Right, let’s talk about the blow job. (I am not going to comment on my private sexual life, because…ew. No one wants that.)
The oral sex scene in Looking for Alaska between Lara and Pudge takes place immediately before a far less sexually intimate but far more emotionally intimate encounter between Pudge and Alaska.
The language in the oral sex scene is extremely clinical and distant and unsensual. The word “penis” is used rather than member or hot rod or whatever else you’ll find in romance novels. The adverbs and adjectives that appear in that scene include weird, nervous, and quizzically.
This is in very stark contrast to the scene where Pudge and Alaska kiss a few pages later: “Our tongues dancing back and forth in each other’s mouth until there was no her mouth and my mouth but only our mouths intertwined. She tasted like cigarettes and Mountain Dew and wine and Chap Stick. Her hand came to my face and I felt her soft fingers tracing the line of my jaw.” There’s a lot of evoking of senses in that paragraph (some might argue too much), and it’s much sexier and more passionate than the language used to describe the blow job.
I wanted these two scenes to present a dramatic contrast because I wanted it to be clear 1. that Pudge and Lara were curious about each other, and interested in exploring, but not really that passionate about each other, whereas 2. Alaska and Pudge were clearly very passionate and caring and attentive in the way they kiss, and most importantly that 3. physical intimacy isn’t and can never be an effective substitute for emotional intimacy.
It seemed to me pretty obvious that I was arguing against vapid sexual encounters in which no one has any fun and celebrating the underappreciated virtues of super-hot kissing in which everyone keeps their clothes on. (Some censors, clearly, feel otherwise, although most of them never read the blow job scene in context.)