Fellatio

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An illustration of a woman performing fellatio on a man Wiki-fellatio02.png
An illustration of a woman performing fellatio on a man

Fellatio (also known as fellation, [1] and in slang as blowjob, BJ, giving head, or sucking off) [2] is an oral sex act involving a person stimulating the penis of another person by using the mouth, throat, or both. [3] [4] Oral stimulation of the scrotum may also be termed fellatio, [5] [6] or colloquially as teabagging. [7] If fellatio is performed on oneself, the act is called autofellatio.

Contents

Fellatio can be sexually arousing for both participants, and may lead to orgasm for the partner being fellated. [3] [4] It may be performed by a sexual partner as foreplay before other sexual activities, such as vaginal or anal intercourse, [3] [8] or as an erotic and physically intimate act of its own. [3] [4] Fellatio creates a risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but the risk is significantly lower than that of vaginal or anal sex, especially for HIV transmission. [9] [10] [11]

Most countries do not have laws banning the practice of fellatio, though some cultures may consider it taboo. [3] People may also refrain from engaging in fellatio due to personal preference, negative feelings, or sexual inhibitions. [3] Commonly, people do not view oral sex as affecting the virginity of either partner, though opinions on the matter vary. [12] [13] [14] [15]

Etymology

The English noun fellatio comes from the Latin fellātus, the past participle of the verb fellāre, meaning to suck. In fellatio the -us is replaced by the -io while the declension stem ends in -ion-, which gives the suffix the form -ion (cf. French fellation.) The -io(n) ending is used in English to create nouns from Latin adjectives and it can indicate a state or action wherein the Latin verb is being, or has been, performed.

Further English words have been created based on the same Latin root. A person who performs fellatio upon another (i.e. who fellates,) may be termed a fellator. Latin's gender based declension means this word may be restricted by some English speakers[ ambiguous ] to describing a male. The equivalent term for a female is fellatrix.

Practice

General

Illustration by Edouard-Henri Avril of fellatio scene Edouard-Henri Avril (20).jpg
Illustration by Édouard-Henri Avril of fellatio scene
Two men engaging in fellatio We, two boys together clinging - 05 - Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, July 30 2014.jpg
Two men engaging in fellatio

Fellatio can be sexually arousing for both participants, and males who receive fellatio commonly experience orgasm and ejaculation of semen during the act. [3] [4] People may use fellatio as foreplay to sexually arouse their sex partner before vaginal or anal intercourse, or other sexual activity, [3] [8] or they may use it as an erotic and physically intimate act in its own right. [3] [4] The sex partner may be of either sex. When the penis is thrust into someone's mouth, it may be called irrumatio , though the term is rarely used. [16]

The essential aspect of fellatio is oral stimulation of the penis through some combination of sucking, use of the tongue and lips, and movement of the mouth. [3] One method is the sex partner taking the penis into the mouth and moving smoothly up and down the penis to a rhythm while being careful to avoid contact with the teeth. [3] Fellatio may also include the oral stimulation of the scrotum, whether licking, sucking or taking the entire scrotum into the mouth. [5] [6] During the act, semen may be ejaculated into the partner's mouth.

It is difficult for some people to perform fellatio, due to their sensitivities to the natural gag reflex. Different people have different sensitivities to the reflex, but some people learn to suppress the reflex. How much of the penis a partner can take into their mouth also depends on the size and length of the penis, and they most commonly only take the end of the penis into their mouth.

It is physically possible for men with sufficient flexibility, penis size, or both, to perform fellatio on themselves as a form of masturbation, in an act called autofellatio. However, few men possess sufficient flexibility and penis length to safely perform the necessary frontbend. [17]

Ingestion of semen

During fellatio, a partner may ingest semen from the penis. Nancy Friday's book, Men in Love – Men's Sexual Fantasies: The Triumph of Love over Rage, (1982) suggests that swallowing semen is high on a man's intimacy scale. [18] As late as 1976, some doctors were advising women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy not to swallow semen lest it induce premature labor, [19] though it is now known to be safe.

Deep-throating

An illustration of a woman deep-throating a man Wiki-dthroat (cropped).png
An illustration of a woman deep-throating a man

Deep-throating is a sexual act in which a person takes a partner's entire erect penis into the mouth and throat. The technique and term became popularized by the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat. Generally, the person receiving fellatio is in control. [20] [21] For deep-throating, the penis has to be long enough so that it can reach the back of the giver's throat. [20]

Deep-throating can be difficult, due to the natural gag reflex triggered when the soft palate is touched. [22] [23] People have different sensitivities to this reflex, and with practice, some people learn to suppress it. Deep-throating leads to an entirely different kind of oral stimulation in comparison to regular fellatio: the tongue is immobilized during deep-throating and sucking becomes impossible; [24] the glans penis can be intensely stimulated by the tightness of the pharynx.

