take from. DJ Khaled’s outdated ideas about men abiding by different rules than women are not only immature, but perpetuate the dangerous idea that women and men shouldn’t expect equality in sex, relationships, careers, or life.
top photo: still from “You Mine” by DJ Khaled via YouTube
Published May 5, 2018
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