The feminist wisdom of the Ramones
Once again, in her mission to be an awesome cataloger of sex-and-dating fail, Jill posted an affirmation that one is well within one's rights to dump a dude because he no tasteth the pussy. This common sense observation was met mostly with amen-sisters in the comments, but there was the inevitable showing of people who live to make sure no feminist blogging thread can be free of the kind of hand-wringing that makes outsiders think we're all fucking nuts. It is asserted that dumping someone for being bad in bed somehow cuts against the grain of the feminist concept of "enthusiastic consent". But no, it really doesn't. In fact, I'd argue it's part and parcel of the whole concept. Jill puts it well:
Sure, you have to respect his boundaries — but that doesn’t mean you have to keep on having sex with someone who doesn’t respect you, or that you have to keep your mouth shut as to why it’s offensive that he makes a gross-out face in response to your vagina.
While you’re obligated not to pressure him, I think you are entitled to be like, “Well, we appear to be done here.” And I think you’re entitled to tell him that his vagina-phobia is why.
I think a lot of the people protesting this are women who imagine some dickwad demanding something they don't like at all, such as peeing in your face or something, and saying, "I'll dump you if you don't do it," and that idea makes them very sad. No one likes to be dumped. But as I often remind folks, feminism isn't a birthday party thrown for you by your mother, and therefore isn't insulation against being rejected or lonely. Feminism doesn't exempt you from the impeccable logic of the Ramones.
Enthusiastic consent is a concept that extends beyond sex, but should encompass relationships. No one is entitled to a certain sex act with a certain person, yes. But in addition to that, no one is entitled to a relationship with another person. If refusal to give head causes the person you like to say they don't want to walk around with you, it's on you to stop wanting to walk around with them. Find someone who likes to play tiddlywinks or whatever instead.
Obviously, the way this plays out in individual relationships is complicated—what isn't?—but the principle is secure. If you're not doing it for someone, they don't have to be with you. In fact, it's just better to rip that band-aid off, I'd say. Nothing sadder than looking back over the past couple of years and realizing it was doomed for a long time and you just wasted your time.
Plus, overall I think women have more to lose with the guilt trips over dumping someone over "just" sex. When a guy pulls away sexually from a relationship, women are socialized to blame themselves for not being hot enough. The original story that Jill linked demonstrated this problem; even though the woman who wrote it was having sex with all sorts of men who loved going down on her, she still thought that the reason the guy she liked wouldn't do it was her and that waxing, scrubbing and wearing fancy panties would somehow change the equation. (It didn't.) Over time, spending a lot of time and money on beauty rituals that don't get the sexual results you want can really be demoralizing to your self-esteem, and I wouldn't recommend it. The world is harsh enough on women's self-esteem. You don't need to invite it into your bed to pull faces at the idea that you have a yucky vagina.