Other aspects

The man receiving fellatio receives direct sexual stimulation, while his partner may derive satisfaction from giving him pleasure. Giving and receiving fellatio may happen simultaneously in sex positions like 69 and daisy chain.

Fellatio is sometimes practiced when penile penetration would create a physical difficulty for a sex partner. For example, it may be practiced during pregnancy instead of vaginal intercourse by couples wishing to engage in intimate sexual activity while avoiding the difficulty of vaginal intercourse during later stages of pregnancy. [25]

There may be other reasons why a woman may not wish to have vaginal intercourse, such as apprehension of losing her virginity, of becoming pregnant, [12] [14] or she may be menstruating.

Health aspects

Sexually transmitted infections

Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis (multiple strains), and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs) can be transmitted through oral sex. [9] [10] [26] Any sexual exchange of bodily fluids with a person infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, poses a risk of infection. Risk of STI infection, however, is generally considered significantly lower for oral sex than for vaginal or anal sex, with HIV transmission considered the lowest risk with regard to oral sex. [10] [11] [27] [28]

There is an increased risk of STI transmission if the receiving partner has wounds on his genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in his or her mouth, or bleeding gums. [10] [11] [29] Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work soon before or after giving fellatio can also increase the risk of transmission, because all of these activities can cause small scratches in the lining of the mouth. [10] [11] These wounds, even when they are microscopic, increase the chances of contracting STIs that can be transmitted orally under these conditions. [10] [11] Such contact can also lead to more mundane infections from common bacteria and viruses found in, around and secreted from the genital regions. Because of the aforementioned factors, medical sources advise the use of condoms or other effective barrier methods when performing or receiving fellatio with a partner whose STI status is unknown. [9] [10] [11] [26]

Links have been reported between oral sex and oral cancer with human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected people. [30] A 2005 research study 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. [31]

A 2007 study suggested a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of 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 study concludes 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 percent increased risk. [32] [33] [34]

Pregnancy and semen exposure

Fellatio cannot result in pregnancy, as there is no way for ingested sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. At any rate, acids in the stomach and digestive enzymes in the digestive tract break down and kill spermatozoa.

Clinical research has tentatively linked fellatio with immune modulation, [35] indicating it may reduce the chance of complications during pregnancy. The potentially fatal complication pre-eclampsia was observed to occur less in women who regularly engaged in fellatio, with those who also ingested their partner's semen being at the least risk. [36] The results were consistent with the fact that semen contains TGF-β1, the exchange of which between partners having a causal reduction in risk of pre-eclampsia caused by an immunological reaction. It is worth noting that fellatio is not the only viable mechanism for the transmission of TGF-β1. [35] [37] [38]

Cultural views

Virginity

Oral sex is commonly used as a means of preserving virginity, especially among heterosexual pairings; this is sometimes termed technical virginity (which additionally includes anal sex, mutual masturbation and other non-penetrative sex acts, but excludes penile-vaginal sex). [12] [13] [14] [39] The concept of "technical virginity" or sexual abstinence through oral sex is particularly popular among teenagers in the United States, [14] [29] [40] including with regard to teenage girls who not only fellate their boyfriends to preserve their virginities, but also to create and maintain intimacy or to avoid pregnancy. [14] Other reasons given for the practice among teenage girls are peer-group pressure and as their introduction to sexual activity. [14] Additionally, gay males may regard fellatio as a way of maintaining their virginities, with penile-anal penetration defined as resulting in virginity loss, while other gay males may define fellatio as their main form of sexual activity. [12] [15]

Legality

Fellatio is legal in most countries. Laws of some jurisdictions regard fellatio as penetrative sex for the purposes of sexual offenses with regard to the act, but most countries do not have laws which ban the practice, in contrast to anal sex or extramarital sex. In Islamic literature, the only forms of sexual activity that are consistently explicitly prohibited within marriage are anal sex and sexual activity during menstrual cycles. [41] However, the exact attitude towards oral sex is a subject of disagreements between modern scholars of Islam. Authorities considering it "objectionable" do so because of the penis's supposedly impure fluids coming in contact with the mouth. [42] Others emphasize that there is no decisive evidence to forbid oral sex. [43]

In Malaysia, fellatio is illegal, but the law is seldom enforced. Under Malaysia's Section 377A of the Penal Code, the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of another person is considered a "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" and is punishable with imprisonment of 20 years maximum and whipping. [44]

Tradition

Depiction of fellatio on Attic red-figure kylix, c. 510 BC Depiction of fellatio on Attic red-figure kylix, c. 510 BC.jpg
Depiction of fellatio on Attic red-figure kylix, c. 510 BC

Galienus called fellatio lesbiari since women of the island of Lesbos were supposed to have introduced the practice of using one's lips to give sexual pleasure. [45]

Oral sex depicted in the Kama Sutra KamaSutra08.jpg
Oral sex depicted in the Kama Sutra

The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra , dating from the first century AD, describes oral sex, [46] discussing fellatio in great detail (the Kama Sutra has a chapter on auparishtaka (or oparishtaka), "mouth congress") [47] and only briefly mentioning cunnilingus. However, according to the Kama Sutra, fellatio is above all a characteristic of eunuchs (or, according to other translations, of effeminate homosexuals or transwomen similar to the modern Hijra of India), who use their mouths as a substitute for female genitalia.

