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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 (intercrural sex), or between the abdomens of two men. [1]


In the ancient Roman sexual vocabulary, irrumatio is strictly a form of oral rape ( os impurum ), in which a man forces his penis into someone else's mouth, almost always that of another man. [2]

Etymology and history

The English noun irrumatio or irrumation and verb irrumate come from the Latin irrumare, to force receptive male oral sex. [3] [4] J. L. Butrica, in his review of R. W. Hooper's edition of The Priapus Poems, a corpus of poems known as Priapeia in Latin, states that "some Roman sexual practices, like irrumatio, lack simple English equivalents". [5]

There is some conjecture among linguists, as yet unresolved, that irrŭmātio may be connected with the Latin word rūmen, rūminis, the throat and gullet, whence 'ruminate', to chew the cud, therefore meaning 'insertion into the throat'. Others [6] connect it with rūma or rūmis, an obsolete word for a teat, hence it would mean "giving milk", "giving to suck". (Compare the word fellō, which literally meant "suck (milk)" before it acquired its sexual sense.)

As the quotation from Butrica suggests and an article by W. A. Krenkel shows, irrumatio was a distinct sexual practice in ancient Rome. [7] [ clarification needed ] [8] J. N. Adams states that "it was a standard joke to speak of irrumatio as a means of silencing someone". [9] Oral sex was considered to be an act of defilement: the mouth had a particularly defined role as the organ of oratory, as in Greece, to participate in the central public sphere, where discursive powers were of great importance. Thus, to penetrate the mouth could be taken to be a sign of massive power differential within a relationship. Erotic art from Pompeii depicts irrumatio along with fututio , fellatio and cunnilingus, and pedicatio or anal sex. [10] The extant wall paintings depicting explicit sex often appear to be in bathhouses and brothels, and oral sex was something usually practiced with prostitutes because of their lowly status. Craig A. Williams argues that irrumatio was regarded as a degrading act, even more so than anal rape. [11] S. Tarkovsky states that, despite being popular, it was thought to be a hostile act, "taken directly from the Greek, whereby the Greek men would have to force the fellatio by violence". [10] Furthermore, as A. Richlin has shown in an article in the Journal of the History of Sexuality , it was also accepted as "oral rape", a punitive act against homosexuality. [12] Catullus threatens two friends who have insulted him with both irrumatio and pedicatio in his Carmen 16, although the use could also mean "go to hell," rather than being a literal threat. [13]

In modern English, the term "fellatio" has expanded to incorporate irrumatio, and the latter has fallen out of widespread use. [14] Likewise, irrumatio might today be called "forced fellatio" or "oral rape".

Another synonym for irrumatio is Egyptian rape or simply Egyptian; this goes back to the time of the Crusades when Mamluks were alleged to force their Christian captives to do this. [15] [ page needed ]


"Peruvian erotic pottery of the Mochica cultures represent a form of fellatio in the vases showing oragenital acts. See the vases illustrated in color in Dr. Rafael Larco-Hoyle’s Checan (Love!), published in both French and English versions by Éditions Nagel in Geneva, 1965, plates 30–33 and 133–135. The action should really be considered irrumation". [16]

See also


  1. "irrumatio in Sex-Lexis" . Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  2. Amy Richlin, "The Meaning of irrumare in Catullus and Martial", Classical Philology 76.1 (1981) 40–46.
  3. Whitaker's Words: irrumatio
  4. Richlin, A. (1981). "Richlin, A. 1981. "The Meaning of Irrumare in Catullus and Martial". Classical Philology 76 (1): 40–46. Link to preview available from the WWW". Classical Philology. 76 (1): 40–46. doi:10.1086/366597. JSTOR   269544.
  5. James L. Butrica (February 2000). "Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2000.02.23". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  6. Adams (1982), The Latin Sexual Vocabulary, p. 126.
  7. Krenkel, W. A. (1980). "Fellatio and Irrumatio" in W. Bernard and C. Reitz (eds.). Naturalia non turpia (this work is one of a series of articles written by Krenkel about sexuality in the Roman Empire.). Zurich & New York: Ildesheim. pp. 205–232.
  8. Krenkel, Werner. "Masturbation in der Antike." "Pueri meritorii." "Fellatio und Irrumatio." "Tonguing." and "Tribaden.". Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-Pieck-Universität Rostock. pp. 28 (1979): 159–89, 29 (1980): 77–88, 30 (1981): 37–54, 38 (1989): 45–58.
  9. Adams, J. N. (1982). The Latin Sexual Vocabulary. Baltimore. pp. 126–127.
  10. 1 2 Tarkovsky, S. "Roman Sex ?C Hot Sex from the Frescos in Pompeii". Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  11. Williams, C. A. (1999). Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 331.
  12. Richlin, A. (1993). "Preview of "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men"". Journal of the History of Sexuality. 3 (4): 523–573. JSTOR   3704392.
  13. Micaela Wakil Janan (18 January 1994). When the Lamp Is Shattered: Desire and Narrative in Catullus. SIU Press. p. 45. ISBN   978-0-8093-1765-3 . Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  14. ""Fellatio" in Sex-Lewis" . Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  15. Edwardes, Allen; Masters, Robert E. L. The cradle of erotica, New York: Julian Press, 1963.
  16. G., Legman (1969). Oragenitalism: Oral Techniques in Genital Excitation. The Julian Press. p. 243.


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