When we speak of oral lovemaking we are engaging all of our senses, engaging in the concrete, engaging in the performative of poetic language. Oral involves more than just lips touching one intimate space of one’s lover; oral renders the entirety of the body as an erogenous space at its most vulnerable state, while at the same time revealing a vulnerability about oneself as someone who tastes and hungers. Oral love celebrates a plurality of options from which lovers may produce sensual pleasure for its own sake. We nourish each other, but we are not food to each other. One carefully grasps that same flesh with a promise not to draw blood or bare sharp teeth.
On the other hand, sharing food can be a bridge towards other possibilities.
Flashback, 1986: I spent part of my summer break working as a cashier at a local gourmet restaurant in Buckhead, an upper-class suburb of Atlanta. I was nineteen and living in a tiny apartment near Georgia Tech on North Avenue. The cashier job was low paying, but meals were free and I liked the staff. Though the owner was usually surly and impatient with me, the restaurant manager took a liking to me, and gave me time to properly train for the lunch crowd.
Marcus was a dark-haired, thin, and pale man with spectacles and large eyes that seemed to hold a smile or at least a promise of a smile. He reminded me of a boy I once knew and loved from a distance from high school, though he was closer in height to me. Though I was shy, Marcus’ flirtatious nature did not render me uncomfortable. He surprised me one day by asking me out to a David Sanborn and Bob James concert at Chastain Park. He stocked up on fruits, cheese, chilled seafood, and wine from the restaurant before we drove out to the venue.
The summer night air was hot and humid, as to be expected for Georgia in the middle of June, and we sat outdoors in hard seats wearing shorts, tee shirts, and sneakers. Marcus spread out our evening feast and began to do something I had never experienced before: he began to slowly feed me. At first he fed me strawberries, then grapes, then shrimp. Our conversation was soft, almost muted. The music, wine, and heat pulled at me, and I felt a familiar tug in my abdomen. Marcus drew me towards him and our lips crushed together. I tasted his salt, fruit, hot wine as our saliva mixed together. I closed my eyes and ran my tongue over the rough hair on his upper lip, nose, and left cheek. I felt his tongue inside my ear and down my neck, nibbling and sucking near my vein. I felt high, as if I would burst into a sticky hot river. The music soared, and the people around us cheered at the crescendo of tenor saxophone and keyboards. We rode that wave locked in embrace, lips, hands, and heart.
Flash-forward: Recently, I had a long conversation with a spiritual mentor who asserted that I was not actually abstinent, but instead an extremely sexual person who was also extremely selective. In other words, as I have matured, I tend to choose men who share a certain sort of energy, or as some people might refer to as a spiritual connection. Perhaps that might be why I tend to see oral lovemaking as being something that goes beyond fellatio or cunnilingus. I love giving a man I love pleasure, and I love receiving it, but “oral” is so much more than just giving or getting “head.” For me, oral opens a doorway towards intimacy.
I often think of the ways in which I have enjoyed the seduction of kissing and being kissed. I anticipate how my Dream Lover’s lips feel against my tongue: I love the taste of urgency in his kisses. The soft kisses that soon turned sloppy, then hungry and precise in its mutual seeking out of the correct angle to which to lock and hold two sets of lips in a grasping hold where nothing moves but rough tongues in tight, wet spaces just above teeth. A virtual buzz rises as two sets of breath break an otherwise dark silence. A need for fresh air breaks the hold, and we part, if only to reposition for yet another embrace.
Soft kisses become hard kisses, and we soon roll and rustle over rough, cotton sheets, his hand grabbing me by the hair and holding my other hand tight and still, capturing me, my heart in a panic, then anticipating his tongue running up against my lips, running over my teeth, me wondering if he smells and tastes the smoke on my breath, me tasting the salt and musk of his saliva, me resisting the impulse to pull back, me darting my tongue towards his tongue, touching that spot where his lower lip split, tasting slightly raw flesh, wondering why it seems so hard to breathe it out fully while mutually sucking out each other’s breath. My eyes blink twice and I find myself staring at him staring at me and I feel greedy, needful, and restless. His lips are smeared with trails of my cherry red lipstick as he lowers his head and body to brush tongue along the petals of my nether lips. Our bodies become “oral texts,” where knees, inner arms, ears, necks, and nipples “speak” to us, as we taste the salt and musk of each other’s skin. I squeeze his trembling legs while savoring his tender, hardened flesh, brushing my tongue between his thighs.
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