When the news broke yesterday that DJ Khaled, uh, “doesn’t do that,” (“that” referring to performing oral sex), I instantly went back to the time when I was a member of the Sisterhood of the Not-Traveling Tongue. It was not a pleasurable place to be.
Chatting with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club in a clip that resurfaced from 2015, he tells the hosts that he is a “king” and as a “king,” he will not go down on his wife, but expects his wife to go down on him. Khaled, you see, is a “provider” of material comforts, and in his mind, this absolves him from needing to pleasure his wife. In the video, an incredulous Charlamagne Tha God exclaims, “You don’t eat the box?” Angela Yee is thrown off guard, because she assumed (like the rest of us) that Khaled’s song “Hold You Down” is about cunnilingus. Turns out, it’s not. That’s some very misogynistic meandering you’re watching him do.
I recognized Charlamagne and Yee’s reactions; it was the same thing I heard from those close to me when I told them about my sex life. “My partner doesn’t go down on me,” I would say to my friends, who were equal parts shocked, bewildered, and embarrassed for me. “Oh honey,” they’d say. “That is not okay.” I would shrug it off, because no relationship is perfect, right? At least my partner wasn’t, like, stealing my identity to catfish college football players.
We were together for a few years. In that time, I usually only received oral sex on special occasions. My birthday was approaching? Time to trim the garden! I could probably count the amount of times my former partner went down on me on two hands. Meanwhile, I was more than happy to do my part in the oral sex department — I was deeply attracted to my partner and wanted to pleasure them. In a healthy relationship, that should go both ways.
When they would go down on me, their stubborn reluctance was obvious. You know how when you’re drinking a cup of tea, and you sip it very carefully to avoid burning your tongue? Their oral technique made me feel like my pussy was a piping hot cup of darjeeling. I felt like they were disgusted with my body, which made me feel disgusted with my body. They insisted that they were very much attracted to me, but just “didn’t like” performing oral sex. “What’s not to like?” I asked. “Just the taste, the smell, the whole thing…” they replied, confirming my worst fear. My partner was disgusted by my body.
Obviously, this had implications beyond the bedroom. As my partner refused to attend to my sexual needs, our sex life was at a virtual standstill, and I grew to resent them. Resentment is the death knell of a relationship: when this happens, whether it’s over financial problems or infidelity or fundamental incompatibilites, the relationship is over. It’s done. Recognizing that resentment took some time, but we did eventually break up.
In all fairness to that ex, our split was way more nuanced than a lack of oral sex, of course. And if Khaled and his wife are happy with this arrangement, more power to them. We don’t know what Nicole Tuck, Khaled’s wife, thinks of this. The arrangement may work for her. But the massive reaction from women on social media speaks volumes. Every person deserves the (safe! sane! and legal!) sexual fulfillment they desire. By shrugging off his wife’s pleasure, Khaled is really saying that he doesn’t actually don’t care about making his partner happy — regardless of the houses and clothes that Khaled says he gives her. To dismiss your partner’s sexual needs is to dismiss a very fundamental part of who they are. And, to quote another DJ Khaled collaborator, “You gon’ lose your wife.”
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