Oral sex

Oral sex consists of all sexual activities that involve the use of the mouth, which may include use of the tongue, teeth, and throat, to stimulate genitalia. Cunnilingus refers to oral sex performed on a woman and fellatio refers to oral sex performed on a man. Analingus refers to oral stimulation of a person's anus. Oral stimulation of other parts of the body is usually not considered oral sex; see kiss and licking.

People may engage in oral sex as part of foreplay before intercourse, or during or following intercourse. It may also be performed for its own sake.


Oral sex is practiced in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. In heterosexual relationships, oral sex can be a method of contraception and may be chosen as an alternative to intercourse for this reason. Oral sexual activities are not effective methods of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), although some forms of STD are believed to be less easily spread in this way.

A report issued in September 2005 by the National Center for Health Statistics was the basis of an article in the September 26 2005 issue of Time magazine. The report comes from the results of a computer-administered survey of over 12,000 Americans between the ages of 15 and 44, and states that over half the teenagers questioned have had oral sex. While some headlines have interpreted this as evidence that oral sex among teenagers is "on the rise," this was the first comprehensive study of its kind to examine the matter.A Teen Twist on Sex - TIME

As with mutual masturbation and other forms of outercourse many people do not consider oral sex to be "sex" in the same way as penetrative intercourse USATODAY.com - 'Technical virginity' becomes part of teens' equation and regard it as "third base." Thus, for many people, oral sex can be seen as one way of experiencing sexual pleasure before losing one's virginity.


Facesitting is a form of oral sex in which the receiver sits on the giver's face and pushes into it with his or her genitals. Oral sex can be performed by both partners at the same time in the so-called "sixty-nine" position.

Spitting and/or swallowing of the ejaculatory fluids may cause different sexual stimulations. Also, eye contact, during fellatio or cunnilingus, may be very stimulating and more pleasurable because it acknowledges that a real person is performing oral sex, not a machine or sex toy. Autofellatio is a possible but rare variant; autocunnilingus may also be possible for women with extremely flexible spines.

Cultural attitudes

Cultural attitudes towards oral sex range from disgust to reverence: in Ancient Rome, fellatio was considered profoundly taboo,Irrumation whereas in Chinese Taoism, cunnilingus is revered as a spiritually fulfilling practice that is believed to enhance longevity. In modern Western culture, some people have reservations about oral sex, but it is nevertheless widely practiced.

Oral sex had been considered to be a taboo or at least frowned upon in many cultures and parts of the world. Reasons mentioned are that this sexual act does not lead to procreation, or that is a humiliating and/or unclean practice (an opinion that is, at least in some cases, connected with the symbolism attached to different parts of the body). This has been more or less the case in Christian and Sub-Saharan African cultures, in Ancient Rome, and Ancient India. Similar lines of reasoning have been espoused by some modern religious authorities in Islamic cultures.

In pre-Christian Ancient Rome, sexual acts were generally seen through the prism of submission and control. This is apparent in the two Latin words for the act: irrumare (to penetrate orally), and fellare (to be penetrated orally). Under this system, it was considered to be abhorrent for a male to perform fellatio, since that would mean that he was penetrated (controlled), whereas receiving fellatio from a woman or another man of lower social status (such as a slave or debtor) was not humiliating. The Romans regarded oral sex as being far more shameful than, for example, anal sex — known practitioners were supposed to have foul breath and were often unwelcome as guests at a dinner table. The practice was taboo for public health reasons, as well. In Rome, the genitals were considered to be unclean. Oral sex was thought to make the mouth dirty, and (ultimately) to present a public health risk.

STD risk

Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis (multiple strains), and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—including HIV—can be transmitted through oral sex.University Health Center | Sexual Health | Oral Sex While the exact risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is unknown, it is very low. Any kind of direct contact with body fluids of a person infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) poses a risk of infection. The risk from most of these types of infection, however, is generally considered far less than that associated with vaginal or anal sex.

If the receiving partner has wounds or open sores on their genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in their mouth, or bleeding gums, this poses an increased risk of STD transmission. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, or eating crunchy foods such as chips relatively soon before or after giving oral sex can also increase the risk of transmission, because all of these activities can cause small scratches in the lining of the mouth. These wounds, even when they are microscopic, increase the chances of contracting STDs that can be transmitted orally under these conditions. Such contact can also lead to more mundane infections from common bacteria and viruses found in, around, and secreted from the genital regions.

HPV and oral cancer link

In 2005, a research study at the College of Malmö in Sweden suggested that performing unprotected oral sex on a person infected with HPV might increase the risk of oral cancer. The study found that 36 percent of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1 percent of the healthy control group.

Oral Sex Linked To Mouth Cancer Risk

Another recent study suggests a correlation between oral sex and head and neck cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers and which has been detected in throat cancer tissue in numerous studies. The New England Journal of Medicine study concluded that people who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250% increased risk.


Due to disease risks, many medical professionals advise the use of condoms or dental dams when performing or receiving oral sex with a partner whose STD status is unknown. A makeshift dental dam can be made out of a condom (instructions). Using a real dental dam is preferable, because real dental dams are larger and the makeshift version may be accidentally poked with the scissors during the cutting procedure. Plastic wrap may also be used as a barrier during oral sex, but many find that the thickness of the plastic dulls sensation. Certain kinds of plastic wrap are manufactured with tiny holes to allow venting during microwaving, which may allow transmission of pathogens.

Terminology and slang

There are many words describing oral sex, including euphemisms and slang. Like all aspects of sexuality, there exists a very large number of variations on a theme, making it essentially impossible to compose a comprehensive list.

Giving head - A common slang term for giving oral sex to either a man or woman is "giving head," from the term "head job" (in contrast to "hand job," manual stimulation). A play on the slang term "head" resulted in the slang term "brains," or "brain salad surgery," "domes," or "getting domes."

Cunnilingus is also sometimes referred to as "muff diving," "eating out," or "poon-job," a slang term and a cunnilingus variant of "blow job" (see the section of Fellatio above), where "poon" is short for poontang or punani.

Additionally, in lesbian culture several common slang terms used are "carpet munching," "giving lip," "lip service," or "tipping the velvet" (a faux-"Victorian" expression invented by novelist Sarah Waters).

Additional slang terms for oral sex include "going down on" (female and male), "licking out" (female), "blow job" (male), "dome" (female and male), "sucking off" (male), "rolling cigars" (male recipient), "lolly-gagging" (gay male-on-male), "gaining knowledge" (male recipient), and "bust down"(male).

See also

Works cited

External links

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This article is based on "Oral sex" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oral+sex&action=history