Teresa Strasser of MomLogic says
If you’re thinking about conceiving, or certainly if you are already pregnant, there is some pretty convincing evidence that instead of just swallowing, say, folic acid, you might want to swallow something else.
Let me be delicate about this, if I can.
As far as I can tell, not only should you be having lots of oral sex with the father of your baby — even up to a year before conceiving — you should also make sure to ingest his seminal fluid. Listen to what I’m telling you: the international medical community is giving you an Rx for oral. Sure, they say frequent intercourse is good, too, but oral is better. So, if you care about having a healthy baby and not potentially unleashing what scientists call a “destructive attack on the foreign tissues” of your fetus, if you want to avoid immunological disorders during pregnancy, and I’m sure you do, get to work. Or to pleasure, depending on how you feel about it.
Basically, the research says you need to be able to tolerate your baby’s foreign, paternal DNA; in other words, you need to get your body accustomed to the stuff, need to cozy up to some daddy double helix for a while so your body doesn’t reject it.
Further down in the same post, though, Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, also of MomLogic says that’s true if and only if a single, very small study by a non-specialist counts as “the international medical community.”
Maybe I have not been attending grand rounds enough and am out of date — but I NEVER learned about this benefit of oral sex in medical school or residency, or at any of those fancy continuing medical education conferences!
So while my search was far from exhaustive, I checked out a few of the wiki sources named in Teresa’s blog. The one academic paper that seems to support this supposed “immune maladaption theory of preeclampsia” is in fact published in one of our most esteemed peer-reviewed journals, but it is a small study and, no offense, was authored by a resident … and the bigger, better controlled study with more than 2,000 subjects published in another peer-reviewed journal concludes otherwise. So, if you like, swallow, and if you do not … please do whatever it is that you do with undesired contents of the oral cavity
Care to guess which way most of the comments on the post go? Suddenly being skeptical about a very dubious study makes Gilbert-Lenz a prude? Or “a feminist,” as if that was a bad thing?
I think fellatio feels very nice, and I agree that it’s lovely when a partner swallows. I also think there’s no, zero, none chance the study demonstrates that “gastrointestinal absorption of semen” is the best way to establish immunological tolerance. Or anything of the sort.
That’s a good thing, too. Because from the look of it the cluster of related papers all say the immunological effect seems to be related to substances in semen, not sperm. Which would suggest another, even more reliable way to avoid preeclampsia would be to altogether avoid contact with semen, period. So.
Quick question for anyone hoping Dr. Gilberg-Lenz is a spoilsport: would you be as credulous about a similarly small, obscure study claiming preeclampsia could be avoided through total lifetime abstinence except specifically for procreation? No? Good call.
I mean, it sounds like a good call. She says clearly, if a bit medically, “so, if you like, swallow, and if you do not … please do whatever it is that you do with undesired contents of the oral cavity.” Do it if you already like to, otherwise don’t force yourself is feminist advice, sure, but it’s pretty good advice period.
For instance what if an “international medical community” of one claimed that “gastrointestinal absorption of semen” was the best way for men to avoid prostate cancer instead? How many straight-oriented men do you think would start swallowing semen? Even if their wives emailed them the links? Even if their wives reminded them that prostate cancer leads all other forms in men? Are those crickets chirping? I thought so.
If you look at this (or, obviously any other sex-related recommendation) from an it-could-happen-to-me perspective “swallow if you want to but don’t let anyone force you if you don’t” starts sounding pretty good for everybody. Feminism’s good for everybody.
Finally, despite admonitions about not looking gift horses in the mouth and all I think it would be weird to find out one’s partner’s suddenly interest in oral sex turned out to be about her enjoyment, or her interest in my enjoyment, but because she was thinking about its medicinal properties.
I mean, yeah, inside the fantasyland where “men just need a place to have sex, women need a reason“ womanly/maternal/feminine concern for health is great “leverage” for sex. But… first of all eww, and second of all I’m really, really tired of the Two Rules of Desire where men are incapable of being desired, and women of desiring them… and where it’s inconceivable that a man might receive a blowjob because a woman wanted to give him one.
Me? As much fun as it is for you when someone lovingly kisses his way down your body… from your lips to your neck to your shoulders and breasts… gingerly across your belly and then down further, lingering longer and longer while your eyelids flutter and your breath quickens and… Ahem, where was I? Oh yeah, as much fun as it might be for you, one of the pleasures of eating you for your partner is that he gets to be the reason for your… well… flutters and sighs. And that he enjoys the way you look, the way you taste, the way you feel against and in his mouth… the way her legs flex… and quiver… rise… and squeeze or thump his shoulders.
And so much as I enjoy the same trail of kisses down to my naughty bits, and don’t notice my curled-toenail marks further kisses bring, it’s hard to believe the common belief that being the source of my murmers and sighs and shortened breath might not be just as enjoyable for a partner… or that she wouldn’t enjoy the way I look, the way I taste, the way I feel against and in her mouth, and the way my legs stretch out… the way my muscles tense… the way my hips roll and surge up against palms of her hands.
I mean… in the broadest terms could one gender really get less enjoyment from that than another? Could it be that the only motivation for one might be it’s possible medicinal value?