Vātsyāyana, the author of the Kama Sutra, states that it is also practiced by "unchaste women", but mentions that there are widespread traditional concerns about this being a degrading or unclean practice, with known practitioners being evaded as love partners in large parts of the country. The author appears to somewhat agree with these attitudes, claiming that "a wise man" should not engage in that form of intercourse while acknowledging that it can be appropriate in some unspecified cases.

The Moche culture of ancient Peru worshipped daily life including sexual acts. They depicted fellatio in their ceramics. [48]

In some cultures, such as Cambodia, Chinese in Southeast Asia, northern Manchu tribes along Amur River, [49] Sambians in Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Telugus of India, Hawaii and other Pacific Islanders, briefly taking the penis of a male infant or toddler into one's mouth was considered a nonsexual form of affection or even a form of ritual, greeting, respect, parenting love, or lifesaving. [50] [51] [52] [53] According to some sources, it was an ancient Chinese custom for grandmothers, mothers, and elder sisters to calm their baby boys with fellatio. [54] [55] It has also been reported that some modern Chinese mothers have performed fellatio to their moribund sons as affection and means for lifesaving, because they culturally believe that when the penis is completely retracted into the abdomen, the boy or man will die. [53] [56] [57]

Other animals

Female bats perform fellatio to increase copulation time. This species is the only non-primate known to exhibit this behaviour. [58]

Flying foxes have been observed engaging in oral sex. [59] Indian flying fox males will lick a female's vulva both before and after copulation, with the length of pre-copulation cunnilingus positively correlated with length of copulation. [60] The fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx , has been observed to engage in fellatio during mating. Pairs spend more time copulating if the female licks the male than if she does not. [58] [61] Male Livingstone's fruit bats have been observed engaging in homosexual fellatio, although it is unknown if this is an example of sexual behavior or social grooming. [62] Bonin flying foxes also engage in homosexual fellatio, but the behavior has been observed independently of social grooming. [59]

See also

Related Research Articles

Anal sex Insertion of the penis into the anus, or other sexual activity involving the anus

Anal sex or anal intercourse is generally the insertion and thrusting of the erect penis into a person's anus, or anus and rectum, for sexual pleasure. Other forms of anal sex include fingering, the use of sex toys for anal penetration, oral sex performed on the anus (anilingus), and pegging. Although anal sex most commonly means penile–anal penetration, sources sometimes use anal intercourse to exclusively denote penile–anal penetration, and anal sex to denote any form of anal sexual activity, especially between pairings as opposed to anal masturbation.

Sexual intercourse Copulation for reproduction or sexual pleasure, or other penetrative sex acts for sexual pleasure.

Sexual intercourse is sexual activity typically involving the insertion and thrusting of the penis into the vagina for sexual pleasure, reproduction, or both. This is also known as vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex. Other forms of penetrative sexual intercourse include anal sex, oral sex, fingering, and penetration by use of a dildo. These activities involve physical intimacy between two or more individuals and are usually used among humans solely for physical or emotional pleasure and can contribute to human bonding.

Safe sex Ways to reduce the risk of acquiring STDs

Safe sex is sexual activity using methods or devices to reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially HIV. "Safe sex" is also sometimes referred to as safer sex or protected sex to indicate that some safe sex practices do not completely eliminate STI risks. It is also sometimes used colloquially to describe methods aimed at preventing pregnancy that may or may not also lower STI risks.

Virginity State of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse

Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions that place special value and significance on this state, predominantly towards unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth.

A sex position is a position of the body that people use for sexual intercourse or other sexual activities. Sexual acts are generally described by the positions the participants adopt in order to perform those acts. Though sexual intercourse generally involves penetration of the body of one person by another, sex positions commonly involve penetrative or non-penetrative sexual activities.

Doggy style Sex position

Doggy style is a sex position in which a person bends over, crouches on all fours, or lies on their abdomen, for sexual intercourse, other forms of sexual penetration or other sexual activity. Doggy style is a form of a rear-entry position, others being with the receiving partner lying on the side in the spoons sex position or the reverse cowgirl sex position. Non-penetrative sex in this position may also be regarded as doggy style.

Sexual penetration Sexual activity that involves inserting a persons body part into another person

Sexual penetration is the insertion of a body part or other object into a body orifice, such as the vagina, anus or mouth, as part of human sexual activity or animal sexual behavior.

Frot Penis-to-penis sexual contact

Frot is a non-penetrative form of male-to-male sexual activity that usually involves direct penis-to-penis contact. The term was popularized by gay male activists who disparaged the practice of anal sex, but has since evolved to encompass a variety of preferences for the act, which may or may not imply particular attitudes towards other sexual activities. Owing to its non-penetrative character, frot has the safe sex advantage of minimizing the transmission risk for HIV/AIDS; however, it still carries the risk of skin-to-skin sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV and pubic lice (crabs), both of which can be transmitted even when lesions are not visible.

Mammary intercourse Sex position in which a penis is stimulated by contact with female breasts and vice versa

Mammary intercourse is a sex act, performed as either foreplay or as non-penetrative sex, that involves the stimulation of a man's penis by a woman's breasts and vice versa. It involves placing the penis between a woman's breasts and moving the penis up and down to simulate sexual penetration and to create sexual pleasure. It may be used as an alternative to a handjob.

Irrumatio is a form of oral sex where a man thrusts his penis into someone else's mouth, in contrast to fellatio where the penis is being actively orally excited by a fellator. The difference lies mainly in which party takes the active part. By extension, irrumatio can also refer to the sexual technique of thrusting the penis between the thighs of a partner, or between the abdomens of two men.

Oral sex Sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia by the use of the mouth

Oral sex, sometimes referred to as oral intercourse, is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a person by another person using the mouth and the throat. Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on the vulva or vagina, while fellatio is oral sex performed on the penis. Anilingus, another form of oral sex, is oral stimulation of the anus. Oral stimulation of other parts of the body, such as by kissing or licking, is not considered oral sex.

Ass to mouth is a slang term associated with the porn industry describing anal sex immediately followed by oral sex. The term is primarily used to describe a sexual practice whereby an erect penis is removed from a receptive partner's anus and then directly put into their mouth, or possibly the mouth of another.

Non-penetrative sex Sexual activity that usually does not include sexual penetration

Non-penetrative sex or outercourse is sexual activity that usually does not include sexual penetration. It generally excludes the penetrative aspects of vaginal, anal, or oral sexual activity, but includes various forms of sexual and non-sexual activity, such as frottage, mutual masturbation, kissing, or cuddling. Some forms of non-penetrative sex, particularly when termed outercourse, include penetrative aspects, such as penetration that may result from forms of fingering or oral sex.

Lesbian sexual practices Sexual practices between women

Lesbian sexual practices are sexual activities involving women who have sex with women, regardless of their sexual orientation. A woman who has sex with another woman may identify as a lesbian if she is sexually attracted to women, or bisexual if she is not exclusively sexually attracted to women, or dispense with sexual identification altogether. The term may also be applied to a heterosexual or asexual woman who is unsure of or is exploring her sexuality.

Sexually transmitted infection Infection transmitted through human sexual behavior

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that are commonly spread by sexual activity, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex and oral sex. STIs often do not initially cause symptoms, which results in a greater risk of passing the disease on to others. Symptoms and signs of STIs may include vaginal discharge, penile discharge, ulcers on or around the genitals, and pelvic pain. STIs can be transmitted to an infant before or during childbirth, which may result in poor outcomes for the infant. Some STIs can cause infertility.

Ejaculation Discharge of semen from the male reproductive tract

Ejaculation is the discharge of semen from the male reproductory tract as a result of an orgasm. It is the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases, ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease. Ejaculation may also occur spontaneously during sleep. Anejaculation is the condition of being unable to ejaculate. Ejaculation is usually very pleasurable for men; dysejaculation is an ejaculation that is painful or uncomfortable. Retrograde ejaculation is the condition where semen travels backwards into the bladder rather than out the urethra.

Handjob

A handjob is a sex act, performed as either foreplay or as non-penetrative sex, that involves the manual stimulation of a man's penis or scrotum by another person to induce an erection for sexual pleasure, sexual arousal and sometimes resulting in orgasm and ejaculation.

Cunnilingus Oral sex on the vulva or vagina by a sexual partner

Cunnilingus is an oral sex act performed by a person on the vulva or vagina of another person. The clitoris is the most sexually sensitive part of the human female genitalia, and its stimulation may result in a woman becoming sexually aroused or achieving orgasm.

Anilingus Stimulating the anus of another person by the use of one’s mouth

Anilingus is the oral and anal sex act in which a person stimulates the anus of another by using the mouth, including lips, tongue, or teeth. It is also called anal–oral contact and anal–oral sex, and is additionally known by slang names.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to human sexuality:

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